Sample Interview Questions

You may be asked many different types of questions during job interviews (click here for Fair Employment Law information). Below are sample questions to help you begin preparing for your next interview.

Company or Position-Specific Questions

  • What made you decide to interview with our company?
  • What is the most appealing aspect of our company and this particular career opportunity?  Least appealing?
  • Why do you want to join our company?
  • What do you know about our company?

Educational Background

  • Why did you select your major?
  • Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?
  • What was the most interesting class you took?  Least interesting?
  • Tell me about the most significant decision you have made regarding your education.

Technical

  • How would you describe the role finance plays in an organization?
  • What are the basic financial statements?
  • What Excel functions do you know?
  • What types of industry software have you used?
  • Please provide a specific example of a time when you conducted P & L or income statement analysis.

Behavioral-Based

  • Tell me about a time you took a leadership role
  • Give an example of a problem you solved and the process you used to arrive at the solution.  
  • Describe a situation in which you had to work with a “very difficult” person.

Questions to Ask Employers

  • What is the company culture like?
  • Why did you join the company?  What has your career path been like?
  • What significant change has the company experience in the last few years and how would that affect the person hired for this role?
  • What makes an employee successful in your company?
  • What type of training would be provided for the person hired into this role?

Questions You SHOULD NOT Ask

  • Can you tell me what this position is all about?
  • How much money will I be making?
  • How much is the average bonus for a first year employee?
  • What benefits do you offer?
  • What does your company do?

Behavioral-Based Interviews

Behavioral-based interviews are the most commonly used interviewing format.  Employers feel that past behavior predicts future behavior so rather than asking a candidate, “Are you a motivated individual?” the interviewer will ask, “Tell me about a time when a project could not have been completed without your assistance.”  The interviewer wants to hear about a time you have actually used the skill they value. See sample questions below.

Motivation

  • Give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Describe a situation when you were able to have a positive influence on the action of others.

Decision-Making and Problem-Solving

  • Give me an example of a time when you had to make a decision but did not have enough information.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick when making a decision.
  • Describe a time when someone came to you to help solve a problem.
  • Sometimes it's easy to “get in over our heads”. Describe a situation in which you had to request help on one of your projects or assignments.
  • Tell me about a time when you successfully solved a problem because you took the time to look at the “whole” problem. What did you do? What happened?

Leadership

  • What is the toughest group from which you have had to get cooperation?
  • Have you ever had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas? What was your approach? Did it work?

Communication

  • Tell me about a situation when you had to speak up (be assertive) in order to get a point across that was important to you.
  • Have you ever had to "sell" an idea to your co-workers or group? How did you do it? Did they "buy" it?

Interpersonal Skills

  • What have you done in the past to contribute toward a teamwork environment?
  • Describe a recent unpopular decision you made and what the result was.
  • Tell me about a time when you changed your interpersonal style midstream because something wasn't working?

Planning and Organization

  • What do you do when your schedule is suddenly interrupted? Give an example.
  • Tell me about a time when you made personal sacrifices to meet the demands of a job.

Customer Service

  • When was the last time someone lost you as a customer? Why?
  • Describe a time when you were irritated by a customer.  

Handling Ambiguity

  • Tell me about a time when you had a problem where you just didn't know what to do.
  • What did you do when someone important asked you a question you could not answer?
  • Tell me a time when you had to learn a new procedure/process in order to do your job successfully.

Composure

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an arrogant, condescending person or one who made you angry.
  • Tell me about a time when someone pushed you to the limit.
  • Tell me about a time when your boss asked you to do something you didn't think was appropriate. How did you respond?

S-T-A-R Method for Behavioral Based Questions

When formulating responses to behavioral-based questions use the S-T-A-R method.  This is sometimes called the B-A-R method (Behavior-Action-Result) or other similar acronyms.  All of these methods for answering interview questions help guide you to telling a well-rounded story from start to finish.

Situation

Give the interviewer just enough details about the situation you are describing so they understand the circumstances.

Question: Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

Answer: I was captain of my intramural volleyball team that was playing for the all-campus championship. The team we were playing against had much taller players, and some were graduate students who had played on their college teams. Several of the players on our team thought we had no chance to win and even talked about forfeiting

Task

What was the problem that needed to be solved or the task to be accomplished?  What was your role?

Question: Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

Answer: As the captain of the team, I knew I needed to do something more to help build the confidence of our team and help my teammates believe in themselves.

 

Action

Convey the actions you took, decisions you made and/or thought process behind your behavior in the situation

Question: Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

Answer: I acknowledged how challenging the game would be. But I also talked to the players about how many tough matches we had won to get where we were. And as sort of a joke I offered to wash my teammates’ cars if we won.

Results

Share the results of your actions, what you have learned and how it will help you in the future.

Question: Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

Answer: We played really inspired volleyball and we barely lost to a much taller and more physically gifted team. We came together as a team during that match and everyone supported one another. On a number of occasions I was reminded about how many cars I’d be washing if we won. I learned how well people respond when you are willing to make a personal sacrifice to help the team succeed.

Interviewers Are Looking For...

For each position, employers will identify key skills and competencies required to perform the job well.  The employer will select interview questions that elicit detailed responses.  Examples of competencies employers look for include:

  • Analytical Ability
  • Decision-Making/ Problem Solving
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Self-Confidence
  • Inititative/ Motivation
  • Communication Skills
  • Ethical Behavior/ Professionalism/ Integrity
  • Cultural Adaptability
  • Composure
  • Planning/ Organization

Mock Interviews

The Wisconsin BBA program organizes employer mock interviews at the start of each semester. Log-in to BuckyNet and search for "mock" in the "Jobs" section of BuckyNet to find available practice interview opportunities.

Find out about mock interviews here (click on the Workshops & Mock Interviews tab).

Late Cancellation/No-Show Policy

Wisconsin BBA program on-campus interviews and mock interviews may be cancelled or changed online in BuckyNet before the sign-up end date without any penalty (the sign-up end date for each on-campus interview and mock interview is subject to change but is typically three business days before the interview). The deadline for cancelling or changing interviews is set by the employer and is publicized for each position in BuckyNet as the sign-up end date. Online changes or cancellations made before the sign-up end date may be made without notification to the employer or to the Wisconsin BBA Interview and Program Center (IPC), 3290 Grainger Hall.

Students requesting that interviews be cancelled after the sign-up end date or students who fail to report to an on-campus interview will:

  • Have their BuckyNet account blocked
  • Need to meet with their career advisor
  • Need to write an apology email to the company recruiter

Students requesting that interviews be cancelled after the specified sign-up end date (typically three business days before an interview) are required to contact the Wisconsin BBA Interview and Program Center.

A student's BuckyNet account will not be unblocked until all steps are completed and a determination is made about his/her interview status. Please contact the IPC at 608-262-2550 with questions regarding this policy. Please note that classes, current employment, group projects, or homework are not valid reasons to cancel interviews, as all interviews are scheduled in advance.