Classic Interview Questions and Answers

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

Alternative and related questions:

Would you give us permission to take up appropriate personal and professional references?

The meaning behind the question:

While the interviewer’s interest in checking your references is certainly not a negative sign, it’s still not yet a job offer. Most employers (if they have any sense) will take up references before hiring someone. It’s always a sensible precaution.

Your answer:

You don’t want your referees to be pestered unnecessarily by time wasters. By the time they have handled their umpteenth enquiry of the day, they are a lot less likely to say nice things about you! This is consequently not as straightforward a question to answer as it might at first seem. Your answer needs to be phrased in such a way as to make it clear that you have nothing to hide and you would be quite happy to provide details of referees but that this should only be done once your application is subject to a firm job offer. This is an entirely reasonable request and deserves to be respected.

Example:

I understand the importance of references and would be delighted for you to have a word with my referees – I’m confident they’ll be very supportive of my application. However, because my decision to change jobs is quite a sensitive issue – particularly with regard to my current employer – I would of course prefer if we could leave the issue of referees until such time as we might be discussing a firm job offer.

The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

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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 organisation?

What do you know about our products/services?

What do you think are our organisation'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 organisations 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?

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