Types of Interview Questions

Direct Questions

These types of questions predetermine the focus of your answer. e.g. "What skills do you have that relate to this position". Your information should be clear and specific. These types of questions, whether they relate to technical or soft skills, should be easy to answer if you have completed the research on yourself.

Non-Direct Questions

Non-direct questions are general and do not ask for specific information. e.g. "Tell us a bit about yourself". You determine the focus of your answer. In response to this particular quesion, you should briefly summarize approximately four areas: education, experience, skills, and personal attributes. If possible, make your response relevant to the job you are seeking.

Hypothetical or Situational Questions

These questions use a problem solving approach to determine your analytical skills and critical thinking abilities. These "What if" questions are presented in the form of case examples or problem situations. You will be asked to imagine yourself experiencing a situation and will then be evaluated on how you would handle that situation. e.g. "It's 3 p.m. and you have a report due to your manager at 5:00 p.m. Suddenly a major customer calls and says she has a crisis and need your help immediately. What would you do?"

Provide your answer in a logical sequence relating to the situation. There are many different problem solving models. The following is merely one model you could use to shape your answer:

  • gather information
  • evaluate
  • prioritize
  • seek advice (if necessary)
  • weigh alternatives
  • make and communicate your decision
  • monitor results
  • modify if necessary

Take a bit of time to think before responding. Don't rush.

Behaviourial Descriptive Questions

Behavioural questions offer the opportunity to provide examples of past performance that may help determine future performance. Interviewers are asking what you did in a particular situation rather than what you would do. e.g. "Tell us about a time when you displayed good leadership skills." Your answer could be delivered using the STAR model.

    Task or Problem

For example:

(S) "While I was working at McDonalds as a shift supervisor, (T) I noticed that the over-all performance of the employees seemed to be deteriorating. (A) I decided in order to try and improve staff performance, I would start leading by example rather than speaking to individual staff members about their performance. (R) As a result of this initiative, the staff on my shift raised their customer service performance and I was rewarded with the Employee of the Month Award."

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