The Three Main Types of Job Interview Questions


Job interviewers have an infinite number of questions to ask when it comes time for your interview. From common questions like “Tell me about yourself” to offbeat ones like “Name your favorite song from the 1990s,” each falls into a particular category. Knowing those categories can help you understand what the interviewer is hoping to learn about you and thus guide your answer. So consider the following types of questions, and their purposes, when preparing for your interview.

– Direct questions. Many of the questions you receive will have a direct connection to the job. The interviewer may ask, for instance, about your qualifications or your job history. These questions are designed to gauge your ability to handle the specific tasks of the job, so make sure your answers highlight your past successes and demonstrate that you possess the experience and skills the employer needs.

– Questions about your behavior. In order to get a sense of how you might act in a given situation, interviewers will ask behavioral questions. They may ask for an example of how you’ve handled a tough situation like confronting a coworker or supervisor, or dealing with failure. To get ready for these questions, rehearse a few stories that show how you’ve dealt with various kinds of conflicts in a way that created a positive outcome.

– Scenarios. Many employers will give you a scenario and then ask how you would respond. The scenarios can range from the realistic to the entirely implausible. Interviewers usually pose these questions to get a sense of how you will respond to unexpected situations. If you can, answer these types of questions with a story about the way you tackled something similar in the past. If you can’t come up with an answer, then describe what you’d do to figure out how you’d respond to the scenario. With these questions, employers are looking to see how you approach a problem, not testing whether you know the answer off the top of your head.


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