20 Most Common Interview Questions & How to Answer Them
Nailing the interview is crucial to landing your dream job. But sometimes, even the most qualified candidates can struggle with certain questions. So if you're looking to stand out from the competition, it's important to be prepared. If you're not prepared, the interviewer can easily catch you off guard and throw you off balance. In this blog post, we will discuss the 20 most common interview questions and how to answer them like a pro so you can land your dream job.
1) How would you describe yourself?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions. And while it may seem like a simple question, it can be a tough interview question to answer if you're not prepared. The best way to approach this question is to give a summary of your professional experience and then focus on your strengths.
For example, you might say: "I am a highly experienced marketing professional with a proven track record of success. I am extremely creative and have a passion for developing innovative marketing campaigns that drive results. I am also an excellent communicator and have superb writing skills."
The wrong answer for this interview question will be to brag about yourself. During an interview, it is critical to maintaining a balance between confidence in yourself and sounding arrogant.
The interviewer wants to know that you are confident in your abilities, but he or she also wants to see that you are humble and that you have the ability to work well with others. The best way to show off your confidence is by sharing specific examples of your successes in previous jobs and by being yourself during the job interview process.
Tips: The importance of being yourself in a job interview
It is important to be yourself during a job interview because let's face it, you're not going to get very far by pretending to be someone you're not. Sooner or later, the true you will shine through, and the employer will see that you're not a good fit for the company.
A good impression is critical during the interview questions and answers part. The interviewer manager is looking for cues to determine whether you will be a good fit and he or she will not recommend you for the job unless you let your true personality shine. So, there you have it! The next time you're in an interview, remember to be yourself—it's the best way to land the job of your dreams!
2) What are your strengths and weaknesses?
This is one of those questions that you should be ready for. This question is designed to assess your self-awareness and ability to improve. To answer this question, you should first identify your strengths and then provide an example of how you've used them in a professional setting. For your weaknesses, try to focus on areas that you're actively working to improve.
Example Answers: "Some of my strengths include being a quick learner, being proactive, and being able to work well under pressure. For example, when I started my last job, I quickly learned the ropes and was able to take on additional responsibilities within a few months.
As for my weaknesses, I sometimes have trouble delegating tasks and can be a bit of a perfectionist. However, I'm aware of these weaknesses and I'm always working to improve them. For example, I've been attending a time management workshop to help me better delegate tasks."
Remember, for your weaknesses try to concentrate on what you're working on. Do not ever answer this question by saying my greatest weakness is that I don't like to work hard, I am never on time for appointments, and I am a procrastinator or something crazy like that. We have gotten these answers during interviews and later the applicants were wondering why they did not get the job. If you are prepared for the interview, there are no tough questions. Preparation is the key to landing the right job.
3) What motivates you?
This question is designed to assess your work ethic and see if you're a good fit for the company's culture. The best way to tackle this question is to provide an example of a time when you were motivated at work. For example, you might say: "I am motivated by challenges and opportunities to learn new things. I also enjoy working with a team of people who are passionate about their work and committed to achieving results.
I would also add that I am motivated by the idea of contributing to something larger than myself – whether it's helping a team achieve its goals or making a difference in the world. I'm always looking for opportunities to learn and grow, and I firmly believe that hard work and dedication lead to success. Ultimately, I want to be part of an organization that is making a positive impact."
This question allows the hiring manager to get a sense of what drives you and what kind of working environment you are looking for. It's important, to be honest in your answer and avoid sounding like you're reciting a mission statement. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to job interviews. Being truthful about what motives you will help set realistic employer expectations.
Tips: The importance of being honest
Being honest during the job interview is important because it helps keep employer expectations more realistic and attainable. Being honest ultimately benefits you in the long run, as you will be seen as a credible and likable individual. Hiring managers are looking for cues to determine whether you are an honest individual.
Being honest and letting snippets of your personality shine through—whether it's a funny remark added to your “What's your greatest strength” spiel or a genuine assessment of what you're looking for in your next role—will allow both you and the employer to discern whether or not you'd make a decent match.
So, there you have it! The next time you're in an interview, remember to be honest—it's the best way to succeed in your new dream job!
4) What is your greatest achievement?
This question is designed to assess your accomplishments and see if you're a high performer. To approach this question, you should think of an example of a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty or achieved something significant.
For example, you might say: "My greatest achievement was when I led a team of 12 people to successfully launch a new product in six months. The project required long hours and intense focus, but we were able to get it done and the product was extremely well-received by our customers."
