Typical Behavioral Interview Questions by Category
**Redundancy is evident to reveal the different WAYS
questions can be asked.
Coping with stressful situations and interpersonal conflicts
1. Tell me about a time when you had to cope with strict
deadlines or time demands. Give me an example.
2. Give me an example of a time at work when you had to deal
with unreasonable expectations of you. What
parts of your behavior were mature and immature?
3. When have you had to cope with the anger or hostility of
another person? Be specific.
4. It is not unusual to be in a setting at work that will be
physically demanding or hazardous. Tell me about a
time when you were able to do a job in spite of difficult
5. Sooner or later we all deal with interpersonal conflict
or personal rejection at work. Give me an
example of a time when you had to cope with these demands
6. Tell me about a high stress situation when it was
desirable for you to keep a positive attitude. What
7. Describe a high pressure situation you had to handle at
work. Tell me what happened, who was involved, and
what you did in terms of problem solving.
8. Give me an example of a time when another person really
tried your patience. Specifically, talk about a time
when you were angry or frustrated and felt like attacking
the other person.
9. Describe a time when you were faced with problems or
stresses at work that tested your coping skills. What
did you do?
10. Describe the worst customer or coworker you have ever
had and tell me how you dealt with him or her.
11. Tell me about a situation in the past year in which you
had to deal with a very upset customer or coworker.
12. Tell me about the last time you had to smooth over a
disagreement between two other people. What was
the end result?
13. Describe the last time you confronted a peer about
something he/she did that bothered you. What were
the circumstances? After realizing the problem, how long did
you wait to confront the peer? What did you do?
How did you feel about it afterwards?
14. Tell me about the most difficult or uncooperative person
you had to work with lately. What did you do or
say to resolve the situation? What was the outcome?
15. Tell me about a team member from whom it was tough to
gain cooperation. How did you handle the
16. Tell me about a time when you handled a conflict you
were having with a parent/friend/boss/peer/direct
17. Tell me about a time when you handled an arrogant person
or one who made you angry.
18. What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give
me an example.
19. Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal
with another person even when that individual may
not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
20. Tell me about a time when you brought two reluctant
people or groups together.
Motivating others and Leadership skills
1. Give me an example of a time when you used facts and
reason to persuade another person to take action.
2. Even though the use of authority in a leadership role is
not popular, it IS necessary in some
situations. Give me and example of some situation when you
used your authority to influence another
individual. Be specific.
3. Organizations are built on the principle of delegation.
Give me an example of the greatest success you
ever had in the use of delegation. Take time to think of the
best example you can and be specific in
4. Instead of simply using authority to influence another
individual, it is sometimes desirable to lead other
persons by setting a positive example for them
to follow. Describe a work situation when your example
served as a model for others.
5. Being able to change another person's behavior is both a
skill and a responsibility. Tell me about a time
when you were successful in this area-what kind of payoffs
accrued to yourself, the other individual, and the
6. Individuals vary in their abilities to use power or
persuasion to influence others. Give me an example of a
time when you used either power or persuasion to guide
another person to a worthwhile objective. Be
7. Currently the 'buzz word' to describe a certain quality
that people in a leadership position have is
'charisma'. Give me an example of how YOU have used personal
charisma or charm to lead others.
8. Communications and leadership go hand in hand. Give me an
example of a time when your communication
skills were powerful enough to enable you to influence the
way others thought or acted, even in a very
9. Do you believe people are really all motivated in the
same basic ways or are there big differences? Tell me
about the different ways you use to motivate people.
10. Tell me about a time when your attempt to motivate a
person/group was rejected. What
have you done to remotivate a demoralized team/person?
11. Has poor motivation on someone else's part ever damaged
anything you were trying to accomplish?
12. What have you learned about what motivates you? Can you
use this to motivate others, or do you think
everyone is different?
13. Determining the appropriate person to whom to delegate a
task can sometimes be difficult. Tell me about
a time when you delegated an important
project/task/assignment to the wrong person. What happened?
