Questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering interviews

We analyzed 711 interview reviews for Memorial Sloan Kettering from various job sites, social network groups and forums.

Here are the most frequent job interview questions asked by HR managers during initial phone or onsite interviews. This list does not include technical or factual questions.

16 frequent non-technical questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering:

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What is your greatest weakness?
Describe a time you went above and beyond for a customer
Tell me about yourself
Tell me about a stressful situation and how you dealt with it
What is the biggest lesson you've learned from a mistake you made?
What are your long-term goals?
Describe a time you worked on a team with individuals from different cultural backgrounds
Why did you choose your major?
Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work. How did you handle it? What have you learned?
Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What did you learn?
Why did you leave your last job?
What experience do you have in this field?
What are your salary requirements?
Tell me about a time when someone criticized your work in front of others. What did you do?
Describe a time when you had to overcome a significant obstacle on a job

According to our research, hiring managers at Memorial Sloan Kettering ask soft skills interview questions 2.5x more than at other companies.

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1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?top question

How to answer

This question belongs to a family of behavioral, or even more precisely, reflective questions.

The interviewer wants to see whether you are reflective about yourself, whether you are ambitious and strive to grow as a professional, whether you like to learn and develop your skills.

They are also looking for your ambitions to fit the career path opportunities related to the position you are applying for.

  1. About Yourself

    Presumably, you are interested to grow professionally.

    Think about the possibilities that may lie ahead for you: take a personality test (I recommend 16Personalities which is based on Myers-Briggs test), research the internet on what career paths are possible with your skills and current job.

    What challenges do you like overcoming?

    For example, if you are applying for a software tester position, you may find it fascinating to master automated testing in full and eventually become a software engineer, or you may be a natural trainer and love coaching other people which may lead you to become a QA team or department lead, or you may be more interested in understanding business aspects of requirements which may logically lead you into a Business Analyst position.

    However, if you are happy just where you are and want to further your current skills, that is also fine as long as there is a growth path for you that can be imagined and described.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company to learn what career opportunities may be available in the department you are applying to, and what the trends are in the company in general.

    • Is the business expanding, are they opening new locations, or starting new projects?
    • Or are they heavily automating and cutting staff?

    Let’s say you are applying for a UX designer position for a brand-new product.

    In the future, if the product becomes a success - which is what the company hopes for - the company will hire more designers and you may become a lead designer, or you may become a product manager.

    On a side note: If you train your mind to be open to opportunities you will be amazed at how much this world has to offer to you!

  3. About The Fit

    And, of course, try to see where the perfect fit lies between your own potential and aspirations, and the company’s trends and hopes.

    However, beware of the risk of showing too much excitement for future opportunities compared to your attitude towards the current position.

    If you aren’t really excited about the position you are applying for and you demonstrate this lack of enthusiasm, the interviewer may conclude that you are not a good fit for the current position.

    Try to find a source of excitement in the current position as well, otherwise, you may be doing yourself a disservice by applying to a position you will find boring in 2-3 months.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

This question gives you a good opportunity to showcase your Key Selling Points (e.g. “As I am very good at delegating tasks, I can easily see myself leading a team of software testers in the future…”), and end your statement by asking about current initiatives and goals at the company.

It is generally NOT a good idea to say something like:

“Oh, I cannot imagine what happens to me tomorrow, let alone in 5 years”.

This will show you as a person who is unimaginative and not forward-thinking enough to grow with and be a good fit for the company.

Statistics

This question is asked 40% more frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

2. What is your greatest weakness?

How to answer

This question ranks as the most challenging for many people. Fortunately, Mr. Simon is here to help!

Interviewers ask this question to gauge your level of self-awareness, your honesty and openness, and your capability for self-improvement.

  1. About Yourself

    No one is perfect and your interviewer doesn't expect you to be perfect either.

    While it is good to be honest and open, it will not help you to put yourself down.

    What's important is to find a weakness that you have overcome or something that is not related to the position for which you are applying.

