500 Questions: Character Questions, Part One

Other than work, tell me about an activity that you have remained interested in over several years.

The interviewer is looking for a history of commitment over time and consistency of interests. Demonstrate that you sustain your hobbies over a period of time and how your interests are compatible with your job.

What does the word “failure” mean to you?

Answer the question from a personal as well as professional perspective. It’s better, however, to use a specific example to demonstrate what you mean by failure. Relate it as much as possible to work issues and accomplishments that are not met on the job.

Is there one particular trait or skill you possess that should lead us to consider you above other candidates?

Think about your answer to this question in terms of your particular abilities and how they apply to the target job. Then tell about those abilities and sell yourself! Be sure to mention what you think is the most prominent of your own unique and proven skills.

What would you do if you were dealing with an angry customer?

It is necessary to know how to handle difficult and challenging situations. The interviewer wants reassurance that you will remain calm, professional, and diplomatic at all times. Explain what you would do to talk to the customer and how you would demonstrate understanding and sympathy to what he or she is going through.

What personal attributes would you bring to this position?

This is a perfect opportunity to sell yourself as the top contender for the job. Tell the interviewer what distinguishes you from the rest of the candidates. Keep in mind that your response should include traits that would fit in well with the job.

Outside of work, what do you like to read?

The interviewer wants to get a feel for your interests and what you are like outside the office. It is important to demonstrate that you are well-read and balanced in your interests and outside pursuits.

How practical or pragmatic are you?

Give the interviewer an example of some practical or sensible approach you have used to solve a problem. In the example you will want to show off your common sense skills rather than your “academic” skills.

Did your customers and clients enjoy working with you?

Describe how the company’s customers or clients reacted to you by giving specific feedback from a client if possible. Discuss the loyalty of your client base as evidence that they were satisfied enough to stay with you. Indicate that you kept their business because they knew they could count on you to treat their business as if it were your own.