14. What kind of a project/task/assignment wouldn't you
delegate? Can you give me an example of a
time you decided not to delegate this kind of work? Why?
15. When delegating an important project/task/assignment, it
is important to convey your trust and
confidence in that person's ability to do the job. Give me
an example of how you did this on a recent
assignment you delegated.
16. In a leadership position/leading a task force or
project, tell me how you organize the workload, set
objectives, follow-up, and monitor results.
17. How do you determine what is right or fair in delegating
tasks/roles/responsibilities within your
18. Have you ever had to manage a team that was not up to
the task? Give me an example of what you
did to strengthen them. How did it work out?
19. Give me an example of when you felt you were able to
build motivation in your coworkers or
20. Can you tell me about a job experience in which you had
to speak up and tell other people what you
thought or felt?
21. Describe a situation in which you were able to
positively influence the actions of others in a desired
22. Describe a situation in which others within your
organization depended on you.
23. Describe the last time you were unsuccessful in getting
someone to follow you lead.
24. How do you motivate others to do a particularly good
25. Give me an example of when you showed initiative and
took the lead.
26. In a supervisory or group leader role, have you ever had
to discipline or counsel an employee or group
member? What was the nature of the discipline? What steps
did you take? How did that make you feel?
How did you prepare yourself?
27. Describe a time when you got co-workers or classmates
who dislike each other to work together. How
did you accomplish this? What was the outcome?
Initiative/ Action Oriented
1. Give me an example of a time when you had to go above and
beyond the call of duty in order to get a job
2. Can you tell me about a job experience in which you had
to speak up and tell other people what you
thought or felt?
3. Tell me about times when you seized the opportunities,
grabbed something and ran with it yourself.
4. Have you ever started something up from nothing – give an
5. Give me a specific example of something you did which
helped build enthusiasm in others
6. Have you ever designed a program which dealt with taking
7. Give some examples of when you have shown initiative over
the last six months in school or at your last
8. Tell me about a time when you showed high enthusiasm and
energy in order to create positive
motivation in others. Give me a specific example.
9. Tell me about a specific occasion when you conformed to a
policy even though you did not agree
Team Building and Team Work
1. What did you do in your last job to contribute toward a
teamwork environment? Be specific.
2. It has been said that one of the best ways to manage
people is to teach them how to manage
themselves. Tell me about a time when you contributed to a
working group's ability to direct itself by
building group standards for performance.
3. Building a team spirit to get results is often a very
difficult thing to do. Tell me about a time when you had
your greatest success in building a team spirit. What
specific results were accomplished by the team?
4. How would you describe yourself in terms of your ability
to work as a member of a team?
5. Goal congruence is the overlap between individual's goals
and group objectives. Tell me about a time when
you created group commitment to goals by developing goal
6. Describe a situation where others you were working with
on a project disagreed with your ideas. What did
7. It's sometimes important to confront a
negative attitude to block de-motivators at work. Give me an
example of a time when you confronted a negative attitude
successfully with the result of building teamwork
8. Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a
co-worker or classmate understand a
task. How did you assist him or her? What was the result?
9. We cannot do everything ourselves. Give me an example of
a time when you dealt with this reality by
creating a special team effort' at work. Highlight the
special aspects of the situation which best demonstrate
your skill in this area.
10. Describe your most recent group effort.
11. One way to build a teamwork attitude is to explain to
individuals how their personal goals overlap with
team goals. Give me an example of any time in which you were
able to build an overlap of individual and
12. There is a big difference between being committed to an
individual or to a team. Tell me about a time
when your commitment to a person was tested because of your
commitment to the team. Explain what
you did and why.
13. The term 'participative management' has been used for
years to describe a technique of building a team
spirit by collecting suggestions from others. Describe a
time when you used suggestions to build team
14. When have you been a part of a team that drove an
important business change? What was your role?
15. Describe the most difficult team you worked on, what was
your role, and what knowledge have you
16. What processes have you used to build a team? How have
you rewarded team members?
