Interviewing Questions

General Questions

  • Why are you interested in working for UC San Diego Health System?
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Tell me what you know about UC San Diego Health System.
  • Describe your career goals for the next few years.
  • How are you planning (what are you doing) to achieve those goals?
  • What do you feel are your outstanding qualities (areas of strength)?
  • In which areas do you feel you need improvement (development)?
  • Tell me about the job experience which gave you the most satisfaction (most unhappiness).
  • Take a specific project you were responsible for...
    • How did you plan the project?
    • How did you control the project?
    • How did you determine the success of the project?
  • Describe a problem you are faced with in your current job...
    • How do you propose to improve the situation?
  • Briefly describe yourself.
  • Describe the best/worst job you've ever had.
  • Describe the work which interests you least/most and the reasons.
  • Describe the best/worst boss you've ever had.
  • I have explained the duties of the our job. How do you think your experience qualifies you for it?
  • Were you satisfied with you rate of advancement at your former department (company)? Why or why not?
  • What is your boss's title, and what are your boss's functions?
  • Describe a typical day in your job?

Questions on Work Experience

  • What were your specific day-to-day duties at______?
  • Which tasks did you prefer, and why? Which tasks did you not prefer, and why?
  • Tell me about your current job at______?
  • How did you happen to get that job?
  • Why do you want to leave?
  • What do you especially like (or dislike) about your job?
  • What have you learned most from that job?
  • What has been your greatest job accomplishment?
  • Tell me about your most responsible assignment?
  • Describe your relationship with your last (present) supervisor.
  • If I were to talk to him/her, what would he/she say about you?
  • What kind of supervisor do you work best for?
  • How do you usually go about getting a job?
  • Describe the project/situation which held the greatest stress or pressure for you.
  • What kind of skills do you think are required for effective performance of a _________ (job)?
  • From what you've learned about this position, what kind of skills do you think the successful applicant should have? How can you demonstrate using your education, experience and personal traits, that you have some of those skills?
  • Describe the work situation which required the greatest amount of your energy.
  • Have you ever made improvements or suggestions in your job assignments? Describe them, and tell me why you made those suggestions.
  • What do you expect most from UC San Diego Health System if you are hired?
  • What kind of people do you find easiest to supervise?
  • What kind of people do you enjoy working with?
  • What kind of tasks do you enjoy most? Least?

Questions on Leadership

  • Have you recently had to implement a new policy or new idea which was considerably different from the standard procedure? If yes, what approach did you take to get your employees to go along with the idea?
  • What recent problem have you had in which you included your subordinates in arriving at a solution or approach to the problem? What approach did you take to get them to accomplish the task?
  • What approach do you take in getting your subordinates to accept your ideas or departmental goals?
  • What are some of the management practices you use to motivate your subordinates to perform more effectively?
  • What specifically do you do to set an example for your subordinates?
  • How frequently do you meet with your immediate subordinates as a group? What do you do in preparation? At the meeting? After the meeting?
  • What sort of leader do your subordinates feel you are? Are you satisfied?
  • Who are you getting ready to replace you? What are you doing to develop him or her? When will he or she be ready?
  • Do you have any subordinates who do not work together well? How do you get them to do so?
  • How do you allocate your time on your present job?
  • How do you set priorities among work assignments?
  • Do you handle problems through an established chain of command?
  • Do you feel you work more effectively on a one-to-one basis, or in group situations?
  • Have you ever led a task force, committee or any group that didn't report to you, but from whom you had to get work? How did you do it? What were the satisfactions and disappointments? How would you handle the job differently?
  • Have you ever had to reprimand a subordinate? If so, how did you handle the situation?How would you evaluate a successful manager?
  • How would you determine the success of a meeting?
  • Did you ever feel that you had an important impact on a group to which you belong?

Questions on Administrative and Managerial

  • How would you describe your approach to managing people?
  • Describe the organizational chart of your most recent job and tell me where you fit in?
  • Describe your approach to getting a job done.
  • What types of specific operations have you managed?
  • Most of us have one or more new concepts, projects, or innovations that we are especially proud of creating. Can you describe one such innovation of your own?
  • What things might interfere with your effectiveness as a manager?
  • Please give me some examples of important decisions you have had to make.
  • Sometimes we make a decision that we would like to take back. Give me an example when that has happen to you.
  • How would your employees describe you as a manager?