    For example, one of our clients admitted that he is not very good at public speaking and that he has recently become a member of Toastmasters International to improve. What a respectful answer and approach, in my view!

  2. About The Company

    Research the company (website, social media, etc) to learn about the company culture.

    What personal and professional qualities do they value?

  3. About The Fit

    It is important that the weakness you decide to talk about is not one that will prevent you from performing the job for which you're applying.

    For example, if you're applying for a front-end developer position, do not talk about how you are struggling to understand HTML code.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Use this question to sell yourself!

It's important to show how well you've overcome a weakness by motivating yourself and learning a new skill to grow professionally.

Statistics

This question is asked 26% more frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Which of the following would be the best answer:

ASometimes I just work too hard

BI have trouble saying “no” when a colleague asks for help and I have my own work to finish

CI am a perfectionist

DI cannot think of a single thing

3. Describe a time you went above and beyond for a customer

How to answer

This question lets the interviewer know how well you think on your feet and how great your customer service skills are.

  1. About Yourself

    Think about the time you were a customer, how were you treated and how could your experience have been made the best?

    Now think about the time you had to help a customer. What did you do to make that experience unforgettable for him?

  2. About The Company

    Think carefully about the company and what they are looking for. Read online reviews and any other available information.

    • What are their standards for treating customers?
    • What complaints have you seen that can give you a hint of some of the challenges associated with customer service?
  3. About The Fit

    Think of the company's ideals and connect those with your skills and qualifications. Now think of how these requirements are met by how you went above and beyond for a customer.

    Frame your story in terms of your STAR method:

    S - What was the Situation?
    T - What was your Task?
    A - What Action did you take?
    R - Talk about the Results.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Showing you have compassion and empathy for customers is always an excellent way to answer the question. However, always remember to frame your answers in terms of how the company addresses these issues.

Statistics

This question is asked 3.5x more frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

4. Tell me about yourself

How to answer

This question may sound vague, but it actually requires a matter of fact, concise and relevant answer. Here’s how you can approach it.

  1. About Yourself

    What is your current occupation? Define yourself professionally in one statement.

    Pick 3 key skills that make you great at your work (your Key Selling Points). How have you applied these skills?

    Try to give some numbers to support your statement.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company.

    Based on what you know about the company and the job description, why are you interested in the position you are applying for?

  3. About The Fit

    • Based on your Key Selling Points and your knowledge about the company, why do you think you are a good fit for this position?
    • Can you support your statement with relevant examples from your past experiences?

    Try to be concise and stay within 1-2 minutes.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

You can also end with a question like:

Do you know what the current needs in the company/department are, where my skills and experience can help?"

That can help you learn more about the company and the job, turn the "interrogation" into a conversation and will allow you to relax some tension.

Read our blog post to learn more about how to answer this question.

Statistics

This question is asked 53% less frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Pick the best answer:

AMy name is Andrew Franklin, I am 28 years old, and I am looking for a job that pays well.

BHello, my name is Natalie Price. I have two children and I love playing billiards and travelling. I am 33 years old.

CHi Mr. Simon, my name is Stanley Clark and I am a certified Project Management professional known for completing projects on time and on budget. I am passionate about building agile work culture and delivering results.

DHi Mr. Simon, my name is Dorothy Hanson. I have previously worked as an accountant in retail, but currently I am trying to transition into the field of healthcare.

5. Tell me about a stressful situation and how you dealt with it

How to answer

Nowadays, professional life is stressful everywhere and always. However, there are levels of stress that are so common that we consider them normal, and there are times when they really skyrocket.

Your future employer wants to know how you will behave in such times, whether you will be a helping hand or a burden.

  1. About Yourself

    Remember a time when you had to hit a tight timeline and to work long hours, hard and overtime; or when you found yourself in the middle of a conflict with someone, or with a group of people.

    If you had more than one such occasion, choose one that ended positively and successfully, and ideally, that can demonstrate some of your key skills - your Key Selling Points.

    Most likely, the situation was highly emotional.

