This could also be called the "fit" interview. While your
performance in the fit interview partly depends on how well you
click with your interviewer, it also depends on your ability to
portray yourself as a good "fit" for the position and
company. Furthermore, employers are interested in learning
about you and your accomplishments. Past behavior is an
indicator of future performance; therefore, you will be expected to
provide specific accounts where you demonstrated the traits the
company seeks in a candidate. The key to a successful
behavioral interview is to prepare a list of your skills and
behaviors relevant to the position and company before the
interview. Simply stating you possess desired qualities is
not enough! Regardless of whether or not you are asked, give
specific, concise examples of your performance and the
results. The interviewer will want to get as many details as
possible, and they will probe until they have gotten sufficient
Tell me about yourself
You want to have a 1-2 minute summary of yourself to open the
interview. An example: In 1996, I graduated from UCLA
with a Bachelor's in Finance. Soon thereafter, I relocated to
Chicago to begin work for an Investor Relations firm as an Account
Assistant. Here, I served as a liaison between our account
team and executive management of over a dozen publicly owned
companies. My responsibilities were publicizing mergers and
acquisitions, quarterly and year-end earnings and management shifts
of these companies to portfolio managers and potential
investors. It was while working at this company that I
decided to return to graduate school to gain an MBA in
Finance. I chose St. John's University because it was located
in New York City, the financial capital of the world. I also
liked the fact that St. John's was accommodating to part-time
students, because I wanted to work full-time while completing this
degree. After my first semester in school, I landed my
current job at a mid-sized Public Relations firm as a Financial
Analyst. Here, I analyze and prepare quarterly earnings for
our firm and its subsidiaries. I also present these quarterly
earnings to our company's upper level management and private
Help me get to know you better.
Walk me through your resume.
Describe your position at Company in greater detail.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
Why did you choose St. John's University?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
This is a popular interview question, and you should have an answer
prepared. Highlight strengths valued within your industry of
interest: reliable, energetic, high work ethic, team-oriented,
problem-solver, etc. You want to pick a weakness(es) that
does not pertain to the job you are interviewing for, and provide
an example of how you have proactively worked to eliminate that
weakness(es). Ideally, a weakness is the flip side of a
strength taken too far. Some examples may include your
frustration with a management team that fails to lead, impatience
when office politics slow down a project or that you have been
sometimes perceived as unfriendly while intensely focusing on the
project at hand.
Tell me about an accomplishment you are proud of.
How would your best friend describe you?
Why do you want to do investment banking (or any other
position you are applying for)?
The interviewer wants more than the fact that you've wanted to be
an investment banker all your life. Do talk about why you are
interested in this industry and how your experiences have prepared
you for an I-banking job. Also, talk about how you have
developed the core skills required to be successful in this
industry/position. Most specifically, those without prior
work experience in the field in which they are applying should
expect this question.
Do you understand our job requirements?
What do you think it takes to make it in this industry?
Give me an example of a time you failed. What did
you learn from this failure?
Again, you should have an answer prepared for this question.
Be modest and admit that you have experienced setbacks. On
the other hand, focus on how you bounced back and what you learned
from the experience. Remember, you do not want to highlight a
failure that may lead the interviewer to believe you will be
incapable of doing your job.
Can you tell me about a time when you had to overcome an
Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a
and how you handled it.
What's been your biggest personal/professional challenge?
Give me an example of a time when you worked as part of
Draw on situations from previous work experiences, school projects
and/or any other situations in which you worked towards a common
goal. Highlight your strengths as a team member and know what
role you played on that team, i.e. organizer, leader, communicator,
motivator, etc. Remember, not everyone can serve as the
leader, and it's important to follow as well as lead.
How do you deal with a difficult team member?
How do you achieve a consensus?
What do you add to the group? What role do you
What do you contribute to the team?
Describe a project you have worked on that you enjoyed.
