Interview Questions

Interview Questions - What to Expect

No two interviews are alike. In each interview experience there will be questions you were not asked in previous interviews. However, there are a number of questions that seem more common than others, and these are the questions you should think about before each interview. Many interviewers will steer away from standard directive questions and concentrate more on open-ended situational or behavioral questions. Common themes include applications of analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills; leadership development; creativity; teamwork; and personal development. These should be answered using specific examples. Interviews often include a mix of different types of questions.


  • Why are you interested in our organization? Industry?
  • What work experience has been the most valuable to you and why?
  • How did you choose to attend Notre Dame and how did you select your major(s) in ______ ?
  • How do you think you have changed personally in the past (five) years?
  • What challenges are you looking for in a position?
  • What three trends do you see in the future for our industry?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work in (career field)?
  • Why do you feel you will be successful in this program?
  • What is your greatest strength/weakness, and how will it affect your performance in this program?
  • What are some of the most creative things you have done?
  • What characteristics do you think are important for this position?
  • Tell me about your summer internship.
  • How has your education at Notre Dame prepared you for a __________ position?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What has been the biggest accomplishment in your life?
  • Why should I hire you?


  • Give an example of a problem you have solved and the process you used.
  • Describe a situation in which you had a conflict with another individual and how you dealt with it.
  • What idea have you developed and implemented that was particularly creative or innovative?
  • Tell me about a team project of which you are particularly proud and your contribution.
  • What types of situations put you under pressure, and how do you deal with the pressure?
  • Tell me about a situation when you had to persuade another person to your point of view.
  • Describe a leadership role you have held, and tell me why you committed your time to it.
  • In thinking about a past position you have held, what did you do to make your duties more effective or more challenging?
  • Describe one of the toughest competitive situations you have faced and how you handled it.
  • What has been one of your greatest disappointments, and how did you respond?
  • Describe a time when you added value to an existing work process.
  • Tell me about a time you failed.
  • Describe a situation in which you were criticized, and how you responded.

Interview Questions - What to Ask

The interviewer will typically ask if you have any questions about the position or the organization. Don’t pass up this opportunity to demonstrate that you have researched the organization - it indicates that you are interested in the job.  Your questions also allow you to gather information that will help in your decision-making process. Prepare 5-7 questions for your initial interview with any type of employer. You may not have the opportunity to ask all of them, but you clearly want to avoid saying, “You’ve answered all my questions. I don’t have any.” Here are some standard questions to ask interviewers:

  1. How will my work objectives be determined?
  2. Describe the rotational training program associated with this position/internship. How is employee performance evaluated during the training period?
  3. What career paths have others generally followed after completing the program?
  4. As an intern, what kind of projects will I receive?
  5. What characteristics best describe individuals who are successful in this position?
  6. Where could a person advance who is successful in this position? Within what time frame?
  7. In what ways has this organization been most successful in terms of products/services over the past several years?
  8. How is job performance evaluated?
  9. What has been the professional growth track for other students who have been recruited by your company over the past 3-5 years?
  10. How would you describe the culture of your organization?
  11. If I work hard and prove my value to the company, where might I find myself in five years?
  12. What is a typical work week for a (position) in your company?
  13. How much decision-making authority is given to new employees?
  14. Does your organization encourage its employees to pursue additional education? Service opportunities?
  15. What other positions/departments will I interact with the most?
  16. What are the key business reasons driving the need for this position?
  17. Describe the three top challenges that I’ll face in this job.
  18. What has to happen for you to know you’ve hired the best person?
  19. What are the key deliverables and outcomes that this position must achieve?
  20. Describe the top three initiatives for your company/department and how this position is linked to these initiatives.
  21. What are the key metrics for measuring success in this position?
  22. How will (insert current event here) impact this industry/company?

However, the best questions are those that build on the content of your interview and/or are company/industry specific.  For example, if you were interviewing with Ford, a good industry question might be: How will the automotive industry increase fuel economy to 54.5 miles in 2025 per the agreement reached with the federal government?  A good company specific question for Target might be:  Target recently expanded into Canada, your first international store.  Are there any further plans for international expansion?