Five Types of Interview Questions


By Dr. Howard Gauthier

During an interview, you will be judged on the answers you provide to interview questions, the delivery of your answers, and how you present yourself.  Therefore, in order to have a successful interview, you must be prepared to effectively answer each of the interview questions.

There are five basic types of interview questions: 

•  Personal questions 

•  Competency-based questions

•  Performance-based questions

•  Company-based questions

•  Position-specific questions

Personal Questions

Personal questions are focused on you and your personality.  This includes information on your background, your character, and your value system. The intent of these questions is to find out if you will be a good fit within the organization.  An example of a personal question is “Tell me about yourself”.

Competency-based Questions

Competency-based questions are designed to determine if you are qualified for the position.  They are focused on your skills, abilities, strengths, and experiences.  An example of a competency-based question is “What are your strengths (or weaknesses)”.

Performance-based Questions

Performance-based questions are also known as behavior-based questions. They are focused on how you have performed in your previous positions or how you would handle a specific problem.  These types of questions are also designed to see if you are qualified for the position and to see if you are a good fit within the organization.  An example of a performance-based question is “What is your greatest accomplishment”.

Company-based Questions

Company-based questions are designed to see if you will be a good fit within the organization.  They are focused on why you want to work for that particular company.  Company-based questions can include “Why do you want to work for us” or “What distinguishes you from the other people we are interviewing today”

Position-specific Questions

Finally, the fifth type of interview question is a position-specific question.  They are designed to test your knowledge about the actual job.  An example of a position-specific question is “What is your management style”.

In order to ace your interview, you will need to be prepared to answer questions from each of these five categories.  You will want to prepare yourself by writing out each possible question that could be asked during an interview, and your corresponding answer.  This is where your sales pitch will come into play.  You should be able to answer most interview questions by using a portion of your sales pitch or the pitch in its entirety.  To find out more about the various questions that you might be asked in an interview, refer to the book “Getting Hired in College Sports”. Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS! 


Howard Gauthier is a Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 9 books.  Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 3rd Edition.

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