Most Common Job Interview Questions and Answers
If you’ve gone through job interview preparation, you know all about interview anxiety related to job interview questions and answers. Nervousness is something very common for all types of interview.
How could you possibly predict the type of questions your hiring manager will be asking you? You’re not psychic, right?
Well, there’s good news. Applying for Goldman Sachs? Same questions. Applying for a job posting at Walmart? Same ones! There are some typical questions that all recruiting managers ask candidates at most interviews.
Here’s a guide to the most important and popular job interview questions and how to answer them. Here’s to landing your new dream job by mastering these common interview questions! Let’s hit this.
Job Interview Questions & How to Deal with Them
Job Interview Tips for Tell me About Yourself
The question might be vague but the answer surely ought to be specific. That’s the tricky part.
- How to face interview on such a question? Talk about your professional experience related to the current position. Highlight your major professional accomplishments.
- Keep it short, may be two to three sentences. Don’t narrate your entire professional history.
- You could just mention one or two of your hobbies, especially if they showcase your intelligence or diligence, as it sends a message about your general character.
- Share your professional motivations or passions.
- Transition smoothly between your professional and personal qualifications while checking interview techniques.
- When trying to incorporate interview skills for this question, don’t narrate the story of your life. Keep that for your autobiography.
- Don’t repeat your resume.
- Don’t ask the interviewer ‘What would you like to know’? Never answer a question with a question.
Why Should We Hire You? This is One of the Top 10 Interview Questions!
How to answer interview questions like this one? Your interviewer is asking you to sell yourself to him. Brainstorm to create the perfect pitch for different types of interviews.
Do’s or Possible Answers:
- Your achievements/successes/track record till date.
- Some memorable example of a successful project.
- Mention relevant industry experience, awards, accolades, education, relevant training
- Prepare 3 or 4 strong reasons that are in line with the top requirements of the job description.
- Avoid general eulogies or self-praise while attempting to answer such top interview questions. For instance, don’t say I’m the best software engineer. I have the greatest people skills. I can work very well in a team.
- Don’t rattle of 12 different reasons for hiring you. Keep it concise within a one to two-minute range.
What are Your Strengths/Weaknesses?
This is one of the commonly asked interview questions. It is usually asked separately for strengths and weaknesses, but if an interviewer asks you both at the same time, remember to mention your weaknesses first, so that you leave the positive taste in the end.
- I’m a perfectionist, sounds nice for such typical interview questions.
- Check out flaws in your personality, such as shyness; impatience; holding grudges; fear of the unknown; fear of criticism; over bluntness or honesty when giving feedback.
Make sure the weakness you mention is a minor one that doesn’t cause much alarm. It should also be fixable. Don’t raise a red flag.
Tip: Also mention that you’re seriously working on fixing these weaknesses.
- Don’t be in denial while answering such job interview questions. Do not say you have no weaknesses. That’s ridiculous. Even Superman has weaknesses.
- This is no time for jokes. ‘My greatest weakness is chocolate’, just won’t cut it.
Where Do You See Yourself 5 Years from Now?
How wonderful it would be if you could get into a time machine and fly off into the future to answer such job interview questions! Employers love this one, as they want to know whether your goals fit in with the company’s goals.
- Firstly, mention the current position and how excited you are about it when answering such job interview questions. This reasserts your interest and commitment to the current position.
- Do some research on the company and find out the potential position you could be in after 5 years. Study the particular department and the career path that others have taken. Mention this.
- Don’t mention any monetary goals that you expect 5 years from now as an answer to such job interview questions.
- Don’t say ‘I see myself in your position’. That’s the perfect red flag! And it doesn’t even sound ambitious.
- Don’t mention a ridiculously powerful position within the company. You cannot make astronomical leaps within 5 years.
Why are You Leaving Your Present Job?
Answer these types of job interview questions as honestly as possible, but don’t make it look like you’re jumping ship.
- Instead of mentioning what you don’t like about your present job, try saying that your goals and the company goals were just not aligning. You were not on the same page, so to speak.
- You are not able to pursue your goals at your current job.
- You could mention the long commute, if the current position has a shorter commute.
