9 Most Common Job Interview Questions and Answers
While some work interviewers take a really unique approach to interview questions, most job interviews include an exchange of basic questions and answers for interviews. (Including some of the most frequently asked social interview questions.) Some of the most basic interview questions and the best way to answer them are as follows:
- “Tell me about yourself.”
There’s a lot you should already know if you’re the interviewer: the candidate’s resume and cover letter should tell you a lot, and more can be told by LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook and Google.
The interview’s aim is to decide if the candidate is going to be excellent in the position, and that means assessing the skills and attitude required for that work.
If you’re the candidate explain why you’ve taken some jobs. Explain why you quit. Explain why you have chosen some university. Share why you have chosen to go to college. For example; discuss why you have taken a year off to travel across Europe and what you have learned from the experience.
Connect the dots on your resume when you answer this question, so that the interviewer understands not only what you have done, but also why.
- “What is your greatest weakness?”
Another common question that the interviewer’s will ask is about your weaknesses. As an employee, do your best to construct your answers around positive aspects of your skills and abilities, transforming obvious “weaknesses” into strengths. They can also provide examples of abilities they have developed, including specific examples of how you have identified a weakness and taken steps to correct it.
When explaining about your weaknesses, try to give examples related to your skills/habits or personality traits. You may focus on choosing which one will be more appropriate according to the kind of job you are interviewing for. For example, it may be highly relevant to address an ability or habit for a technical position. The interviewer might be more interested in hearing about your personality traits for a sales or customer service job. None of the options is completely wrong or right. Re-read the job description for hints as to what might be most important for this particular role.
- “What is your greatest strengths?”
This is one of the questions about how well you are qualified for the position that employers almost always ask. If asked about your greatest strengths, it is important to discuss the qualities that suit you for that particular job, and that will differentiate you from other candidates.
It’s extremely hard for many people to speak during an interview about their strengths. Balancing your modesty with the need to demonstrate faith is hard. Just like weaknesses, you can generally decide to choose between skills/habits or personality traits.
Use the job description as your reference while choosing your strengths. Address the specific qualities that qualifies you for the job and differentiate you as an applicant when you provide context for your strengths.
- “Why do you want this job?”
Are you excited about working for this company or are you desperate for a job (any job!)? The response may be the latter, but most employers don’t want to hear that. Employers want to learn if you’re very much interested in their business and industry. They want to see that you’ve done your research, they want you to know about them and their position. Not only does this show you are interested in the role, but it also says a lot about your professionalism and preparation.
- “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
The interviewer wants to know about your career goals and how this position will help you in achieving your career goals. It’s expensive to hire a new employee, so the interviewer wants to make sure you’re on board for the long term. Your response will also tell the interviewer how realistic you are about career prospects. To respond, provide general insights into the skills you want to acquire, the types of roles you want to be in, and the things you want to accomplish.
- “Why should we hire you?”
Almost every interviewer may ask you this question or some modification of this question and depending on your response and how you answer this question, the assessment of the interviewer may differ from the initial question. Your approach to answering it should be the same: highlight your skills and illustrate how you are going to bring value to the company. So, not only should your answer show you know exactly what the job requires, but it should also prove you’d be the best candidate based on your past achievements. You should also be able to reflect in your response, along with the points that show your skills and your track record, that you understand the company’s work culture and that you would fit well with the team.
- “Why did you leave your last job?”
Interviewers love the phrase, “Why have you quit your last job?” It might be simple in some situations like either the company has shut down or you’ve been employed on a short-term contract. Some cases need more clarification. If you left voluntarily or for a good reason, hiring managers would really want to know about that.
It puts you in a favorable light if you have quit on a good term. You will reveal a lot about your values as an employee about your reasons for moving on. That’s why this question is a routine in the interview. If you’re ready, you can make a positive decision to move on to new opportunities.
- “What was your salary in your last job?”
It’s a difficult one. You want to be open and honest, but frankly as the opening moves in salary negotiations, some employers ask the question. The reason this has become a basic question of interviews is that employers often have a budget and want to understand if you know what you’re worth, and want to see if you’re applying for a job at the right professional level.
Consider an approach that Liz Ryan suggests. When asked, say, “I’m focused on jobs within the $50 K range. Is that position within that range?” (Frankly, you ought to learn— but this is a nice way to deflect).
Perhaps the interviewer will response; maybe she won’t. If she presses you for a reply, you’re going to have to decide if you want to share or demur. Essentially, the answer won’t matter too much because, depending on what you think is fair, you will either accept the salary offered, or you won’t.
- “Do you have any questions for me?”
This may be one of the most important questions asked at the end of the interview process as it helps you to discuss any subject that has not been discussed and shows the interviewer that you are excited about the position.
Example: “What is the company culture? What would be the success of this role? What are some of the usual challenges faced by people in this position?”
Just like preparing for a school test, learning and practicing is the best way to be successful in your interview. Research the business and the work and practice your points of communication until you feel confident of your responses. The more you train, the more likely you are to leave a lasting impression on fellow candidates and outperform them.