3 Common Types of Interview Questions

It's unlikely an interviewer will ever provide you in advance with a list of the questions they'll be asking you during the interview. Don't panic though, you can get the next best thing right here: a list of the TYPES of questions an interviewer is likely to use, and a structure for answering each of the various types.

These questions establish a hypothetical situation, and ask you to detail how you would react in that given situation. For example, an interviewer may ask: "Pretend you are working on a project and realize you won't finish by the deadline your boss gave you. What would you do?" Situational questions have fallen out of favour with most interviewers, but you'll likely still come across them from time to time.

By far the most popular type of question you'll be asked in interviews, these questions are looking for you to provide specific examples from your past. For example, an interviewer may ask: "Tell me about a time when you had to interact with a difficult co-worker." When answering behaviour based questions, it's best to structure them using the acronym C.A.R. (Context. Action. Result). Other acronyms you may hear of are P.A.R. (Problem. Action. Result.) and S.T.A.R. (Situation. Task. Action. Result.) All 3 are saying the same basic thing, so whichever you choose if fine. Just remember that once you've decided which example you will use, tell the interview the context of the example (what was the situation? what were you tasked with doing), what action you took, and what the result of that action was.

These questions often send candidates into a panic, but they don't need to. A brain teaser question is devised to evaluate how you approach difficult situations or deal with unknown elements of a problem. For example, an interviewer may ask: "How many gas stations are there in Canada?" No one expects the candidate to know the answer. What the interviewer wants to see is that the candidate can approach the problem and come up with a reasonable guess, followed by a strategy for verifying their answer. The candidate might say something like: "Although I'm not sure of the exact correct answer, I would start with the assumption that there is 1 gas station for every 1,000 people. Canada's population is roughly 36 million, which would give us about 36,000 gas stations across the country. Now since that's just a rough guess, I would need to follow up with a google search to confirm that."

If you have questions regarding references, resumes, interviewing or job search strategies, let us know. We would be happy to assist you!

Christopher Papps
President | DreamWork Consulting


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