24 Most Common Job Interview Questions and Answers
The job interview is the most important step and best chance to show the company and hiring manager that you are the best person for their job position. Before the interview, it is very important to review the job description and customize your answers to the employer and the specific opportunity. Most job interviews involve an exchange of common interview questions and answers. Here are the 24 most common interview questions, along with the best way to answer them:
- Can you tell me a little about yourself?
The first question you are probably going to get in an interview is, “Tell me a little about yourself.” it seems like such a simple question can make you sweat, especially in an interview. Now, this is not an invitation to recite your entire educational background or experiences or even to go bullet by bullet through your resume. Instead, it’s probably your first and best chance to show the hiring manager on why you are the right one for the job. So, first, you have to start with where you are right now, then, a little bit about the experiences you have had and the skills you gained at the previous position and finally, why you are excited about this particular opportunity.
- What are your biggest weaknesses?
It is a better approach to choose an actual weakness, but once you are working to improve and share what you are doing to overcome that weakness. No one is perfect, but showing you are willing to honestly self-assess and then taken steps to improve yourself that will give them a good impression.
- What are your biggest strengths?
Be clear and precise when you are asked about your greatest strengths. Provide a sharp, on-point answer, and it is important to discuss with them the attributes that will qualify you for the specific job and set you apart from the other candidates. Before the job interview take time to make matches between your qualifications and the requirements as stated in the job announcement. This way, you will have examples ready at hand to demonstrate your suitability for the job, and you can prove that you have those attributes.
- Why are you leaving or why have you left your job?
Always try to put a positive side on your response when asked about why you are moving on from your current position, stick with the facts, be direct and focus your interview answer on the future, especially if your leaving was not under the best of circumstances. It is better to give the impression that you are more motivated by the possibility of new opportunities than by trying to escape a bad situation at your working place. Do not talk about how your boss is being difficult or do not talk about how you cannot get along with other employees. It is important to avoid saying anything ill about your current organization, colleagues or supervisor because an employer is not likely to want to bring on someone who talks negatively about a company and put their reputation at stake. Instead, focus on the positive sides to want to achieve and learn; talk about things you want to accomplish; explain how a move will be great for you and your new company.
- Why should we hire you?
The company needs to know you are a candidate who can not only meet their needs but will also be valuable for where they want to go in the future. This is where you need to spend a lot of time thinking about the role, the competencies, how you meet almost all the criteria they seek and how you are the perfect fit. You need to tell them you have all the qualities they are looking for and also have two to three additional abilities that they might not even know they need for the prosperity of the company.
- How did you learn about the opening?
Do not just explain how you heard about the opening as a candidate who is just looking for a job; often, any job. Explain that you heard about the job through a colleague, a current employer, by following the company, show that you are interested enough to know about the job because you want to work there.
- Why do you want this job?
As for wanting the job not only show them why the company would be great to work for; show them about how the position is a perfect fit for what you hope to accomplish and do not want to miss the great opportunity to broaden your horizon.
You need to show your skills and ability to solve problems is a good fit for the company. Show your enthusiasm for the job where you will be able to use or learn key skills in the position that is important to you and how you fit into the culture.
- Describe your dream job.
When you are asked about your dream job in an interview talk about what you are good at doing, highlight the skills that you enjoy using most; talk about what interests you and what related experiences you have. Give the interviewer an idea about what are your career values and what motivates you. It is a good way to bring the focus back to the company you are interviewing for and have more flexibility to line up your career goals.
- What is your leadership style?
The best way for you to answer that is to give them a few examples of leadership challenges that you have faced and then share situations where you dealt with a problem, motivated the team and worked through a crisis.
And it will give you the opportunity to highlight a few of your successes.
- How you think other people would describe you.
Everyone claims to be a hard worker, good communicator, and a team player but this is the opportunity to differentiate you. Use your creativity and have stories to back it up that you are a problem-solver, game-changer and by helping others to do their job better or making their jobs easier. Give them some examples and start with the story and conclude it with how your boss or co-workers would describe you. There might be some trait or skill you know the hiring manager is looking for; so this is your chance to take the opportunity to prove that you are perfect for the job position.
- Can you explain why you changed career paths?
This is very important for any job seeker, especially critical for those whose career histories involve several jobs or professional sectors. Make it obvious what you are trying to achieve and why you are heading in that direction and present your choices in a way that shows common threads running through each of your career decisions. Show what you have learned and accomplishments at every position, especially the ones that you think will be enticing to your future employers.