1. Give me an example of an important goal which you had set
in the past and tell me about your success in
2. Tell me what you do in order to ensure that you have
enough time set aside for goal setting-then review for
me the specific times in which you have initiated your own
goal setting over the last few years. What
3. In an aggressive working environment, it is often
necessary to prioritize goals to be sure that effort is
allocated appropriately. Tell me about the most important
time in your working history when you prioritized
your goals successfully.
4. Tell me about the system that you use for goal setting.
To what extent does it involve using written
objectives, paper work or forms? Describe a specific
instance in which you defined your goals and objectives
5. What important target dates did you set to reach
objectives on your last job? How did you set the
dates? Exactly what were they, and what were your results?
6. Goal statements are often made to meet the expectations
of others. Tell me about a time when you took
the initiative to set goals and objectives, even though you
were not prompted or directed by others to do so.
7. What have been your experiences in defining long range
goals? Tell me what specific goal was set, how it
was set, and how successful you were in its achievement.
8. Goal statements can be used to manage your own work
activities since they enable you to guide day-today
actions successfully. Describe an especially favorable
experience you've had in using goals to guide your
9. Give me an example of a time when you used a systematic
process to define your objectives. What type of
system did you use? What payoff did you get from using the
Achievements and Accomplishments
1. Describe some projects or ideas (not necessarily your
own) that were implemented, or carried out
successfully primarily because of your efforts
2. What was the most complex assignment you have had? What
was your role?
3. What has been your most rewarding accomplishment?
4. How do you determine or evaluate success? Give me an
example of one of your successful
5. Please tell me about some of the accomplishments you
achieved during college and which make you the
6. Please tell me about accomplishments in your academic
program that are relevant to your future career
7. What are your greatest achievements at this point in your
life? Of what accomplishments are you most
8. Tell us about your accomplishments in these prior work
experiences. What was your most significant
1. Give me an example of a time when something you tried to
accomplish and failed.
2. Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution
to a problem.
3. Describe a situation in which you found that your results
were not up to your professor's or
supervisor's expectations. What happened? What action did
4. Describe some times when you were not very satisfied or
pleased with your performance. What did
you do about it?
5. What is the biggest mistake you've made?
6. Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline.
What things did you fail to do? What were
the repercussions? What did you learn?
1. Sooner or later we all have to deal with arrogant,
dogmatic, people. Tell me about a time when you were
able to be flexible with this type of person.
2. By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to
a wide variety of people, situations and
3. Tell of some situations in which you have had to adjust
quickly to changes over which you had no control.
What was the impact of the change on you?
4. Describe a time when you felt it was necessary to modify
or change your actions in order to respond to the
needs of another person.
5. Give me an example of a time when you had to analyze
another person carefully or a situation in order to
be effective in guiding your action or decision.
6. What would be the best example of your ability to be
flexible and adaptable?
7. Several years ago, a popular phrase said 'different
strokes for different folks'. At work, we frequently
need to deal with all sorts of people. Describe a time when
you adapted to different types of people.
8. Tell us about situation in which things you had planned
or expected fell apart. What was the situation and
what did you do?
9. A behavioral scientist once said, "In order for one to be
interpersonally effective it is necessary to
change to meet the needs of others. Tell me how you adapted
to another person successfully.
10. In the work situation, we must all compromise to make
things happen. Tell me about a time when you felt
it necessary to compromise your own immediate interests in
order to be socially flexible and tolerant of
another person's needs.
11. It is sometimes very difficult to accommodate the wishes
of another person without going so far that we
lose our own personhood. Tell me about a time when you tried
hard to 'be nice' BUT had to back off to avoid
loss of self esteem.
12. It's often very difficult to please another person while
maintaining you dignity. Tell me about a time
when you were able to balance your sense of dignity while
changing your behavioral style.
13. At time, we are all required to deal with difficult
people. An even more demanding factor is to be of
service to a difficult person. When have you been successful
with this type of situation at work?
14. Tell me about a time when you were able to make someone
feel comfortable when dealing with a
situation which had a lot of feelings involved in it.
Describe a specific case.
15. Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a
compromise or guide others to a compromise.