Questions on Use of Delegation

  • Who is "minding the store" while you are here at this interview? How was he or she selected? Why? How will you know how well he/she performed?
  • Did you make a formal announcement to your subordinates concerning the responsibility of the person you left in charge?
  • Explain your biggest mistake in delegating. Explain your biggest mistake in not delegating.
  • What don't you delegate?
  • What keeps you from delegating more?
  • Describe your criteria for delegating assignments.
  • If the degree of delegation varies among subordinates, explain how and why?
  • How much overtime do you put in per week?
  • How do you familiarize yourself with the current situation in your organization after being away for several days?
  • Could you cite an example in your own experience where you have been faced with delegating authority and/or responsibility? How did it work?

Questions on Problem Analysis

  • How do you stay attuned to potential problems?
  • Describe the biggest problem that you have faced within the last six months. How did you handle it?
  • Do you follow any particular procedure when confronted with a complex problem? What are the most important elements? Why?
  • What sources of information do you use to keep aware of problems within your department?
  • How do you involve subordinates in a problem-solving situation?

Questions on Judgment

  • Can you give me two examples of good decisions you have made in the last six months? Why were they good decisions?
  • When have you declined to make a work related decision? Why?
  • When have you included subordinates in your decision making? To what extent did you incorporate their input?
  • If you ran into this situation (give a typical problem situation the candidate might be expected to deal with as an employee), how would you handle it?

Questions on the Development of Subordinates

  • What do you find most useful in developing subordinates?
  • How do you identify subordinates' needs and potentials?
  • If you are promoted tomorrow, do you have a replacement? What did you do to help develop him or her?
  • How many of your subordinates will be ready for promotion in the next year?
  • To what extent do subordinates participate in decisions you make?
  • Tell us about some of the people who have become successful as a result of your management.
  • How are you helping your subordinates develop themselves?
  • Describe the strengths and weaknesses of your two strongest subordinates and your two weakest subordinates. For each, what developmental action have you taken?

Questions on Decisiveness

  • What was your most difficult decision in the last six months? What made it difficult?
  • How do you go about making an important decision affecting your career?
  • What was the last major problem that you were confronted with? What action did you take on it?
  • When faced with a business decision, how long does it usually take for you to make up your mind?

Questions on Tenacity

  • What is a big obstacle you had to overcome to get where you are today?
  • Describe an experience you have had where you were too persistent. What happened? How could you have improved the outcome?
  • What have you done when you submitted a good idea to your superior and he or she did not take action on it?
  • Can you relate an experience where you feel you persisted too long? How could the situation have been improved?
  • Can you relate an experience where you feel you gained something because you persisted for a length of time?
  • I see you did not complete_______course. Why was this?

Questions on Salesmanship

  • What was the best idea you ever sold to your superior? Why did he or she buy it?
  • What was the best idea you tried to sell to your superior that was not accepted? Why wasn't it? What did you do?
  • What have you found to be the best way to get line or operating people to accept your ideas?
  • Describe your most satisfying (disappointing) experience in presenting to and gaining the support of top management for an idea or proposal.

Questions on Flexibility

  • What are the two most different approaches you use in __________?
  • How did you get around obstacles that prevented you from completing your most important projects?
  • Describe your two best and two worst employees. How do you manage them differently?
  • Describe your most difficult role?

Questions on Sensitivity

  • What kind of problems do your subordinates bring to you? How do you handle them?
  • What kind of problems have people from other departments brought to you? How did you handle them?
  • What are the major training and developmental needs of the people in your department? How did you identify them?
  • Have you recently made an unpopular decision? How did your subordinates respond? How did that make you feel?
  • Have you perceived any problems you have caused others? How are you going to avoid doing it again?
  • Do you feel people waste your time with a lot of unnecessary problems?
  • Of what are the people in your department proud?
  • Describe your most recent discussion with one of your subordinates who was having or causing problems?
  • If you asked your subordinates to identify your greatest weakness, what would it be? How do you know they would respond that way?

