Here are simplified most asked Job Interview Questions with Answers to help you pass your next interview.
Table of Contents
1. Tell us about yourself?
Interviewers will likely start out with a question about yourself and your background to get to know you. Keep it professional when answering this question. You don’t need to share personal details.
Start out by giving them an overview of your current/previous position or activities, then provide the most important and relevant highlights from your background that make you most qualified for the role.
“Well, I thrive in the excitement of a fast-paced office. As a receptionist at [company name], I loved interacting with our 200 regular clients and managing training and travel schedules for 25 employees. Before that at [company name], I really enjoyed being the contact point for hundreds of client calls and visits every week. In fact I saved 20 management hours a month by triaging calls and emails. Those were great opportunities, but I’m at the point where this position at [employer’s company] would really let my talents shine.”
More often than not, the company cares more about your ability to fulfill their needs than it does about what you did for another company. Sure, it helps if your Success Story refers to a practical on-the-job experience, but if you don’t have that option you can draw from a different place. For example, if you are a new graduate you can reference your academic achievements, athletic endeavors, charity and volunteer work.
Also briefly talk about your personal interest in this position and how you feel passionate about your career and future line of work. As a general rule, you should not discuss your personal life, hobbies, family, etc. because that’s not what they are looking for.They want to know what brought you here and why you chose this line of work and where you see yourself going in the next 3-5 years
2. What is your biggest weakness?
Every person has a weakness: Just pick a theoretical weakness and magically transform that flaw into a strength in disguise!
For example: “My biggest weakness is getting so absorbed in my work that I lose track of my social life. I know balancing the two is important, but when I love what I’m doing I just can’t think of anything else.”
So your “biggest weakness” is that you’ll put in more hours than everyone else? Great…
A better approach is to choose an actual weakness, but one you’re working to improve. Share what you’re doing to overcome that weakness. No one is perfect, but showing your willingness to self-assess and then seek ways to improve shows something positive about you.
3. What are your biggest strengths?
When answering this question, share your true strengths, not those you think the interviewer wants to hear. Choose relevant and specific strengths, for example, instead of “people skills,” choose “persuasive communication” or “relationship building”. Then, follow up with an example of how you’ve demonstrated these traits in a professional setting.
Be clear and precise. If you’re a great problem solver, don’t just say that: Provide a few examples that prove you’re a great problem solver. If you’re an emotionally intelligent leader, don’t just say that: Provide a few examples that prove you know how to answer the unasked question.
In short, don’t just claim to have certain attributes — prove you have those attributes.
4. Why do you want to leave your current job?
Let’s start with what you shouldn’t say.
- Don’t talk about how your boss is difficult.
- Don’t talk about how you can’t get along with other employees.
- Don’t bad-mouth your company.
Instead, focus on the positives a move will bring.
- Talk about what you want to achieve.
- Talk about what you want to learn.
- Talk about ways you want to grow, about things you want to accomplish; explain how a move will be great for you and for your new company.
Complaining about your current employer is a little like people who gossip: If you’re willing to speak badly of someone else, you’ll probably do the same to me.
5. What kind of work environment do you like best?
Maybe you love working alone … but if the job you’re interviewing for is in a call center, that answer will do you no good.
So take a step back and think about the job you’re applying for and the company’s culture. If a flexible schedule is important to you, but the company doesn’t offer one, focus on something else. If you like constant direction and support and the company expects employees to self-manage, focus on something else.
A good approach is to present yourself as someone flexable i.e someone who enjoys working in a team but can also work independently and unsupervised.
Find ways to highlight how the company’s environment will work well for you.
6. Can you tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it?
The goal of this question is to evaluate the candidate’s reasoning ability, problem-solving skills, judgment, and possibly even willingness to take intelligent risks. Having no answer is a definite warning sign. Everyone makes tough decisions, regardless of their position. A good answer proves you can make a difficult analytical or reasoning-based decision.
Example: “It was the first day of my boss’s two-week vacation and our agency’s highest-paying client threatened to leave because he didn’t feel he was getting the personalized service he was promised. I spent my lunch hour on the phone with him, talking through his concerns. We even brainstormed ideas for his next campaign. He was so grateful for the personal attention that he signed another six-month contract before my boss even returned from her trip.”
