Most Common Job Interview Questions and AnswersPreparation is one of the keys to a successful interview. Below are some of the most common questions asked by hiring managers and prospective employers, along with appropriate answers for each question. Review these questions and developing your own answer to each question will help prepare you for various interview scenarios. Being able to answer these questions will also allow you to enter the interview with confidence.
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself
This is probably the most commonly asked question that occurs at the beginning of an interview. Be ready with a short prepared answer but make sure it doesn't sound rehearsed. And don't start blabbering on about your personal life. Limit your answer to your career background and experience unless specifically asked about your personal life. Talk about past jobs as well as work experience that is related to the position you're interviewing for.
2. Why did you leave your last job?
Regardless of why you left your last job make sure to stay positive. Always smile and focus on the positive reason such you were seeking the opportunity to expand your career opportunities, your interest in working with a new firm that provided greater opportunity, you desired to work in a new location, etc. Don't reference previous job problems or differences with management that caused you to leave. If you stay positive, your answer may help you. If you're negative, you will likely decrease your chances of getting the job for which you're interviewing.
3. What relevant work experience do you have in this career field?
Talk about specific work related experience for the position you're interviewing for. Make sure the experience is relevant. Don't talk about previous experience that is not related to the position in question. If you don't have specific career related experience speak about prior experience that has helped you develop the specific knowledge and skills required for the position you are applying for.
4. Do you consider yourself successful?
You should always answer yes to this question. Briefly explain why without going on and on. If you communicate that you're more successful than you really are you may come off as arrogant or unrealistic. A goof explanation is that you have set professional goals and that you have met some of these goals and are on track to meet more in the near future.
5. What would people you work with say about you?
You don't want to say that everyone loves to work with you but you do want to have a few positive examples of co-workers who enjoyed working with you with an explanation why.
You always want to make sure that you're pretty familiar with the company that you're interviewing with. Nothing looks worse than a candidate who knows nothing about the company they say they're interested in working for. Find out everything you can about the company, its culture and its goals. You will also want to know how the company is positioned in its market as well as who its major competitors are.
7. What have you done to improve your skills over the past year?
You'll want to be prepare with some very specific examples of what you've done over the last year and what you're currently doing to improve your professional knowledge and skill set as well as anything else you're doing the shows self improvement.
8. Are you currently looking at other job opportunities?
Just answer this question honestly. Sometime an employer wants to know if there are other companies you're considering so that they can determine how serious you are about the industry, they're company and find out if you're in demand. Don't spend a lot of time on this question; just try to stay focused on the job you're interviewing for.
9. Why do you want to work for this company?
Again be honest. The interviewer will be able to sense very quickly if you're be disingenuous. Your answer should be base on your person reasons, career aspirations as well as research you've performed on the company. The most important thing you should do is make sure to relate your answer to your long-term career goals.
10. Do you know anyone that works with our company?
Sometimes companies have policies relating to the hiring of individuals related to current company employees. If you are related to anyone working for the company make sure you're aware of company policies before you enter the interview. If you have a friend or acquaintance working for the company make sure have good relationship with this individual before mentioning them.
11. What type of salary are you looking for?
This can be a very tricky question as the individual asking it is probably digging for something other than a simple answer to the question. We recommend that you don't immediately respond to the question directly. Instead, say something like, “That a difficult question. What is range for this position?” More often than not the interviewer will tell you. If the interviewer insists on direct answer you may want say that it depends on the details of the job - then give a wide salary range.
12. How long do you want to work for us if we hire you?
Here being specific is probably not the best approach. You may consider responding, “I hope a very long time.” Or “As long as we're both happy with my performance.”
13. Did you consider yourself a team player?
Of course you're a team player - who isn't. But a simple yes probably isn't the response the interviewer is looking for. Be ready to provide specific example of how you've worked as part of a cohesive team to get things accomplished and how you've focus on team performance rather than individual performance. Make sure not to brag as this will make it appear as that you're more concerned about your own performance and accomplishments than those of the team.