You can also talk about achievements in your personal life, such as getting ready for a marathon and completing it.
The hiring managers want to know that you are confident in your abilities, but they also want to see that you are not overconfident. The best way to show off your confidence is by sharing specific examples of your successes in your previous job and the difference you made for your last company.
5) What is your greatest failure?
Job seekers panic with this question but don't worry, this is not a tricky interview question. This question is designed so the hiring manager can assess your ability to learn from your mistakes. To answer this question, you should think of a time when you made a mistake at work and what you did to rectify the situation.
For example, you might say: "I once failed to meet a deadline because I didn't properly manage my time. I learned from that mistake and now I always build in additional time to account for unexpected delays. I also make sure to communicate with my team regularly so that everyone is on the same page."
This is one of those tough questions that you should ask yourself before the interview: "What is my greatest failure?" By thinking of an answer ahead of time, you'll be able to share a story that not only demonstrates your ability to learn from past mistakes but also showcases your resilience. As I said before, there are no tough questions unless you don't prepare for the interview questions and answers.
6) Would you walk me through your resume?
This question is designed to assess your professional experience and accomplishments. The best way to answer this question is to walk the interviewer through your resume step-by-step. Start with your most recent job and work backward. For each position, highlight your key responsibilities and successes.
Be sure to include any relevant skills or experience that make you a good candidate for the job. This is your opportunity to bring out the best on your resume.
10 Tips for Creating a Winning Resume
Your resume is your first opportunity to make a good impression on a potential employer. It's important to make sure that it is well-written and accurately reflects your skills and experience. Here are ten tips for creating a winning resume:
- Keep it simple and use clear, concise language.
- Use bullet points to highlight your key accomplishments.
- Use the right language to stand out, and avoid using pronouns (I, me, my).
- Use action verbs to highlight relevant skills and experiences.
- Focus on results rather than duties.
- Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible.
- Tailor your resume to each specific job or industry.
- Use keywords that are relevant to the job you're applying for.
- Include a cover letter.
- Make sure to proofread your resume before sending it off!
7) What are your career aspirations?
There are no right or wrong answers to this question. This question is designed to assess your long-term goals and see if you're a good fit for the company. The job interviewer wants to learn about your long-term goals and occupational aspirations.
If you are sure about your long-term goals and those career aspirations, please talk about them with passion. I want to be a doctor because I love to help people and it is my dream to find a cure for cancer. Some generic answers like this may conflict with the position. You should be careful if those career aspirations conflict with the job position requirements.
In life, we all aspire to be great executives, amazing artists, trusted advisors, successful entrepreneurs, good doctors, and more. But those expectations change often through life and it is understood if you are not sure about those career goals and/or aspirations. Our personal story changes as we go through life and our future success depend on making the right decisions, including choosing the right career path.
If you're not sure where you see yourself in the next five years, that's okay! Just be honest and tell the interviewer that you're looking for stability and growth within the company. For example, you might say: "I hope to develop strong working relationships with my colleagues and contribute to the company's success. I'm also interested in learning new things and taking on additional responsibilities over time."
As we said before, by being honest in your interview, you're setting yourself up for success in the long run! Employers will appreciate your candor and it will help them understand your career aspirations.
8) What makes you different from other candidates?
When interviewers ask this question, they want to know what sets you apart from other candidates. For this question, you should focus on your strengths and accomplishments that make you stand out.
For example, you might say: "I am a highly experienced professional with a proven track record of success. I have a passion for developing and helping people and strongly believe that I am a good match for this new job."
Other samples: I am a highly experienced marketing director with a proven track record of success. I am extremely creative and have a passion for developing innovative marketing campaigns that drive results. I am also an excellent communicator and have superb writing skills.
9) Why are you leaving your current job?
This question is designed to gauge your level of commitment and loyalty. To answer this question effectively, you should avoid saying anything negative about your current company, current position, or previous positions. Instead, focus on the positive reasons why you're looking for a new opportunity. Never, never talk negatively about your last job or your prior managers or superiors.
Sample Answers: "I'm looking for a new opportunity because I want to challenge myself professionally. I'm also interested in working for a company that is aligned with my values. I believe this company is a good fit for me because the company's core values align with my core values." You may point out that your prior company's goals did not align with your career goals.
10) Why are you interested in this position?
This question is designed to gauge your level of interest in the job and whether you're a good fit for the role. To answer this question effectively, you need to do your research and be familiar with the company's mission, values, and products or services. You should also be able to articulate how your skills and experience can contribute to the company's success.
