Top 66 Interview Questions to Answer BEFORE the Job Interview

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When I wrote the IT Job Interview Questions article back in 2008 I wrote it from the interviewee perspective. I went to several different job interviews before I joined TrainSignal and had a lot of these questions fresh in my mind.

Today, I want to include some tips from the other side: the interviewer's perspective. I am currently looking for several people to fill positions on my team, and sometimes I am absolutely in shock at how poorly prepared the applicants are for their interviews.

 


 

Make sure you land that opportunity with tips from the Ultimate IT Resume Guide

 


Listen up guys: If you want the job you applied for, you need to do your research and prepare yourself for your interview with a company. Even before a phone screen you should do a little bit of research and preparation.

In this article I will give you a few tips on what to research and how to prepare your questions for the hiring manager. Then I will give you 66 sample questions you may get during your actual interview.

Also, be sure to check back here soon for an update to IT Pro interview questions about new technology. A LOT has changed since 2008 :)

Ready? Let's go!

 

Digest the Company's Website

Once you get a call back after submitting your resume to schedule your phone screen or your actual in-house interview, make sure to go to your most knowledgeable friend for help: the Internet.

Find the company you will be interviewing with and read every single word on their website. Is this excessive? Maybe a little, but definitely read the About Us page. Find out what exactly the company is doing, products they're making, services they're providing, etc. If you have questions that come up while researching, write them down. These are excellent questions to bring to the interview but be careful and do not ask questions that are answered on the company's website. This will actually backfire and clearly show the hiring manager that you either don't pay attention or that you didn't do your homework.

Try to get a feel for the company's culture. If you are not sure, that is another good question to ask. Hiring managers absolutely love when you show that you want to know more about the company – but at the same time, you need to show them you already know a bit. It tells them that you are truly interested in joining their team and that you are ready to be a valuable addition and not just a person who is looking for another job.

Another thing to remember is that you should not ask questions about salary, benefits, or bonuses during your first interview. This topic may be brought up by the employer and if so, make sure to show that these are secondary to you. You almost need to show them that the paycheck is important but not as important as doing what you love and working for a fantastic company. Even if money is the only thing you care about, try not be so obvious during the interview.

When you come up with things to ask about the company, make sure to write intelligent and thoughtful questions. Don't ask questions that can be answered with a simple "Yes" or "No." Here are some examples of good questions to ask during your interview.

 

Questions about the company:

 

     

  • How does the company compare to its competition? What are its strengths and weaknesses?
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  • What is the company's plan for the next five years, and how does this position fit in?
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  • Could you explain your organizational structure?
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  • How long have you been with the company? What do you most enjoy about your work with this company?
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  • What management style does the company use and what type of employees fit in well?
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  • Can you describe an ideal employee for this position?
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Analyzing the Job Post

Your next step should be going back to the job post and reading everything several times. Make sure you understand every single bullet point, every single job requirement and responsibility. If you do not understand something, or if you want to know more, write it down. Have these questions ready before the interview. Again, hiring managers love when you have questions about the position.

 

Sample questions about the position:

 

     

  • Where do you see me in 3-6 months?
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  • Is there a growth opportunity for a person in this position?
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  • Why is this position available?
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  • What do I need to do to succeed in this position? What are the goals and milestones?
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  • What does a typical day of a person in this position look like?
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  • How important is this role in the department?
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  • How will my responsibilities and performance be measured and by whom? Are there specific criteria upon which I would be evaluated?
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  • How frequently is formal and informal review given to new employees?
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The List

Now here are some questions you may get during your interview. Make sure to practice answering these questions ahead of time. We will start with phone screen questions and move onto the in-house HR questions.

 

Phone screen questions:

1. Why are you looking to make a change?

2. What interested you about the position we have available and why?

3. What made you submit your resume to our company?

4. What contributions can you make to our company?

5. How large is your current employer? What size company are you most comfortable working in?

6. What type of environment are you happiest in? Structured or ever-changing?

7. Can you give me an example of your organizational skills?

8. Can you give me an example of your time management skills?

9. Can you give me an example of how you have used your communication skills?

10. Can you give me an example of paying attention to detail?

11. What are you looking for from this position?

 

General HR questions:

12. How did you decide on the college you went to?

13. How did you decide on the major?

14. What was the high/low point of college for you?

15. What was the high/low point of your previous position?

16. What would your previous boss say about you?

17. What was your previous boss like to work with?

18. Why did you leave your previous position? Or why are you planning to leave your current job?

19. What is most important to you when looking for a new position?

20. What is not so important when looking for a new position?

21. What was the best product/service you ever created/sold and why?

22. What was the most disappointing product/service you ever created/sold and why?

23. What did you take away from that (referring to previous 2 questions)?

24. What makes you think you are better for this position than all the other candidates?

25. Tell me about a stressful situation that occurred repeatedly on your last job and how you handled it?

26. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

27. What is your greatest strength?

28. What is your greatest weakness?

29. What are you doing to improve your greatest weakness?

30. If I Google you, what would I find?

31. What do you do to stay up to date with the industry?

32. Walk me through a time when you administered change.

33. Do you consider yourself a workaholic? Do you think there is anything wrong with being a workaholic?

34. How would you feel if we all needed to come in on the weekend to make a deadline?

35. How would you feel if this happened two weekends in a row?

36. How would you describe yourself?

37. Do you take work home with you?

38. How many hours per week do you normally work?

39. How would you describe the pace at which you normally work?

40. How do you handle stress and pressure?

41. What motivates you?

42. Are you self-motivated?

43. Tell me about yourself.

44. What are you passionate about?

45. What are your pet peeves?

46. What do people most often criticize about you?

47. If you could re-live the last 10 years of your life, what would you do differently?

48. If the people who know you were asked why you should be hired, what would they say?

49. Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?

50. What type of work environment do you prefer?

51. How do you evaluate success?

52. If you know your boss is 100% wrong about something how would you handle it?

53. Why should we hire you?

54. Why do you want to work here?

55. What challenges are you looking for in this position?

56. Are you willing to travel?

57. What is great customer service in your opinion?

58. If hired, how long do you expect to remain employed with our company?

59. What are your goals for the next five to ten years?

60. How do you plan to achieve these goals?

61. What will you do if you don't get this position?

62. Give me an example of how you've networked with others?

63. How would you compare your research skills to the norm?

64. How would you describe your learning ability compared to the norm?

65. If you had to give yourself a grade as an employee, what would it be and why?

66. What are you doing to continue your education?

I hope these questions help you feel more confident and prepared for your interview. Make sure to check out our Ultimate IT Resume Guide for more ways to standout to potential employers.

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Contributor

Gosia Grabowska

(MCTS Active Directory, MCTS Vista, Network+, Linux+, Project+, PMP) is an experienced Network Support Specialist and an expert in Windows Server support. She graduated from DePaul University, Chicago with a Bachelor degree in Network Technologies with highest honors. Gosia has over 8 years of technical and support experience and has worked as Systems Administrator for a high profile law firm, where she managed the Backup and Disaster Recovery plan. Gosia has been a part of the Train Signal team since 2006 as the Product Manager and has written many articles on a variety of topics, including Exchange Server 2007, Windows Vista, Small Business Server, and more.