    • What helped you persevere?
    • Was there an element that you enjoyed?

    For example, in one of our projects, my team and I had to hit a really tough timeline for a customer, which seemed almost impossible in the beginning.

    However, we knew that we owned the results and that a major decision by the customer depended on the outcome. This sense of ownership, meaning, and impact gave us energy and excitement.

    Those were the challenges that we loved and could deal with for a sustained period of time. Also, the pleasure of working with a highly qualified top manager on the customer’s side added to the enjoyment.

    Now, after a few years, we remember those times as some of the most exciting for our team.

  2. About The Company

    • What do you know about the company, where you may encounter a stressful situation?
    • Are they working on a major project which is approaching a due date?
    • Are they going through a difficult time when cost-saving is a top priority, company culture is full of negativity and mistrust, they have gone through massive layoffs, customers are neglected, and everyone wears a long face?

    These are always stressful times, and you should try to know more about expectations in the company, and how realistic they are.

    Or, are they just a dynamic, highly agile company run by smart and creative folks, which may work excellently for some people and be confusing and mind-blowing for others?

    Do your research.

  3. About The Fit

    Think of your ideal workplace environment.

    • Does this company feel like it?
    • Do you feel excited and enthusiastic about the kinds of stress you may encounter here?

    If you feel compatible with this company culture and enthusiastic about the challenges you expect here, this is a good chance to mention it and to show your excitement.

    Explain your approach or rationale and give your example from the past.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

If you cannot remember any stressful situation with a positive outcome, you can use one with a negative outcome accompanied by your lessons learned.

However, this option should not be your first choice, as the failure to give an example of a successful outcome may portray you as an emotionally immature person.

Statistics

This question is asked 98% more frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

6. What is the biggest lesson you've learned from a mistake you made?

How to answer

It’s important to know how to answer a job interview question about mistakes.

They ask questions like this to learn how you handle challenges.
They also want to determine your weaknesses, and decide if you have what it takes to do the job well.

It’s a chance for the interviewer to see that you can learn from your mistakes and use the experience to get better.

  1. About Yourself

    Do your best to tell a positive story about how the mistake was made, how you dealt with it and what learned from it.

    We all make mistakes from time-to-time. Answering some of the following questions will help you understand your own view of dealing with mistakes and their consequences.

    For instance:

    • How do you use a mistake to improve your abilities?
    • Are you self-aware enough to acknowledge failure and weakness?
    • Do you take smart risks?
    • How do you view success, failure, and risk in general?
    • Do you take responsibility for past mistakes instead of putting the blame on others?
    • If the situation repeats, what would you do differently? What would you do again?
  2. About The Company

    Before the interview, look over the job listing, research the company.

    Try to think of a mistake you have made in the past that is not too closely related to the requirements of the job you are interviewing for. What kind of challenges might you face if you get the job here?

  3. About The Fit

    It’s your opportunity to emphasize the skills or qualities you gained from your past negative experience that are important for the job you’re interviewing for now.

    Put a positive spin on your response by defining the “mistake” as a “learning experience” that led to your increased competency in the workplace.

    Talk about a specific example of a time you made a mistake. Briefly explain what the mistake was; quickly switch over to what you learned, or how you improved, after making that mistake.

    You might also explain the steps you took to make sure that mistake never happened again. Say that something you may have struggled with in the past has actually now become one of your strengths.

    Pick a story that ends with a compelling example of a lesson learned. Tell your story using the STAR method.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Make absolutely sure that the interviewer understands that you learned from the experience.

Never blame others for what you did (however, if you were part of a team failure, you could relate this experience, just be sure to own up to your part in it).

Always be accountable for what you could have done differently in the failure. Demonstrate that you’ve had the maturity to benefit from previous “lessons learned” and you can move on with increased wisdom and competency.

Statistics

This question is asked 5.9x more frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

7. What are your long-term goals?

How to answer

Even in this age of the so-called Gig Economy, employers are always looking for people who can become their strong and loyal “soldiers,” a part of their “army” to help them conquer their market share against their competitors.

