Does your Resume pass the 10-second test?

Classic Interview Questions and Answers

We have a problem with x. How would you resolve that?

Alternative and related questions:

Can you tell me about a difficult problem that you resolved?
Can you tell me about a major problem at work that you’ve had to deal with?

The meaning behind the question:

Following on from the previous question, this question is, again, directly probing your problem-solving capabilities but, more than that, is doing so in a way that is directly relevant to the job for which you are applying.

The interviewer is trying to identify what you could really bring to the organization.

They’re also assessing how able you are to think on your feet – because they’ll know there is no way you could have pre-prepared your answer to this one!

Your answer:

Problem ‘x’ could be just about anything. It could be a hypothetical problem but it’s probably more likely to be a real-life problem currently facing your prospective employer.

The main difficulty you face with this question is of course that it’s almost impossible to prepare for in advance. You’re going to have to think fast. However, rather than replying immediately I’d suggest you buy some time by getting the interviewer to talk a little more about the problem. Don’t be afraid to ask them a few questions first to make sure you fully understand what the problem is – and what the circumstances are. As well as arming you with more facts, this will also give you some valuable thinking time.

If you’re asked the alternative question, “Can you tell me about a difficult problem that you resolved?” then you’re lucky – because you can prepare a perfect example for this well in advance of the interview. Please refer to the previous question, Question 14, “Can you tell me about a major problem at work that you’ve had to deal with?” for details of how best to handle this.

The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

Take the fear out of your interview and never be stuck for the right answer to even the toughest questions with The Interview Question & Answer Book.

The job market is fierce, competition has never been greater and it's important that you can grab every opportunity for competitive advantage and stay one step ahead. Written by one of the world's leading careers experts and bestselling author of The Interview Book, this definitive guide to questions and answers encourages every job-hunter to think on your feet and express your individuality while supplying ideal responses to interview questions so that you’re seen as the ideal candidate for the job.


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More classic interview questions and answers


How would you describe yourself? / How would your boss/colleagues/team/family/friends describe you?

In what ways are you a team player?

Do you work well on your own initiative?

What techniques do you use to get things done?

What motivates you?

Are you proactive?

Are you creative?

Are you a risk-taker?

How do you handle pressure and stress?

Can you tell me about a time when you have failed to achieve a goal?

What's the worst mistake you've made at work and how did you deal with it?

How would you handle the following situation?

Can you tell me about a major project you have successfully completed?

Can you tell me about a major problem at work that you've had to deal with?

We have a problem with x. How would you resolve that?

What do you do when you disagree with your line manager?

How would you describe yourself as a manager?

Can you give me an example of when you have successfully coached a member of your team?

What is your customer service philosophy?

How did you get your last job?

What does your current job involve on a day-to-day basis?

What contribution do you make to the department in which you work?

What changes have you made to your current job role since you started?

What have you learned in your last job?

Can you tell me about your last appraisal?

How would you describe your current boss?

Why did you leave that job?

Which of your jobs was the best?

Why is there a gap in your resume/CV?

What do you know about us as an organization?

What do you know about our products/services?

What do you think are our organization's greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

What do you know about the vacancy for which you are applying?

How do your skills and experience match the job description/person specification?

What appeals to you most about this vacancy?

Why have you chosen this line of work?

Are there any other organizations to which you are applying?

How does this job compare to others for which you are applying?

Can you describe your ideal employer to me?

What sort of person would you most like to work for?

In what ways is your degree relevant to the work you are now doing?

What have you learned and how have you developed over the last year/five years?

What sports are you/have you been involved in?

Do you know what the current headline news is?

How quickly can you adapt to a new work environment?

Would it be a problem if we asked you to work overtime/evenings/weekends?

What is your current salary package?

What salary package are you expecting for this role?

When would you be available to start?

Do you mind if we contact your current employer for a reference?