7. Tell me about a time you disagreed with a decision. What did you do?
No one agrees with every decision. Disagreements are fine; it’s what you do when you disagree that matters.
Show that you were professional. Show that you raised your concerns in a productive way. If you have an example that proves you can effect change, great — and if you don’t, show that you can support a decision even though you think it’s wrong (as long as it’s not unethical, immoral, etc.). Show that you can agree to disagree.
Every company wants employees willing to be honest and forthright, to share concerns and issues … but to also get behind a decision and support it as if they agreed, even if they didn’t.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Understanding how you imagine your life in the future can help employers understand whether the trajectory of the role and company fits in with your personal development goals. To answer, provide general ideas about the skills you want to develop, the types of roles you would like to be in and things you would like to have accomplished.
“In five years, I’d like to be an industry expert in my field, able to train and mentor students and entry-level designers alike. I would also like to gain specialized experience in user experience to be a well-rounded contributor working with design and marketing teams on large-scale projects that make a difference both in the company and the global community.”
9. What is your salary range expectation?
Interviewers ask this question to make sure your expectations are in line with the amount they’ve budgeted for the role. If you give a salary range exceedingly lower or higher than the market value of the position, it gives the impression that you don’t know your worth. Research the typical compensation range for the role, and tend toward the higher side of your range. Be sure to let the hiring manager know if you’re flexible with your rate.
“My salary expectation is between $XX,XXX and $XX,XXX, which is the average salary for a candidate with my level of experience in this city. However, I am flexible.”
10. What are you looking for in a new position?
The question is about you, but you need to think about it from the hiring manager’s perspective. Sure, you’d love for your new position to pay extremely well, have an effortless commute, and ensure access to nap rooms during all work hours, but that’s not going to impress anyone. Instead, dive into your skills—an area the hiring manager is sure to care about—and talk about how you’re looking for a place where you can use them.
Start With Your Skills
For example: “I’ve been honing my data analysis skills for a few years now and, first and foremost, I’m looking for a position where I can continue to exercise those skills.”
Explain Your Motivation
Most hiring managers hope that the person he or she hires will be motivated by more than just a paycheck. Assuage this concern by addressing it openly. Describe what motivates you and how you can see that playing out in this position or company.
For example: “Another thing that’s important to me is that the position allows me to not only play with data, but also present my findings and suggestions directly to clients. That would be really refreshing! I’m always very motivated by being able to see the impact of my work on other people.”
Connect With Your Long-Term Goals
Hiring people means investing in them, and no one likes to see his or her investment walk out the door. If it works with the flow of your answer, it might be good to mention how you see growing or building your career at a company that’s the right fit. Anything that signals you’re in it for the long haul is a good thing.
For example: “And, I’m definitely looking for a position where I can grow—professional development is something that’s really important to me since I hope to take on managerial responsibilities in the future.”
11. Why should we hire you?
Interviewers generally bring this up to offer you another opportunity to explain why you’re the best candidate. Your answer should address the skills and experience you offer and why you’re a good culture fit. Do some research on the company to better understand what they do, their mission and how you can be a good addition to their team.
“I have a passion for application development that’s grown stronger over the course of my career. The company’s mission aligns with my personal values and, from my limited time in the office, I can already tell this is the sort of positive culture in which I would thrive. I want to work for a company that has the potential to reshape the industry, and I believe you’re doing just that.”
12. Do you have any questions?
Don’t waste this opportunity. Ask smart questions, not just as a way to show you’re a great candidate but also to see if the company is a good fit for you. This question allows you to explore any subject that hasn’t been addressed and shows the interviewer you’re excited about the role.
Some of the questions you can ask:
- What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 90 days?
- What are the company’s highest-priority goals this year, and how would my role contribute?
- What really drives results in this job
- What do you love about working for this company?
- What would success look like in this role?
- What are some of the challenges people typically face in this position?
13. What do you know about us?
This is actually a test. If you know very little, it is an indication that you are not very serious about working there.
