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Sample job interview questions

Practice answering interview questions to increase your confidence

Here are some common job interview questions to guide your practice. Research your industry and review the job ad or job description to determine which questions are most relevant to the role you’re seeking.

Sample open questions

Interviewers ask open questions to give you an opportunity to present your strengths, interest in the role,  and/or future ambitions in relation to the specific role.

  • Why did you choose your degree/particular courses?
  • What did you enjoy most/least about your studies?
  • Why did you apply for this particular position?
  • Why would you like to work for this organisation?
  • What do you expect from your first graduate job?
  • Under what conditions do you work best?
  • What do you expect to be doing in three to five years’ time?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses? (Tip: choose something that you’ve worked on to improve)
  • Tell me about some responsibilities that you’ve taken on recently.
  • Tell us more about the supervisory responsibilities you had in your part-time job.
  • Tell us about a significant achievement.
  • Sum yourself up in five short phrases or five adjectives.
  • What skills can you bring from your current employment to our organisation?
  • How would you describe your teamwork style?
  • What leadership roles have you undertaken?
  • How do you manage your time?
  • How do you deal with a situation where there is a clash or ‘double booking’?
  • How do you take criticism?
  • What current issues affecting our industry are of interest to you?
  • Do you know which part of our organisation or industry you’d like to get into?
  • How do others describe you?

Sample behavioural questions

Interviewers ask behavioural questions linked to specific skills on the premise that your past behaviour can be used to predict your future behaviour. When answering these questions, consider which skill or competency the question is addressing, eg, time management, ability to overcome a challenge, initiative, and so forth.

  • Tell me about a time when you provided outstanding customer service. What was the situation and what did you do?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty to get a job done.
  • Have you had to "sell" an idea to someone? How did you do it? Did they "buy" it?
  • Describe a situation you’ve experienced that required some finely-tuned communication skills.
  • Tell us how you have communicated or shared ideas with people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
  • Describe a situation when you were able to strengthen a relationship by communicating effectively.
  • Describe a situation where you felt you had not communicated well. How did you correct the situation?
  • Describe a team situation where things did not work out well. Briefly tell us what happened. What would you do differently next time?
  • Tell me about the most difficult or frustrating individual that you’ve ever had to work with. What was the outcome of the situation?
  • Give an example of your ability to build motivation within a team.
  • Describe a time when you worked effectively in a team. What was your role? What impact did you have?
  • What experience do you have seeing a project through to completion? Please give an example.
  • Outline 3 strategies you use to prioritise tasks and organise your time.
  • Explain how you have balanced your studies with other commitments.
  • Can you please give us an example of a time when you prioritised competing tasks and projects?
  • Can you please describe an occasion when you have faced conflicting deadlines?
  • Describe a project or research assignment that you have undertaken, and how this has prepared you for this role.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to analyse information and make a recommendation. What kind of thought process did you go through?
  • Tell us about a time you made a major decision. How did you go about making the decision? What was the outcome?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you took on a leadership role? What have been some of the challenges you have faced as a leader?
  • As a future team leader, you will be expected to manage staff performance and development. Are you comfortable giving sensitive feedback to other people? Provide an example when you have had to do this.
  • Can you outline a time when you have worked with minimal supervision or taken on additional responsibility for a task or project?

Sample situational questions

Interviewers ask situational questions about hypothetical scenarios you may face in the role. You will be required to describe the actions you would take in a certain situation or prioritise a list of activities, demonstrating your problem-solving skills, logical reasoning and judgement.

  • You discover that one of your colleagues has been selling commercial-in-confidence information to a competitor. What would you do?
  • What would you do if a client/student/patient made a complaint about your work?
  • Two senior managers assign projects to you and ask you to make their work your priority. How do you react?
  • It is a busy period for the organisation and you have more work than you can complete before the arranged deadline. What do you do?
  • You see a senior colleague breaching occupational health and safety regulations. Do you take action?
  • You have good reason to believe that your colleague is in breach of your profession’s code of ethics. What are your next steps.