Sample Interview Questions

Below is a list of typical behavior-based questions, courtesy of Lombardi and The Ultimate Job Search Kit by Damir Joseph Stimac. Competencies sought by the interviewer are listed in parentheses:

  1. Describe a situation in which you had to use reference materials to write a research paper. What was the topic? What journals did you read? (research/written communication)
  2. Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker or classmate criticized your work in front of others. How did you respond? How has that event shaped the way you communicate with others? (oral communication.
  3. Give me a specific example of a time when you sold your supervisor or professor on an idea or concept. How did you proceed? What was the result? (assertiveness)
  4. Describe the system you use for keeping track of multiple projects. How do you track your progress so that you can meet deadlines? How do you stay focused? (commitment to task)
  5. Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company or class was facing. What was the challenge? What role did others play? (creativity and imagination)
  6. Describe a specific problem you solved for your employer or professor. How did you approach the problem? What role did others play? What was the outcome? (decision making)
  7. Describe a time when you got co-workers or classmates who dislike each other to work together. How did you accomplish this? What was the outcome? (teamwork)
  8. Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What things did you fail to do? What were the repercussions? What did you learn? (time management)
  9. Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker or classmate understand a task. How did you assist them? What was the result? (flexibility)
  10. Describe two specific goals you set for yourself and how successful you were in meeting them. What factors led to your success in meeting your goals? (goal setting)
  11. How about the toughest Interview Question of all: What salary are you looking for?

Job Interviews – Tell me about yourself…

During the job interview, you want to impress the interviewer by providing brief, to-the-point answers that relate your skills and experience to their needs. Where possible, your answers should blend your knowledge of the firm based on your research and networking activities. This is also the time to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of the organization by asking insightful questions that demonstrate your knowledge and interest in their firm. In so doing, you will help the interviewer see you as the right person for the job. Your goal at this stage in the process is to motivate the interviewer to ask you back for a second interview.

You should practice for the interview by mentally addressing several questions most interviewers ask. Most of these questions will relate to your educational background, work experience, career goals, personality and related concerns. Some of the most frequently asked questions include:


  1. Describe your educational background.
  2. How have you improved your education while in the military?
  3. What plans do you have to continue your education?
  4. What military training courses did you take? How did you do in these courses? How are they relevant to this job?
  5. Did you take any correspondence courses? What were they?
  6. Why did you attend __________ University (College or School)?
  7. Why did you major in __________?
  8. What was your grade point average?
  9. What subjects did you enjoy the most? The least? Why?
  10. What leadership positions did you hold?
  11. How did you finance your education?
  12. If you started all over, what would you change about your education?
  13. Why were your grades so low? So high?
  14. Did you do the best you could in school? If not, why not?
  15. What skills do you hope to acquire through education during the next five years?

Work Experience

  1. How many different jobs have you held?
  2. What were your major achievements in each of your past jobs?
  3. What did you do in the military? Tell me about your different jobs.
  4. How does your military experience relate to this job?
  5. What did you enjoy the most about your military career? The least?
  6. What is your typical workday like?
  7. What functions do you enjoy doing the most?
  8. What did you like about your boss? Dislike?
  9. Which job did you enjoy the most/the least? Why?
  10. Have you ever been fired? Why?

Career Goals

  1. Why did you decide to leave the military?
  2. Why do you want to join our organization?
  3. Why do you think you are qualified for this position?
  4. Why are you looking for another job?
  5. Why do you want to make a career change?
  6. What ideally would you like to do?
  7. Why should we hire you?
  8. How would you improve our operations?
  9. What do you want to be doing five years from now?
  10. How much do you want to be making five years from now?
  11. What are your short-range and long-range career goals?
  12. If you could choose a job and organization, where would you go?
  13. What other jobs and companies are you considering?
  14. When will you be ready to begin work?
  15. How do you feel about relocating? Traveling? Working overtime?
  16. What attracted you to our organization?

Personality and Other Concerns

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. What are your major weaknesses? Your major strengths?
  3. What causes you to lose your temper?
  4. What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?
  5. What types of books do you read?
  6. What role does your family play in your career?
  7. How well do you work under pressure? In meeting deadlines?
  8. Tell me about your management philosophy.
  9. How much initiative do you take?
  10. What types of people do you prefer working with?
  11. How __________ (creative, analytical, tactful, etc.) are you?
  12. If you could change your life, what would you do differently?

More Interview Articles

Check out our Behavior Based Interview section with more information on how to answer these questions.
Take a look at Common Interview Questions that follow the Behavior-Based model.
Appearance tips and advice – How to dress for an interview.
How about the toughest Interview Question of all: What salary are you looking for?
Read more tips on how to write a Military Resume.


Career Resources

Military Resumes

Military Resume Tips – Tips on how to write the best resumes
Military Resume Example – Examples of military resumes
Cover Letters – Tips and examples of cover letters for your resume
Military Aviation Resumes – Examples of military aviation resumes
Résumés & Letters of Recommendation – help and advice
Military-to-Civilian Transition Resume Service – Online Service

Military to Civilian Transition

Military Transition – How to best present yourself to civilian companies
Military Transition Reading List – Reading list recommended by top military corporate recruiters
Negotiating a Salary – What salary are you looking for?
Hire Veterans – Find out why Companies are looking for veterans
Federal Government Jobs – Tips and advice on how to find a Federal Job

Prepare for the Interview

Corporate Interview – Overview on how to prepare for your corporate interview
Behavior-Based Interviews Behavioral interviewing is a relatively new mode of job interviewing
Interview Questions – Prepare for the typical corporate job interview questions
Communications – Get some advice and tips from the pros on how to communicate better

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