Tips: Before the interview, prepare and practice for the interview question and answer and during the interview, listen actively because the interviewer will provide you with information to answer this question!!
Example Answer: "I'm interested in this position because I align with the company's mission and values. I also believe that my skills and experience can contribute to the company's success. Specifically, I think my customer service skills would be a valuable asset to your team.
11) What aspects of this job do you not find attractive?
When interviewers ask this question, they're trying to determine whether you have any reservations about the job or the company. They want to know whether you're a good fit for the role and whether you'll be happy in the job if you're offered it.
To answer this question effectively, you should focus on the positive aspects of the job that appeal to you.
For example, you might say: "I'm attracted to this job because it offers a high level of responsibility and allows me to use my creativity. I also believe that this job is a good fit for me because it aligns with my career and personal goals.
This is one of those difficult interview questions, but as I said before, the key to answering interview questions is, to be honest. Before the interview, please do research about the position to see if it is a good fit. After all, you should not be applying for a job that is not a good fit for you.
You should avoid saying anything that would make you seem unqualified or uninterested in the job. For example, if you're not excited about working long hours, you could say that you're looking forward to the opportunity to learn and grow within the company. Remember, keep a positive attitude all the time.
12) Where do you see yourself in five years?
This is one of those common job interview questions designed to assess your long-term goals and commitment to the company. As for other interview questions, to answer this one effectively, you should have a well-defined career plan that includes specific milestones and objectives.
You should also be able to articulate how the company can help you achieve your goals. Career coaches help candidates create a career path and improve a candidates' communication skills. I strongly recommend that you work with a career coach.
Example Answer: "In five years, I see myself as a valuable member of the team who has made significant contributions to the company. I also hope to have gained additional skills and knowledge through training and development opportunities. I believe this company can help me achieve my goals by providing a clear path for growth."
13) What are you reading right now?
The interviewer is trying to get a sense of how you think and what kind of critical thinker you are. They want to know if you can identify the key themes in the book and explain how they relate to your work. To answer this question effectively, you should be able to identify the key themes in the book and explain how they relate to your work.
For example, you might say: "I'm reading a book about Customer Experience. I find it helpful because it's helped me to better understand the importance and the complexities of customer service. I think it's also helped me to develop my communication skills and improve my customer services."
14) Tell us about a mistake you made and what you learned about it?
This is one of those difficult questions that candidates struggle with. This question is designed to assess your ability to learn from your mistakes. To answer this question effectively, you should be able to describe a mistake you made and explain what you learned from it.
For example, you might say: "I made a mistake when I was scheduling an important meeting. I scheduled it for the wrong time and as a result, some of the participants couldn't make it. I learned from my mistake and now I always check my calendar twice to avoid making similar mistakes in the future."
15) How do you handle criticism?
This question is designed to assess your ability to handle constructive critical feedback. To answer job interview questions like this one, you should provide an example of a time when you received criticism and how you handled it.
Your potential employer wants to know that you will be able to handle criticism in your new job. Constructive criticism is important at work because it helps employees improve performance. Understand, constructive criticism is about pointing out employees' wrong behaviors and showing them how to correct them.
For example, you might say: "I am always open to constructive feedback because I know it can help me improve my performance and my career progression. One time, my manager told me that I needed to be more assertive with my team. I took his feedback to heart and started speaking up more during team meetings. As a result, my team became more engaged and we were able to achieve our goals."
Tips: How to handle criticism at work!!
When it comes to criticism in the workplace, it's important to remember that everyone handles it differently. Some people might take criticism personally, while others might see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. The best way to handle criticism at work is by accepting it gracefully and using it to improve your performance.
When you receive criticism, try to stay calm and avoid getting defensive. Take a few moments to reflect on what was said, and then decide how you can use the feedback to improve your work. Remember, criticism is not a personal attack; it's simply an opportunity to learn and grow.
Most interviewers will keep drilling deeper to find a potential area of conflict. The key is to show how you reacted to criticism and how did you use it to become a better person.
16) Do you feel comfortable receiving orders from superiors?
This is not one of those typical interview questions. It is designed to assess your ability to work within a hierarchical structure. The interviewer is trying to find out if you will be able to follow orders. Remember, you must treat your superiors with respect, so you can gain their respect. So, the answer here should show that you will play a support role in the new job and that you are looking to learn from management experience.
