Today I would like to share with you a list of common job interview questions and my responses to them. I have put a lot of thought into some of the questions that you might encounter on an interview and having a quality response for whatever they might throw at you is essential if you want to land the position. While some answers are business specific, everyone can benefit from seeing how to present and formulate responses. This is not a comprehensive list, but a list of the most common questions you will be asked in most job interviews.
Be Prepared Ahead of Time!
Here are a few general items from my list:
Tell me a little bit about yourself-
I am currently in my fifth year of the five year accounting program at SUNY Oneonta, eagerly awaiting to graduate and begin the transition into being a certified public accountant. I chose accounting because I developed a passion for business and entrepreneurship at a young age. I have always considered myself highly competitive, a trait I have acquired from my many years of playing highly competitive baseball through countless summers and school years. I believe the time and commitment I put into the game has developed me as a person more importantly than an athlete. I developed a work ethic that has no limitations for achieving success. I am willing to outwork ANYONE to get something I truly want and desire. I feel a lot of people leave a lot on the table and never truly go after what they want. They might have big dreams and aspirations, but aren’t willing to put in the time and work to go after it. I have had countless setbacks in my life but I treat those as learning experiences to further develop myself. I like to keep a positive outlook no matter what the perceived circumstances may be. I believe there is always something positive to be gained from a negative experience. Without negative experiences and setbacks, there would be no time for self evaluation and development. I am happy with what I have accomplished so far in life and I am excited to begin my career as a professional accountant.
I believe by far my biggest strengths is my work ethic. I believe there is no substitute for hard work and grit, no matter the circumstances surrounding you. If you don’t put in the time, you shouldn’t expect any results in return. That has always been my mentality since a young age and I have stuck with it throughout my years in college. It amazes me how many people want results but don’t want to put in the time and effort to achieve those results. Only the truly successful people understand this and that is why they find themselves in the 1% of the nation’s population. They know what they want, and they go get it. They are never satisfied with themselves and they know there is always room for improvement. They are very self-critical and constantly evaluate themselves to make sure they are on the right path and doing the right thing. I have seen a lot of this grow on me as I have progressed through the accounting major. A great example is how many people have dropped out of the major since we first started five years ago. They just couldn’t handle it. In our intermediate class last year, we had close to 50 people show up on the first day. After the first test, we were down to about 35. This year, in our advanced accounting class we are sitting with maybe 25 people. This is the perfect example of how many people don’t want to put in the work because it seems difficult. Maybe some discovered that they truly didn’t like accounting but I feel it has more to do with a lot of them didn’t want to put in the effort. Accounting is notoriously known as being difficult and I feel too many people fell into that belief. I understand that the work is hard, but I am also willing to put in the time to learn it and understand it. It is certainly challenging at times but I love a good challenge. If you can’t challenge yourself, you can’t develop yourself and you stay at a stagnant point throughout life. Only some are willing to put in the work, but those few will achieve all their dreams and desires and I work each day to fit myself better into that category.
I believe my biggest weakness is my comfort zone. I have at times found myself content with what I have already accomplished and not wanting to further develop myself. It is nice at times to sit back and enjoy what I already have but there always come a point where I want something more. Stepping outside one’s comfort zone can be one of the hardest things to do because it requires additional effort and work outside of what you have already done. I like to evaluate areas of my life that need further work and development. I have been able to recognize things in my life that I am uncomfortable with and eliminate them by taking small steps at a time to develop them. I have at times been stuck looking at how difficult something may appear to seem without even trying it out. It takes a personal leap of faith to experiment with new things knowing for certain there will be barriers and setbacks along the way. Success doesn’t come easy, and it doesn’t come as a handout. What you get is directly related to what you put in. If you put in the time and work anything is achievable. One of the things I feel that separates myself from other is that I am brutally honest with myself. I am my own best critic. I am in a constant process of evaluating myself and my ideals. I have been able to recognize my comfort zone, accept it, and work towards expanding it through hard work and dedication towards my desired outcomes.
