General Interview Questions

(When interviewing a recent college graduate, questions will be tailored toward the courses taken and their major instead of previous jobs held)

  1. Briefly describe your past work experience and tell us about the kinds of responsibilities you had. (they are expecting this question and it serves to warm them up and give us a bit of background).
  2. Why do/did you want to leave your current/last job? (looking for reasons that show a desire to do better or for someone just out of college it gives us an idea of career goals).
  3. What do/did you like best about your current/last job? (gives us an idea of what types of job duties they like).
  4. What has been the most interesting job or project you have had in your working career so far? (more interested in the reasons than the answer, may give us some idea of what the person wants from a job).
  5. What are some of the more difficult problems that you have encountered during your working career? (gives us an idea of what types of situations they have had to deal with).
  6. If you were going to pass on a piece of advice based on your experience, to a new person in your current position, what would you tell them? (shows us what types of information they consider important to know in the old job).
  7. If you could have made an improvement in your last job, what would it have been? (looking for creativity not bitterness and bad mouthing).
  8. How do you think your co-workers in your past job would describe you? (gives us an idea of how they want to be perceived).
  9. Describe to us the best person you have ever worked for. What were they like? (gives us an idea of what type of supervisor they work well with).
  10. What types of people annoy you the most? (frequently the traits the person mentions do not apply to the candidates themselves).
  11. If you could tailor make a position for yourself, what would you include? (gives us an idea of what makes a job enjoyable to them).
  12. In this tailor made job, are there things that you would want to exclude from it? (looking for those things this person does not like to do or have in a job).
  13. Do you have other skills or experiences that you would like to use on a job that you think are valuable? (can they be available to do other things?)
  14. If you were going to pick an area you would like more training in, what would it be? (better than asking 'what are your weak areas').


  1. How does this position fit in with what you want from a job? (gives us an idea if this is a job they will stay at).
  2. Do you have questions for us?
  3. Do you have a salary range you are trying to reach or maintain?
  4. Is there anything you would like us to know about you that we have not covered in the interview? (this question leaves the applicant with the feeling that they have been given every opportunity to sell themselves).
  5. If you were offered the job, when could you start?
  6. Is it OK to contact your current employer as a reference?

Compiled by Bruce Hellmich, Assistant Dean, School of Human Ecology, UW-Madison, 2002

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