So, even if at this moment this job may be a temporary contract, you never know what opportunities may present themselves to you in this company.

Trust me, your hiring manager doesn’t know either!

So, be open to opportunities and use this question to emphasize how your personal goals correspond with those of the company.

  1. About Yourself

    Start with honestly assessing yourself. (At this moment, you are not sharing these thoughts with anyone, so be as open as you can).

    Imagine that you have all the resources in the world and that all roads are open for you.

    • How would you use them?
    • Which road(s) would you choose?
    • What do you see on the horizon in that direction?

    Be audacious and don’t limit yourself. There is no longer a perspective than “long-term,” so be as futuristic as you possibly can.

    List a few “road” options that you would be enthusiastic about going down.

    For example, this list may be as broad as the following:

    • writer
    • choir director
    • software engineer and architect
    • CEO of a unicorn startup company,
    • entrepreneur.

    As William Shakespeare once said, “We know what we are, but we know not what we may be.”

  2. About The Company

    Now, look at the company.

    • What is the industry they operate in?
    • What is the position you are applying for, and what are potential career growth possibilities within the department, company, and industry?
  3. About The Fit

    Which of your “road” options correspond best with the opportunities presented by this company?

    Highlight this option and focus on it. Imagine, in as much detail as you can, going down this road.

    What would be the major milestones for you, in order to move towards your goal?

    Describe the chosen option by focusing on the first 1-2 milestones, and by presenting it in light of company goals and current initiatives.

    For example, if you are applying for a project manager position in a corporation engaged in the education industry, and your “road” option is “CEO,” your next career step may be a program manager, or an innovations and research manager.

    Explain why you are enthusiastic about reaching these goals, and what makes you think you have the necessary traits and skills to reach them.

    How can the company benefit from these traits and skills of yours already today, in the current role you are applying for?

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Framing your answer in the same terms used by the company will help ensure the interviewer can easily understand your language and help both of you to be “on the same page.”

The easier you make it for the interviewer, the better are your chances they will “vote” for you over other candidates.

Statistics

This question is asked 2.1x more frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

8. Describe a time you worked on a team with individuals from different cultural backgrounds

How to answer

Why do interviewers ask this question?

Nowadays many companies rate global and cultural awareness as a key competency for all employees. For most jobs today, it is essential to be able to work well with diverse teams, including individuals who understand international and cultural differences and can interact respectfully with individuals from diverse cultures, political affiliations, races, religions, ages, genders and sexual orientations.

  1. About Yourself

    Answering this question highlights your ability to navigate cultural differences at work.

    Think about your team experiences and times when you’ve had to overcome differences with colleagues.

    • How do you adapt to working with team members of different communication styles?
    • Are you open-minded enough to consider all their ideas even if you don't agree?
    • How do you handle the differences in attitudes and values between you and people from other countries or backgrounds?
    • Do you show respect and are you diplomatic with those people?

    Maybe you haven’t worked with people from different cultures, but you may have been studying or been friends with people from different backgrounds.

    Address your personal life, if necessary, and emphasize your curiosity and openness to other cultures.

  2. About The Company

    A careful review of the job description, along with some research of the company will help you anticipate what aspects of global/cultural awareness are most important for a particular role in the company you are applying to.

  3. About The Fit

    Demonstrate your openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity, and the ability to interact respectfully with all people and show your understanding of individuals’ differences.

    Your task is to prove to the interviewer your ability to build strong and caring relationships based on trust and shared goals.

    Use the STAR method to tell a story about how your experience helped you to create an open and inclusive workplace environment, so all team members felt empowered to contribute.

    Ensure the interviewer that you are very comfortable working with team members from other cultures and possibly with different communication styles. Make it your advantage.

    For example, you can say something like: “At my recent work, representatives of different cultures participated in one common project. As a result, our team was able to approach the tasks from different viewpoints to reach a successful conclusion.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Working in a multicultural team has both advantages and challenges at the same time. In such a team you can broaden your outlook.