Decision making and Decisiveness
1. Give an example of a time in which you had to be
relatively quick in coming to a decision
2. Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision, but
didn't have all the information you needed.
3. Often, extensive job training and experience is required
to get the best results in decision making.
Describe, in detail, a situation in which you used your
training and experience in making a decision which
required sound judgment
4. Give me an example of a time you had to make an important
decision. How did you make the decision?
How does it affect you today?
5. Describe a situation in which you had to draw a
conclusion quickly and take speedy action.
6. Tell me about a situation in which you found it important
to 'take a stand' and be decisive on an issue of
7. Describe a time when you had to commit to a plan of
action in an emergency. Give me the details of the
situation and tell me how long it took you to take action.
8. Describe a time when you were under pressure to make an
immediate decision (perhaps without the aid of
a supervisor or a manager). Did you take action IMMEDIATELY
or were you more DELIBERATE and slow?
9. Tell me about a situation when you had to 'stand up' for
a decision you made even though it made you
10. Describe a situation in which you had to take immediate
action in a crisis involving human life or severe
11. Many situations at work will require fast thinking and
speed in making decisions. Give me an
example of a situation in which you were especially skillful
in making a decision quickly.
12. Many times it is important to be 'hard headed1
about a decision you are making, particularly when others
don't like it. Give me an example of a time when you stuck
by a decision even though it was under attack by
1. Solving problems requires more than good plans; it means
taking action. Give me an example of a time
when you were able to take meaningful action in solving a
2. Having a good solution for a problem often entails more
than just being intelligent. Often, exercise of good
judgment is needed to complement logic in choosing a
practical solution. Describe when you used good
judgment in solving a problem.
3. When we get emotionally involved in a problem situation,
it is often very difficult to be objective. Tell me
about a time when you were proud of your ability to be
objective even though you were emotional about a
4. Give me a specific example of a time when you used good
judgment and logic in solving a problem.
5. A wise man once said, ‘The key to solving a problem is in
knowing exactly what the problem is.’ Tell me
about a time when your understanding of issues associated
with the problem provided you with a foundation
for generating a good solution.
6. In many problem situations, it is often tempting to jump
to a conclusion to build a solution quickly. Tell me
about a time when you resisted this temptation and
THOROUGHLY obtained all facts associated with the
problem before coming to a decision.
7. Good problem solving often includes a careful review of
the facts and weighing of options before making a
decision. Give me an example of how you reached a practical
business decision by an organized review of the
facts and weighing of options.
8. Even though you may be dealing with a complex problem, it
is often important to use a common sense
approach in making a decision; not all analytical solutions
will seem practical. Tell me about a time when your
common sense paid off for you.
9. Describe a specific problem you solved for your employer
or professor. How did you approach the problem?
What role did others play? What was the outcome?
10. Recall a time from your work experience when your
manager or supervisor was unavailable and a problem
arose. What was the nature of the problem? How did you
handle that situation? How did that make you feel?
11. We can sometimes identify a small problem and fix it
before it becomes a major problem. Give an
example(s) of how you have done this.
12. Tell me about a major problem you recently handled. Were
you successful in resolving it?
13. Have you ever faced the problem you could not solve?
14. Give me an example of a time when you used your
fact-finding skills to gain information needed to solve a
problem; then tell me how you analyzed the information and
came to a decision.
Creativity and Innovation
1. In the ever expanding and evolving marketplace, product
development is a necessity for growth and
success. Tell me about your product development in a
laboratory or marketing environment, focusing on one
2. Just about anybody can give a routine, standard answer to
common problems; however, the payoff is
often in the development of unique solutions to common
problems. Give me an example of one of your
unique and novel problem solutions.
3. Creative persons seem to offer fresh insights frequently
and regularly. Give me an example of a time when
one of your insights or innovations was particularly well
received by others.
4. It is often suggested that the creative personality has a
particular way of thinking which encourages
inventiveness. Give me an example of a time when you were
inventive and explored new ways of thinking.
