Common Non-Academic Interview Questions

Personal

•    Tell me about yourself.

•    Who or what has had the greatest influence on your life?

•    What are your major strengths and weaknesses?

•    What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?

•    What achievements from your past work experience are you most proud of?

•    Why should we hire you over another candidate?

School Background

•    How does your graduate school experience relate to this job?

•    What was the most difficult aspect of obtaining a graduate degree?

•    What were your favorite courses? Least favorite? Why?

•    If you could re-live your college experiences, what would you do differently?

•    What extracurricular activities did you participate in and what did you learn from those experiences?

Work Experience

•    What prior work experience have you had and how does it relate to this job?

•    How would your past supervisors describe you?

•    What were your most significant accomplishments in your prior work experience?

•    What did you enjoy most about your previous work experience? Least?

•    How is your graduate work relevant to industry?

•    Have you ever worked on a project outside your area of expertise?

•    Have you ever led a research team in a formal manner?

•    Have you given presentations before? What settings? How large were the groups?

Employer Knowledge

•    Why are you interested in this position?

•    Why are you interested in this particular company?

•    What can you offer us?

•    What attracts you to this particular industry?

•    What do you know about our company?

•    Who else are you interviewing in your job search?

Goals and Objectives

•    What are your short and long-term goals?

•    Please describe your ideal work setting.

•    What major accomplishment would you like to achieve in your life and why?

•    What are your career interests?

•    What rewards are most important to you in your career and why?

Behavioral Questions

•    Tell me about a conflict situation and how you resolved it.

•    Describe a situation when you had multiple tasks to complete under very tight time constraints.

•    Give me an example of your organizational skills? Explain how you use timelines in your work.

•    Give me examples that would demonstrate that you are a self-starter.

•    Describe a time when you sold your colleague/supervisor on an idea.

•    Give an example of a time in which you had to come to a relatively quick decision.

•    Tell me about a time when personality differences impacted your work environment.

•    Tell me about a time when you worked on a project as part of a team. What role did you play?

•    Describe a time when you failed at something. What would you have done differently?

•    Give me an example of a situation when you took a leadership role.

•    Tell me how you would explain your research to a lay person.