Describe your leadership style-
I believe that a strong leader leads by example. I am a strong believer in actions speak louder than words. A powerful leader is able to relate to each person on a personal level, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and guide them to where they feel they will be most beneficial and contribute the most to the team. Strong leaders understand the needs of a unit as a whole and provides guidance to each person involved in reaching the unit’s tasks and goals. I have been a captain on sports teams where team chemistry is one of the most important aspects of creating a winning formula. Everyone needs to respect each other’s similarities and differences and put those aside when working as whole towards a desired outcome. When there is conflict between team members, it must be dealt quickly and effectively to ensure focus is kept on the goal and not on personal problems and individual egos. A strong leader understands that respect is mutual and goes both ways. I respect everyone’s unique opinions and personality and expect the same in return. I believe that is one of the most important aspects of a successful team that wants to accomplish their goals.
How do you deal with hardship, adversity, anger etc.?
Hardships and adversity pop up in all different aspects of our lives. At home, at work and at school we all face difficult situations that need to be dealt with. For me, I like to reflect first on how to deal with something before immediately trying to resolve the problem. I have worked with meditation to clear my mind and to really think things through and explore all angles before attempting to resolve an issue. I feel that many people act too impulsively when faced with difficulty. They act without thinking things through and that can ultimately lead to further difficulties. Sitting in a comfortable position in complete silence can open your mind and explore possibilities that you may have not thought of in a normal everyday state. Taking the time to explore yourself, your mind, and the way you think can have many positive results. Through meditation, I have become very open to people seeing their sides of an issue and evaluating the best way to go about things in life without acting impulsively. Along with the relaxing physical benefits of meditation, it has been a great way in developing my mind and using it as an asset rather than a liability. The mind is a very powerful thing and if used correctly can lead you in a great direction. It can also drive people to the point to destruction. They become slaves to their minds rather than mastering their power of thought. They give into impulses and create hardships for themselves rather than harnessing the massive creative power that we all can tap into and use for our benefit.
Most interesting class?
Along with the many business courses that I have taken in school, I have developed a great interest in human psychology throughout my years in school. Humans are a very unique species due to our massive mental capabilities and I wanted to further inquire in how the mind works and how we can develop it. One of the most interesting classes I took in school was psychology. It gave me a strong background on the scientific aspect of the brain and how it works. It was amazing to see how much work our brains do on a constant basis. Regulating different bodily functions and controlling our actions and beliefs all at once, a lot of the time without us being even consciously aware of what is going on. It is a powerful machine and if used correctly, can be extremely beneficial to our lives. At the same time, I learned how detrimental it can be if we abuse it. I learned a lot about addiction and how it can ruin people’s lives without them even realizing they are falling victim to themselves. I have seen good friends from a young age go down terrible paths that have cost them their lives. It has made me reflect on how valuable life truly is and how our minds can leads us in the right or wrong direction depending on how we use it. I have done a lot of independent research on psychology and feel it has helped me immensely deal with problems and hardships in my life. I take time to reflect on my thoughts and make sure to constantly stay on the right path no matter what life may throw at me.
Someone you look up to-
One of my favorite people is Will Smith and specifically his mentality and approach to life. Will is a very successful man who attributes all of his success to his strong work ethic. I watched one of his interviews recently and loved the way he talks about how hard he is willing to work. He gives the example of the treadmill. In his example he talks about how if he and someone else got on a treadmill together, the other person was going to get off first, or he was going to die.
Simply Wont Be Outworked.
This shows how far he is willing to go to achieve something he wants and I think his results speak for themselves. He has found something he is so passionate about that he is willing to die before being stopped from achieving his goals. It is a strong example of how hard work goes a long way. A lot of people come from nothing, but put in tremendous amount of effort and work to achieve massive success. It shows how anyone who is willing to put in the time can get a positive result. Will has a very positive attitude towards life and has talked about how he is inspired by fear. Fear inspires him because he wants to eliminate it. He doesn’t want to be scared to do anything no matter how big or small. Fear is a barrier for many people who don’t want to stretch their comfort zones. He eliminates fear by working at the things he is fearful of. In return, he is able to eliminate anything that he feels is holding himself back from success. I think he is one of the strongest examples of how we should all be approaching life. We should all be striving for success and we should be striving to develop ourselves to eliminate fear and worry from our lives.
Make a Good Impression and Land the Job!
Questions will vary from interview to interview and you will be faced with questions that are specific for the job position. Always have a plan ahead of time and be prepared to be thrown off guard and formulate some responses off the top of your head. Show your interviewer that you are confident and ready and willing to take the position if offered. I have plenty of more questions that I have answered that deal specifically with accounting and business so if you are interested in those, email me, and I will provide you with them.