14. Have you ever you have been in a position where you've had to fire someone? How did you feel about that experience?
Be very thoughtful about your answer. This is a very serious matter for most companies and requires a very serious answer. You need to express that you will do it when it is the right thing to do but you don't want to give the impression that you're callus to the process. Don't forget that firing is not the same as laying someone off - it typically is for the direct benefit of the company.
15. If you had enough money to retire would you?
Just be honest. If you would retire then say so. But since you can't retire, and the interviewer already knows this, simply answer that since you can't this is type of work you prefer doing. However, if you wouldn't retire if you had the money then explain why. Work is an important element of happiness for most people and many won't retire even when they can.
16. What is your philosophy towards work?
This is typically a straightforward question that merits a straightforward answer. Do you have strong worth ethic? Will you do whatever it takes to make sure the job gets done? Just say so in your response. Keep it short, direct and positive.
17. How do you believe you would benefit our organization?
This is a great question that provides you the opportunity to put your best foot forward, to tell the interviewer why he or she should consider hiring you for the job. Make sure you're well prepared for this question as you won't likely get a second chance to really shine.
18. Tell me about a suggestion you have made that has benefited an organization you've worked for.
This is another opportunity to show the interviewer what you're capable of so make sure to be prepared for this type of question. Have an example ready and make sure its an example of a suggestion you've made that was accepted and that have positive influence. If you can come up with an example that relates to the position you're applying for that would be even better.
19. What is the most irritating thing you've experienced about your co-workers?
This question is designed to find out if you get along well on team, with other and whether or not you'll be a fit with the interviewer's organization. It's a trap. Think real hard but fail to come up anything that irritated you about your co-workers. A short positive response is best.
20. What do you consider to be your greatest strength?
There isn't any right answer. Just make sure to make your response positive and true. A few good examples include: Your ability to solve complex problems, Your ability to work well on a team, Your ability to shine under pressure, Your ability to focus in chaotic situations, Your ability to prioritize and organize, Your ability to cut through the fluff to identify the real issues, Your ability to influence other positively. If your strength relates to the position in question that will be more beneficial - but again be honest, don't create a strength for yourself just because you think it will sound good.
21. Why do you think you'll do well at this job?
Provide several reasons including skills, experience and interest. If you can show how you've been successful in a similar career field or job position that will go along way to helping the interviewer believe you'll also be successful at this new job.
22. What is your dream job?
There is almost no good answer to this question, so don't be specific. If you tell the interviewer that the job you're applying for with his/her company is the perfect job you may loose credibility if you don't sound believable (which you probably won't if you're not telling the truth.) If you give the interviewer some other job the interviewer may get concerned that you'll get dissatisfied with the position if you're hired. Again, don't be specific. A good response could be, “A job where my work ethic and abilities are recognized and I can make a meaningful difference to the organization.”
25. What type of people do you not work well with?
Be very careful answering this question as most organization employ professionals with an array of personalities and characteristics. You don't want to give the impression that you're going to have problems working with anyone currently employed at the organization. If you through out anything trivial you're going to look like a whiner. Only disloyalty to the organization or lawbreaking should be on your list of personal characteristics of people you can't work with.
26. Did the salary we offer attract you to this job?
The interviewer could be asking you this question for a number of reasons. Obviously, the salary is an important factor to your interest in this job, but it should not be the overriding reason for your interest. A good answer to this question is, “The salary was very attractive, but the job itself is what was most attractive to me.”
27. What would your previous employer say is your greatest strength?
Be prepared for this question. If you have to sit and think about it it's going to appear as if you're not sure or that you've never identified your own value in the work place - not good. You don't have to have a complex response. Keep it simple and honest. For example, several possibilities could be Leadership, Problem solving ability, Initiative, Energy, Work ethic, Innovative, etc., etc.
28. Tell me about a problem or disagreement you had with previous supervisor?
This question is trap. It is meant to see whether or not you'll speak poorly of an employer. No one wants to hire someone who's going to speak poorly of them down the road. Stay upbeat and positive - and most of all don't say anything negative about a previous employer.
