Job Interview Questions and Answers

Tips on How to Answer

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Man and woman talking at desk during job interview
Tetra Images/ Brand X Pictures/ Getty Images

Congratulations! You have applied for a job and now you are getting ready for that important job interview. Your English is excellent and you are looking forward to making a good impression on your future (hopefully) boss. Now, you need to make sure that you also have the right type of English for that job interview.

The job interview in English contains specific questions and appropriate answers. It also requires a certain flexibility in your usage of tenses.

This feature provides tips on job interview questions and answers in English.

When you walk in the room the very first impression you make on the interviewer can have a great influence on the rest of the interview. It is important that you introduce yourself, shake hands, and are friendly. The first question is often a "breaking the ice" (establish a rapport) type of question. Don't be surprised if the interviewer asks you something like:

  • How are you today?
  • Did you have any trouble finding us?
  • What do you think of the weather lately?

Don't be surprised by the friendly tone. The interviewer wants to put you at ease (help you relax). Answer the question without going into too much detail. The language you use should be simple but polite, for example;

How are you today?

GOOD

I'm fine thank you, and you?
I'm well thank you.

BAD

So, so
OK
Not so well

Answer quickly and move on with the interview. 

What is most important in a job interview?

Talking about your experience and credentials (qualifications) is the most important part of any job interview.

Your qualifications include your education from High School on and any special training you may have done in the past. Your experience is any work that you have done that is directly or indirectly related to the job you are applying for.

Education

Remember that your education took place in the past. Therefore you need to use the past tenses, for example:

I attended the University of Helsinki from 1987 to 1993.
I graduated with a degree in agricultural planning.



If you are currently a student you should use the following present tenses:

I am currently studying at the University of New York and will graduate with a degree in Economics in the spring.
I am studying English at the Borough Community College.

Remember to include any training you may have had when talking about your education. This includes any computer training, correspondence courses, etc. Make sure to mention your English studies. This is very important as English is not your first language and the employer may be concerned about this fact. Assure the employer that you are continuing to improve your English skills by any courses you may be taking, or by saying that you study a certain number of hours a week to improve your skills.

Experience and Qualifications

Work experience is by far the most important topic of any job interview (at least in the United States and Britain). Therefore, it is important to explain what experience you have in detail. Generally, employers want to know exactly what you did and how well you accomplished your tasks. This is not the time to be modest. Be confident, and talk freely about your accomplishments in past employment.

TIP: The verb tenses you should use are the following:

When talking about current employment be careful to use the present perfect or present perfect continuous.

This signals that you are still performing these tasks at your current job, for example:

Smith and Co. have employed me for the last 3 years as a salesperson.
I have been creating customer contacts for 6months.


When talking about past employers use the past tenses to signal that you are no longer working for that company, for example:

I was employed by Jackson's from 1989 to 1992 as a clerk.
I worked as a receptionist at the Ritz while I was living in New York.


Talking about Responsibilities

Most importantly, you will need to demonstrate your qualifications and skills, which are required for the job you are applying for. The job skills that you have acquired in the past may not have been for the same exact job. Therefore, it is important to show how the capabilities you do have relate to the job you are applying for.



On the next page you will find a list of appropriate vocabulary to use in the job interviewing process. Good luck!

Below is a list of great verbs to help you express just exactly what you did with impressive vocabulary. These verbs are used to express responsibilities and tasks performed and should be used in the interview, as well as in your resume to make the best possible impression. A n example sentence is provided for each verb.