Challenges that you have to overcome are: to understand other people’s language and culture, to get used to the different ways they think and work; to reduce mistrust that can be a barrier to understanding each other, and to promote awareness of cultural diversity in the workplace.

If you overcome these challenges, you will be the ideal employee at any job.

Statistics

This question is asked 4.1x more frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

9. Why did you choose your major?

How to answer

Everyone has his/her reasons to pick a major.

There are hundreds and hundreds of careers to choose from and most people pick a major that will give them a background in the career they want to pursue.

When you come to a job interview you will be definitely asked this question.

The interviewers are seeking to understand your underlying motivations for selecting this career.

It is also a good question for them to learn how much planning and thought actually went into your career selection. It is a window into your personality and interests.

  1. About Yourself

    This is your chance to highlight your strengths and how your major prepared you for your future plans.

    Your answer to this question should reflect your passion and interest in the field you chose. Be genuine.

    There’s every reason to display your passions and interest in your major. They will give interviewers a sense of who you really are.

    Think about who or what influenced your career choice and include the positive influences, not the negative ones.

    • How does this tie into your major?
    • How will you bring your passion and unique knowledge to the new company?

    Emphasize your strong people skills and excellent communication skills, allowing you to connect with others.

    Think of the skills and experiences you gained through your major, think back to assignments and projects from your studies, internships and previous jobs. Consider the skills you developed working on those projects.

  2. About The Company

    Write down a list of skills and experiences you gained through your major studies.

    Then, look at the job listing itself.

    Match up any of your skills and experiences that relate to the requirements of the job. How can you apply them to your new position, as well as the future?

  3. About The Fit

    Use this question as an opportunity to mention a few skills related to your chosen major that would also be relevant in the workplace.

    Point to a good culture fit.

    Be positive, showing your enthusiasm. Let them know you're excited to be where you are.

    Discuss what you enjoy about the industry you’re considering and why you could see yourself working in it. Even if your major is not directly related to the job, you can likely find connections between the two.

    This is also a chance to explain other ways you have developed skills that will fulfill the role you're applying for.

    For example, perhaps you were a biology major who is applying for a job in computer programming. You might explain that you took a number of online and extracurricular classes on programming to develop the skills needed for the job.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Let your past decisions and accomplishments shine through. Once you nail your interview, you'll be on your way to a successful career path.

Statistics

This question is asked 2.9x more frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

10. Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work. How did you handle it? What have you learned?

How to answer

Wherever you go, you will always have to work with people. This means that there is a greater chance for conflict to happen. This question helps the interviewer determine how well you would fit within the organization.

  1. About Yourself

    Think of the times you had to deal with conflict.

    • What were the different ways you were able to address the situation?
    • If you were the cause of the conflict, how did the other person talk you down from the conflict?
    • What were the key lessons you learned through your experience?
  2. About The Company

    Research the company and its culture.

    • What do they value?
    • Is there anything that you can find about how they deal with conflict resolution?

    Reading comments to their social media posts often prove helpful to see how they react to customers' complaints.

  3. About The Fit

    • What have you found out about the company’s culture and job description?
    • Are they looking for someone who can take charge and resolve conflict?

    Tell a story of how you addressed conflict and how it turned a negative into a positive. Try to conclude with your lessons learned or methodology for approaching conflicts - this will show the interviewer that you would be able to apply your methodology to future situations.

    Use the STAR method to frame your story.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

A key to addressing conflict is listening, communication and emotional intelligence. Highlight these skills.

If you're able to, turn the question around and ask the interviewer if they have experienced the same thing. This will start a conversation, which is the goal of an interview.

Statistics

This question is asked 48% more frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

11. Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What did you learn?

How to answer

The ability to meet deadlines is crucial in most roles.

However, nobody is perfect, and deadlines will be missed from time-to-time.

This is not a "loaded" or “gotcha” question, designed to catch you. It is a genuine question, asked by the interviewer who knows that there will be times when deadlines pass, and projects go sideways.

