Commonly Asked Questions in the IT Interview Process

Personal Questions

Tell me about yourself

  • Answer these questions in terms of the qualifications required of the position.
  • Keep responses concise and brief and avoid being derogatory or negative about previous jobs and bosses.
  • “Tell-me-about-yourself” means, “Tell me about your qualifications.” Prepare a one to two minute discussion of your qualifications. Start with education and discuss your experiences. For example, “I graduated from Stanford in 1999 and have been in financial services since that time. Most recently, I have been working as a senior business development officer for X bank. I’ve also had significant experience in credit and underwriting and portfolio management….”

What are your greatest strengths?

  • Interviewers like to hear abstract qualities. Loyalty, willingness to work hard, eagerness, fast-learner, technical skills, politeness, and promptness, expressed in concrete terms are good examples. Avoid the simple generalization “I like people” or “I work too hard.”

What are your greatest weaknesses?

  • Don’t be intimidated. The interviewer probably wants reassurance that hiring you won’t be a mistake. This is not the time to confess all of your imperfections. Present your weaknesses as professional strengths, (i.e., “I have the tendency to take on too much work myself, but I have been learning to delegate more effectively” OR “I tend to get very involved with the matters I work on and then if something doesn’t go well, I will sometimes take it personally.”) Do identify a weakness. Nothing is more annoying than talking to someone who thinks they have no weakness. Identify an “area you need improvement in” and say what you’ve done to improve in that area.

Personality Questions

What do you do in your spare time?

  • Workaholics are not always the best employees. Present yourself as a well-rounded person. Your answer gives you dimension. Name some hobbies.

Motive Questions
Answer motive questions enthusiastically. Show the interviewer that you are interested in the position and that you really want the job. Remember to maintain eye contact and be sincere.

What attracted you to banking or financial services, etc?

  • Talk about the aspects you enjoy about the practice, the market, the intellectual challenge, etc. In this area, it is usually more important that you exude enthusiasm and passion than what you actually say.

How can you contribute to this company?

  • Be positive and sell yourself! Bringing strong technical skills, enthusiasm, and desire to meet and exceed goals, and complete projects correctly and efficiently are good responses.

Why should I hire you for this position?

  • Explain your qualifications and how they “fit” the available position. Address your interest in the job and the field and why it’s work that you enjoy. Emphasize your ability to successfully perform the duties required.

Why do you want to work for our company?

  • Make a compliment about what the company does, its reputation, or its people. Research about the company is important here.

What interests you most about this position?

  • Teasing the interviewer with a truthful one or two-word answer such as, “the challenge” or “the opportunity”, will force them to ask you to explain. Here again, you have a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the company.

What are your career goals?

Your answer should depend on a specific time frame:

  • Short term – “I want to be the best in my current position, while learning whatever is needed to take on additional responsibilities.”
  • Long term – “After proving my abilities, I see myself in a company with career growth in management (or whatever is important to you).”

What are you doing to achieve your goals?

  • “I look at continued learning as the key to success. I continue my education, as you can see from my resume, by taking educational courses, when offered. I also read trade publications and magazines to keep informed about the current and future directions in my field. When possible, I participate in professional organizations in my field.” (Make sure you can expand on your statements).

Job Satisfaction Questions

Why did you leave your previous employer? Why do you want to leave _____?

  • NEVER speak poorly about a former employer. Be pleasant, be positive and be honest. Mention your desire to work for a more progressive company that offers more growth opportunities and recognition, better deal flow, larger loans, better technology, more diversity etc.

What did you like most/least about your previous job?

  • An employer can evaluate the type of worker you will be by the items you choose. Cite specifics. You are also providing clues about the environment you seek. What you liked most can include a strong teamwork atmosphere, high-level of creativity, attainable deadlines. What you liked least should include any situations that you are unlikely to encounter in your new position.

What are you looking for in another job?

  • Again, be positive. “I have to say that I have really enjoyed my years at _______. There are a lot of good people there. I am looking for a more progressive organization with greater opportunities for growth, and recognition. I am looking for a team to join where I can make real contributions and advance my career.”

Past Performance Questions
(To determine behavior, based on past examples)

What kinds of decisions are most difficult for you?

  • Again, be truthful and admit not everything comes easily. Be careful what you do admit so as not to instantly disqualify yourself. Explain that you try to gather as much information and advice as you can to make the best decision possible.

What causes you to lose your temper?

  • Everybody has a low boiling point on some particular issue. Pick one of yours; something safe and reasonable. People who are late to meetings, blame shifting, broken appointments and office “back-stabbing” are suitable responses. Don’t say that you never fly off the handle. You won’t be believed.

What are your greatest accomplishments?

  • Be ready to recite one or two stories that demonstrate strong capabilities or achievements that will make you attractive to your new employer. A particularly complex or difficult transaction, a notable matter that was well publicized or matters you took the lead on are a few examples.