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sample HR interview questions and answers
Questions About Candidate 1. Why did you choose this profession? Suggestion: Answer should be close to actual reason. If the job is in advertising, the reason can be you have artistic ability, you can visualize what people will like, etc. Avoid negative answer, such as, for money, you don't know what to do so you have chosen this profession, etc. Sample Answer: I always liked math and problem solving, even when I was kid. When I was in high school, I was fascinated with the computer and the programming, so I decided to be a computer scientist. Now, I know I made the right decision and I am happy about it. 2. What can you tell us about yourself? Suggestion: Answer may include where you came from, what school you went to, your education, skill, job and accomplishments. Try to answer the question in one to two minutes. Use the information from your resume and cover letter for this answer. Do emphasis your strong points. 3. What are your strong points? Suggestion: Talk about strong points related to this job. 4. What are your weak points? How do you plan to correct them? Suggestion: Be honest and choose one or two less damaging correctable weak points and tell how you are planing to correct them. Sample Answer: Sometimes if I do not succeed on an assignment on the first try, I get demoralized and become less enthusiastic. Since I identified my problem, I am working on it. I am convincing myself that it is not possible for anyone to succeed everywhere on the first try and I am not an exception. To tell you the truth it is working. Now, if I fail I don't give up anymore and try harder. 5. Why should we hire you for this position? Suggestion: Your answer should include your education, skill and experience pertaining to the job position. Talk about some skill you have which may put you above other applicants. 6. What is the toughest problem you have solved so far? Suggestion: Talk about a problem you have solved. If you have solved many tough problems, choose the one that may related to this company's work and/or which may impress them. For example, if the company is a financial institution, talk about some financial problems you have solved. 7. Tell us about one of your work assignments or dealings where you failed. What should have you done? Suggestion: Choose a less damaging situation. 8. How do you handle failure or disappointment?
Suggestion: Answer positively. Answer may include you may feel bad, and you take caution so that it does not happen again. Sample Answer: As a normal human being, failure hurts my feeling. However, I do not let it get in my way. 9. Do you criticize others? Under what condition? Suggestion: Use your judgment. Remember criticism hurts feelings and does not help in any normal situation. 10. Are you a good communicator? Suggestion: Interviewer looks for a good communicator. If you are not a good communicator, start practicing. 11. How do you handle criticism? Suggestion: Choose your answer wisely. Sample Answer: A nice and constructive criticism helps me. Although, abusive or bad criticism may hurt my feelings, it will not reduce my performance. 12. How do you manage your time? Suggestion: Should be positive, and explain with example. 13. How do you handle deadline and pressure? Suggestion: Be positive in your answer and explain with example. 14. How do you persuade someone to agree with your point of view? Suggestion: Answer may include explaining your view, showing the positive side, etc. Sample Answer: By communication, I tell them what benefit my point of view will bring for them. I explain the up side and the down side of my proposal and most of the time they agree. I am always ready to negotiate and modify my plan with their input, if the situation demands. So things always work out. 15. What do you find frustrating? Suggestion: Be positive in your answer, explain with example. 16. Are you willing to learn new skills? Can you learn fast? Suggestion: Answer should be yes. Give them an example where you really learn fast. 17. Do you have problem in getting along with others? Suggestion: Be positive, should not be a problem. 18. How do you deal with surprises? For example: In an exam you have been asked a question from a topic that has never been taught to you; how do you handle it? Sample Answer: I try not to get nervous. First I answer all the questions I know and then I go back to this problem. I answer it as best as I can. 19. Did you prepare for this interview? How? Suggestion: Answer may include: researching about the company, reviewing your skill, etc. Remember this question may generate more questions and you must be ready to answer them. 20. What are your hobbies? Suggestion: Talk about your good hobbies. 21. Do you like to travel? Suggestion: Answer should be yes, however, be honest.
