The Toughest Interview Questions (and how to prepare)

johnlink2By John Link

Preparing for an interview can be very stressful. Some of the most common questions we believe are the easiest to answer are often the most challenging. There is no one-size-fits all interview format, but it is likely that you’ll be asked to share information about your professional self within the first couple minutes of the interview.
Follow these tips to develop a strong response for describing your professional self.

1. Tell me about yourself.
This isn’t a trick question, but many people get stuck here. In relationship to the position you’re interviewing for, tell the interviewer who you are and your current role (student, current position, etc.); what experiences you previously had (in relationship to the position you’re interviewing for); and where you hope to be in the future (how will this position assist with making progress towards your future goals?). The present, past, future model is a simple, concise model for describing your professional self.

2. Why are you interested in this position?
Something must have caught your eye when you took the time to prepare a targeted resume and cover letter for the position you’re now preparing to interview for. Revisit the job description and familiarize yourself with the specific responsibilities of the position. What excites you about the position? Provide a concise response based on information provided from the job description.

3. What interests you about working for this company?
This is your chance to show the employer that you’ve done your homework and are providing a strong reason for targeting the company you’re interviewing with. The company’s website, news articles, their LinkedIn Page, and general information found on the web are great places to target for framing out a concise response to this question.

For further tips and advice for interviewing (and more), visit the Career Planning & Development Center’s eResources.


John Link is the Assistant Director in the Webster University Career Planning & Development Center.