“How would you react if I told you that this interview has been terrible so far?”

Active job seekers can find an abundance of information available online to help with topics such as resume formatting, job search, interview preparation, appearance and how to follow-up after an interview. If you are working with a professional recruiter, you can always expect to receive their insight on how to best prepare for the specific interview they have arranged for you. They will have insider information and will be able to help you learn more about the hiring manager’s hot buttons or any current initiatives inside the organization that could help you gain a competitive advantage.

Before you walk in the front door of your next potential employer, be sure you have a sharp resume, you look the part and you arrive early. If you have those basics covered, ask yourself if you are prepared to impress the decision maker. Being able to answer the hiring manager’s toughest interview question succinctly with confidence can be the deciding factor that sets you apart from a pool of strong candidates.

Below you will find Monster’s list of 100 potential interview questions that are a good overview of the types of questions you might be faced with in an interview setting. Every hiring manager’s interview style is different so being ready for EVERY question is near impossible. Being well-prepared is very possible.

At UDig, we enjoy hearing trick interview questions such as “How would you react if I told you that this interview has been terrible so far?” They aren’t all this tricky but this one certainly made us think for a second.

Basic Interview Questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
  • What’s your ideal company?
  • What attracted you to this company?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What did you like least about your last job?
  • When were you most satisfied in your job?
  • What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
  • What were the responsibilities of your last position?
  • Why are you leaving your present job?
  • What do you know about this industry?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Behavioral Interview Questions:

  • What was the last project you headed up, and what was its outcome?
  • Give me an example of a time that you felt you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.
  • Can you describe a time when your work was criticized?
  • Have you ever been on a team where someone was not pulling their own weight? How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to give someone difficult feedback. How did you handle it?
  • What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it?
  • What irritates you about other people, and how do you deal with it?
  • If I were your supervisor and asked you to do something that you disagreed with, what would you do?
  • What was the most difficult period in your life, and how did you deal with it?
  • Give me an example of a time you did something wrong. How did you handle it?
  • What irritates you about other people, and how do you deal with it?
  • Tell me about a time where you had to deal with conflict on the job.
  • If you were at a business lunch and you ordered a rare steak and they brought it to you well done, what would you do?
  • If you found out your company was doing something against the law, like fraud, what would you do?
  • What assignment was too difficult for you, and how did you resolve the issue?
  • What’s the most difficult decision you’ve made in the last two years and how did you come to that decision?
  • Describe how you would handle a situation if you were required to finish multiple tasks by the end of the day, and there was no conceivable way that you could finish them.

Salary Questions:

  • What salary are you seeking?
  • What’s your salary history?
  • If I were to give you this salary you requested but let you write your job description for the next year, what would it say?

Career Development Questions:

  • What are you looking for in terms of career development?
  • How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
  • What kind of goals would you have in mind if you got this job?
  • If I were to ask your last supervisor to provide you additional training or exposure, what would she suggest?

Getting Started Questions:

  • How would you go about establishing your credibility quickly with the team?
  • How long will it take for you to make a significant contribution?
  • What do you see yourself doing within the first 30 days of this job?
  • If selected for this position, can you describe your strategy for the first 90 days?

More About You:

  • How would you describe your work style?
  • What would be your ideal working environment?
  • What do you look for in terms of culture — structured or entrepreneurial?
  • Give examples of ideas you’ve had or implemented.
  • What techniques and tools do you use to keep yourself organized?
  • If you had to choose one, would you consider yourself a big-picture person or a detail-oriented person?
  • Tell me about your proudest achievement.
  • Who was your favorite manager and why?
  • What do you think of your previous boss?
  • Was there a person in your career who really made a difference?
  • What kind of personality do you work best with and why?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What do you like to do?
  • What are your lifelong dreams?
  • What do you ultimately want to become?
  • What is your personal mission statement?
  • What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?
  • What negative thing would your last boss say about you?
  • What three character traits would your friends use to describe you?
  • What are three positive character traits you don’t have?
  • If you were interviewing someone for this position, what traits would you look for?
  • List five words that describe your character.
  • Who has impacted you most in your career and how?
  • What is your greatest fear?
  • What is your biggest regret and why?
  • What’s the most important thing you learned in school?
  • Why did you choose your major?
  • What will you miss about your present/last job?
  • What is your greatest achievement outside of work?
  • What are the qualities of a good leader? A bad leader?
  • Do you think a leader should be feared or liked?
  • How do you feel about taking no for an answer?
  • How would you feel about working for someone who knows less than you?
  • How do you think I rate as an interviewer?
  • Tell me one thing about yourself you wouldn’t want me to know.
  • Tell me the difference between good and exceptional.
  • What kind of car do you drive?
  • There’s no right or wrong answer, but if you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
  • What’s the last book you read?
  • What magazines do you subscribe to?
  • What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the last year?
  • What would you do if you won the lottery?
  • Who are your heroes?
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • What is your favorite memory from childhood?

