Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Careers & Workplace
  3. Jobs

10 interview questions you need to know

See also

It turns out that personality is every bit as important to getting a job as technical competence. A 2014 Career Builder survey shows 77 percent of employers believe traits like work ethic, dependability and attitude are just as important as job knowledge. Surprisingly, 16 percent say these “soft” skills are more important than “hard” skills such as knowing how to operate a computer.

Know these top ten questions

More than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals surveyed in February 2014 told CareerBuilder these are the most important skills to look for when hiring. View the photos to see questions based on the ten skills these experts identified. The parentheses indicate the percentage of persons interviewed agreed that this skill is important. Anyone preparing for an interview should know how to answer these questions before going into a job interview.

Survey methodology

Harris Poll conducted this online survey on behalf of CareerBuilder between February 10 and March 4, 2014. They asked 2,138 U.S. hiring managers and human resource professionals from a variety of organizations about their hiring practices. The writer of this article cross-referenced the survey competencies to the Department of Labor O*Net Content Model so the reader can use a full and complete description to build a better resume.

Strong work ethic (73 percent)
Strong work ethic (73 percent) Charles O'Rear, Wiki Commons

Strong work ethic (73 percent)

Question: Tell me about a time when you had to work very hard to reach your goals.

Answer: Describe how you were diligent and worked hard on a project to achieve success. Give a number for the outcome, such as increased sales by 50 percent. That will get their attention.

Dependable (73 percent)
Dependable (73 percent) Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Dependable (73 percent)

Question: Take us through a complicated project you were responsible for planning. How did you define and measure success? What obstacles did you encounter? Which ones were anticipated and which were unanticipated?

Answer: Describe the obstacles you encountered on a project and how your organization depended on you to see it through to a successful outcome.

Positive attitude (72 percent)
Positive attitude (72 percent) Jean.julius via Wikimedia Commons

Positive attitude (72 percent)

Question: Tell me about a high stress situation when it was desirable for you to keep a positive attitude.

Answer: Speak in a pleasant and good-natured tone and show a cooperative attitude. It can be especially effective to think of an example how you kept a positive attitude in a high stress situation.

Self-motivated (66 percent)
Self-motivated (66 percent) Rob Kim/Getty Images

Self-motivated (66 percent)

Question: Describe some projects or ideas that were implemented, or carried out successfully primarily because of your efforts. 

Answer: Think of a time when you were willing to take on responsibilities, strive to be competent and exert effort toward mastering those tasks. Describe obstacles you have faced and your persistence to overcome them.

Team-oriented (60 percent)
Team-oriented (60 percent) Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Team-oriented (60 percent)

Question: What did you do in your last job to contribute toward a teamwork environment? Or, when have you been a part of a team that drove an important business change? What was your role?

Answer: Give examples of how you enjoy working in an organization together with a group of people. Be pleasant, cooperative, and sensitive to others and being easy to get along with.

Organized, can manage multiple priorities (57 percent)
Organized, can manage multiple priorities (57 percent) Robert Jagger

Organized, can manage multiple priorities (57 percent)

Tell me about a time you had to handle multiple responsibilities. How did you organize the work you needed to do?

Answer: Offer examples of how you manage your time and the time of others well.

Works well under pressure (57 percent)
Works well under pressure (57 percent) Mario Tama/Getty Images

Works well under pressure (57 percent)

Question: Tell me about a time when you had to cope with strict deadlines or time demands.

Answer: Display maturity, poise, flexibility, and restraint in coping with pressure, stress, criticism, setbacks, personal and work-related problems. Describe how you were flexible in a fast-paced workplace or undergoing substantial change.

Effective communicator (56 percent)
Effective communicator (56 percent) Araya Diaz

Effective communicator (56 percent)

Question: Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate.

Answer: Your well-written resume will help but you really want to give an example of influencing others orally and in writing. Try to think of a time when you were able to communicate information and ideas in writing and in speaking that others understood as important.

Flexible (51 percent)
Flexible (51 percent) Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Flexible (51 percent)

Question: Describe a time when you felt it was necessary to modify or change your actions to adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and environments.

Answer: Describe how you responded positively to change in the workplace.

Confident (46 percent)
Confident (46 percent) John Britt

Confident (46 percent)

Question: Describe the last time you were criticized by a peer or supervisor. How did you handle it?

Answer: Maintaining a healthy level of self-esteem can be tricky. Too much bravado can torpedo your interview. Think of a time you accepted criticism and dealt with it calmly and effectively. Trust in yourself and your performance.

Advertisement