Job History / Experience
Walk me through your background.
How did you do in school?
Describe a typical day on the job.
What was the mission of that job?
What made you leave that job?
What made you pick that job?
What accomplishments there can you take personal responsibility for?
What accomplishments do you feel most proud of there? overall in your career?
What would you have done differently there? overall in your career?
To whom did you report?
What did you think of him/her?
How did you get along with him/her?
How did others get along with him/her?
What challenged you most about your boss(es)? your reports?
To what do you attribute your company’s successes? your successes?
To what do you attribute your company’s failings? your failings?
What was the best job you ever had and why?
What was the worst job you ever had and why?
Have you ever been fired?
If so, what was the story behind it?
Have you ever fired somebody?
If so, how did you do it?
(If relevant) Why have you changed jobs so often?
(If relevant) Why did you stay at that company for such a short period?
(If relevant) Why have you stayed at that company for so long?
Questions you should prepare to address
Skills / Knowledge
What are your technical strengths? Interpersonal or leadership strengths?
How broad are you technically?
What are your weaknesses?
Tips for Taking an Interview 8
What’s your view of the (relevant) market?
How do you see us in the market / client base?
How much do you know about our product?
How are your writing skills?
How are your presenting skills?
How would you solve this specific architectural / coding problem?
Tell me what you think of this piece of code.
Style / Attitudes
How would you describe your decision-making style?
Describe yourself as you think your boss, peer, or subordinate would?
Describe yourself as you think one of your less enthusiastic subordinates would.
What motivates you?
What would be the ideal company culture for you?
Tell me about a difficult situation and how you resolved it successfully.
Tell me about a difficult situation you weren’t able to resolve successfully, and why.?
Who have been your mentors and why?
Describe when you made an unpopular decision, or confronted an impropriety.
What role do you tend to play in management or other team decisions?
How would you define leadership?
Who do you think are the greatest leaders and managers, and why?
What, if any, are your leadership and management qualities?
What are the fundamentals of a good R&D process?
How do you typically handle pressure?
How flexible are you?
How firm are you?
How organized are you?
Give me an example of how creative or resourceful you can be.
Is there a common thread to what you’ve found fulfilling through your various jobs?
Is there a common thread to what’s frustrated you through your various jobs?
To what do you attribute your successes?
Your Job Status
How interested are you in making a move?
How long have you been looking for a job?
Tips for Taking an Interview 9
Why do you want to work here? (And you may not know yet if you do.)
If you could have the ideal job, what would it be?
Where do you want to be in a year? 3 years? 5 years?
How long are you prepared to commit to us?
Will you relocate?
How much will you travel?
How much are you making?
What are you looking to make?
Why should we hire you?
What’s unique about you?
Are you a U.S. citizen?
If not, do you have a green card?
When can you start?
15 Questions Interviewers should not Ask
1. How old are you?
2. Are you married?
3. Do you have children?
4. Do you plan on getting pregnant?
5. Do you have a police record? (unless going for security clearance)
6. Do you use drugs? (unless going for security clearance)
7. Do you have AIDS?
8. Are you a homosexual?
9. How do you vote?
10. What religion are you?
11. Do you go to church / temple?
12. Are you now, or have you ever been in therapy?
13. Have you ever been party to a lawsuit?
14. Will you show me source code from your last company?
15. Will you go out with me?