Give me an example of a project you did that involved
heavy analytical thinking (or any other skill utilized in this
You should be prepared to provide examples that illustrate your
analytical skills. Know the skill set expected of the
position and by the company, and be ready to talk about how you fit
in to that skill set.
How do your past experiences qualify you for this
What qualities do you think are necessary to strive
in this business/position?
If you were hiring someone for this job, what attributes would
look for in a candidate?
How do you work under pressure?
The interviewer is not looking for a yes or no answer here.
First, make it clear that you work well under pressure and can
effectively meet deadlines. Then, talk about how you
prioritize your tasks/responsibilities (i.e. list making, note
taking, scheduling your day, etc.). How do you deal with
several things at once-in other words, multitask? They may
also probe to see how you complete a job when you don't have enough
time to do it. Remember, anyone can work a late night to
complete a job, but an employer wants to know how you deal with
this type of situation. Lastly, you may be asked how you
relieve your stress, so know what your interests are outside of
work. These interests should not involve the use of alcohol
or any other illegal or embarrassing activity!
How do you multitask/prioritize?
Tell me about a time that you dealt with many things at once.
What do you like to do when you are not on the job?
What motivates you?
Think through this one. First of all, you should indicate
that you are highly motivated. Second, remember the profile
that the company is looking for. Your main motivators could
be the thrill of meeting the deadline, an opportunity for
advancement, recognition for a job well done, monetary reward,
How do you measure/judge success?
What's important to you? What are your priorities?
What are your short- and long-term goals?
Obviously, a short-term goal is to land this job. In the near
future, other desirable goals may be completing your degree,
obtaining additional certifications and/or credentials, enhancing
your skills so that you leverage your value to the firm and so
on. When accessing your long-term goals, you may want to
again ask yourself how you define success. Where do you see
yourself 10 years from now? What achievements are necessary
for you to consider yourself a success? In addition, research
the 'road to success' traveled by the company's upper-level
management team. This may provide you with some clues of what
it takes to excel in this particular organization and industry.
Tell me the most interesting thing you have read
The interviewer wants to see if you know what's going on in the
world and how well you can summarize a burning industry-related
issue. Read the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and
industry-specific publications regularly. In addition to
viewing the company's hiring structure and stock price, you should
review recent industry- and company-related issues concerning
mergers and acquisitions, management shifts, earnings, etc.
This information is generally accessible via the company's website
and press releases.
What professional periodicals do you read on a regular basis?
Describe 3 items on the cover of The New York Times today.
What do you think about our recent merger/acquisition?
What are your thoughts on our recent drop in stock price?
Why are you applying to this firm?
Be ready to talk about the industry and the firm. For smaller
firms, this is an important question, because they want to hire one
who knows what they are getting into and who is focused. It's
not advisable to say that you are looking at all industry
firms. Instead, impress your interviewer by discussing how
his/her firm is different from its competitors and why that
Why are you interested in this field/position?
Why are you right for this firm/position?
Describe your perfect job within this organization.
How should this company measure its success?
Why should I hire you?
What is your story, and is it memorable? How are you
unique? Use this as an opportunity to show your interviewer
that you have the makeup for the position: hardworking, analytical,
team-oriented, etc. Prepare examples to bolster this
What do you want me to remember about you?
Is there anything you would like to tell me that we didn't get a
chance to cover in this interview?
Explain your visa status and what paperwork would be
involved if we decide to hire you.
It's not necessary to indicate your visa status on your resume;
however, you must be prepared to answer these types of questions
within the interview. You want to keep your summary brief and
simple. Don't allow your sponsorship needs to become the
focus of the interview. Summarize your visa status and the
company sponsorship process in a couple of sentences and move
Do you have any questions for me?
After researching the company, you should put together a few
questions to ask at the end of the interview. Do not ask
questions that could easily be answered by viewing the company's
Some common questions may include:
How is today's economy impacting your organization?
Who would I report to?
Can you describe the department's structure in a little more
Can you describe a typical day on the job?
Are there opportunities for advancement?
What is your timeline in this hiring process?