April 14, 2016    |    By

Wow! Your resume was one of the few that impressed the hiring manager enough to call you for an interview. Congratulations! Just to show you how hard it is to get that interview you just landed, take a look at these stats from Talent Function Group LLC:

For the specific case of an online job posting, on average, 1,000 individuals will see a job post, 200 will begin the application process, 100 will complete the application, 75 of those 100 resumes will be screened out by either the ATS or a recruiter, 25 resumes will be seen by the hiring manager, 4 to 6 will be invited for an interview, 1 to 3 of them will be invited back for final interview, 1 will be offered that job and 80 percent of those receiving an offer will accept it (Talent Function Group LLC).”

That was just the first step. Now you have to live up to what you wrote on your resume. More importantly, it’s time to prepare for that interview. There are several different types of interviews, and if you are lucky they may let you know if it’s a group or panel interview ahead of time. Most of the time however, you aren’t really sure what you are walking into so it’s best to be prepared for any and every situation.

Here are 5 of the top interview questions you may be asked:

1. Standard Interview

A standard interview is the most common type of interview for entry-level jobs. The questions typically get asked in every interview. They are usually the first questions you get asked before the tougher behavioral or situational questions arise. Just because these are “easier” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare. How many times are you asked what your strengths and weaknesses are and you freeze and forget what you usually say? Practice and that won’t happen.

A few examples of standard interview questions are:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  3. What would your past manager say about you?

You can view a full list of questions you can use to prepare here: https://collegegrad.com/jobsearch/mastering-the-interview/fifty-standard-interview-questions

2. Behavioral Interview

Behavioral interview questions are more about how you handled different situations in the past. The goal is to hopefully be able to predict how you would respond to similar situations in the future. These questions are the most important to prepare for. They make you think. If the first example you can remember is one where you responded in a way that wasn’t great, you might want to find an example of when you responded well and have that at the forefront of your mind when going in for an interview. Be honest, but definitely share your best example. Most behavioral questions start with “tell me about a time when you…” That should clue you in as to what type of question you are about to be asked.

A few examples of behavioral interview questions are:

  1. Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
  2. Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation and how you handled that
  3. Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
  4. Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.

You can view more questions here.

3. Situational Interview

Situational interview questions are very similar to behavioral questions; however, they are more about what you would do, not what you did do. They are hypothetical questions. You have an advantage here. You get to determine how you would respond in those situations. You are not being compared to your past mistakes, rather you are given an opportunity to present yourself for how you would be on your best day. These are important questions to think through ahead of time to give the best answer possible. It’s okay to take a minute to think while in the interview. Don’t feel pressured by a few seconds of silence. Reflect back on some past experiences you’ve had and draw from those. Chances are you’ve come across these situations in the past. Just make sure you answer with the best possible version of yourself. These questions usually start off with a scenario and finish with, “how would you handle… or what would you do….”

Here is an example of a situational interview question for a retail position:

You are in the backroom and you see a co-worker who you know is struggling financially put a few clothing items in her purse. She has a few kids but not enough money to buy them nice things. You also know that if she gets caught, she’ll lose her job. How would you handle this situation?

A lot of times, situational questions like this can put you in tough situations, and that’s kind of the point. The interviewer is trying to figure out your moral compass as well as how you think. While this question was more about right and wrong, other questions are more about how you deal with people around you that affect your work.

Here is an example of an office related situational interview question:

You have a deadline for a project approaching but two people on your team haven’t finished their part of the project. They happen to be leaving town tomorrow and will be gone until the day before the deadline. What do you?

You can find some great examples of right and wrong ways to answer situational questions here: https://theinterviewguys.com/situational-interview-questions-and-answers-examples-included/ or here:


4. Group Interview

Oh group interviews! Some people love them and some people despise them. Group interviews are a whole different ball game. There can be anywhere from 3 – 10+ people in a group interview. If you are an introvert, this can sound like an episode of Survivor. You will have to push yourself a little harder in this type of interview. You won’t get noticed if you don’t speak up. While they sometimes go around the table with a question, other times they wait to see who will speak up first. Don’t always be the one to speak up first. In group interviews, the interviewers are looking at how you interact with the other candidates as much or more than they are paying attention to how you answer the questions. If you make it through this, you may just get called back for a second interview. Group interview questions are usually a mix of fun, standard and behavioral questions.

Some typical questions asked in a group interview are:

  1. If you could be any type of animal, what would you be and why?
  2. What would you do if you caught a customer stealing?
  3. Why do you want to work for us?

You may also get asked to do group activities and even give a presentation. The best way to prepare for this type of interview is to relax, be yourself and be ready for anything.

Here is a list of different group interview questions from top companies:

5. Panel Interview

The last interview type we will discuss is panel interviews. In this type of interview you are the only candidate in the room with 3-5 interviewers. Sound intimidating? It definitely can be. Think of The Voice or American Idol. You have a panel of people asking you questions and evaluating you. It doesn’t have to be intimidating. Just remain calm, cool and collected. You will most likely be asked standard, behavioral and situational questions. So the best way to prepare is to review possible questions, have your answers figured out and be confident.

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This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created between the author and reader of this blog post, and its content should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are urged to consult legal counsel when seeking legal advice.