Questions on Planning & Organization

  • How do you schedule your time? Set priorities?
  • What do you do when your time schedule is upset by unforeseen circumstances?
  • What is your procedure in keeping track of matters requiring your attention?
  • Describe how you developed your unit's operating plans or goals. How do you use them?
  • How do you determine those aspects of your job that require written reports?
  • How helpful do you find reports submitted to you? Why? What do you do with them?
  • Do you have a long and short term plan for your department? Is it realistic? Did you achieve it last year?
  • Which of your immediate subordinates are going to progress in the company? What plans have you made for their development?
  • Describe any short or long range plans you may have for developing your subordinates.
  • What did you do to get ready for this interview?
  • How have you identified and overcome resistance to changes you have made in your organization?
  • Describe how you determine what constitutes top priorities in the performance of your job.
  • What organizational changes have you made in the last year? What were your reasons?
  • How would you improve the planning system in your organization?
  • Do you use a calendar to plan your daily activities? If so, how? If not, why not?
  • Do you have a work backlog in your organization? If none, why? (Good planning system?) If so, could improved planning help?
  • Tell how you have adjusted to an instance of sudden constraints on your operations.
  • Describe a reorganization that has significantly affected you. Discuss how it could have been accomplished better.
  • How do you measure the effectiveness of your organization?

Questions on Management Control

  • Is the paperwork required in your present position necessary? If so, why? If not, why not?
  • What methods do you usually use to keep informed of what is going on in your area of supervision? What reports do you use? What controls do you have? What do you do about out-of-line situations?
  • Does your organization use CQI (Continuous Quality Improvement)? If yes, evaluate its effectiveness. If not, are you familiar with the concept?
  • What type of report is of maximum benefit to you in regulating activities and evaluating results in your areas of responsibility?
  • What performance evaluation procedures do you use for evaluating your subordinates?
  • What do you do when you find that your techniques for regulating activities are loosely adhered to by your subordinates?
  • Do you have staff meetings? Why?
  • Describe the basic content of your administrative staff meetings. How are action items assigned? How frequently are staff meetings held?
  • What methods does your superior use to keep informed about your area? Are those methods adequate?

Questions on Independence

  • What do you like about your job? Why do you like it?
  • Describe an incident where you disagreed with your superior. How was it settled?
  • How have you made your job more interesting in the last few years?
  • What do you do in your job that isn't covered in the job description?
  • Have you had to go against general feelings or policies to accomplish a goal?
  • What are the constraints on you in performing your job?
  • How do you cope with the constraints placed on you in handling your job(s)?
  • Describe an incident in which you took matters into your own hands although it should have been handled by your boss.
  • What are the occasions when you feel you must consult your superior before taking action?
  • (Referring to his/her plans for the future) Tell me about what you have done to make this happen?
  • Why did you decide to leave your latest position? What considerations entered into this decision? What did you do?
  • What kinds of decisions do you make in your present job?
  • Give me an example of a project or idea you have accomplished in spite of considerable opposition or organizational constraint.

Questions on Risk-Taking

  • Have you recently made a management decision that really was not yours to make? If yes, what was it? Why did you make it?
  • Are there areas in your position in which you feel you should have decision-making authority, but do not? Describe the situation.
  • Describe a recent decision having more than the usual element of risk. Describe a decision which you made for which you did not have all the pertinent information. Why did you make the decision?
  • What are the limitations of your decision-making authority on the job? Are they appreciated?
  • Describe a situation where you received a new procedure or instructions with which you disagree. What did you do?
  • Do you think a large organization like yours discourages people from taking risks?
  • I see you've made a number of job changes in your career. What factors influenced your decisions to change jobs?
  • Tell me about the most risky management decision that you have made (present company/previous employment). How long did it take you to gather the information to make the decision? How long after that to make the decision? What were the results?

