Sample Interview Questions for Career Readiness Competencies

Critical Thinking/Problem Solving

  • Tell me about a time you had to make a decision with incomplete information. What did you do?
  • Describe a time when you had to convince your manager to try a different approach to solve a problem.
  • Describe a time you had to solve a problem without managerial input. How did you do it and what was the result?
  • Give an example of a time you identified and fixed a problem before it became urgent.
  • How do you know when to solve a problem on your own or to ask for help?
  • Are you an innovator? Why?
  • Describe a situation in which you found a creative way to overcome an obstacle.
  • Tell me about a time when you came up with a new approach to a problem.
  • Describe a time when you had to make a decision quickly without all of the information you needed. What was the outcome?


Oral/Written Communication

  • Do you prefer to communicate via email, phone or in-person? Why?
  • What team communication tools have you used? What was your experience with them?
  • If you’re presenting your ideas during a meeting and your audience seems disengaged, what would you do to get their attention?
  • How would you reply to a negative online review about our University?
  • Have you ever worked with someone you struggled to communicate with? If so, what was the obstacle and how did you handle it?
  • Have you ever talked to an angry customer? If so, how did you manage the situation?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to assert yourself to make a point.
  • Describe a time when you had to persuade a manager to see your point of view.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to explain a complex technical idea to someone with little technical background.
  • Describe a time when you were assigned a project without clear direction. What did you do?



  • Some people work best as part of a group - others prefer the role of individual contributor. How would you describe yourself?
  • Tell me about a work experience where you had to work closely with others. How did it go? How did you overcome any difficulties?
  • When working on a team project have you ever had an experience where there was strong disagreement among team members? What did you do?
  • Tell me about a rewarding team experience.
  • Describe a project with a challenging team dynamic. How did you handle it?
  • Give me an example of how you have dealt with a difficult team member.


Digital Technology

  • Give me an example of an assignment, which you have recently worked on, that involved the learning of a new technical skill.
  • Tell me about the most difficult IT problem you ever faced and how you handled it. Would you handle it the same way now?
  • Tell us about one of the technical problems you had to solve recently.



  • Give an example of your ability to build motivation in your co-workers, classmates, or on a volunteer committee.
  • Have you ever had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas? What was your approach? Did it work?
  • Have you ever been a member of a group where two of the members did not work well together? What did you do to get them to do so?
  • What is the toughest group that you have had to get cooperation from? Describe how you handled it. What was the outcome?
  • Have you ever had to introduce a new idea or process at work? What approach did you take to gain cooperation?
  • Tell me about a time that you led an important meeting.
  • What qualities make a good leader?
  • Tell me about a time that you took the lead on a difficult project.
  • Describe a time when you led by example.
  • Who have you coached or mentored to achieve success?


Professionalism/Work Ethic

  • Describe a time when you were asked to keep information confidential.
  • Tell us about a specific time when you had to handle a tough problem which challenged fairness or ethical issues.
  • Did you ever have to deal with a co-worker who wasn’t pulling his or her weight? What did you do about it?
  • Describe a situation in which you went above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to sacrifice your quality standards to meet a deadline.


Career Management

  • Tell me about the last time you had to learn a new task. How did you go about learning it? What, if any tools, did you employ?
  • Tell me about a time you did more than was required in your job.


Global/Intercultural Fluency

  • Give a specific example of how you have helped create an environment where differences are valued, encouraged and supported.
  • Tell us about a time that you successfully adapted to a culturally different environment.
  • Tell us about a time when you made an intentional effort to get to know someone from another culture.
  • What have you done to further your knowledge/understanding about diversity? How have you demonstrated your learning?