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=General Interview Questions=

Some questions and answers in this section are posted
with kind permission of Janice Schooler Litvin, executive search consultant

So, tell me something about yourself?
Remember, this question is totally job-related. It is designed for the interviewer to hear you talk and see how you express yourself. Don't talk long about your marital status, your hobbies or go through your whole resume. Instead, you need to summarize your response and talk about key accomplishments in your career: " These are the things I am good at ..., these are the things I can do for the company ..." You can briefly show your professional identity, and what you are looking for (professionally).

Name 3 positive and 3 negative qualities of yours.
Positive qualities: get along with people, high motivation to learn, never give up facing a problem , responsibility
Negative: you may want to try to mention weeknesses that could be beneficial for employer, like being perfectionist, or workaholic


Where do you see yourself professionally, in 3-5 years?
Some people talk about their professional development.
 You can tell about classes you are thinking to take or explore any particular areas in the professional environment.


What is the most exciting and boring part of your job?
There is no 100% exciting jobs. Every job has it's boring part.


Do you prefer team work or individual?
Be carefull. If you say "individual" - it may sound like you are not a team player, if you say you prefer team work - it means you can't work alone.

What is the most significant responsibility you have ever had in your life?
Peter M. said he was asked this question on his interview recently.
you need to bring up an example from your life. The interviewr is basically trying to understand if you are on the same ground and share same values.

You are assigned to work on an important project containing 7 design modules and you are short of time.
By the end of the month all you can do is either to have 3 modules accomplished or to have all 7 modules started in parallel but not finished. What strategy will you choose?

You definitely want to have at least part of your work finished.You can demonstrate it, explain your problems and ask some more time to complete the project.

Why do you want to leave your present job?
Do not blame your company,your job,managers. The interviewer may think you are not getting along with your supervisor or coworkers. In this case you are not someone they would want to hire. Instead, you can say it is a time for you to move on, try yourself in the new area.

What do you know about our company?
You have to do some homework before the interview.

I am looking for suggestion on answering an interview question regarding handeling routine engineering in positive answer.
This and the next question we received from Wayne. Your comments are welcome.

How to answer a question regarding solving a problem in which there appeared to be no answer?
Your comments are welcome.

What particularly would you like to work on?
Some people say:"What ever you want me to do!" In most cases this answer will not be appreciated, especially in start up companies.
It may sound like you have no any other interest in this job but money.


Tell us about one of the technical problems you had to solve recently
Bill Benson, technical recruter from Silicon Valley, says this question is quite frequent on interviews. Don't miss this chance ! Tell how good you are in solving technical problems.

What is the earth?
Sometimes people ask strange questions to see your reaction .Just stay cool and bring your sense of humor.
A friend of mine who really likes talking answered to the above question: "How much time do you have?"


Tell me about a conflict you encountered and how you handled it.
HINT : This is one of the toughest interview questions of all. It's sort of a trick question, as a matter of fact. Never speak negatively about anyone. The ability to successfully resolve conflicts is important for all members of a team. It may be the most important factor if you're working in a service environment, such as a large consulting firm that deals with outside clients. The answer you give here could go a long way toward getting you a job offer. Managers want to see that you are mature and unselfish. The answer should involve proof of your maturity level. They are looking for your ability to handle conflict. Compromise and working it out without external intervention are the keys. A disgruntled person is not going to be productive, and tends to bring down coworkers' morale as well.

What changes have you made in your life that you are most proud of?
HINT : This tells the manager more about your ability to take control of your life. It illustrates your leadership potential, and suggests just how promotable you might be. After all, if he produces a star, he looks good.

How do you manage stress of your work?
Your version?

Did you have to work together with people with mean attitude?
You need to demonstrate you can avoid conflicts, ballance relationships, work with different types of people

What are your salary requirements?
HINT : The use of the word "offer" is critical. It's a subliminal message that an actual job offer is what you are discussing, not just your salary needs in general.
A : "Salary is not my primary consideration. Of course, I have to pay the bills. I'd be open to any reasonable offer." Pause and maintain direct eye contact, even if it seems like forever. Do not be the first one to flinch. Do not over-talk. Be prepared for a long silence. Let the manager be the first to present a figure. It will give you power and control.
If forced to give a specific number, never give a broad range -- you will usually be offered the low end. Instead, be as precise as possible: "I'd be open to something in the low-fifties (or mid-forties, high-seventies, whatever)." Giving such a specific number presumes you've researched the local job market and know what people with your skills are making.


Are you interviewing at any other companies?
HINT : You want the manager to know that you're extremely interested in his opportunity, but are keeping your options open.
A : "Yes, Mr. X, but at this point XYZ is my first choice."

Remember, all of these interview questions have more than one appropriate answer.
If you are feeling nervous about an upcoming interview, keep in mind that the hiring manager gets just as excited about a potentially strong candidate as the candidate does about him or her.
Strong, qualified, motivated technical people are very hard to find. Be direct, but think before you speak, and you will surely get an offer.


A hiring manager asked me to provide some examples of the following values he wants his staff to have:

  • Exhibiting good preparation, planning, execution and independently take responsibility to find the best solution.
  • Being persistent, consistent, ethical and trustworthy.
  • Being able to sell your ideas and clearly report progress (verbal/reports/presentations).
  • Exercising tactful two-way communication to your groups and peers.
  • Striving to exceed your important goals and deadlines.
  • Managing change effectively with no dysfunctional impact.
  • Building high quality, flexible systems and tools.
  • Always thinking and making proposals how we solve our problems and make improvements.
  • Support your department and other teams, not your personal/sub-group agenda, e.g. everyone work to improve the morale of the group/team
  • Exhibiting increased networking and influence. Have high persuasiveness and influence with key decision makers.
  • Demonstrate innovation and focus on creating something of high value to the company.
  • Show an increased willingness to take managed risks, e.g. takes risks and sets the tone for others to do the same.
  • Always going the extra mile when needed (without prompting).
  • Be willing to volunteer, collaborate with other groups, e.g. participate in new collaborative projects across all parts of the organization.
  • Demonstrate wisdom, not just knowledge, i.e. thinking through the bigger picture and potential impacts before reaching conclusions.
  • Make an effort to understand and drive what is important not only for your group but the company also, e.g. show an ability to grasp higher level, more abstract ideas & pull them together.
  • Pick up the ball on actions, projects and visibly follow-through to closure (without prompting).
  • Demonstrate high enthusiasm and keeping a positive friendly attitude even under pressure.
  • Building and showcasing your leadership skills, not just your technical skills.
  • Demonstrate high competence and functional skills coupled with an ability & willingness to readily share knowledge and have a thirst for new learning.
  • Show respect and visible appreciation to others regardless of their background and experience.


What factors have the greatest impact on your satisfaction with your job? How would you put the following factors in order of importance?
- Feeling of accomplishment
- Technical challenge
- Salary
- Advancement opportunities
- Job security
- Benefits
- Company financial health
- Relationship with boss and coworkers
- Location
- Feeling of recognition
- Leading a team
- Travel


What are the three biggest challenges you face on the job?
- Time pressure
- Multitasking
- Keeping up with technology
- Unclear company strategy
- Political games


What factors are most crucial to engineer? Sort the following in the order of importance
- Ability to complete projects on time and within budget
- Being a team player
- Superior technical skills
- Generate creative ideas
- multitasking skills
- Leadership and initiation in solving tough engineering challenges
- Great communication skills


Do you know how much you are worth on the market?
If you stayed with the same company for a lengthy period of time, there is a big chance you are under-earning.