5. Give an example of a time when you think you were
particularly creative in presenting information by use of
graphics, models, or displays. In giving your example, focus
on how your methods produce results.
6. Often individuals who are creative in one mode seem to
have creative skills in other areas. How do you rate
yourself in terms of creativity in the fields of art,
writing, and music? Tell me, by example, how you used
these skills in your job.
7. Creativity often means stepping back from regimented ways
of thinking. When have you been able to break
out of a structured mind set and intuitively play with
concepts and ideas?
8. Giving birth to new ideas may come from intuition;
however, many high quality ideas come from hard work
and dedication. Tell me of an idea you produced through
combined hard work and intuition.
9. Tell me about a situation in which you worked with your
direct reports/team members to develop new and
creative ideas to solve a business problem. What problem
were you trying to solve? How did it work out?
10. It's impossible to always be the first to develop an
innovative product/service. Tell me about a unique and
successful product/service one of your competitors developed
before your organization did. Did your
organization ultimately introduce a similar product/service?
Why weren't you the first? In what ways was yours
11. Sometimes it is necessary to abandon tried and true
methods of solving a problem. Tell me about a
problem you were responsible for solving that you knew
required a unique solution. How did you know
established methods wouldn't work? What did you try instead?
12. Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative
solution to a challenge your
company/class/organization was facing. What was the
challenge? What role did others play?
13. Describe the most creative work-related project you have
Organization and Planning
1. Give me a summary of the planning activities you have
been responsible for in your career in which you
applied planning tools such as PERT, or the Critical Path
method. Describe how you APPLIED the tool.
2. Planning is often more than thinking, it is also doing.
Tell me what you have done with such tools as flow
charts, production schedules, and filing systems (or
anything else) to help you plan.
3. Give me an example of a time in which you feel that you
were effective in doing away with the 'constant
emergencies' and 'surprises' in your work climate. How did
your planning help you deal with the unexpected?
4. Give me an example from your working history that
demonstrates your ability to organize and
maintain a SYSTEM OF RECORDS to facilitate your work.
5. Time management has become a necessary factor in personal
productivity. Give me an example of any
Time Management skill you have learned and applied at work.
What resulted from use of the skill?
6. Pick any event in the last five years of your work which
gives a good example of your ability to use
forecasting techniques. Did you use statistical procedures
or a 'gut level' approach? What was your biggest
predictive triumph? How did you do it?
7. Getting results at work often entails spelling out
detailed action plans. Tell me about how you used
MANAGEMENT BY OBJECTIVES methods to generate a plan leading
to a specific goal. Describe the goal and
the steps you used to achieve it.
8. Organization and scheduling of people and tasks is
a necessary function in creating a productive
working environment. Review your experiences in this area
and detail a single case that illustrates your
organization and scheduling ability.
9. Take us through a complicated project you were
responsible for planning. How did you define and measure
success? What obstacles did you encounter? Which ones were
anticipated and which were unanticipated?
What did you learn that you could, or have, applied to other
10. What planning methods do you generally use and where and
how did you learn them?
11. Have you ever managed multiple projects simultaneously?
What methods did you use to keep them all
moving forward at the same time?
12. What different measures and feedback mechanisms have you
used to keep track of progress and how
have they helped, or hindered, you in past projects? >
13. How do you know whether it's better to lay out very
specifically what others have to do – versus allowing
them to use their own initiative and creativity?
14. Have you ever over-planned a project or spent too much
time in planning versus execution?
15. Everyone at one time or another is too busy to plan
future activities. Tell me about a time when you were
so busy you just reacted to situations rather than planned
16. How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time?
17. What programs or projects have you been responsible for
implementing? Tell me how you planned and
executed the most important of these. What unanticipated
difficulties arose in carrying out the plan? What
changes were made in your plan as it was being implemented?
Looking back, how effective do you think your
preliminary planning efforts were?
18. What specific systems do you use to organize your day?
19. Describe the last time you organized a project on the
job or at school? Did you finish what you set out
20. In what areas do you find yourself procrastinating?
Tolerance of Ambiguity and Criticism
1. An old proverb says 'Silence is Golden1. Describe
a time in your life when you were proud of your ability to
postpone your comments until you had all the facts necessary
for a good response to a situation.
