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Six Types of Interviewing Questions


Interviewing is not a science.  Nor it is an art form.  It is simply an imperfect form of human communication designed to increase the predictive validity of potential employer-employee relationships.  And it is very imperfect.

There are basically six types of questions you may face during the course of an interview, although current job seekers should be prepared for the Behavioral Interview.

    1. Credential verification questions
      This type of question includes “What was your GPA?” and “How long were you at…” Its purpose is to place objective measurements on features of your background.

    2. Experience verification questions
      This type of question includes “What did you learn in that class?” and “what were your responsibilities in that position?”  Its purpose is to verify experiential features of your background.

    3. Behavioral questions
      This type of question involves asking you what would you do, or what did you do in a particular situation.  An example of this type of question might be: “Can you give me a specific example of how you did that?” or “What were the steps you followed to accomplish that task?”  Or, you may be given a scenario and asked what you would do in the situation.  Its purpose is to analyze how you would respond to a scenario and it allows the interviewer to align your past behaviors and responses with specific competencies which are required for the position.  A self-examination of your experiences, strengths, etc. along with an awareness of what kinds of things the interviewer is trying to find out, will help you be prepared for these questions.

    4. Case questions
      This type of question includes problem-solving questions ranging from:  “How many gas stations are there in the U.S.?” to “What is your estimate of the U.S. online retail market for books?”  Its purpose is to evaluate your problem-solving abilities and thought processes and demonstrates how you would analyze the situation and formulate an answer.

    5. “Dumb” questions
      This type of question includes “What kind of animal would you like to be?” or “What is your favorite color and why?”  Its purpose is to get past your pre-programmed answers to find out if you are capable of original thought.  There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer, since it is used primarily to observe your reaction and as a test of your ability to think on your feet.

    6. Math or Brain Teaser Questions
      This type of question is less about giving a correct answer and more about the thinking process behind it.  It  includes questions like:  “How Many Street Lamps are there in Manhattan?”. to “How many ping pong balls could fit in a Volkswagon?”  Its purpose is to evaluate not only your mental math calculation skills, but also your creative and analytic ability and reasoning in formulating an answer. 

Behavioral and competency interviewing is gaining greater acceptance by trained interviewers because past performance is the most reliable indicator of future results, especially when it is tied to the specific competencies for the position.  Many companies have modified this approach with specific critical behavioral interviewing to target those behaviors which provide the highest correlation with the required competencies for highly predictive positive results.

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Contact Information Office of Career Services

Monday - Friday: 9:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Room: 407
Telephone: (219) 473-4253 (Indiana)
                      (773) 721-0202, Ext. 253 (Illinois)
                      1-877-700-9100 (Toll Free)
FAX: (219) 473-4277