  • What they want to know is - how you reacted?
  • Are you someone who is able to turn a negative into a positive or a person who would allow yourself to be sidetracked by such a failure?
  1. About Yourself

    Here are some questions to ask yourself regarding missing and meeting deadlines.

    Knowing the answers to the following questions will help you formulate your answer to the overall deadline question.

    Use them to tell about a specific situation where you missed a deadline but were able to turn it into a positive.

    • Do you take personal responsibility for failing to meet a deadline? (Don’t attempt to put the blame on others, this should be about you)?
    • How well do you work under pressure?
    • What helps you to stay focused when faced with a major deadline?
    • How do you prioritize your tasks?
    • What will you do to keep missing a deadline from happening again in the future?
  2. About The Company

    When you research the company, try and find out what kind of challenges they are facing.

    • What responsibilities will you be tasked with?
    • Will there be a degree of pressure like hitting targets, meeting deadlines or managing multiple tasks at once?

    The job description may also be a good source for understanding what types of tasks might need to meet deadlines.

  3. About The Fit

    When answering a question relating to not meeting deadlines, it is important to look for a story that has a positive outcome regardless of the initial failure to meet a deadline.

    Use the STAR method to tell the story in which something fairly important didn’t go right due to your personal actions (or lack of actions).

    Emphasize that you took personal responsibility for the shortcoming and talk about what you did to improve the situation, how you were able to turn the situation into a positive and what you did to prevent it from happening again.

    Ensure the hiring manager that you learned your lesson and have practiced good work habits since that time.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Here is an example of a possible answer to this tough interview question.

Last year I missed a project deadline for an important client because I underestimated the need for support staff on the project. Despite working overtime, I missed the deadline by three days. When I realized that the deadline was fast approaching, I called the client and apologized for the delay (as well as informing my boss). I took full responsibility for the inconvenience and provided a new timeline that I could meet. I met the second deadline that I promised the client, and they were impressed with my transparent and honest attitude throughout the process. Since then I have not failed to meet a deadline."

Statistics

This question is asked 6.8x more frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

12. Why did you leave your last job?

How to answer

This question may be a little touchy for some people, but it's a question asked by interviewers, to find out why you left, in order to better understand how you may or may not make a good fit with their company.

Remember, never speak ill of your old company (this will not go over well).

  1. About Yourself

    Most likely, there are three possible reasons you left or are leaving your last job:

    • You are looking for a career change
    • You are unhappy with your current employment
    • You were let go.

    Whatever the reason, it's best to always speak in a positive light.

  2. About The Company

    Based on your research about the company and the position, what do you like most about the company?

  3. About The Fit

    If you are looking for career advancement or a career change, you can be very upfront and honest. Be as enthusiastic as you can about the position.

    If you were unhappy with your previous job, focus on the positives. Talk about the ways that you will best fit in with the company, in the role for which you're applying.

    If you were let go, focus on the positive. Share your accomplishments at your previous employment.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Whatever the reason you are looking for a new opportunity, always turn things around to show how you are the perfect fit for the job for which you are interviewing!

Statistics

This question is asked 44% less frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

13. What experience do you have in this field?

How to answer

This question may help you convince the interviewer how smoothly you would fit into the position to which you are applying. It's your chance to WOW them! Be sure to focus on the experience that is relevant to the company and position.

  1. About Yourself

    Start with defining your Key Selling Points you want to emphasize for this position.

    • What job experiences brought you to those points?
    • What were the job titles and the most relevant responsibilities?
  2. About The Company

    Do your research of the company and the requirements for the position.

    • What is the company looking for in terms of experiences and qualifications?
    • What problems are they trying to solve with this position?

    Highlight 3-5 key required experiences or skills from the job description.

  3. About The Fit

    Which of your Key Selling Points match with the required experiences or skills? Can you think of an example story showcasing this match?

    Nowadays, every hiring manager wants results, so think in terms of specific achievements and try to structure your example accordingly.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

When telling your story, remember to talk about your STARs!
S - What was the Situation?
T - What was your Task?
A - What Action did you take?
R - Talk about the Results.