2. Give me an example of a time when you had to deal with
frequent job changes or unexpected events on the
job. What does this situation say about your ability to work
in an ambiguous or unstructured circumstance?
3. What has been your experiencing working with conflicting,
delayed, or ambiguous information? What did
you do to make the most of the situation?
4. Sometimes it is necessary to work in unsettled or rapidly
changing circumstances. When have you found
yourself in this position? Tell me exactly what you did.
5. When has it been necessary for you to tolerate an
ambiguous situation at work? Give me the details of the
duration and intensity of the circumstance.
6. People differ in the preference for jobs which have well
laid out tasks and responsibilities or ones in which
work changes frequently. Tell me about a time when you were
successful in dealing with an unstructured
7. Sooner or later we all find ourselves in the position of
having to live with an unresolved situation on the
job. Tell me about a time when this happened to you.
8. When have you been most proud of your ability to wait for
important information before taking action in
solving a problem? How did the waiting affect you?
9. Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker or
classmate criticized your work in front of others.
How did you respond? How has that event shaped the way you
communicate with others?
10. Describe the last time you were criticized by a peer or
supervisor. How did you handle it?
1. What effort does handling many things simultaneously have
on you? Describe the last time this
happened. What was the biggest problem you faced? How did
you solve the problem?
2. Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do
and you were required to prioritize your tasks.
3. Describe the system you use for keeping track of multiple
projects. How do you track your
progress so that you can meet deadlines? How do you stay
4. Tell me about a time you had to handle multiple
responsibilities. How did you organize the
work you needed to do?
Interpersonal and Communication skills
1. Describe a time when you were able to be personally
supportive and reassuring to a person who needed
2. The word 'communications' means different things to
different persons at different times. Tell me what this
word means to you by giving me an example of a time when you
were able to be warm and amiable as a
3. Building rapport is sometimes a very challenging thing to
do. Give an example of a time when you were able
to build rapport with someone at work, even when the
situation was against you.
4. Being sympathetic to another person's problems entails
putting forth a special effort to understand the
situation of dilemma. Give me an example of a time when you
were able to give sympathy. How did this
contribute to a work outcome?
5. Being skillful in dealing with other people on the job is
an important factor in being productive.
Describe a time when you were successful in dealing with
another because you built a trusting and
6. It is all too easy to ignore the feelings of others
because of a preoccupation with our own needs. Tell me
about a time when you made a special effort to treat another
person in a way which showed your respect for
the other's feelings.
7. Relating to another person goes beyond giving recognition
and approval. Describe a time when you were
helpful to another while simultaneously building a good
8. Give an example of when you had to work with someone who
was difficult to get along with. Why was this
person difficult? How did you handle that person?
9. Sometimes showing concern for another person is a
foundation for building a good long term
relationship. Tell me about a time when your concern for a
particular individual was reflected in an
interview, coaching, or counseling.
10. Tell of a time when your active listening skills really
paid off for you - maybe a time when other
people missed the key idea being expressed.
11. Give me an example of a time when you were able to
successfully communicate with another person
even when that individual may not have personally liked you
(or vice versa).
12. Describe a time when you had to use your written
communication skills to get an important point
13. Describe a situation in which you were able to read
another person effectively and guide your actions by
your understanding of his/her individual needs or values.
14. What do you do when you think someone is not listening
15. In communicating, people's gestures or verbal cues can
give us better understanding of what is meant.
Give me an example of how your interpretations of verbal and
non-verbal behavior have helped you in
communications. Take your time.
16. It is sometimes very difficult to perceive the needs,
values, or opinions of others. Tell me about a time
when you were able to 'step into another person's shoes' in
order to discover their unique perspective.
17. Tell me about a time during negotiations when your
perceptiveness helped you to make sense out of
another person's behavior.
18. Tell me about a time when you were proud of your ability
to recognize how another person feels.