Questions on Initiative

  • How do you get your work assignments? Do you generate any of your own assignments? Please give me an example.
  • Give some instances in which you anticipated problems or influenced new directions.
  • Describe a situation where you found your results were not up to budget or company expectations. What did you do to rectify the matter?
  • Have you had any of your ideas adopted in your department during the past year? How did you get it (them) accepted? If none were adopted, why not?
  • Have you found any way to make your job easier or more rewarding?
  • How many projects have you started on your own this past year? (What prompted you to start this?).
  • How do you personally influence the productivity of your organization?
  • How do you get your subordinates to generate new ideas?
  • Can you think of some projects or ideas (not necessarily of your own creation) that were sold, implemented, or carried out successfully primarily because of your initiative?
  • What ideas would you like to see implemented in your organization? How would you go about it?
  • Do you feel more comfortable with a preset work plan, or do you prefer a range of general goals from which to select?

Questions on Career Ambition

  • What are your career goals for the next five years? How do you expect to accomplish your goals?
  • What have you accomplished in the line of self-development during the past year?
  • Who or what has been the most important person or event in your own self-development?
  • What job do you hope to achieve in the organization in the next five years? Beyond that? What are you doing to prepare yourself? If you are presently studying, how do your studies fit into your program?
  • What have you done to prepare yourself for this advancement opportunity?
  • What part of your job interests you the most?
  • How are you capitalizing on your strengths?
  • Why do you want advancement? What type of self-development activities are you engaged in to prepare you for advancement?
  • Have you taken any management development courses recently? If yes, why? Who suggested it?

Questions on Motivation for Work

  • What factors do you consider most important in evaluating yourself on your success?
  • Why did you choose this career?
  • What is your professional goal?
  • Who is the most highly motivated person in your organization?
  • Can your give me examples of experiences on the job that you felt were satisfying?
  • Can you give me examples of experiences on the job that you felt were dissatisfying?
  • Would you comment on how your work goals and your life goals sometimes conflict?
  • Is your supervisor helpful in your development?
  • Describe when you worked the hardest and felt the greatest sense of achievement.
  • What are some recent responsibilities you have taken on? Why did you assume these responsibilities.

Questions on Work Standards

  • In your position, how do you define doing a good job?
  • How do you judge the performance of your employees? What distinguishes a good employee from an average employee?
  • What are your standards of success in your job?
  • What kind of recognition do you give your subordinates for meeting and exceeding work standards?
  • Under what circumstances would you dismiss an employee?
  • How far are you willing to compromise your standards in the interest of helping a person?
  • When judging the performance of your subordinates, what factors or characteristics are most important to you?
  • How do you actively control your department's expense budget? What action do you take when expenses exceed it?
  • What do you consider the most important contribution your department has made to the organization?
  • Are you satisfied with your department's performance? Why?

Questions on Personal Attributes, Work Habits, Attitudes

  • How do you feel about forgetting your experience and learning a new method from scratch?
  • In which areas of your work are you generally complimented?
  • In which areas of your work are you generally criticized?
  • When you work under close supervision, how do you react?
  • What did you enjoy most about your recent job? Least?
  • What are some things you wish to avoid in your next job?
  • What relationship should exist between a supervisor and subordinate?
  • What would your supervisor say is your weakest area?
  • What prompted your decision to apply for this position?
  • In your most recent job, what did you spend most of your time doing?
  • Do you work best from a plan or in response to deadlines? Why?
  • How organized are you about your work?
  • How do you determine priorities for your day?
  • How do you stay current in your field?
  • Tell me how you have worked out some of the problems you have faced in dealing with co-workers?
  • When given an unfamiliar job responsibility, what do you do?
  • Please describe your record for punctuality and dependability?
  • What accomplishments from your background prepare you for this position?
  • What have you learned from some of the jobs you have held?
  • What did you learn from your most recent employer that was valuable?
  • In your most recent job, were there obstacles you had overcome to get results?

Questions on Stress Tolerance

  • How does stress on the job affect your performance on the job?
  • How do you relax or get away from it all (relieve work tensions) after a hard day?
  • Under what kind of conditions do you work best?
  • Do you feel pressure in your job? Tell me about it?
  • What has been the highest pressure situation you have been under in recent years?
  • What is your reaction when other people lose their tempers or become irritated?
  • Describe the reasons for your last loss of temper. What was the outcome?
  • Do you find it necessary to take work home? How often? Why?
  • How do you react to opposition in a discussion?
  • What personal sacrifices do you feel you (or your subordinates) have made for the organization?
  • Have you ever had a feeling of frustration and impatience when dealing with people? If so, what happened?
  • What existing conditions within_____ are most frustrating to you?