Statistics

This question is asked 24% less frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

14. What are your salary requirements?

How to answer

This question seems factual, but it gauges how well you value yourself and how well you know your industry.

This is your opportunity to present yourself as a qualified professional and get a proper salary!

Read on to learn how you can answer this question with confidence, using an analytical approach. The answer may be given as a range or as a single target number.

  1. About Yourself

    The first thing to research is the salary range for your role in the market. What is the industry standard?

    Next, think of your qualifications for the role. Weigh in your traits, skills, education, and experience. Try this exercise, draw a line on a piece of paper where on the left side sits a complete beginner, and on the right side - the best professional in the world the company may try to invite for the role. Where do you position yourself?

    Now, remember that once you start in your new role, your qualifications will be growing fast, due to all the new experience you will be gaining - consequently, your value will rise as well. Your salary, on the other hand, will not increase as quickly. So, try to imagine where your qualifications will bring you, on that scale, in about a year into the new job.

    Map the scale against the industry range. Now you should be able to come up with an objective figure, as opposed to pure speculation.

    This is not real math, however, so your number cannot be very precise, of course. Define a range, which starts with the minimum that will keep you satisfied a few months into the job, and the maximum which, a year into the job, will give you the lifestyle you would ideally like to have at that time.

    Make sure the range stays within 40%-60% between extremes. Remember, the higher the position up the ladder, the wider the range can be. What is the number in the middle? Will you feel comfortable with this number?

  2. About The Company

    Research the company and find out what they are paying. The best places to find this information are Glassdoor, LinkedIn, PayScale and other similar websites.

  3. About The Fit

    Based on your research, does the company fit your desired salary range?

    Now, whether you should be giving a range, or a single target number is a matter of debate. I personally think that a single number, given in a suggestive manner, is better than the range, because when given a range, they may logically gravitate towards the lower end, especially since you’ve said that the lower number is acceptable.

    One example of how to structure your answer of a single target number is this:

    I have done my research and based on the average for the industry, location, and my level of expertise, something like XXX seems reasonable to me. What do you think?

    Besides giving the factual answer that the interviewer is asking for, such an answer will also show you to be someone who takes the initiative, who goes the extra mile, and someone with data-driven and analytical mindset.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Firstly try asking the interviewer to give you their intended range as budgeted for this role, which is a regular practice in most companies. However, don’t be too evasive and if you see they are not inclined to give you their number, name yours.

Statistics

This question is asked 8% more frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

15. Tell me about a time when someone criticized your work in front of others. What did you do?

How to answer

Everyone has been criticized at one point or another in life and at work.

The ability to handle criticism and respond to it appropriately is half the battle in any job situation.

This question is another way of asking about recognizing your weaknesses and doing something about them.

Asking this question, interviewers want to determine if you are a team player, to gauge how you respond to stressful situations and whether you can take criticism, suggestions and corrections with the right attitude.

  1. About Yourself

    Remember a situation from a previous job when someone criticized your work in front of other co-workers.

    • When you had such an unpleasant experience, how did you handle it?
    • How did you feel at that moment?
    • Did critiquing of your work make you defensive, angry or undervalued?
    • Or did you own up to the criticism and develop a way to improve your work going forward?
  2. About The Company

    Research the company. Read the job description carefully and the list of responsibilities required.

    What challenges and kinds of situations may you face in your new role?

  3. About The Fit

    To be a good employee, you’ve always got to be open to criticism.

    If you’re not open to criticism, then you’re not coachable. If you’re not coachable, then you’re less valuable than you could be.

    If you can’t think of an example from work, offer an example of a school project, internship, etc. But don’t say you have never been criticized.

    Using the STAR method, explain a situation where a real person gave you a critique in front of others. Provide relevant details and data as this will help provide an accurate picture of the scene.

