Last month I discussed what to expect across the interview processes after you have been selected as a potential candidate. Now I would like to provide additional detail regarding the types of questions you should be fully prepared to discuss during those interviews, other than the obvious ones that deal with your technical or operational knowledge required for the position.

As with other aspects of your job search, the time you spend on preparation and self-analysis will demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to your career to any potential employer. The sample questions below are not in any particular order of importance, but they are ones you can expect to be asked at any stage of the interview process.

  1. What do you know about our company and what draws you to our organization?

  2. Why are you interested in making a career change?

  3. What is it about this role that you found appealing?

  4. How does your background and experience align with the role?

  5. How would you describe your management style and philosophy?

  6. If I spoke to your current and/or former managers, how would they describe your:

    a.    Knowledge and ability to design and implement new initiatives;

    b.    Effectiveness in working with senior executives, peers and subordinates;

    c.    Strengths; or

    d.    Weaknesses or areas that have room for improvement.

  7. If I spoke to your current and/or former staff and colleagues, how would they describe working with you?

  8. What’s been your toughest relationship at work in the last five years? What did you do about this troublesome relationship?

  9. Tell me about a situation where you accomplished something on your own.

  10. Give an example of a time when you were able to get others to set aside their differences in order to work together.

  11. Sometimes events occur during a project that can upset a key executive. Tell me about a time when you were required to perform some “damage control” in order to maintain a good relationship.

  12. Are there any questions that you have for us?

These questions are designed to best judge your capability to fill the role as well as your personal characteristics, style, competencies and fit for the organization. With them you are being evaluated for your concern for effectiveness, initiative, enthusiasm for the role, self-confidence, concern for impact, conceptual thinking, interpersonal astuteness, and effective communication and flexibility. There have been numerous books written that describe the varied approaches interviews may take as well as additional questions you can expect to encounter.

I encourage everyone considering a career change to invest time in better understanding and preparing for the interviews that are key to your selection for a role. This is not in order to “study” and learn the best responses. Rather, take the time to reflect on your own experiences and personal style in order to more effectively communicate your message. The time you spend readying yourself will allow your interviewers to better evaluate your fit and increase the probability of success for both you and the employer.