More Interview Questions and Answers
If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
Alternative and related questions:
If you could meet any personality, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Who do you most admire and why?
The meaning behind the question:
This question is not quite as nutty as it might sound. If the interviewer can identify what sort of person you admire, it will tell them a lot about your own values.
First and foremost, you should obviously select someone who well deserves to be respected and admired and, ideally, choose someone who has certain characteristics in common with you or with the person you'd like to become – characteristics which you can talk about. Choose someone who has some relevance to your current line of work. I'd quite like to meet Ingrid Bergman but it's hard to see how that could be a relevant and useful choice!
Now that's a very interesting question! Let me just think a second... I reckon I would like to have been able to meet William Shakespeare. I've always been fascinated by his work. I'd like to know how much of his work he achieved by himself, how much of it was more of a team effort, how he worked with his various collaborators, how the plays evolved over time... I know that almost all of his plays were based on earlier sources but I'd still like to know from where he drew his inspiration and how he managed to make them his own. I'm also interested in the business side of things! Whereas a number of his contemporaries might also have achieved critical success at the time, none of them seem to have been nearly as competent as Shakespeare at handling practical matters and business relationships. He ended his life a rich man, rather than dying in poverty like some of his contemporaries. He clearly had a broad diversity of different talents. A very interesting person.
Word of warning:
It's best to steer clear of anyone who might be too controversial. This means avoiding political and religious figures as well as anyone whose reputation might have been excessively sullied.
The Interview Question & Answer Book
More interview questions and answers
Talking about your current employment
- Can you tell me what you enjoy about your current job?
- What will you remember most about your last job?
- Is this the first time you have made an effort to move away from your current employers?
- How do you feel about the possibility of leaving your current job?
- How would you describe your current employer?
Talking about this vacancy
- Wouldn’t you be better suited to working in a larger/smaller organisation?
- How do you feel this vacancy differs from your current role?
- What reservations do you have about your ability to undertake this job?
- Can you describe your ideal working environment to me?
- How do you feel we compare to our competitors?
- What would you say is our Unique Selling Point?
- What would be your analysis of the current trends in our industry/sector?
Understanding your career path, plans and ambitions
- What aspects of your career path would you like to have been different?
- What are your greatest regrets about the path your career has taken?
- What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your career to date?
- What do you think are your main career options for the next five years?
- What exactly does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
Addressing problems in your career history
- Why did you only stay with this organisation for such a short time?
- Why did you stay with this organisation for such a long time?
Coping with stress and pressure
- Are you able to multitask?
- Can you juggle a number of different projects simultaneously?
- How do you handle rejection/disappointment/failure?
- How do you deal with interpersonal conflict?
- What does tact and diplomacy mean to you?
- What makes for a successful team?
Management and leadership
- Would you describe yourself as a good manager?
- Do you really think you’re management material?
- What is your attitude to delegation?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you had to lead from the front?
- Have you ever had to fire or lay off a member of your staff?
- How would you describe your ideal team member?
Personal and professional development
- In what ways do you intend to improve upon your performance?
- How has your current job prepared you for greater challenges/responsibility?
Interests and activities
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- What newspaper do you take?
- Are you interested in current affairs?
The amateur psychiatrist
- If you won the lottery what would you do?
- Can you tell me about the best teacher you ever had?
- If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
- What are you most afraid of?
Money, money, money
- Why aren’t you earning more?
- How much do you think you are really worth?
- How much does money matter to you?
- Would you still be interested in this job if you current employer offered a pay rise?
- Have you ever had to take a pay cut to keep your job?
- Have you ever asked for but been refused a pay rise?
Author: James Innes