Cornell University

Office of Career Services

201 Ives Hall, 607-255-7816

Sample Interview Questions

Please note that the interview questions vary upon career field.

General Questions (any industry)

  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • How does this job fit into your long-term career goals?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?

HR Positions

  • Tell me what you know about our organization.
  • What is your background in finance and accounting?
  • What can you tell me about pay for performance?
  • What would you do if you were a compensation manager and an employee wants a promotion to a higher grade but past performance doesn't warrant a move? What if the employee threatens to quit?
  • Why did you decide to study HR?  Why did you choose Cornell?
  • How do you pay what the market pays--how do you know what the market pays?
  • What kind of company do you want to work for?
  • Why do you want to work in this industry? What other industries are you interviewing with?
  • What do you find appealing about a rotational program?
  • Describe your analytical abilities.
  • Human Resource professionals should be a model for high standards in regard to ethical and professional behaviors. Tell me about an experience when your values were challenged.
  • What are the important issues in Human Resources today? Choose one and explain an action plan.
  • What Human Resources issues have you been trained for?
  • What should business managers expect from Human Resources today?
  • "Organized labor is in eclipse." Do you agree or disagree? How does this influence the practice of the profession?
  • Devise a strategy plan to prevent good employees from leaving the organization.
  • Where should Human Resources fit in an organization? What is its role.
  • You have an employee whose quality of work is diminishing; the work is unsatisfactory. The manager looks to you. What do you do?

Labor Movement

  • Why do you want to work for a labor union?
  • Have you or your family members been active in a labor union?
  • What are your ideas for strengthening labor unions in a changing economy?
  • What type of labor union work are you seeking?
  • Are you willing to be an organizer?
  • How would you approach being an organizer in the current economical and political environment?
  • What experience do you have working for unions or other advocacy organizations?
  • Are you involved with COLA or any other activist group on-campus?
  • What language skills do you have?
  • What do you know about this union?
  • What do you plan to do if you don't get this job?