- Don’t tell the truth, if it could cause problems in this kind of job interview questions. There are other ways to answer this one.
For instance, if you’re leaving your job because the timings are not flexible, and if the present job also doesn’t offer flexibility, this could work against you.
- Never trash your present employer and don’t play the blame game.
What Compensation are You Looking for?
There are several ways to respond to this question.
- How to prepare for an interview question like this one? Research and find out the average salary for this job profile within your industry and location.
Tip: Check out sites like careeronestop.org; payscale.com or salary.com.
- Instead of mentioning a fixed sum, mention a salary range based on your research data. You could also ask the range the hirers have in mind. This could form part of the questions to ask in an interview as part of questions for interviewer.
Tip: You could also take this opportunity to ask about other perks and benefits, paid leave etc. at this juncture.
- Justify the range mentioned by mentioning your expertise or experience in the job.
- Try prevaricating or sidestepping the question by saying you’d like to know more about the job responsibilities and role before you mention a sum.
- Do not quote a low figure. For instance, “I’m ready to accept whatever you offer. Salary is not very important for me.” Don’t sell yourself short.
- Don’t show timidity while answering this question.
How Good a Team Player are You?
Most teams have one or two high performing employees, so your hirer is trying to measure your potential contribution to the team with this one.
- Answer positively and back it up with an example of some current team work that you have performed.
- You can also mention related skills, like patience, good communication abilities, diligence, hard work, optimism, will power and so on.
- Don’t complain about lack of cooperation in your present teams. For instance, “My team sucks and I have to do all the work” is definitely wrong for these types of job interview questions.
Why Do You Want to Work for Us?
This is an Onion question, in the sense that it has several layers of answers. There’s no direct answer such as ‘I need the money and you’re offering a decent pay’.
- Research the company and draw up points that attracted you, its core values, goals, reputation, and mention these
- Mention how this company aligns with your future career goals.
- Mention some community service or their role in the global market that appealed to you.
- If there are any incentive programs or awards for employees, you could mention these as well.
- Over honesty won’t work. For instance, “I’m unemployed and am ready to grasp at anything I’m offered” is pathetic for such job interview questions.
- Don’t make generic statements like ‘Yours is a super cool organisation’
- What Do You Know About Our Organisation?
- Research the company to answer this.
- Check out the company website and pick up some important phrases. Personalise it and add to it with your opinions and enthusiasm for the company mission.
- Think of ways in which the company’s mission relates to your personal values, experiences or goals and weave these into your answer. For instance, if the company stresses on charity, you could give an example of volunteering to help children suffering from cancer (or some other true example!)
- Don’t repeat everything you read in the About Page of the company website or the company’s Mission Statement
- Tell Us About Your Dream Job
This is a dicey one, I can tell you that. Hirers ask this question to find out whether you will have the motivation to fulfill the job.
- The current job being offered might not be anywhere close to your dream job. But try connecting your dream job to the prospective job.
- Mention some aspects of the current job profile. For instance, if it is a customer service task, you could say you love to interact with customers. Again, if it is a nonprofit organisation related to social work, you can talk about your passion for contributing your bit to society.
- Don’t mention the specific current job and say that position is your dream. For instance, suppose the position is that of a PRO, you cannot claim that it has always been your dream to become a Public Relations Officer.
- Focus on the skills and not on the particular job title.
Last Word on Job Interview Questions and Answers
In general, remember that though all the questions might sound general and vague, the interviewer is expecting a very specific answer. This is a job interview, so the answers must be profession related. You’re not out on a date nor are you writing a biography, so nothing personal please.
Again, never try to wing these questions. Every interview question is asked with a specific purpose to get more information. You do need some practise or rehearsal, but make your answers sound conversational not robotic or well-rehearsed.
Plan on the information you’re going to include and practise it aloud. Be ready to improvise and think on your feet as well. Research the company well, as your answers must fit in and be tailored to the company profile.
Remember the STAR approach: First, talk about the Situation or the Task; then the Action that you took; and finally, the Result that you achieved.
If you answer these interview questions the right way, you’re assured of being in the driver’s seat! All the best!