If you had chosen a new career path, you could state that in your cover letter, briefly describing your reasons for the change.
- How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?
A great approach is to talk through how you apply stress-reduction tactics and then share an example of a stressful situation you navigated with ease; that shows that you can deal with pressure head-on in a productive, positive manner and let nothing stop you from accomplishing your goals.
- Explain your gap in employment
If you were unemployed for a period, be honest and explain your gap in employment. If you took a break on your terms, then tell them the point about what you have been doing at that time. And then, steer the conversation toward how you will do the job and ready to contribute to the organization.
- What do you consider to be your biggest professional achievement?
Don’t be shy when answering this interview question, set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context; describing what you did and what you achieved. You have to show the interviewer by providing specific examples of the actions you took and what results came because of them.
- What are your salary requirements?
Some companies ask the question as the opening move in salary negotiations. You have to be open and honest because you should already know to do your research on what you should be paid based on your experience, education, and skills; you will be likely to come up with a range. Give the hiring manager the impression that you know your skills are valuable, but that you want the job and are willing to negotiate, then, make sure that they know that you are flexible. You have to decide either to accept the salary offered or not, depending on what you think is fair.
- What was the last project you led and what was its outcome?
The hiring manager may want to know if you were able to collaborate with and lead a team and how you organized and motivated your team. This is the opportunity to put your skills and experience front and center to impress the hiring managers. You have to choose your words carefully considered answers that are best prepared in advance for maximum impact.
Select a project you worked on recently; it did not necessarily need to be a total success, how you handled the situation is mattered, and you will need to demonstrate the specific ways in which you organized and led your team.
- What do you like to do outside of work?
It is important to remember that you were selected for this interview based on your skills and accomplishments. So, focus on activities that indicate some sort of growth, skills you are trying to learn and goals you are trying to accomplish as a hobby. Explain those in with personal details. Most of the companies feel the cultural fit is very important and they use outside interests as a way to determine how is your personality and how you will fit into a team.
You don’t want to be unprofessional; that doesn’t mean that all of your hobbies have to be work-related, but that should not be things that could have a negative impact on your work or professional life.
- What if you disagreed with a decision that was made at work?
The interviewer is asking about your communication skills when you get asked about a time when you disagreed with a decision that was made at work. Everyone disagrees with the boss from time to time, but the hiring manager is looking to see that you have a good relationship with those in authority and how you interact with your previous boss also says a lot about you as a person. So pick the right story with an appropriate introductory statement about essentially what the moral of your story is going to be and where your actions made a positive difference on the outcome of a situation.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This is the question that applies to any organization because every employee at every company should have an entrepreneurial mindset about their career. The reason why they want to know about your plan because
– They want to make sure if you have thought about your professional future.
– They want to see if you are hard-working and ambitious enough.
– They want to make sure if your professional goals fit with the job they are offering.
So, pick a relevant goal of where you would like to be five years from now and make sure that it sounds slightly ambitious or challenging; that is related to the type of job you are interviewing for.
- Tell us about a challenge you’ve faced and how you handled it.
To answer this interview question explain on a specific work-related challenge you faced and how you overcame the obstacles, used the resources around you with your colleagues and ended up with a positive result as a learning experience.
Talk about the situation, the task you needed to accomplish, why and what method you chose to apply and how the knowledge you gain from experience & helped you to choose your career.
- What are you looking for in a new position?
You need to think about the question from the hiring manager’s perspective. The most of them are hoping that the person they are hiring for will be motivated by more than just a paycheck.
Describe what skills you have, what motivates you, how excited you are about this position, the company and why. If it works with the flow of your answer, it might be good to mention how you can see growing or building your profession at a company that’s the perfect fit. The key thing to remember with this question is to; of course, answer honestly, but diplomatically. Your answer will vary depending on the position they are offering.
- What kind of work environment do you like best?
Before you go to the interview, the best way to prepare for this question is to make sure you do your research and find information regarding the reputation of the company you are applying to.
Once you know about their working environment, you can be sure if you will be a right fit and can give examples of how you will work comfortably with their culture.
If you have worked in many types of environments, learned many things from each and don’t have a preference for a particular environment then tell them you would enjoy working for them.
On the other hand, the company’s environment will not work well for you and if you cannot find ways, don’t take the job, because you will be disappointed.
- Do you have any questions for us?
Be prepared with a list of questions that you want to be answered in the interview. Your questions may change based on who is interviewing you and how they perceived you.
