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Hiring Manager Recruitment Toolkit

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Sample Interview Questions

Interviewing is an important part of the hiring process and asking the right questions is crucial to the success of an interview. Below is a list of sample interview questions that you may use to help design an interview specific for your recruitment. If you would like further assistance developing interview questions or if you would like feedback regarding questions you have created please contact your Recruitment Specialist.

Introduction Questions

  • What is it about this position that attracted you to apply?
  • Why are you interested in working for our department/JMU?
  • Briefly describe your past experience, specifically the experience that directly relates to this position.

Collaboration

  • Give an example of a situation or project where a positive outcome depended on the work of people from a wide range of backgrounds and ideas
  • Tell us about a time when you included someone in your team or a project because you felt they would bring something different to the team.

Communication

  • Please tell us about a work situation you had that required excellent communication skills.
  • Tell us about a time you had to communicate bad news to a customer. How did you handle the situation and what was the outcome?
  • Give us an example where your listening skills proved crucial to an outcome.
  • Do you prefer to communicate verbally or in written form? Why?
  • How do you decide if written or verbal communication is the best form of communication to use in a situation? What factors do you consider when making this decision?

Customer Service

  • Tell me about a time when you went out of your way to help a customer.
  • Give a specific example of a request made by a customer that could not be accommodated. What was your response? What was the customer's response?
  • What are the top 3 qualities everyone who works in customer service must have to succeed?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation with a customer or co-worker. How did you handle the situation and what was the outcome?
  • Describe a time when you were able to establish a rapport with a person that others referred to as “difficult.”

Diversity

  • Tell us about your experience in working with others of diverse background from yours. How do you handle differences among co-workers?
  • How would you help to increase and sustain an environment that acknowledges and celebrates diversity?
  • How would you define diversity?  How have you specifically demonstrated a commitment to diversity in your previous positions?

Handling Stress

  • Give us an example of a project or task that caused you a great deal of stress. How did you approach the project or task and remain motivated? What was the outcome?
  • How do you deal with stress in the workplace?
  • Give us an example of a professional situation where you worked well under pressure.
  • What makes you frustrated at work?
  • What is the biggest challenge that you have faced in your career. How did you overcome it?
  • Tell us about the biggest professional challenge that you have had to deal with. How did you handle the challenge?

Innovation

  • Describe a time when you presented an innovative idea into your team or supervisor? How was it received?
  • Describe a situation in which you recognized a potential problem as an opportunity. What did you do? What was the result? What, if anything, do you wish you had done differently?

Integrity

  • Please define integrity and describe a time when your integrity was challenged.
  • Tell us about a time at work when you showed integrity and professionalism.
  • Tell us about a time professionally when someone asked you to do something that you were uncomfortable doing. How did you handle the situation?

Leadership

  • Tell us about an unpopular decision that you recently had to make? Describe the process you followed when making the decision. Did you seek feedback or opinions from others when making the decision? Why or why not? How did your employees react to your decision?
  • What type of responsibilities do you delegate? What factors do you consider when deciding what tasks you should delegate?
  • How do you ensure compliance with policies in your area of responsibility?
  • Tell us about a situation where you had to motivate a team to improve its performance. What were the problems and how did you address them?
  • Give us an example of how you have celebrated an individual’s or your team’s success in the past. What was the occasion?
  • Describe a change where you had to lead your team through change. What obstacles did you face? What was the outcome?
  • Describe a project or situation where you had to use different leadership styles to reach your goal.
  • Tell us about a time when you were not as successful as a leader as you would have wanted to be.

Organization / Prioritizing

  • Please describe how you stay organized.
  • Attention to detail is critical for this position. How do you ensure your work is error free? How would you handle a mistake after it left your desk?
  • Describe a time when you were responsible for creating, implementing and managing a large project at work.
  • Give a specific example of a time when you had to handle multiple priorities. How did you meet all of your responsibilities?
  • How do you prioritize your time at work?
  • How would you handle the following situation:  You are working on a project with a strict deadline of 5:00 today.  Your supervisor just came to you with another assignment and explains that he needs it on his desk by 3:00 today.  You have multiple emails and voicemails that you also need to respond to because the departmental policy has a 24 hour turnaround time for all emails and voicemails received.  How would you prioritize your time to ensure you do not miss any deadlines and your work is completed error free?

Problem Solving / Analyzing Information

  • What is the most complex assignment you have had? What was your role? How would you improve the assignment if given another chance?
  • Describe a recent problem you were asked to solve. How did you approach the problem? What was the outcome?
  • Describe a task or project that you were responsible for that best demonstrates your ability to analyze information.
  • Tell us about a time when you caught a discrepancy or inconsistency in the available information that might have caused significant problems if you had missed it.

Self-Awareness / Professional Development

  • If we asked two or three of your peers who know you well to be somewhat critical of your performance, what two or three improvement areas would they identify? Why?
  • If you were hired into this position, in what areas could you contribute immediately, and in what areas would you need additional training?
  • What do you see as the biggest challenge to your success in this position?
  • What do you do on an ongoing basis to keep your professional skills up to date?
  • What have you done recently to expand your professional knowledge?

Teamwork

  • Give an example of a time when you had to deal with a conflict within your team? What did you do to help resolve the situation?
  • Give us an example where you worked in a dysfunctional team. Why was it dysfunctional and how did you attempt to change things? What was the outcome?
  • How do you build relationships with other members of your team?
  • How do you build relationships with those outside of your team?
  • Describe a situation where you were working with on a project and your team members disagreed with your ideas. What did you do?

Technical Skills

  • Describe your level of expertise with Microsoft Office, primarily with Word, Excel and Outlook and provide examples of how you have used the software.
  • What types of tasks would you use Microsoft Word and/or Excel for? What functions are you familiar with and use daily? Which functions do you use occasionally?
  • Give an example of the time when you had to learn a new software program. How did you become proficient in its use?

Concluding an Interview

  • What qualities do you possess, that make you the best candidate for this job?
  • What questions do you have for us?