22. Do you have any problem in relocation? Suggestion: Tell the truth. Remember, the more flexible you are the more chances you have to get the job. 23. Where would you like to be in five years? Suggestion: Be positive and honest. Do not give an impression that you will leave or take over someone else's job (worse if that is the position of the interviewer). Sample Answer: In five years I want to be a valuable part of this company and help it to reach its goal. I also want to manage a challenging project and bring in the latest technology that will benefit the company. 24. What do you want in a job? Suggestion: Answer may include using your skills, gain new skills, challenge, recognition, satisfaction, etc. 25. What will your previous manager will tell me about your strengths and weaknesses, if I call him now? Suggestion: Be positive, emphasize on your accomplishment and skills. Do not avoid talking about your weakness (if there are any), however, don't talk lots about it. 26. Can you work under pressures, meet deadlines? Suggestion: Answer should be affirmative. 27. In your current work, what problems have you identified that had previously been overlooked? Suggestion: Explain a situation with example. Do not brag. 28. Do you feel that you will be better off in a different company? Suggestion: Remember if you are better off in a different company (in size or line of business), you will quit this company at the first chance you get and the interviewer will not like it. So think before you answer. 29. How would you describe your personality? Suggestion: Answer positively. 30. Through our ad you saw what skills we need, is there any skill are you missing? Suggestion: Answer positively, if you do not have a skill say it and if possible, back it up by something convincing. Sample Answer: Your ad says that applicant needs experience in Java. I do not have any work experience in Java. However, I did take a course in Java and practiced a lot. I also have 2 years experience in C++, which is similar to Java. So I am sure I will not have any problem programming in Java. Following are some questions you may be asked by the interviewer to know about you, your hobby, how you spend your spare time and weekends, etc. Since the answer fully depends on you, we do not have any suggestions or sample answers. Just remember answer them positively and honestly. 1. 2. 3. What magazines do you read? What kind of movies do you like? What is the last book you read? Did you like it? Why?
4. 5. 6. 7.
What kind of sports do you like? Do you play any games? How do you spend your weekend? Do you do any voluntary work?
Questions About Organization If you are really interested about a company, you naturally do some kind of research about the company. Interviewers like it if you know about their company and the industry in general. These are some questions asked by the interviewer to know how much homework you have done about their organization. 1. What do you know about our organization? Suggestion: Talk about their product, size, location, reputation, income, etc. If you are not sure about something ask questions and show genuine interest, the interviewer will talk about it. However, never tell anything that your are not sure about. 2. What new technology should we introduce to our company to make it more productive and why? Sample Answer 1: Your Database does not have any interface to handle data formatted with XML tags. Since companies are using XML for e-commerce, you can grow your market by making your product XML compatible. Sample Answer 2: Since I never used your product in any of my work, I can not make any suggestion right now. I am confident that I will be able to make some suggestion, once I work with it. 3. Why you want to work in this organization? Suggestion: Some reasons can be: It is a famous company, has a challenging product to develop, you can use your skill, your desired line of work, etc. Some bad reasons: Money, near home, no pressure, can't find any other job or your parent told you, etc. 4. How did you find us? Suggestion: Tell them your source. If someone working in the company told you about the position, say it that may help. 5. What products do we have? Suggestion: Find out about their product (very important). 6. Can you name some other companies who make similar products as us? Suggestion: Research and find out and answer it. 7. What features of our products are better than our competitor's? Suggestion: Find a few features, be positive in your answer. 8. What weak points do we have compare to our competitors? Suggestion: Don't be very negative. Talk about some negative aspect of the company that is very obvious and rectifiable. Sample answer: Your product does not run under MAC-OS. Since MAC is coming back, you should make a version for it, unless it is not feasible. 9. If your family asks you about our company, what will you say? Suggestion: Should be similar to the question what you know about the company.