Brainteaser Questions:

  • How many times do a clock’s hands overlap in a day?
  • How would you weigh a plane without scales?
  • Tell me 10 ways to use a pencil other than writing.
  • Sell me this pencil.
  • If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?
  • Why is there fuzz on a tennis ball?
  • If you could choose one superhero power, what would it be and why?
  • If you could get rid of any one of the US states, which one would you get rid of and why?
  • With your eyes closed, tell me step-by-step how to tie my shoes.

-Rob Havey, UDig Director of Recruiting

Views: 2951

Comment by Nigel Coxon on January 9, 2013 at 8:46am

"What irritates you about other people, and how do you deal with it?"

People who ask the same question twice. Normally I just point out that they've done it.


Comment by Megan Bell on January 9, 2013 at 9:48am

"If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?" SERIOUSLY!!!!  What good, professional, self-respecting Recruiter still asks this question?  It gives you absolutely no usable information.  Shame on Monster!  If I were asked this in an interview, that would seal the deal that I would never work for them as my response would be “How would you react if I told you that this interview has been terrible so far?” LOL

Comment by Lee on January 9, 2013 at 9:48am

I think questions like the animal and tennis ball questions are irrelevant, annoying and even insulting. To me questions asking what superhero or animal I would like to be are conversations I have with my 11 year old. They are pseudo pyschological and not only am I not qualified to analyze the answer, nor are any of the people I've ever been involved with in a recruiting situation. How can the answer "dolphin" or "chimpanzee" help me decide who is the best person to run a company's finances?

These questions show a lack of respect for the job and for the process. There are many scenario type questions and real brainteasers related to the position that could be asked rather than "fuzz on a tennis ball." Questions about laws, rules and best practices are much better. Unless you are recruiting for a job in physics, textiles or the tennis industry why would it matter?

Most of the other questions in the top sections are better.

Comment by Nigel Coxon on January 9, 2013 at 10:29am

Don't you think in the days of the internet that interview questions are all a bit moot anyway? Candidates get so caught up in second guessing what answer they think the interviewer wants to hear, or remembering the "oh so smart" answer they saw on some website or other that they don't do what they should...which is just answer honestly.

It's like the old advice on answering the "what are your weaknesses" question...use some clever gimmick so that you actually end up portraying it as a strength (or the glib "I'm a perfectionist" answer). I never liked that advice...the candidate just ends up looking like a self-satisfied idiot.

I think questions like the animal question still have a place (not so sure about the tennis ball), but the actual answer (dolphin or chimp) doesn't matter. I'd be looking for two things from it - first, whether they volunteer a reason for their choice and if they don't the answer to the follow-up question - "Why?". I'd simply be looking for someone to justify their position, and for how someone handles an unusual question (which is why I said "questions like"...the animal one has been done to death).

Candidates: Sting said it much better than I ever could;

"I could distort myself to be the perfect man,
She might prefer me as I am."

Comment by pam claughton on January 25, 2013 at 2:17pm

Actually,asking the same question twice, or maybe in a slightly different way is not always a mistake, and pointing it out to the interviewer isn't likely to go over well. Interviewers are looking for consistency and by asking a similar question it adds credibility when you get a similar answer, and makes the interviewer wonder when they hear something totally different. It's a way to assess a candidate's depth.

I am with those who dislike the silly questions, "what kind of animal or car would you be?" That's idiotic and doesn't reflect well on the interviewer and can drive away top candidates. I've seen it happen. It makes the interviewer look like a jerk, and who wants to work for someone like that?

A lot of these other questions are great though, especially those that ask the candidate to provide examples of their achievements, and allows the interviewer to dig deeply.

Comment by Nigel Coxon on January 29, 2013 at 4:19am

Pam, I'll admit I was being facetious - the point is the "What irritates you about other people" question is in the list twice (and still is I note) with only three questions in between - this isn't the question in a slightly different way, it's just a mistake.

And I really disagree that you shouldn't point it out for fear of offending the interviewer - if they're going to get their knickers in a twist over having their mistakes pointed out (politely), do you REALLY want to work for them?

Comment by Tiffany Branch on May 6, 2014 at 9:43am

@Megan, I haven't used that question in an interview but have used it in discussions with friends. It can tell you a lot about a person when you ask them WHY they chose a specific animal. That is really what folks are trying to get to when asking those "weird questions." They are geared towards learning how people think vs. the actual answer.

Comment by Tiffany Branch on May 6, 2014 at 9:57am

I work in a very relaxed, friendly, humorous and sarcastic environment. When I ask "weird questions" my candidates tend to view it as "fun" and it is oftentimes an ice breaker. I'm into the more conversational style of interviewing and those questions pull a lot out of the candidates. No one has ever been offended or turned us down because of them. Actually, if someone were offended, they wouldn't fit well with culture of my organization. 


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