Answering challenging interview questions can be tough, but with this guide, you'll have all the tools you need to ace your strategy and get that job! We've compiled a list of the most common interview questions along with tips on how to answer each one.
You'll find answers that range from basic work history information to more in-depth IQ test questions. Get started now by reading through these helpful tips, and then choose which question you'd like to tackle next!
1) Can you tell me a little about yourself?
This is a classic question that you'll likely come across in most interviews. What they're looking for is to see how well you can present yourself and your experiences, so be sure to touch on the highlights of your work history while also showing off some more personal qualities about who you are as a person. You'll want to include why this position is of interest to you, but try to avoid being too general.
2) Why did you leave your previous employer (or why do you want to leave your present job)?
This question is usually asked to see if there was anything negative behind the reason for leaving. If you were terminated, be honest and explain what happened while also showing that you're ready to leave it in the past. If you voluntarily left a position then try to focus on things like needing a new challenge, working toward advancement and/or wanting to take on more responsibilities.
3) What are your greatest strengths?
You'll probably be asked this in almost every interview. The best way to answer this is by coming up with some of your strengths and then pairing them with job-related examples, but remember these should fit the position for which you're applying. Some examples might be being very organised, having a strong work ethic or working well in fast-paced environments.
4) What are your greatest weaknesses?
This is another often asked question that should have been covered during the research process before going into your interview. Come up with some of your weaker attributes, and then spin them to show how you're continually working to improve in those areas. For example, you might say that you're not the best at public speaking but have been taking some courses so that it doesn't hold your career back.
5) How would a previous employer describe you?
This question has the potential for some really great answers, and impresses hiring managers when they see that you have thought about this question beforehand. Of course, everyone will be able to think of some positive things that have made an impression in their past, so try to come up with a few examples of your work ethic and personality too. For example, you might say that previous employers would describe you as hardworking or someone who's always willing to go the extra mile for those around them.
6) What are three words you'd use to describe yourself?
This question is a little trickier to answer, but should be approached in the same way as above. Try thinking of three words that you want people to use when they think about your character and personality. Some examples might be positive, hardworking or intelligent. What's important here is not coming up with negative attributes so try not to choose words like lazy or disorganised.
7) Why do you want to work for this company?
This is a great question that allows the interviewer to get an idea of what your career goals are and how they align with those of the organisation. It also gives them insight into whether or not you are looking at this position as just another job, or if you want to make a career with the company. The best answer is an honest one - telling them how much you love what they do and why that aligns with your own goals can show how well-rounded of a person you are.
8) What makes you qualified for this position?
This question hopes to find out whether or not you are over-qualified for the position. It also tries to see if your qualifications match up with what they need in this role. The best answer is one that talks about how your skills align with those of the company and point out where you have some experience showing these skills.
9) What are the most important things to you in a job?
This is an open-ended question that can't be easily answered with just one or two words. You'll want to list off some of the more important aspects for which this position will provide, but then also mention how they tie into your personal goals. For example, if you're looking for advancement then it's important to mention that this is what will lead to your future career path.
10) What are your short term goals?
This question is about looking into the future of what might happen should an employer hire you. You'll want to tie this into the job for which you're applying and how it might fit into your career aspirations. However, try not to make them too grandiose or unrealistic as employers will know that they can't be achieved in just a few months time.
11) What are your career plans for the next five years?
The interviewer(s) will be trying to figure out how committed a person is in their current field of work and what they would like to do long-term. The best answer could be an honest answer about their current thoughts, but also that they are open to change if the employer has something better in mind.
12) What are you looking for in a career?
This one is a great way to see if you are the right fit for an employer. The best answer is one where you talk about what your desired work atmosphere would be - this could range from open offices, private ones, or different hours of work for employees who have children and want a better balance between family and career.
13) How do you handle stressful situations?
The hiring manager will be looking for how someone responds in high-pressure scenarios. The best answer is to talk about a time when they thrived under pressure and their ability to work collaboratively with others, or what makes them the most successful in these types of jobs (independent, collaborative).
14) What are some of the things you've done in your last job that have helped make the company successful?
