What are the most common job interview questions?
A job interview is a stressful situation for every job seeker. To increase your chances of success and feel more confident during an interview with a potential employer, the best thing you can do is prepare for it. And the first thing you should think about is what questions you can hear at the interview.
Of course, you can’t know with 100% accuracy what topics the employer will want to cover during the interview.
But there are some of the most common questions that you will hear from an interviewer anyway. Having prepared the answers to these questions, you will not get confused and will be able to make a good impression on a potential employer.
The article presents the 10 most popular and frequently asked interview questions and examples of answers to them.
Read also post “10 Tough Job Interview Questions and Sample Answers.”
10 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers
1. Tell Me About Yourself
Please note that this question can be asked in different variations: “Tell me about your professional experience” or “Tell me about your professional achievements”.
Anyway, when asking the “Tell me about yourself” question, an employer expects to receive an answer that will help form a general impression of what kind of person you are, and learn more about your skills, goals, and priorities.
This question allows the employer to hear a brief, generalized story about your professional qualities, skills, experience, and qualification, and understand which of these qualities you consider most relevant for the proposed position.
“I have been working as a technical project manager for seven years.
Graduated from the X University, faculty of business administration. After graduating, I got my first job as an administrative assistant at Company X. There I did mostly clerical work, made charts and reports, and did paperwork.
After that, I worked as a technical project manager in an IT company for about six years. Personally supervised four teams and their work on software projects for cloud storage. I followed everything to go smoothly in terms of achieving business goals, meeting deadlines, and staying on budget.
In my free time, I study and read a lot about robotics and artificial intelligence. And since these are the areas that your company is engaged in, I decided that I need to send you my resume.“
2. One of the Most Common Interview Questions “Why Do You Want to Work Here/in Our Company?”
Pay attention to other forms of this question, for example: “Why do you want this job?” or “Why are you interested in this position/company?”. The meaning of the question stays the same.
The answer to the interview question “Why do you want to work in our company?” must be connected with your personal experience. For example, a company is engaged in charity, and you just took part in a volunteer program – be sure to tell the employer about this fact.
You need to show that your personal goals meet and align with the values and interests of the company.
The key to the correct answer is right in front of you. All you have to do is turn around the question from “Why do you want to work for the company” to “Why should the company hire me?”.
In other words, you need to focus not on what the company can offer you, but on what you can offer the company and why the employer will benefit from hiring you.
Sample Answer to one of the most common interview questions “Why Do You Want to Work in Our Company?”
“I know company N is famous for producing a wide range of technology goods. Last year you released a new processor for high-performance systems. I worked for seven years in this field. I was engaged in the development of innovative products. Therefore, I think I can handle this position and my knowledge will help me in this.”
3. The Common Job Interview Question “What Are Your Strengths?”
Instead of saying to the employer “I am very hardworking and responsible”, try to prepare a short story about yourself.
And the first thing you need to do is to study the main requirements for the position. You will use these requirements as the basis for your answer.
Highlight those strengths and skills that you need for this position. Tell at the job interview what your strengths are, and what skills and knowledge you have as a professional. Do not forget to mention personal qualities.
Be sure to give specific examples from your professional activities.
Sample Answer to the Interview Question “What Are Your Strengths?”
“I have always manifested myself as a natural leader. I have ten years of experience in finance and sales. At the end of each reporting period, I exceeded all key performance indicators. I got promoted three times in the last four years.
Of course, this is not solely my achievement. I always choose only highly qualified specialists for my team. And I am proud of my ability to see potential in an employee.
I never stop working. I am always on the go and developing my management skills. In this position, I plan to improve my leadership qualities.”
4. What Are Your Weaknesses?
You need to tell about weaknesses that will not directly affect the performance of job duties at a new place of work.
The main thing you need to do is show the employer that you are working on yourself. For example, you could tell a story about the steps you take to transform your weaknesses into strengths.
Build your answer using the following circuit:
Weakness – > context, example, or story of how this weakness shows up in your work.
Sample Answer to the Job Interview Question “What Are Your Weaknesses?”
“Complete a project and preparing a presentation is a mere trifle for me. But when it needs to speak in front of colleagues or potential investors, all my confidence evaporates somewhere.
The boss was aware of this problem and usually asked someone from the team to present the project to the public. And one day, while listening to my colleague’s speech, I realized that only I, its author, can present my project, my brainchild in detail, with all nuances.
I began to prepare for the presentation in advance, rehearsed, and even recorded myself on video. It helped me look at myself from the side and notice mistakes – the voice trembled, the intonation was wrong, or there was no eye contact. Now the more I speak in front of an audience, the more confident I become.”
5. One of the Most Common Interview Questions “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”
By asking the interview question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, the employer wants to understand how goal-oriented you are and, of course, make sure that your expectations are realistic.
In an answer, you need to demonstrate to the interviewer an understanding of industry trends, as well as your ability to develop and be flexible.
You can describe the skills you would like to develop in the future and the goals you would like to achieve. For example:
“In five years I would like to become an expert in my field. I would like to teach and mentor young and emerging designers. I plan to take a refresher course to improve my skills, and also want to gain more experience working with clients.
