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Queen's University

Sample Interview Questions

Skillful interviewing requires solid preparation and a systematic approach. This involves development, prior to the interview, of a set of well-planned, job-related questions. The following interview questions are intended as sample questions to assist hiring units in the development of their own specific questions for their particular employment interview.

When incorporating these and other interview questions into a selection process, plan to use questions that are based on job-related criteria and are founded on the skills and qualifications described in the specific Position Summary. Note that not all of the listed questions are relevant to every job nor is the list exhaustive. For advice on the process or on development of additional interview questions, contact an Employment Coordinator in Human Resources.

Many interviewers use the behavioral interview for hiring. This type of interview is based on the premise that the best way to predict a candidate's future performance is to examine his or her past and present performance. Here are some examples of questions designed to help the interviewer learn more about the interviewee and how they perform:

  • To find out if the candidate is an analytical/systematic thinker:

    "Tell me about a time when you had to analyze information and make a recommendation. What was your reasoning? What kind of thought process did you go through?
  • To find out if the candidate takes initiative:

    "Describe a situation in which you recognized a potential problem as an opportunity. What did you do?"
  • To find out if the candidate is results-oriented:

    "Describe one of the most challenging assignments you have had. How did you handle it? What problems did you encounter and how did you overcome them?"
  • To find out if the candidate has research/technical skills:

    "Tell me about a research project you completed in the past. Give me examples of how you would apply the skills used in that project to the requirements of this position?"
  • To find out if the candidate has coordinating abilities:

    "Describe your experience in coordinating the efforts of different organizational units or people. What sorts of problems did you encounter? How did you deal with them?"
  • To find out if the candidate is service-oriented:

    "Describe a time when you had to deal with an especially difficult customer situation. What did you do? How did you feel?"
  • To find out if the candidate has planning abilities:

    "Have you ever had to plan, implement and evaluate a project from start to finish? Could you describe it and your role? Would you do anything differently the next time?"
  • To find out if the candidate is a problem-solver:

    "Describe a situation in which you took immediate action when faced with an unforeseen emergency."
  • To find out if the candidate is a relationship-builder:

    "What, in your opinion, are the key ingredients in building and maintaining successful business relationships? Give me examples of how you have made these work for you."
  • To find out if the candidate has computing abilities:

    "What software packages do you use and how often do you use them? Describe your level of expertise with each of the packages and the tasks you complete with each."
  • To find out if the candidate has communication abilities:

    "Would you say that you are most effective in communicating face-to-face, by telephone, or in written form? Tell me about why you consider yourself to be most effective in this area and describe a situation that illustrates this."

Queen's Human Resources
Fleming Hall, Stewart-Pollock Wing
Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6.
T: 613.533.2070 | F: 613.533.6196