Describe what happened in a way which will illustrate your
ability to 'read' another person.
19. There are many work situations in which it is important
to be skillful in reading hidden interests and
personality conflicts. Tell me about a time which shows your
savvy in 'reading* another person.
20. The correct understanding of differences in personality
can impact on work decisions such as work
assignment, employee motivation and conflict management.
Tell how your knowledge of personality
differences benefited your effectiveness.
21. Tell me about a situation in which you were particularly
skillful in detecting clues which show how another
person thinks or feels. How did you 'size up1 the
Written Communication Skills
1. Give me an example, taken from your experiences in report
writing, preparation of memos, or general
correspondence which illustrates the extent of your written
2. In some jobs it is necessary to document work thoroughly,
in writing. For example, documentation might
be necessary to prove you did your job correctly or to train
another person to do it. Give me an example of
your experiences in this area.
3. Tell me about the most complex information you have had
to read-perhaps involving research you had to
complete. To what extent did this project test your
comprehension skills and technical knowledge? Be Specific.
4. This job will require you to spend a large amount of time
writing. Tell me about your writing
experiences that you think will contribute to your ability
to do this job well.
5. In some positions it is necessary to be a thorough
meticulous reader and in other situations, it is
important for one to be able to scan through large amounts
of information quickly. Describe your most
significant scanning experience.
6. How much reading of new information is required in your
current job? How often do you have to expose
yourself to new written communications? When did these
skills cause you to be a superior performer?
Presentation, Persuasion and Verbal Skills
1. Give me a specific example of a time when you sold your
supervisor or professor on an idea or concept.
How did you proceed? What was the result?
2. What has been your experience in giving presentations?
What has been your most successful experience in
3. Describe the most significant or creative presentation
that you have had to complete.
4. Describe a situation in which you were able to use
persuasion to successfully convince someone to see
things your way?
5. Tell me about the last time you had to "sell" your ideas
to others. What did you do that was particularly
effective/ineffective? How did others react to you?
6. Tell me about a team member from whom it was tough to get
cooperation. How did you handle the
7. What is one of the best ideas you have ever presented,
and was it accepted by your team or manager?
What was your approach?
8. What steps do you take in preparing for a meeting where
you are attempting to persuade someone on a
specific course of action?
1. Tell me about a time when you were systematic in
identifying potential problems at work. Feel free to
showcase your analytical skills.
2. Thinking back over the last five years of your work,
describe a situation in which you had to use
mathematics to solve a complex problem. Take your time,
remember a good example, and tell me all
about it in detail.
3. What was your greatest success in using the principles of
logic to solve technical problems at work? Be
4. Describe a time when you were proud of your ability to
use your mathematical knowledge or research
techniques to solve a problem.
5. Solving a problem often necessitates evaluation of
alternate solutions. Give me an example of a time when
you actively defined several solutions to a single problem.
Did you use any tools such as research,
brainstorming, or mathematics?
6. Give me an example of any time when you used tools such
as survey data, library research or
statistics as important contributors to definition of a
7. Enumerate the analytical tools with which you feel
competent, and then give me an example from any
time in your working history which shows your ability to use
analytical techniques to define problems or
8. To what extent has your past work required you to be
skilled in the analysis of technical reports or
information? Pick any specific experience which would
highlight your skills in this area and describe it in
What steps do you follow to study a problem before making a
9. Give me an example of a time when you had to analyze
another person carefully or a situation in order to
be effective in guiding your action or decision.
10. Tell me about the last time you made a decision or
solved a problem that required a lot of hard thinking
and careful analysis on your part.
Policy and Procedures
1. It is pretty realistic to say that no job is a complete
'bed of roses'. Tell me about a time when you were able
to express your opinions maturely in spite of disagreements
2. Tell me about your experiences in logging (documenting)
your work activities in a written form. Be specific.
3. On some jobs it is sometimes necessary to act strictly in
accordance with policy. Give me an example out of
your background when you were expected to act in accordance
with policy even when it was not convenient.
What did you do?
4. When have you found it necessary to use detailed
checklists/procedures to reduce potential for error on the
job? Be specific.