10. What do you find the most attractive about our company? Least attractive? Suggestion: Talk about some positive aspect of the company. Talk about one obvious negative thing about the company (say it nicely). 11. What important trends do you see in our industry? Suggestion: Tell them about one or two trends. Questions About Work An interview wants to know if your are fit for the position they want to hire you. These are some of the questions asked by the interviewer to know about your skill, how you do handle work issues, you expertise, etc. 1. Why do you want this job? Suggestion: Tell your reason, be specific. 2. Do you think you have enough skill to work in this position? Suggestion: Be positive, explain with example. Sample answer: Yes, I have enough skill for the position of web developer. I am creative, good with presentations and have 2 years experience with HTML and Internet. I know how to promote and attract people to a web site. I made a site for myself and I am getting about 500 hits per day. 3. If we are using certain technique to solve certain problem and you find that you know a better way to solve those problems, what will you do? Sample answer: I will suggest my solution. If it is possible I will make a prototype and/or a visual presentation of the solution to illustrate my suggestion. 4. What skills did you improve in your last work? Suggestion: If few tell them about all. If you improved many skills, talk about the skill relevant to this job. 5. Tell us what do you think an ideal working environment should be? Suggestion: Answer may include: job satisfaction, appreciation, feels at home, etc. 6. Will you describe a situation where your work was criticized? Suggestion: Be honest and as positive as you can. 7. What other kinds of job position or companies may interest you? Suggestion: Answer should relate to your field and same as this company. 8. If you are given an assignment which is a part of a big project and there is no detail specification, how do you handle it? Sample answer: At first, I will do all the general tasks without going to details. The little knowledge I get from the spec, I will try to fit this assignment with the whole project. By then I will have a clear idea about the assignment and the missing details. I will put all my questions in a paper and will setup a meeting or send an email to the designer or the person who gave me the project, and will find out all the answers. While waiting, I will plan on how to approach the problem. 9. Your supervisor gave you an assignment in the morning that will last for a week and he is leaving for one-week vacation tomorrow. What will you do first? Sample answer: I will go over the specification or requirement of the assignment and will plan my strategy to complete the assignment. If I find something not clear or if I
have question I will write them down in a paper. Then I will meet my boss and get all the answers. 10. Your supervisor gave you an assignment in the morning that will last for a week and he left for one-week vacation and you don't understand the assignment. What will you do? Sample answer: All assignments have something common to do, such as, setting it up, do paper work, research, etc. I will do them first. If someone else knows about this project I will talk to that person. If nothing works, I will ask my acting boss to give me some other work for the time being. 11. One of your teammates quit job today. He completed half of his assignment and it is given to you and you are not sure what he did. How will you handle it? Suggestion: Sometimes it is better to start over than to finish someone else's unfinished work. Go over work requirement and find out what to do. Check half-done assignment and take whatever you can use and process. Your answer should be something like that. 12. Tell us about a tough project, which you helped to finish? Suggestion: Tell then the most impressive one. 13. Do you prefer supervised or unsupervised working condition? Suggestion: Say which ever makes you comfortable and productive and explain it. 14. What can you do for our company? Why should we hire you? Suggestion: Tell them about your education, skill and past experience that you can use for this company. Use some example from your past to illustrate. 15. How do you manage your time at work? Suggestion: Answer should be productive. 16. What do you prefer, verbal or written (email) communication? Suggestion: Both are OK. Whatever you say, justify. 17. How much supervision do you need to complete a job? Sample answer: In the beginning I may need some help. Once I understand the project, I do not need any supervision. However, occasional check and feedback will help me to assure myself that I am on the right track. 18. How long would it take you to get adjusted and start productive work? Suggestion: Answer may include, time for orientation, adjustment, etc. should not be very long. Sample answer: Since, I do not know anything about company's standard, rules or style of doing an assignment, I need to learn that, plus I need to learn about your corporate policies. Since I am a fast learner, I can learn all that within your planned or allocated time. To do the actual work, if it matches with my skill, it would not take much time. 19. Have you helped to increase sales? Profits? How? Suggestion: Explain with real example. 20. Have you helped reduce costs? How? Suggestion: Explain with real example. 21. Do you like working with figures more than words?
