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Common Questions
S.O.A.R. Answer Model


Goals of an Interview


  • Promote your potential to do the job; present your skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm
  • Evaluate the opportunity to determine if you would like to work for the organization


  • Obtain information to assess fit and decide if they would like to extend you an offer to work for them
  • Portray a positive image of the organization

Preparing for an Interview

While the goal of a resume and cover letter is to get you an interview, the goal of the interview is to enable you and the employer to gather enough information about each other to decide if you would be a good fit with the job/organization. Think of the interview as a two-way dialogue.

It is also important to recognize that interviews don’t just happen with one person in an office behind a closed door. Every interaction you have with a potential employer should be considered an interview and an opportunity to make a good impression. This can include emails, conversations at career fairs, and dining with employers.

To successfully demonstrate your skills and experience to an employer, interview preparation and practice is critical.

Common Questions

About you

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why should we hire you?

Interest in the Organization

  • Why are you interested in this organization/position?
  • How did you become interested in this field?

Motivation and Accomplishments

  • Walk me through your résumé – what jobs have you held? How did you get them? What did you learn?
  • Have you held any leadership responsibilities? If so, what were they and what did you learn from this experience?
  • What do you consider to be your most significant accomplishment? Why?


  • Why did you decide to attend the [name of school]?
  • Why did you choose your particular college major? If you were starting over, would you choose the same one? If so, why? If not, why not?
  • In looking at your academic program, which classes did you enjoy the most? The least? Why?

Maturity and Self-Awareness

  • Do you feel you have done the best scholastic work of which you are capable? If so, why? If not, why not?
  • What are your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
  • What are your short-term goals? Long-term?

Work Environment and Preferences

  • What are two or three things that are most important to you in a job?
  • In what type of work environment are you most comfortable?
  • Define teamwork.
  • Are you willing to relocate? To travel? If so, what percentage of the time would you consider traveling? If you are willing to relocate, do you have a geographical preference?

S.O.A.R. Answer Model

The S.O.A.R. Answer Model is a guide to answering interview questions in a focused and informative manner. The model is especially useful to answering behavior questions. Behavior questions are those that ask the candidate to describe how they have responded to specific situations in the past. Some example behavior questions are:

  • What was the toughest decision you had to make at a previous job?
  • Tell me about the most difficult person you’ve had to communicate with.
  • Tell me about a group project you were involved in. What was your role?

The S.O.A.R. model gives you an outline to base your answers on:


  • You begin by briefly providing context using a real life situation you experienced. This is the before picture which illustrates what was happening at the time of the situation.
  • Be sure to include enough detail so someone who is new to your story can understand what was happening. Where did it take place? Who was involved? What was your role?



  • Be sure to include enough detail so someone who is new to your story can understand what was happening. Where did it take place? Who was involved? What was your role?
  • What were you tasked with? What challenges did you face?



  • You then explain the action you took to resolve the situation.
  • What did you do in this situation? If you are sharing a team experience, at some point in your story, move from “We” to “I” to show how you individually contributed to the group.



  • Share the result of your actions. Sharing the quantifiable as well as qualitative outcomes.
  • The result explains how the experience ended. Was it successful? What did you learn? How did it benefit the organization? If it was not successful, include what you learned so the employer will know that you would approach it differently next time.

This information was taken from the UO Career Center Website