Focus on them: Candidates who are really excited about the prospect of working there have done their homework. If you really want to stand out, learn more than what is listed on their web site.
Do some heavy research — perhaps find some articles on the company that not many would know about. It may even come up in conversation spontaneously, and you can show them a copy of the article.
14. When can you start?
Be careful about this question for several reasons:
It doesn’t mean that you have “landed the job.” They may be just checking to add that to their notes. You must keep your guard up until you are in your car and driving away from the interview.
If you are currently employed, you should be honest about the start date and show professionalism. You should tell them you would have to discuss a transition with your current company to see if they require a two-week notice (or some other timing). If you currently have a critical role, your potential new employer would expect a transition period.
If you can start right away (and they know you are not currently employed), you certainly can say you’re able to start tomorrow. Sense of urgency and excitement about starting work at the new company is always a good thing.
15. What makes you unique?
Employers often ask this question to identify why you might be more qualified than other candidates they’re interviewing. To answer, focus on why hiring you would benefit the employer. Since you don’t know the other applicants, it can be challenging to think about your answer in relation to them. Addressing why your background makes you a good fit will let employers know why your traits and qualifications make you well prepared.
Example: “What makes me unique is my experience of having spent four years in retail. Because I’ve had first-hand experience fielding shoppers’ questions, feedback and complaints, I know what customers want. I know what it takes to create a positive consumer experience because I’ve had that direct interaction, working directly with consumers in person.”
16. What motivates you?
Employers ask this question to gauge your level of self-awareness and ensure your sources of motivation align with the role. To answer, be as specific as possible, provide real-life examples and tie your answer back to the job role.
“Making a true difference in the lives of my patients and their families motivates me to strive for excellence in everything I do. I look forward to seeing my patient’s reaction when we get a positive outcome that will change their lives forever. That’s why I became a nurse, and why I’m pursuing a position in pediatrics.”
17. How do you handle stress and pressure?
What They Want to Know:
What do you do when things don’t go smoothly at work? How do you deal with difficult situations? The employer wants to know how you handle workplace stress. Avoid claiming that you never, or rarely, experience stress. Rather, formulate your answer in a way that acknowledges workplace stress and explains how you’ve overcome it, or even used it to your advantage.
“My first step in managing stress is to try to circumvent it by keeping my work processes very organized, and my attitude professional. When customers or associates come to me with issues, I try to look at things from their perspective, and initiate a collaborative problem-solving approach to keep the situation from escalating. I find that maintaining an efficient, congenial office with open lines of communication automatically reduces a lot of workplace stress. Of course, sometimes unanticipated stressors will arise. When this happens, I just take a deep breath, remembering that the person I’m dealing with is frustrated with a situation, not with me. I then actively listen to their concerns and make a plan to resolve the issue as quickly as possible”.
18. What are your goals for the future?
This question is designed to find out if you’re going to stick around or move on as soon as you find a better opportunity. Keep your answer focused on the job and the company, and reiterate to the interviewer that the position aligns with your long-term goals.
“I’m someone who likes stability. My goal is to find a job that I can hold long term with a local company, becoming a valued employee as I gradually advance to positions of increasing authority and responsibility. I’m extremely interested in the teller job here at FNB because of your internal training program. My long-term goal is to eventually become a branch manager after I’ve proven my competencies in customer service and team leadership. “
19. What responsibilities did you have in your previous role?
A good candidate is able to talk in detail about their responsibilities. These should match up to what is expected for the job and even exceed it. The responsibilities should also match what they’ll need to perform the job they’re applying for.
Red flags: “Candidates who are vague about what their responsibilities were, who didn’t have the responsibilities that normally come with the job, or didn’t have ones relevant to the job they’re applying for.”
20. How to Close Your Job Interview?
Leaving your interview with a positive closing statement can help to end your interview with a lasting impression and also give you some action points to take forward with you. Don’t leave your interview with everything still up in the air and questions left unanswered.
Closing statement examples:
“I was really excited about this interview. My desire for this role has been strengthened by everything I have heard and learned from you today. I appreciate your time here and I am confident about my ability to perform well in this position. Going forward, is there anything else you need to know from me?