Make sure you leave a good impression with your answer because this is your final chance with this question which typically comes at the end of the interview. If they think you are a good candidate, you might want to preface by expressing your excitement for the position. There will be an appropriate time to ask certain types of questions, like those about the job’s responsibilities, how you fit the position, the benefits and vacations until you get the actual offer.
- When can you start?
The best response to the question is to convey a willingness to start working as soon as possible. If you are currently employed, the date will not work for you; you will not be able to start immediately because you need to give your current employer sufficient notice.
If you have another job offer while you are in the application process for the new one, you need to be tactful about your answer, and it is not wise to share that information before you have a firm job offer. You could turn the question around instead and ask the interviewer when you can join for the position you might find more flexible than you thought.
Do’s & Don’ts at the interview
- Preparation: Before an interview, learn everything you can about the company and analyze the job requirements, the specific position you are applying for. Freshen up your resume and references, prepare and rehearse what you plan to say for the common interview questions.
- Appearance: It is very important how you make your first impression on an interviewer. Dress in a manner to the position that is professionally appropriate which you are applying for. Your dress should be comfortable, neat and clean, pressed and fit you well so that it makes you confident enough to make an impression before you say a single word to the interviewer. Avoid loud colors and flashy ornaments.
- Do Prepare: Visit the company’s website, research competitors, the position and the industry as much information about the organization as you can before the interview. Prepare some questions about the organization to ask, plan your answer to the questions during the interview. Show the potential employer you are serious about joining their team and interested enough to work for them.
- Be confident: Be friendly and professional, and when you smile it will increase likability, positivity and give confident energy that will set the mood for the interview. Discuss your competency as a great employee, but do not brag or be proud of your accomplishments. Be humble and Confident.
- Don’t lie: It may seem like a good way to impress an interviewer by lying about your qualifications or job history. Nowadays it is too easy for companies to verify information to risk lying before or during an interview and if you get hired based on those lies, it will ruin your reputation and can be grounds for dismissal later on.
- Have nothing to say: It will be frustrating for an interviewer if you answer your questions with a simple “yes” or “no.” Make sure you fully understand the question and think before you answer clearly and thoughtfully.
- Don’t Fidget: Don’t show nervousness by fidgeting, biting your nails or drumming your fingers. Fidgeting during an interview can significantly hurt your chances of getting a job.
- Don’t complain about the former employer: Never speak negatively about a former employer in an interview because it may make you look like a complainer. Give them the impression that you can get along with the former co-workers regardless of their quirks.
- Bring copies of personal details: Bring copies of your pertinent information and resumes. It will show that you are someone who comes prepared; provide potential employers with concrete examples of your accomplishments and highlight what you have done in the past with success.
- Be respectful: Don’t argue with or correct the interviewer even if you don’t agree with them. Address the potential employers as Mr. Ms. Dr. or another respectful title and don’t show attitude toward them.
- Ask questions: The interviewer wants to see excitement about the position they are offering, if you do not speak with enthusiasm about the potential job, the employer may think you don’t care, and you are not very interested about the position. Ask questions to clarify if anything you don’t understand and how the job position will help you to reach your future career goals.
- Use formal language: Don’t use foul language or talk like a teenager, use slang or jargon, they are not appropriate at an interview to let alone a place of business. Speaking with a formal and technical language makes you look more professional and competence.
- Take time before you answer: Listen carefully to the interviewer and think before you answer them. Plan your answer to the common interview questions before the interview, so that it makes it easier to provide thoughtful answers to showcase your talents.
- Highlight your success: Highlight your past successes into the interview answers to provide the potential employers with concrete examples of past workplace accomplishments that show your competence.
15. Speak with enthusiasm: Keep your energy high that shows you are excited about working for them.
16. Don’t get personal: Avoid talking about your personal life or do not discuss hot- topics like religion, politics or any other taboo subjects that have nothing to do with your job.
17. Don’t mistreat others: Be as courteous with company members as you are with your interviewer because the mistreatment of the interviewer’s support staff will get back to the hiring manager.
18. Be punctual: Don’t Be Late or excessively early, if you can’t make it to the interview on time, it will show to the potential employer that you are not reliable. So make sure that you are early on time and arriving early tells the hiring manager you are serious about your work.
19. Switch off your phone: Don’t talk on your cell phone or read text messages. Turn off all mobile devices before an interview so that the interviewer should have your complete attention.
20. A thank you note: Don’t forget to say thank you to the interviewer. It’s polite and makes a good impression if you email a note or write a thank you note to the interviewer expressing appreciation for the meeting
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