This question looks at a person's past performance to see if they did anything noteworthy. If so, focus on talking about the value that they added and how it made an impact on the overall goals of the organisation or department. This could also be used to talk about how a person is happy and works well with others, which will help you in the future.
15) Do you consider yourself successful?
This question looks at someone's self-confidence as it relates to their work ethic. The best answer can't just focus on themselves - they need to tie this into what makes them successful in the workplace (creativity, team work).
16) What motivates you to do your best when it comes to work?
This question looks at a person's intrinsic drive. The best answer is one where they talk about their desire for personal achievement or professional growth because this shows that someone will continue to strive and improve themselves over time while being more than just a cog in the machine.
17) What are some of your interests outside of work?
This question looks at a person's personality and what they like to do in their free time. The best answer is one where you talk about hobbies or activities that make them unique, interesting individuals who will bring something new into the workplace - this could be anything from being an avid reader to a dog lover.
18) Give me an example of when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty?
This question looks at someone's willingness to go the extra mile - something that employers want in employees who are willing to make sacrifices for their job or team. The best answer is one where they talk about how they've done so in the past and what it meant to them or their team.
19) What are some of your leadership qualities?
This question looks at a person's ability to lead others while also getting things done in an organised manner. The best answer is one where they talk about how well they work with other employees, but then tie this into times when they've also helped with projects.
20) What are some of your previous challenges?
This question looks at a person's ability to overcome adversity when it comes to their work history or career goals. The best answer is one where they talk about something that would make them unique (procrastination, perseverance) and then explain how they've done so in the past.
21) What's your biggest achievement?
This question looks at someone's ability to highlight their greatest accomplishments when it comes to work history or personal goals. The best answer is one where a person talks about something that would make them unique (leadership, strategic planning), but then explain how they've done so in the past.
22) What are you looking for when it comes to salary/benefits?
This question looks at a person's true intentions and whether or not money is truly important to them. The best answer is one where they talk about what kind of benefits would make them happy (flexible scheduling, a dog friendly work environment), but then explain why they're worth this type of salary.
23) What is your typical work style?
This question looks at someone's ability to fit into a company culture and get along with their coworkers. The best answer is one where they talk about how much they value teamwork or creativity while also explaining why this job would be the perfect opportunity for them (flexibility, room for career development).
24) What are some of your greatest professional strengths?
This question looks at how well someone can sell themselves as a candidate. The best answer is one where they talk about their ability to take on new challenges or work independently while also sharing something that would make them unique (communication, strong leadership).
25) What are you most proud of, professionally?
This question looks at what motivates a person and what they see as their greatest accomplishments. The best answer is one where a person talks about something that would make them unique (leadership, problem solving) or an accomplishment that was particularly difficult but also rewarding in the end.
26) What are you most passionate about?
This question looks at someone's passion for work - whether it's their current job or a potential opportunity. The best answer is one where they talk about how this job would be the perfect fit because of X (creativity, autonomy) while also sharing something that would make them unique (a sense of responsibility).
27) How do you handle difficult employees?
This question looks at someone's ability to work with people who are different from them. The best answer is one where they talk about their past experience working as a team and how this situation could be resolved in the future (communication, clear expectations).
28) Why do you want this job?
You should be answering this question with a well-thought out response about the position and how it fits into your current or desired career path. Don't just say that it sounds like an interesting job or that you're looking for something new. Try to explain how the position will help further your career goals and then tie this into why you want this particular company.
29) Do you have any questions for me?
Asking intelligent and informed questions will help you make a good impression on employers. Knowing exactly what skills and qualities an employer is looking for at the interview and then doing some research on the company will make it easier for you to ask good questions. One important thing to keep in mind before asking a question is making sure that your question pertains only to the job or position of interest. It's also a good idea to avoid asking about salary and benefits since the employer may not discuss this information until you are offered the job.
It's always important to be prepared for an interview, no matter how you feel about your chance of success. If you know what types of questions the interviewer might ask, and how to best answer them, then your chances of being hired will increase dramatically. The information provided in this article should give you a clear understanding on how to handle all those common interview questions.