And, of course, I aspire to work with a team of designers and marketers on large-scale projects.”
6. The Interview Question “Why Did You Quit Your Last Job?”
The reason for leaving your previous job should be “positive”, for example, related to your desire to move up the career ladder.
Do not say anything bad about your previous job, boss, or co-workers. Focus on the positive things that await you in the future at a new job.
You can highlight your professional skills, for example:
- “I am looking for an opportunity to show my organizational skills…”
- “I decided it is time to work in my profession. It is time to consolidate the acquired knowledge and master new skills. I want to develop in this direction and become an expert in my field.”
7. One of the Most Common Interview Questions” What Are Your Job Expectations?”
What are your job expectations? When answering this question, focus on your professional skills.
You can highlight the skill that is your advantage and strength. Tell the employer you would like to apply this skill in a new job and develop further in this direction.
You can talk about your long-term plans, and explain your motivation and interest in getting a job.
Sample Answer to the Interview Question “What Are Your Job Expectations?”
“I would love to work for a successful company like yours. I want to apply my existing professional skills and experience in the field of marketing in my new job. I want to help the company increase sales not only in the domestic but also in the international market. And, of course, work on increasing productivity.”
8. The Interview Question “How Did You Handle a Challenge or Difficult Situation at Work?”
This question allows a potential employer to understand how stress-resistant you are, whether you can easily cope with difficulties, and whether you can solve problems at all.
Your answer to the question of the employer “How did you handle a difficult situation at work?” should be built according to the scheme:
Description of the situation – > problem or difficulty – > actions to solve the problem – > result.
“I managed the creation of a new website that we were supposed to launch in three weeks. (Description of the situation)
One of the programmers found a serious bug in the code and wanted to push back the deadline. But I knew that upper management would be, to put it mildly, dissatisfied. (Problem)
The programmers insisted on postponing the website launch date, but I realized that the project was extremely important for the company. Of course, I didn’t want to put pressure on the team, so I decided to focus on how I could help them. Together we made a list of tasks that need to be done first and decided to temporarily postpone everything else and finalize after the launch of the site, albeit not perfectly. (Actions to solve the problem)
As a result, we launched the website on time. It allowed us to increase the number of orders by 15% only in the first week after its launch. Over the next two weeks, our team finalized all the imperfections.” (Result)
9. The Common Interview Question “Why Should We Hire You?”
This question also can be asked in different variations: How can you help in the growth and development of the company? or What can you bring to the company?
To answer this interview question correctly, the first thing you need to do is read the job requirements. Then write down a few (three or four) of your professional skills that meet these requirements and are necessary for this job. It can be:
- technical skills (for example, knowledge of programs, the ability to work with office equipment, and knowledge of languages);
- personal qualities (good organization, punctuality, diligence);
- work experience;
- experience in performing specific tasks and responsibilities;
- achievements, awards;
- education, additional education.
Use a combination of several skills in your answer. For example, you have a specialized education + work experience in this field + discipline + good results at a previous job.
Sample Answer to the Interview Question “Why should we hire you?”
“I have all the necessary skills and work experience to cope with the project manager’s responsibilities.
In addition to my successful experience in managing and implementing projects, I also have excellent communication skills. I have always found a common language with customers, developers, and suppliers. Moreover, for me, this area of activity is not just a job, this is exactly what I like to do.”
10. One of the 10 Most Common Interview Questions: “Do You Have Any Questions?”
What can you ask the employer? First, about the position and job responsibilities, about the company and corporate culture.
Prepare at least two questions that will demonstrate:
1) your interest in work;
2) the desire to succeed in this position;
3) the fact of the “homework” done (studied information about the company, about the industry in which it operates, about the goods and services that it provides, etc.).
If you decide not to prepare questions for a potential employer, or not to ask them anything at all, you may make a ridiculous mistake and miss your chance of getting a job.
So the interviewer may think you are not particularly interested in getting a vacant position or that you did not prepare for the interview as you should.
What Questions to Ask the Interviewer:
- Would you mind telling me about my daily duties in more detail?
- What are the challenges an employee may encounter in the workplace?
- Does the company offer promotion opportunities and opportunities for further career growth?
- Do I need to go through any training before starting work?
- What are the features of the probationary period for this position?
- Does the company provide training courses for employees?
- How would you describe the work environment at the company?
- Could you describe the team in which I will work?
- Who would I be reporting? And with what other departments interact?
10 Most Common Interview Questions. Conclusion
These ten most common questions and sample answers will help you prepare for a job interview. After all, the most important thing now is to understand what you may be asked about and how to answer the questions correctly.
You need to adapt all recommendations and examples of answers for yourself: for the vacant position and its requirements, for your professional skills, experience, and achievements.
Try to find time and prepare for the job interview. It will help you feel more confident and relaxed during it. Show a genuine interest in the job, in the company, and your interviewer. And may you succeed!
P. S.: Did you like this post? Please, share it with your friends, thank you! Have a nice day!