You should answer this behavioral interview question with a positive attitude. You can say something like, "I am comfortable following orders from my superiors. I understand that there is a chain of command that needs to be followed for an organization to function properly.
17) Why should we hire you?
This question is designed to assess your suitability for the role. The best answers are those answers supported with facts about the position. To answer this question effectively, you need to be familiar with the job description and requirements. You should also be able to articulate how your skills and experience make you the perfect candidate for the job.
Example Answer: "I believe I am the perfect candidate for this job because of my skills, experience, and education. My employment history and life experience have prepared me for this new job. I have the required skills and experience to excel in this role, and I also have a degree in XYZ which makes me uniquely qualified for the job. In addition, I am passionate about this type of work and I am confident that I would be a valuable asset to your team."
18) What are your salary expectations?
This is one of those tough interview questions that get people off track. This question is designed to assess your level of experience and your desired salary range. To answer this question effectively, you should have a good understanding of the industry salary standards for your position. You should also be familiar with the company's budget and salary range for the role. You should do job salary research so you can manage your salary expectations.
Example Answer: "I'm looking for a salary that is commensurate with my experience and qualifications. Based on my research, I believe the salary range for this role is $X to $Y. I am also open to negotiation based on the company's budget and my performance in the role." Never, never answer this question by saying I need more money than what I am making now. This will never help you negotiate a good compensation package.
19) Do you have any questions for me?
This question allows you to learn more about the company and the role. To answer this question effectively, you should ask questions that are relevant to your job search. For example, you might ask about the company's culture, work environment, or what type of training and development opportunities are available.
Example Answer: "I do have a few questions. Can you tell me more about the company's culture? What type of training and development opportunities are available for employees? I'm also curious to know what the team is like that I'll be working with."
20) When can you start?
This question is designed to assess your availability and interest in the job. This is a simple question but you should be prepared to answer this question so you don't make a mistake. You are almost done with the interview and you don't want to make a mistake at the end of the interview process. To answer this question, you should provide a date that you are available to start work. There are two possible scenarios here:
First, if you are not employed at the moment, you should answer the question as follows: Currently, I am not working at the moment so I am available to start work once I receive the offer. The interviewer wants to see if you are committed to the job and if you will be an asset to the company. You should always have a positive attitude when answering this question.
Second, if you are currently employed, the interviewer wants to see if you are a reliable person. So, the interviewer expects that you will give notice of resignation before starting the new position. It is expected that you will give the minimum amount of time to your current employer, two to three weeks. This will show that you are a reliable person.
In the second scenario, you should answer this question as follows: I am very excited to start this new chapter of my life with your company. I would like to give three weeks’ notice to my current employers so I can finish or do a smooth transition of several projects that I am working on.
10 Tips to Get Ready for Job Interviews
No matter how many times you have been interviewed, it is always a challenge and if you are not ready, it can create stressful situations. Here are some tips to get you ready for your next job interview:
- Practice your answer to the most common interview questions.
- Bring a copy of your resume and cover letter.
- Dress for success.
- Arrive on time, yes, it is a must to be on time for the job interview.
- Have a positive attitude.
- Be polite and professional with the staff and be self-aware.
- Manage your work-life balance issues before the interview.
- Do your research on the company and the job position.
- Practice, Practice, Practice.
- Keep the conversation going after the interviews.
The commonly asked interview questions listed above are some of the most challenging and tricky interview questions that interviewers can ask. However, with preparation, you can answer them like a pro. Be familiar with the job description and requirements, with the hiring process, and practice your answers so you sound confident when you respond. And finally, always be prepared to ask questions about the prospective employer, company culture, and the role. This will show that you're truly interested in the position.
Remember to talk about yourself with passion, to talk about the prospective company with enthusiasm, then talk about it honestly. Emphasize what you were able to accomplish in your past jobs, and how you were able to grow, and remember never to speak negatively about your current and past companies.
To prepare yourself for these interview questions, practice, practice, practice. Interview preparation is the key. Be prepared to answer the tough interview questions with the best answers in an easy, professional, and positive manner. A spirit to let go of the past and a positive attitude towards the future should be reflected in your answers.
Be sure to focus on your strengths and be prepared to answer these 20 most common interview questions. Additionally, be sure to tailor your resume to each specific job that you are applying for, and always proofread it before sending it off. Remember the only person advocating on your behalf is you, so don't waste your time. Finally, make yourself available for a second interview if necessary.
If you prepare for these common and tough questions and follow these tips, you'll be sure to make a great impression in your next interview! Good luck!