29. What has disappointed you about a previous job?
Again, this question could get you in trouble so tread carefully. Some good answers might be that your previous job didn't provide any room for growth, that you were laid off due to a mandatory reduction in staff, that they closed their office in your state and required you to relocate, etc. Make sure not to mention anything negative about the people you worked with, the company in general or the job itself.
This is a fair question, as potential employers want to know if you're going to be able to get the job done even when things get a little bit stressful. You may say that you thrive under pressure or that you're able to get the job done even when things get a little bit stressful, just make sure to provide some real world examples of your ability to work under pressure in a prior job.
31. What motivates you at the work place?
Keep your answer simple, direct and positive. Some good answers may be the ability to achieve, recognition or challenging assignments.
32. Are you willing to work overtime or odd hours?
Be completely honest. You don't want to lie to get the job if you're not going to work the hours required.
33. How do you measure success?
There may be several good answers. Some include: you're able to set realistic, yet aggressive goals that push you and you're able to achieve them, you go the extra mile on all projects, client satisfaction is high, your boss is elated at your performance on all projects, etc.
34. Are you able to relocate if required?
Be completely honest and thoughtful with this one. You don't want to wake up one to find out that you're moving to a new city or state and it may be a major factor in your eligibility for employment. But again, if you don't want to move then the job probably isn't for you.
35. Describe your management style.
Try to avoid specific classifications, whatever it may be. Organizations usually prefer managers who can adapt their skills to different situations.
36. Do you have any blind spots?
This question is often meant to trick candidates since acknowledgment of blind spots would indicate they were aware of them. Also, do not disclose bad habits or other personal concerns. Let the interviewer find out about your personal flaws through the course of the interview without directly stating these flaws.
37. What have you learned from mistakes on the job?
Candidates without specific examples often do not seem credible. However, the example shared should be fairly inconsequential, unintentional, and a learned lesson should be gleaned from it. Moving ahead without group assistance while assigned to a group project meant to be collaborative is a good example.
38. If you were hiring a person for this job, what would you look for?
Discuss qualities you possess required to successfully complete the job duties.
39. Describe your work ethic.
While discussing this, be sure to stress specific examples of what you bring to the company. Good qualities include resolve to fulfill job responsibilities, optimism, and a desire to be as efficient as possible while at work.
40. Do you think you are overqualified for this position?
No matter your previous job experience or educational background, be sure to tell the interviewer you have the knowledge and skills to successfully execute the job responsibilities.
41. How do you propose to compensate for your lack of experience?
The first thing you should do is discuss experience you have the interviewer is unfamiliar with. Once that is detailed, tell the person conducting the interview that you are able to learn new tasks and information in a reasonable period of time and possess a strong work ethic. However, only state this if you can live up to these expectations.
42. Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a dispute between others.
Be sure to discuss a very specific example. Tell the interviewer what methods you used to solve the problem without focusing on the details of the problem.
43. What qualities do you look for in a boss?
Remain optimistic and do not be too specific. Good attributes include moral character, honesty, and intelligence since managers usually believe they possess these qualities.
44. What position do you prefer on a team working on a project?
Do not claim to be comfortable with a specific role if you in are in fact not comfortable with it. However, if you have no problem working in certain roles or situations, be sure to discuss this with the interviewer.
45. Tell me about the most fun you have had on the job.
When answering this question, discuss situations where you completed tasks benefitting your previous employers.
46. What has been your biggest professional disappointment?
When discussing a professional disappointment, make sure to discuss a scenario you could not control. Be positive about the experience and accept personal responsibility where applicable.
47. Do you have any questions for me?
Be prepared to ask questions during every interview, specifically questions demonstrating your desire to benefit a potential employer. The following are examples of good questions: What departments or projects would benefit most from my skills and experience? What do you expect the learning curve to be before I'm effective and efficient?
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