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Interview questions

Interview Policy

  • The interviewing department arranges interview times for candidates listed on the interview list. Procedures vary by bargaining group.

  • Structured and consistent interviews are conducted in accordance with Equal Employment Opportunity guidelines and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  • All candidates must receive the same type of interview (i.e. phone/in-person) including the same list of questions and the same interview committee.

  • Structured interview documents are to be retained by the department for a minimum of three years. In the event of an official challenge to the process, these documents are to be retained until the matter is closed.

  • MSU employee candidates are to be granted reasonable time away from the job to interview for university vacancies.

Helpful Interview Material

When conducting job interviews, it is important to ask questions not only about an applicant's job knowledge and skills but also of past work experiences. In particular, it is valuable to gather information in order to reveal how the applicant behaved in certain work situations. The applicant's past behavior often predicts how he/she will respond in similar future situations.

This information is important because how an employee behaves in completing responsibilities is as critical as the responsibilities of the actual job. Identifying and assessing required key behaviors should contribute to the overall success of an employee in their position.

Prior to asking behavioral interview questions, it is recommended that the interview begin with general introductory questions. The following are offered as suggestions.

General Introductory Questions

  • Please highlight your past jobs, telling me the employment dates when you worked for companies and what your job duties were. (Candidate should not have resume in hand and should be able to recite from memory). If there are any gaps in employment, inquire about the situation(s).

  • I have reviewed your resume but would like to ask you to begin by giving me an overview of your education and experience as they relate to this position and why you are interested in this position.

  • Please elaborate on one of the work experiences listed on your resume.

  • What were your major responsibilities?

  • What were some of the most difficult duties of that job?

  • Who did you report to and who reported to you (title)?

  • What special skills and knowledge were needed to perform the duties in your previous jobs?

  • Your resume/application lists many job changes. Tell me about that.

  • How has your present/previous job changed while you've held it?

  • What unique talent do you offer? Why do you feel it is unique?

  • What else should I know about your qualifications for this job?

The links below contain lists of behavioral-based interview questions. These questions should assist the interviewer in identifying behaviors necessary for most positions. They may be used or modified as needed to yield information related to the specific behaviors being sought.