Verbs

act - I've acted in a number of roles in my current position.
accomplish - It took only three months to accomplish all our goals.


adapt - I can to adapt to any circumstance. 
administer - I've administered accounts for a wide range of clients.
advise - I've advised management on a wide range of issues.
allocate - I allocated resources across three branches.
analyze - I spent three months analyzing our strengths and weaknesses.
arbitrate - I've been asked to arbitrate between colleagues on a number of occasions.
arrange - I've arranged shipments to four continents.
assist - I've assisted management on a wide range of issues.
attain - I attained the highest levels of certification.
built - I built out two new branches for my company.
carry out - I was responsible for carrying out management's decision.
catalogue - I helped develop a database to calogue our client's needs.
collaborate - I've collaborated with a wide range of clients.
conceive - I helped conceive of a new marketing approach.
conduct - I conducted four marketing surveys. 


consult - I've consulted on a wide range of projects.
contract - I've contracted with third parties for our company.
cooperate - I'm a team player and love to cooperate. 
coordinate - As project manager, I've coordinated major projects. 
delegate - I delegated responsibilities as supervisor.
develop - We developed more than twenty applications.


direct - I directed our last marketing campaign. 
document - I documented workflow processes. 
edit - I edited the company newsletter. 
encourage - I encouraged coworkers to think outside the box. 
engineer - I helped engineer a wide range of products.
evaluate - I evaluated sales operations throughout the country.
facilitate - I facilitated communications between departments. 
finalize - I finalized quarterly sales reports. 
formulate - I helped formulate a new market approach. 
handle - I handled foreign accounts in three languages. 
head - I headed the R&D department for three years. 
identify - I identified production issues to streamline development. 
implement - I implmented a number of software rollouts. 
initiate - I initiated discussions with personnel to improve communications. 
inspect - I inspected new equipment as part of quality control measures. 
install - I've installed more than two hundred air conditioners. 
interpreted - I interpreted for our sales department when necessary. 
introduce -  I introduced a number of innovations. 
lead - I led the regional sales team. 
manage - I managed a team of ten for the past two years. 
operated - I've operated heavy eqiupment for more than fifve years. 


organize - I helped organize events at four locations.
presented - I presented at four conferences
provide - I provided feedback to management on a regular basis. 
recommend - I recommended changes to help improve work flow. 
recruit - I recruited emplyoees from local community colleges. 
redesign - I redesigned our company database. 
review - I reviewed company policies on a regular basis. 
revise - I revised and improved plans for company expansion. 
supervise - I've supervised project development teams on a number of occasions. 
train - I've trained new employees. 
 

Adjectives


accurate - I'm an accurate bookkeeper. 
active - I'm active in two volunteer groups. 
adaptable - I'm quite adaptable and happy to work in teams or on my own. 
adept - I'm adept at identifying customer service issues. 
broad-minded - I'm proud of my braod-minded approach to problems. 


competent - I'm a competent office suite user. 
conscientious - I'm efficent and conscientious about paying attention to detail. 
creative - I'm quite creative and have come up with a number of marketing campaigns. 
dependable - I'd describe myself as a dependable team player. 
determined - I'm a determined problem solver who won't rest until we've come up with a solution. 
diplomatic - I've been called in to mediate as I'm quite diplomatic. 
efficient - I always take the most efficient approach possible. 

enthusiastic - I'm an enthusiastic team player. 
experienced - I'm an experienced C++ programmer. 
fair - I have a fair understanding of programming languagtes. 
firm - I have a firm grasp on the complexities facing us. 
innovative - I've often been complimented on my innovative approach to shipping challenges. 
logical - I'm quite logical by nature. 
loyal - You'll find that I'm a loyal employee. 
mature - I have a mature understanding of the market. 
motivated - I'm motivated by fun people who love to get things done. 
objective - I've often been asked for my objective views. 
outgoing - People say I'm an outgoing person who's very personable. 
personable - My personable nature helps me get along with everyone. 
positive - I take a postive approach to problem solving. 
practical - I always look for the most practical solution. 
productive - I pride myself on how productive I am. 
reliable - You'll find that I'm a reliable team player. 
resourceful - You might be surprised by how resourceful I can be. 
self disciplined - I've often been complimented on how self disciplined I remain in difficult situations. 
sensitive - I do my best to be sensitive to others' needs. 
trustworthy - I was so trustworthy that I was asked to deposit company funds.