Suggestion: Tell your preference with some explanation. Questions About Team Work 1. If you have a disagreement with a coworker, how would you handle it? Suggestion: Answer should include discussing the problem, reasoning, etc. If one-toone meeting does not solve the problem, help from the common boss or an arbitrator may be asked. 2. What minimum quality should a person have to be your teammate? Suggestion: Be practical and reasonable. Sample Answer: Although, I can work with any person, it will make my life easier if the person is a team player, can communicate and nice in behavior. 3. What behavior of a person do you not like? Suggestion: Search for most common one, such as lazy, not-punctual, bad behavior, foul mouth, etc. 4. If you find that your teammate is rude, racist and/or sexist, how will you handle it? Sample Answer: If there is a corporate policy, I will follow it. If not, I will warn the person the first time and if he continues, I will report it to the proper authority. 5. How do you handle a teammate who thinks he/she is always right or knows better? Sample Answer: If it does not interfere with any of my work, I try to leave it alone. If it interferes with my work I will talk and reason with the person. If that does not work I will talk to my superior. 6. If there are 4 people in your team and you think your are doing half of the work what will you do? Sample Answer: It depends on circumstance. If I feel that my boss thinks I am the only person who can do the job, I will do it. Normally if I can finish the work within the allocated time, I will not complain. Otherwise I will just let my boss know about it and if she still insists on my doing it, I will do it. 7. If there are 4 people in your team and you think your supervisor assigning you only 1/8 of work, what will you do? Sample Answer: If I feel that my boss did not give me the work because he does not have enough confidence on me, I will talk to him and do something to improve his confidence. In all other cases, once I finish my current work I will let my boss know that I can take a new assignment. While waiting for new work, l will spend the free time to learn new skills that may help me in my work. 8. You have a deadline and no time and one of your teammate needs some help, What will you do? Sample Answer: If the solution is easy one and not time consuming I will help my teammate. Otherwise I will tell him to wait until I finish my project and then I will help him. 9. We don't know everything; that is why we have supervisor, teammate, manuals and books? Under what circumstance will you take help and from what source?
Sample Answer: If there is not much time and I need little help I will ask my supervisor and teammates if they are not busy. In all other circumstances, I will get help from the manual. 10. Do you like to work in a team? Why? Suggestion: Tell your preference. Make sure your desire does not conflict with the interest of the company. 11. Do you like to work alone? Why? Suggestion: Same as last question. Sample Answer: I have experience in working both alone and in a team. I can work in both situations. However, I can concentrate and work better, if I work alone. 12. Suppose you are working in a team and a project is given to your team. All the team members want to solve that project in a certain way and you know a better way to solve the problem. How will you convince them? Suggestion: Answer can include, discussing your plan with them, illustrating with some example, etc.
Questions About Previous Work 1. How did you do in your last performance evaluation? Suggestion: Be positive and honest. 2. Why did you quit your last job? Suggestion: Be positive and honest. Sample Answer: There were no regular work hours in my previous work. I was always on call and it was taking a toll on my family life. I was not told about irregular hours when I took the job. I don't mind working irregular hours sometimes; however, I don't want to do it every week. I talked to my superior to solve this problem and no hope of change was given to me. So I started looking for new job. 3. How do you describe your previous boss? Suggestion: Be as positive and as nice as you can. 4. What did you liked in your previous boss? Suggestion: Be positive and honest. Sample Answer: My boss was a nice person. She always listened to our opinion. She made us feel part of the team and kept us informed. She often came and asked about the work progress and if we needed any help. She always helped us. 5. What you didn't like in your previous boss? Suggestion: Be nice, say something common or obvious and true. Sample Answer: It was very hard to get hold of him when we needed him. He seemed to be always busy and had no time for us. However, it may not have been his fault he had too much responsibility. 6. What did you like about your previous work environment? Suggestion: Answer may include: your coworkers were friendly, you can experiment with new technologies, etc. 7. What didn't you like about your previous work environment? Suggestion: Be nice, say something common and true.