Questions on Energy

  • Do you try to organize each day's work so as to establish a pace for yourself?
  • How do you catch up on an accumulated backlog of work after a vacation or conference?
  • When do you do your best (worst) work?
  • What do you do with your spare time at work?
  • Do you tend to dig into your toughest business problems in the morning, afternoon or at night?
  • How many tasks do you like to tackle at one time?
  • How many hours of overtime have you worked in a recent period? Why?
  • How many hours a day do you put in your work?
  • Give me some examples of projects or tasks where you postponed immediate action. Why?

Questions on Creativity

  • How innovative are your employees in dealing with work situations? What were some innovative ideas your employees have had recently? How do you encourage innovations?
  • What is the most imaginative or innovating thing you have done in your present position?
  • Under what conditions do you display imagination and innovation in your work?
  • How much opportunity for innovation and imagination is there in your present position?
  • Can you think of a current problem in which the old solutions won't work? How could it be solved?
  • What kind of problems have people recently called on you to solve? Tell me about what you devised?
  • Have you participated in a reorganization of your work organization? If so, tell me about your contribution. If not, how would you approach such a reorganization?
  • Describe the last problem in your organization that was solved in a highly imaginative manner. What part did you play?
  • Can you think of a change in your organization which your peers would recognize as being developed principally on your initiative?

Diversity-Related Questions

  • How do you conceptualize the whole issue of Diversity?
  • What have you actually done that would convince us of the strength of your commitment to affirmative action at all levels?
  • What leadership have you provided to promote diversity awareness in your present company/organization?
  • What experiences have you had with diverse populations that relate to your ability to work effectively with persons from different racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
  • What ideas do you have for fostering better community relations with diverse populations?
  • What is your definition of "diversity" (multi-culturalism, pluralism)? What value does it hold in your life? In your organization?
  • What role might Diversity or related issues play in your position as a ________?
  • Why are you committed to "diversity"? How do you articulate or act upon that commitment?
  • What is your experience and style of working with staff or customers from diverse or under-represented populations, (i.e., persons with disabilities, various ethnic populations, alternative lifestyles, etc.)?
  • As part of your position, you are required to work and interact with diverse populations; differences in race and ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, levels of ability, etc. Please describe for us an instance in which you confronted and resolved an issue of commonality and difference among people?
  • If you were to articulate three fundamental professional principles to those with whom you work, what would they be?
  • What has to exist for you in a job in order for you to feel like its a really good match with your strengths, values and interests?
  • What framework of values do you operate within?
  • How do you go about implementing your vision in a new organization?
  • What do you think are the most difficult issues today facing a manager in a changing work force?

Questions on Range of Interest

  • In what industry -or- job-related activities do you participate? What is the extent of your participation?
  • What professional organizations do you belong to? To what extent do you participate?
  • If you were asked to move to another department in the organization, which one would you prefer? Why?
  • What is the most important change going on in your organization?
  • Compare the organizational structure and productivity of your unit with some others with which you are familiar.
  • How do you keep informed on what is happening in the total organization?
  • How is the total organization changing?
  • What units of the organization are changing the most? Why?

Questions on Listening Skills

  • How much of your job involves listening? How do you show your subordinates (customer or associate) you are listening to them?
  • What do you think the role of listening is in good management?

Questions on Oral Communication Skills

  • What is the worst communication problem you have experienced?
  • What differing approaches do you employ in talking with different types of people? How do you evaluate the effectiveness of these approaches?
  • Tell me about the preparation for and results of meetings you have been responsible for conducting.

Questions on Oral Presentation Skills

  • Have you ever done any public or group speaking? Recently? Why? How did it go?
  • What kind of preparation did you need? Were you nervous?
  • What objectives were you trying to achieve? Were you successful?
  • What kind of format did you use?
  • What were some of the questions you were asked?
  • Did you have to side-step any questions?
  • What kind of feedback did you get?
  • What would you do differently?

