What are LIQs? (Loaded Interview Questions)

QuestionsLike many of these MCACESBlogs, this post was inspired by class discussion during our CAR03: Work Search Tools & Techniques course.

While the process for job interviewing has evolved, oftentimes, the coping strategies on how to answer interview questions effectively has not.

This fact is great news for job seekers. If you can learn the motivation behind an interview question, you can figure out how to answer the question in a way that demonstrates your knowledge, skill and ability.

Enter the LIQ—that is, the Loaded Interview Question.

“What the heck is an LIQ?” Well, the acronym itself has been coined by yours truly, but the term refers to one of those questions, one that is so obvious that you didn’t even feel a need to practice it.

LIQs are the silent job killer.

Your professional appearance, conversational style, non-verbal messaging can all be stifled with these seemingly innocent LIQ questions.

LIQs come in many shapes and sizes, and will often vary depending upon a candidate’s inability to prepare for certain questions.

Each week, we will post some common LIQs for this blog series, why are they asked, and how should you answer them.


Tell me a bit about yourself.

What does the employer want to know? What does this question even mean?

Resist the impulse to say; “Didn’t you read my resumé?”

Mentally rephrasing this question will assist you with an appropriate answer.

“Tell me about yourself….and, why are you here?” gives more context to work with.

Many job seekers struggle with this question because they don’t know where to begin.

Keep the response professional. Think of your resumé for clues. What kinds or previous experience, education, community involvement has led you to apply to the job?

Obviously the employer considers you qualified for the role if they have agreed to meet with you.

This question is meant for you to make your resumé come to life. Think about all of the reasons you wanted the job in the first place, and use these as your guide.

Finish strong. End “the bit about yourself” with a period, not a question mark.

Lidia Siino is the Professional Development & Communications Strategist for MCACES, the Mohawk College Association of Continuing Education Students. She also is Program Manager for the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College. If you have a question or comment, please contact Lidia by emailing her at lidia.siino@mohawkcollege.ca.


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