8. In a given day, how many hours did you work, how many hours did you spend in learning at your previous job? Suggestion: Be practical. When a new project is given or new technology is introduced employee spend more time in learning than working and it changes in the latter stage. Show that you were utilizing your time properly. 9. Why do you want to leave your present job? Suggestion: Give real reason and refine it. Do not give the impression that you do it for fun. 10. How do you feel about leaving all of your benefits such as stock options? Suggestion: You are not happy about it, but you had your reasons. 11. How would you evaluate your present firm? Suggestion: Give your opinion. Avoid talking negative. Questions About Managing 1. What is your management style? Suggestion: Your management style can be open door or conservative. Tell them about your relations and dealings with your superior and subordinates. Give example. 2. Do you think you are a good manager? Why? Suggestion: Your answer should be task and achievement oriented. Explain management skill with an example. Some of the skills can be: inter-personal skill, planning, organizing, etc. 3. What do you look for when you want hire someone? Suggestion: Answer can be: skill, experience, adaptability, team player, etc. 4. Did you have to fire anyone? Why? Suggestion: If you did it, explain it in a positive way. Never say you enjoyed it. 5. What do you find the most difficult task as a manager? Suggestion: Pick your subject: planning, budget, deadline, hiring, firing, etc. 6. What do your subordinates may think of you? Suggestion: Be positive and honest. If you need to talk about something negative, choose a less damaging situation. 7. What are your weaknesses as a manager? Suggestion: Be honest and choose a less damaging situation. 8. What is the highest number of people you supervised? Suggestion: Give the number. 9. How do you resolve conflict between team members? Suggestion: Listen to each one privately. Try to reason and come up with a solution. 10. What was the most challenging project you had? Suggestion: Give an example from your experience. 11. What was the most difficult decision you had to make as manager? Suggestion: Give an example from your experience.
12. How do you motivate people to do something? Suggestion: You can motivate people by getting their opinion, giving credit, praising, keeping them happy. Pick your answer. Tough or Negative Questions 1. Why you were fired from your last job? Suggestion: If you were fired wrongfully, say it nicely. Do not show any grudge against your old employer. If you were fired because of your fault, say it in a less damaging way. Sample Answer: I cut prices on our product to make a customer happy without asking my superior. The company lost money and I was fired because of that. I agree it was my fault I should have asked my superior. Now I learned my lesson and it will never happen again. 2. It is been six years since you started your bachelor degree; why are you not finished yet? Suggestion: Be as positive as possible. Explain your reason. Following should not be the answer: you are having too much fun and do not have time, you do not think a degree is important, etc. 3. If you joined our company, another employer offer you more money, will you leave us? Suggestion: If you say yes, probably you will not get this job. If you want you can tell them the salary that will make you happy and keep you with this company. Sample Answer: If I accept the job that means I also like the salary I do not think I will leave. 4. What are the things in a job that make you more productive? Less productive? Suggestion: Remember, no work environment is 100% perfect and to everyone's liking. However, we adapt and make best of what we have. So your answer should be practical. 5. Why have you been unemployed for the last 2 years? Suggestion: You must have a sound reason for not working so long or having a big gap in your work history. Some of the good reason can be: · · Taking care of a sick family member. Raising children.
· Looking for a right job where you can really contribute (it will not work if the period is too long). · · · · Trying to be self-employed. Study or training. Learning new skills. Exploring or traveling (For a short gap only).
6. At your last employment you were working at the same position for five years without any promotion. Is there any reason for it?
Suggestion: Avoid saying something negative. Tell the truth in a positive way. Sample Answer: There was not much growth in our department. None of the people working in my department had been promoted. That is one of the reason I applied to your company. 7. How long will you stay with us? Suggestion: Longer is better. As long as you and your employer are happy, you are contributing and achieving. 8. What salary are you looking for? Suggestion: Don't be too specific, you may give a range. Better, ask if the company has a salary scale and base your answer on that. Remember salary is related to market value. Guess yours worth before you come. An interviewer is not ignorant. 9. What kind of salary do you think you are worth? Suggestion: Find your market value and give a range. Sample Answer: I checked a few sites on the Internet and found that the salary for a web developer range from 45K to 60K per annum, depending on the responsibilities and duties involved. I am not entirely set on a number and am willing to negotiate. How many players play in soccer game? Suggestion: This or similar question has nothing to do with your career. So right or wrong answers do not matter. Interviewers want to see if you can think about a nonrelated subject. Sample Answer: I am not sure, but my guess will be at least 2 player in each side, one in the goal and one to play. I will put the number between 7 to 12 in each team. Am I close enough