Are these good answers to interview questions/questions to ask during interviews?

johnITjohnIT Member Posts: 91 ■■■□□□□□□□

The following are the main questions I usually get asked in non-technical interviews along w/my usual answers. BG: 30 years old. 5 years exp in Help Desk. BS in computer information systems. Looking for a new job and currently working on my A+ cert.

General Q&A:

Tell me about yourself: I’ve spent five years in my current role and I’m looking for new opportunities and challenges. I do everything in IT for my organization. I support over 500 staff members and 20 different locations with any IT questions they may have. I also do some administrator tasks such as firewalls, group policies, web filtering, mobile phone management etc. I often work with senior management and program managers on various IT projects and whatever else they need to make their programs run more efficiently. The staff I work with and train on new systems can range from doctors and priests to board members and basic staff members. Some have stayed in their jobs simply b/c of my clear and concise directions that have helped them learn to navigate systems.

Why do you want to leave: The agency is downsizing, is not a tech focused, and it’s more based on social work. So there are no opportunities for me to advance in my career unless the IT Manager dies. So I am looking for new opportunities.

What do you know about this company: I know that your company does X,Y, and Z. I love the community feel in the office that I saw/sensed from your social media pages. I’m really excited about your professional development programs and I’m eager to utilize them to further my career.

Where do you see yourself in five years: security/IT Auditor

Can you give me an example of where you failed and what you learned: I tried to get the agency to move over their MS-DOS HR/Finance system to Salesforce but they board ruled it out and went with a cheaper solution. I learned that sometimes my dreams/ambitions are often overruled by very strict budget restraints but that doesn't stop me from trying. In my new role I’m looking for more freedom to implement them.

And these are the questions I usually ask at the end:

What separates someone who is adequate at this position from someone who is exceptional at this position?

If you had the means and opportunity to make one change to the company and be sure it stuck, what would it be?

What would someone need to do in their first three months/six months/year in this job in order to be considered successful?

What is your favorite part of working here?

Based on our conversation today, do you feel I earned the opportunity to progress to the next round, and what would be the next steps? This one is a great question to get feedback from your interviewer. I have tripped up a few interviewers with this and they never expect it! Unfortunately, it hasn't helped me get the job either...

If these are all fine, then I'm assuming that I'm having trouble just finding the right cultural fit...

Working on: A+, MCSE Server 2012


  • NetworkingStudentNetworkingStudent Member Posts: 1,407 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I don’t have a chance to go through the whole thing.   I wouldn’t talk about your manager dying as a way of advancement.  Maybe this is sarcasm?

    I think the tell me about yourself section could be condensed.    Can you tell me what you do in 90 seconds?

    I would spin your answers in a positive light. I understand some of your answers may have some sarcasm, but no one wants a negative nelly.

    instead of asking what is adequate vs GReat in this position

    ask what does success look like in this position in 90 days and in 6 months?

    When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened."

    --Alexander Graham Bell,
    American inventor
  • LonerVampLonerVamp OSCP, GCFA, GWAPT, CISSP, OSWP, AWS SA-A, AWS Security, Sec+, Linux+, CCNA Cyber Ops, CCSK Member Posts: 518 ■■■■■■■■□□
    One way to look at your current place might be...that you have skills and knowledge and interests that no longer can be met by the agency you're with currently, due to the nature of the business and budgets. You're not ready to settle, and want to learn more.

    When someone asks you to tell them about yourself, I do try to at least mix in something on my personal time, even if it just means I spend some personal time on my home lab learning new things.

    It's also very easy to be all "me, me, me" when it comes to talking about your past position, where you want to go, and why you've applied to this company. Honestly, I never really know too much about the companies I've gotten jobs with. Sometimes, it's just about the job, the money, and what I'm picking up from my first on-site interview from the prem to the manager I'm sitting in front of, and I let them know that. But, that's why I try to ask "you you you" questions in return or try to spin a few answers to allow the hiring manager to see what *they* could get out of hiring me (even though I'm still talking about me).  I know, that's confusing...

    Some other questions you might ask:

    - Why is this position open?
    - What would my day to day or week to week workday look like? What tasks would I be doing?
    - What challenges are you looking to solve with this position?

    I usually wouldn't be quite some on the spot with asking them if I'm making the next round (that's how some will hear that question), but I would ask if they see anything in my qualifications that make them pause, or if there is something I've not met from the job posting that they'd like me to discuss. It's easy to forget a few technical items to talk about to demonstrate knowledge, and sometimes the job description itself isn't listed in order of priority or was compiled by a recruiter or HR.

    Security Engineer/Analyst/Geek, Red & Blue Teams
    OSCP, GCFA, GWAPT, CISSP, OSWP, AWS SA-A, AWS Security, Sec+, Linux+, CCNA Cyber Ops, CCSK
    2021 goals: maybe AWAE or SLAE, bunch o' courses and red team labs?
  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    edited April 2019
    Your questions should also reflect the person that you are meeting with and the kind of company. When I interview candidates, I prefer a conversational style. I don't ever ask questions from a script nor do I have a list of questions. So - if you encounter someone like myself - you may want to ask questions based on the conversation. During the interview process, I'm usually trying to understand if the candidate will be a good cultural fit and would espouse the kind of values that the company seeks - ie - the more intangible aspects.

    I personally find it amusing when someone asks canned questions - although I don't hold it against someone because it does show effort, preparedness, and some forethought.

    I also don't mind personal career questions when they are appropriate.  For example (and don't necessarily phrase it this way),

    1) How did you end up at XYZ? And why/what do you like about XYZ?
    2) (you could just be honest and genuine if you have a concern about it) - A reason why I'm looking for a job is because I'm being downsized. What do you think about something like that happening at XYZ?
    3) How do you think XYZ compares to company ABC (some competitor of XYZ)? I think 123 about XYZ's business as compared to ABC.
    4) How do you think the execs view tech/IT at XYZ?

    For me, I look for genuine engagement and interest versus just having a set of questions to ask because if I was on the other side of the table, I would be asking questions to evaluate if I really want to work there. 

    Good luck in your upcoming interviews!
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