    Here is an example of an answer:

    In my previous work as a blog writer, I accidentally missed an important sentence from the text that was very critical for the context of the whole article. When we had an organizational meeting where all the staff was present, the supervisor told me about it. I was embarrassed but took the criticism in a positive way because it was really a constructive one and, after all, the error was completely my fault. However, I did not let it shake my self-confidence; instead, I used it to help me improve the quality of my work. I respected his criticism, kept working more efficiently and at the end of the month I completed 2 more articles without a single mistake.”

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

Dealing with criticism doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems. Criticism may initially hurt our ego, but in the end, it helps improve our work product.

Statistics

This question is asked 12.6x more frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

16. Describe a time when you had to overcome a significant obstacle on a job

How to answer

This is a tough question because you’re forced to talk about a difficult time with a complete stranger. Fortunately, it’s also a great opportunity to turn a big challenge into a great accomplishment.

This question is designed to help the interviewer discover what type of problem-solver you are.

Why do employers ask this question?

It’s because they want to know that they’re hiring someone who can think on their feet and who is resilient when facing challenges.

  1. About Yourself

    It’s your chance to show that in tough times you turn to your inner strength and possess skills to find the right solutions.

    You probably had to solve many problems daily at work. It’s high time to remember them.

    If you do not prepare examples in advance, this question will get you off guard and you will find it difficult to remember all the details on the move.

    Start with recalling a few examples of real obstacles you coped with. For each of them, think about:

    • What was the project or task you were trying to accomplish?
    • What was the obstacle? This can be a specific problem related to your job or a higher-order issue across the organization.
    • What steps did you take to address the issue?
    • What decisions did you have to make?
    • How did the company benefit from your decisions?
    • How would you describe your approach, or what lessons have you learned?

    Be careful how you respond to this question. Make sure that you select a difficult work situation where you were not the cause.

  2. About The Company

    When you research the company, try and find out what kind of challenges they are facing. Try to find out what they need in terms of problem resolution.

    Search for online reviews, complaints and any other useful resources. What problems and obstacles can the employees face with this position?

  3. About The Fit

    This is your opportunity to showcase your problem-solving skills, resilience, and strength of character. Talk through your problem-solving process and show how you can think on your feet.

    Pick an example relevant to the position you are aiming for.

    Let’s say, you are applying for a blog writing job. The job description mentions that a successful candidate must have experience working “in a dynamic environment.”

    You could mention a situation in which you had to write an article on short notice because your coworker failed at the last moment to complete the assignment. You were short of time but worked extra hours to prepare the article successfully and on time.

    This answer would show your experience in blog writing, your sense of responsibility, ability to achieve results under stress, your willingness to go the extra mile, your problem-solving skills.

Get personalized insights

How do you demonstrate your Fit during the interview? Recruiters say, showing that your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company and job opening improves your chances of landing the job by 95%.

Doing company research and tailoring your answers towards what’s important can be an exhausting, time-consuming process. You may think: there is so much information out there, where should I look exactly? What is important for me, for my particular situation?

You are in the right place! Just choose the type of position you are applying for, enter the job description, and we’ll do the rest.

You will get a personalized guide on how to answer the interview questions at Memorial Sloan Kettering based on your target position. The guide contains:

  • Key company highlights
  • How these highlights apply to you
  • How to build your interview answers to emphasize your relevance

To start, select the type of position you’re applying for:

Engineering

Managerial

Business Development / Sales

Other

Pro Tip

This question is not about your past, it's how you deal with things that will happen in the future, so try to keep your answer short and focused.

After all, the interviewer is really looking for what you took away from the situation and doesn’t need to know the full backstory of what happened.

Use the STAR method to prepare your story and practice it so that you can stay within 1-2 minutes.

Make sure to show that you remained positive when overcoming a hurdle at work. Positive attitudes lead to positive outcomes.

Statistics

This question is asked 21% more frequently at Memorial Sloan Kettering than at other companies.

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This page has been updated on March 2, 2021.

You can practice answering this question, as well as over 160 other common job interview questions from Memorial Sloan Kettering by engaging in a mock interview with Mr. Simon. As an artificial being, his undeniable benefits include:

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