Questions on Written Communication Skills

  • What report, that you are currently preparing (or have recently prepared), is the most challenging? Why?
  • What kind of writing have you done? How do you approach it? Tell me about it -- the content, reaction, etc.
  • Would you rather write a report or give a verbal report?
  • How do you feel about the writing of reports as contrasted with collecting or analyzing the data?
  • If an important report must be written, who is usually assigned the job in your department?
  • What is the extent of your participation in major reports that have to be written?

Questions on Accounting

  • At your most recent employment, how was the accounting department structured? Where did you fit in?
  • For which accounting duties have you had responsibility?
  • Please describe your experience in financial analysis.
  • Describe your experience in preparing financial reports.
  • If you have developed an automated accounting system, please tell me about it?
  • What types of budget and other financial forecasts have you prepared?
  • Please tell me about the different types of budgets for which you have been responsible.

Questions on Bookkeeping

  • Please list the types of records for which you have been responsible.
  • What is your experience with making journal entries and posting to the General Ledger?
  • Please describe the books you have kept, such as ledgers and journals.
  • Describe your experience with computerized accounting systems.
  • What experience have you had with audits?
  • What specific responsibilities have you had with bookkeeping for contracts and grants?

Clerical Experience Questions

  • How much typing are you comfortable with in the course of a workday?
  • What is your experience in handling confidential files?
  • What specific office equipment are you experienced in operating?
  • What is the extent of your experience with word processing equipment?
  • Describe to me your safety procedures for handling petty cash?
  • What is your experience with payroll systems?
  • How do you validate and process an invoice and determine its order of payment?
  • How many employees have you provided payroll bookkeeping for?
  • What experience do you have in office system design?
  • What specific office functions have you supervised?

Reception Experience Questions

  • How many people have you greeted on a typical day?
  • What kinds of people have you greeted in your job?
  • What are some typical situations you have faced on a given day?
  • What other tasks are you responsible for while working as a receptionist?
  • What detailed telephone messages have you taken for individuals when they are out of the office?
  • What has been your responsibility for making appointments?

Secretarial Experience Questions

  • Please describe your idea of the perfect boss.
  • Do you compose your own letters for your supervisor's signature?
  • Would you briefly describe your idea of a balanced workday?
  • What is your experience in arranging your boss's calendar and setting up appointments.
  • What has been your responsibility for screening calls?
  • What types of automated filing systems have you used?
  • Describe your experience in preparing reports for your supervisor.
  • How do you feel about working for more than one individual?
  • What is your experience with placing conference calls, long distance, or overseas calls?
  • What experience have you had with electronic mail?
  • Which word processing applications are you most familiar using?
  • Tell me about your work with large volume text production.
  • How would you grade your proficiency in English grammar and punctuation?
  • How have you established priorities for processing work?
  • What is your experience with electronic filing?
  • Tell me about some mass mailings that you were responsible for?

Computer Operations Experience Questions

  • What computers are you experienced in operating?
  • What peripheral equipment such as printers, are you experienced in operating?
  • If problems occur when your computer is in operation, what steps do you take to identify and resolve the problem.
  • What is the extent of your experience with both on-line and off-line computer operation?
  • Describe the types of data input you have experience with.

Management Information Systems Experience Questions

  • Tell me about the management information systems for which you have been responsible.
  • What is your experience with office automation and word processing systems?
  • What types of business applications have you developed and implemented?
  • How have you gone about conducting needs assessments for the application of a management information system?

Programming and System Analysis Experience Questions

  • Describe the electronic data processing equipment you have used?
  • Which programming language do you know well?
  • What types of application programs have you designed?
  • Please describe the types of databases you have worked with and the extent of your experience?
  • What systems have you designed and for which specific applications?
  • What was your role in developing and implementing software systems?

Questions on Salary

  • What kind of starting salary do you expect?
  • What salary expectation do you have for this job over the long term?
  • What is your current salary?
  • I see you've been earning______in your present (last) job. How do you feel about the progress you've made, salary wise?