May 17, 2024

10 Common Interview Questions (And How To Answer Them)

Job interviews are all about preparation. As the interviewee, you put in the work on the front end to have thoughtful answers ready to go for the most likely questions you will be asked. That way, during the interview, you can focus some energy on evaluating the company and interviewers, just as they are evaluating you. 

These questions may seem tricky at first, but if you give them some time beforehand, they become a great opportunity for you to clearly articulate your value and professional personality. 

When preparing for interviews, it is important to remember that these questions are not made to trick you, trip you up, or make you nervous. They are designed for the interviewer to understand you and your needs better. Keeping this in mind during the interview will help alleviate nerves. 

These are not comprehensive “hacks” for answering each question, but helpful tips as you craft your own authentic answers. 

“Tell me a little about yourself.” 

Avoid giving a personal autobiography of your life. Keep your answer brief, professional, and focused. Rather than giving a full history of your work experience, cite recent personal and professional work experiences that relate to the position you are seeking that supports your resume credentials. This is a great opportunity to sell yourself but remain concise and focused.  

Be sure to include significant achievements you have reached or received and relate them to your professional purpose or the role you are interviewing for. 

“Where do you hope to be in five years?” 

For this question, it is important to be open about your career ambitions and to tailor your answers to match the type of role you are interviewing for. Set realistic goals with an emphasis on rolling up your sleeves and improving important company initiatives with teamwork and cooperation at the forefront.  

What are your weaknesses?” 

Consider two or three small, work-related shortcomings and prepare answers for what you are actively doing to overcome them using a relevant example.  

For example: 

“I have in the past had issues with time management. I recently began using an online calendar and use it daily to help keep track of my most important tasks and appointments to keep me on track.”  

What are your greatest strengths?” 

Be sure to mention assets directly related to the open job’s responsibilities. Briefly summarize your work experience and your strongest qualities and achievements. Try including any of the four specific skills that employers value highly: self-motivation, initiative, the ability to work in a team, and excellent follow-through. 

Again, it is important to give relevant, specific examples of times that your greatest strengths were on display and how they benefited your team or organization. Consider using the STAR method (situation, task, action, results) to formulate your answer to this end.  

Why should we hire you?” 

This question entices job seekers to really sell themselves and their skills. However, this question is far too often answered ineffectively. As you would in the greatest strengths question, relate your specific skills and experiences back to the role and the organization you are interviewing for.  

Show your preparation by describing how your experience, career progression, qualities, and achievements will make you an asset to that specific company. Highlight your abilities by discussing your specific skills and accomplishments. Your willingness to work will be evident in your commitment to the challenges you undertake. 

“Are you applying for any other jobs?” 

Keep your reply simple. Expressing that you are weighing job offers may be viewed as disinterest in the position. Your level of enthusiasm and passion for the company and position can speak highly of your attitude and work ethic and directly affect your chances of being hired.  

What Are Your Salary Expectations?” 

We don’t anticipate that this question will be asked, but if it is, carefully deflect it or direct the interviewer to your recruiter. 

What do you like most and least about your present job?” 

This question allows the interviewer to gather information about the type of environment or corporate culture that may suit you. Concentrate on providing specific answers that are relevant to the position. Rather than saying, “I liked the atmosphere.” Instead, offer, “I enjoyed the camaraderie of being part of a team.”  

When discussing least-liked aspects of your present or previous job, attempt to mention an area of responsibility that’s far removed from the functions of the job you’re seeking. Ensure that your answer indicates that you either performed the assignment well or that you learned something meaningful. This can prove that you can maintain tasks that don’t particularly interest you. 

“Why are you leaving your present job?” 

Be transparent about why you are exploring other things. If you are actively interviewing, a positive answer is that “you are seeking greater opportunity, challenges, and responsibility.” Certainly, avoid negativity directed toward your current employer. If you have not been interviewing but are exploring because there might potentially be a better fit for you, state so clearly.  

“Do you have any questions?” 

The interviewer isn’t likely to have uncovered every critical qualification you have for the job. Even if nothing crucial was omitted, you should still have a few questions prepared that demonstrate your knowledge of the company or organization and your desire and ability to do the job well. Your questions can help confirm that you’re the most logical candidate for the opening. 

Your questions should be tailored to the organization and role you are interviewing for, but here are a few to start with: 

  • What does success look like in this position? 
  • What would an ideal candidate look like to you?  
  • Why do you enjoy working here?  
  • Can you describe the company culture?  
  • How would you describe your management style?  
  • Where do you see this organization in five years? 

A job interview is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your best self and to evaluate the opportunity as they evaluate you. With the proper preparation, you are sure to leave the interview confident, no matter the outcome. Remember that your recruiter is on your team and wants to help you prepare as much as possible. 

Jessie Miller

Jessie Miller

Jessie Miller is the Marketing & Media Specialist at ThinkingAhead. She supports the recruiting team in a variety of ways including managing social media, generating...

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