5. Describe a time when you had to adopt a well-defined work
routine. How long did the situation last? What
6. Select a job you have had and describe the paperwork you
were required to complete. What specific things
did you do to ensure your accuracy?
7. Many positions have well established, standard methods to
help you do the job. Give me an example of a
time when you found a systematic method for solving work
problems to be a good routine to follow. Be
8. What types of experience have you had in managing
situations that involve human health/human welfare or
severe financial outcomes? Detail, as much as possible, the
way in which you used policies and procedures to
ensure your job effectiveness.
Integrity and Ethics
1. Have you ever been in a situation where, although it was
difficult for you, you were honest and told the
truth, and suffered negative consequences?
2. What would be the best example that shows you are a
person of integrity?
3. What would be the best example that shows you are an
4. Have you ever had to work with, or for, someone who lied
to you in the past? How have you handled this?
5. Have you ever taken a stand or said something in public
that you knew those above you would not like?
When was the last time you did that? What did you say?
6. What is the hardest thing you can remember having to
admit to in a work setting? What did you say? What
did you do?
7. Has your manager/supervisor/team leader ever asked you to
do something that you didn't think was
appropriate? How did you respond?
8. Have you ever had to present an unpopular proposal/point
of view that you believed in?
9. Have you ever had to present a position that you did not
totally agree with?
10. Tell me about a time where you stood alone to stand up
for what was right.
Commitment to Task
1. Give me an example of any specific time in which you
found it necessary to give long hours to the job. For
example, tell me about the period when it was necessary to
take work home, work on weekends, or maintain
unusually long hours. Be specific.
2. Tell me about a time when you were able to provide your
own motivation to produce even though you were
working alone. What ere the circumstances of the situation
and how did you manage to motivate yourself?
3. Tell me about a time in your background when you were a
driving, highly motivated worker. Don't be too
modest-give yourself due credit for getting the job done.
4. Some individuals have a strong sense of urgency about
getting short term results-others are more 'laid
back' and less driven in their approach to work. Give me an
example of a time when you were either more
'laid back' or more 'urgent'.
5. Getting the job done may necessitate unusual persistence
or dedication to results especially when faced
with obstacles or distractions. Tell me about a time in
which you were able to be very persistent in order to
reach goals. Be specific.
6. Tell me about a time at work when someone commented on
your high or 'superior1 level of task
orientation. Feel free to brag on yourself.
7. We both recognize that being successful takes more than
luck. Hard work is necessary in order to achieve.
Tell me about a time when you had to work very hard to reach
your goals and be specific about what you
8. We all have to make decisions on the job about the
delicate balance between personal and work
objectives. When do you feel you have had to make personal
sacrifices in order to get the job done?
Career Goal and Objectives
(these are not necessarily behavioral questions, but they
are important, so are included)
1. What are your short and long-term goals?
2. What are your long range goals and objectives? How are
you preparing to achieve them?
3. What are your standards of success/goals for a job?
4. Why do you think you would be good at chosen profession
(sales, retailing, marketing, etc.)? Please
describe your ideal job.
5. What are your career interests? Why are you interested in
this industry/ profession/ occupation?
6. What work would you like to do that really interests you?
In what environment do you want to work?
7. What is your timetable for achievement of your current
8. Why do you want to work for XYZ company? In this
organization, where do you see yourself in five
9. What specific goals, including those related to your
occupation, have you established for your life?
10. Please describe the ideal job for you following
11. What specific goals have you established for your
12. What will it take to attain your goals, and what steps
have you taken toward attaining them?
13. If you could do so, how would you plan your college
14. What do you see yourself doing in ten years?
15. Is there something in this job that you hope to
accomplish that you were not able to accomplish in
your last job?
Sources used to compile:
Management Recruiters & OM5 of Ann Arbor
Delta Dental, Ford Motor Company (finance), Gap (supply
chain), Kraft (marketing), and Mars, Inc.-
Masterfoods (supply chain)
Resources collected over the years from MBA Career Services