What Are The Most Common Interview Questions and Answers

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February 4, 2020
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min read

Everyone wants to know what questions they will be asked on a job interview. While we don't have a crystal ball, we can help! Below we'll break down common interview questions and answer them to help you get that dream job! Let's get down to business.

What are the 10 most common interview questions and answers?

Question 1: Tell me about yourself

Answer: Most likely, this will be the first question you are asked and it can often trip candidates up. Focus on helping the hiring manager understand not only what you have done, but why. Explain the details of your resume. For example, if you were at your last job for a short amount of time.

If you took extended time off, let them know why. The interviewer wants to know if you would be a good fit and if you want to work well with them in particular.

Question 2: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Answer: Questions like this can be tricky. You don't want to say the wrong thing. Show your ambitions without being overconfident. Don't say things like "I want your job in five years" or "I want to be retired." Keep it professional. If there are degrees you want to gain or career goals you hope to reach, speak to those.

Question 3: Why do you want to leave your current job?

Answer: The best way to answer questions like this is to stay positive. Do not bash your current company or boss. Rather, focus on growing your career. Stress how making a move is the right decision for you at this time and how this open role would help you get where you want to go.

Question 4: What is your ideal work environment?

Answer: First, think about the role you are applying for before answering. The interviewer wants to see if you would fit with their team. If you are someone that would prefer a private office, take note if it's an open floor plan. Find a way to incorporate the company's environment into the conversation and how that would benefit you as an employee.

Question 5: What questions do you have for me?

Answer: You want to make sure you have at least one question to ask the person conducting the interview. Hiring managers could think you aren't interested in the job if there's nothing else you want to know. Prepare one or two questions ahead of time. Some safe questions are asking about the work environment and company history. You can also ask what the next step in the process is.

Some advice: If you are interviewing with the hiring manager, avoid topics such as salary and the hours. Save those questions for your interview or discussion with human resources.

Question 6: Why do you want this job?

Answer: This is one of the most common job interview questions and you want to give a good answer to this. All hiring managers want to know if you would be a good fit for the open position and if you want to work at their company. Make sure your answer is something the interviewer will remember. Getting this answer right is a great first step in landing your next job.

Question 7: How did you first learn about the job opening?

Answer: This question most likely will come from the recruiter or human resources at the beginning of the interview process. There is really no good answer to this one and it should not take up too much time. The recruiter simply wants to know if their advertising or job postings are helpful.

Question 8: What are your strengths?

Answer: This is a question every candidate should be prepared for. Try to focus on your skills and experience but don't just rattle them off. Describe a past situation where your expertise came into play and helped better your employer. Take a requirement from the job description to get your point across. The best answers are the ones that sound personal to you but prove you are the right one for the job.

Question 9: What are your weaknesses?

Answers: This is one of the most common job interview questions that candidates don't like. It's also one of the hardest to answer. People never want to come off as weak, especially when interviewing. Take time to plan your answer to this. You don't want to sound like you Googled the question and are using a generic answer though. Take a real weakness of yours and explain how you have improved. Provide solutions and how you are learning. No one is expected to be perfect or the greatest at everything.

Question 10: Why should we hire you?

Answer: Another tough interview question that might want to make you run out the door. First, focus on your experience and skill set. Talk about the job description and how well you would fit in. Provide a few reasons why you are looking for a new job and that you would put in the time and effort needed to excel. Use this question to guide the conversation to skills or experiences you weren't able to get across in previous answers.

Final Thoughts on Common Job Interview Questions

As a candidate, you want to give the best answers and say the right things. Take some time in the days before your interview to practice your answers to ensure you include important information about yourself. It takes time to get it right, but with a little effort, you will get the right approach to answering the most common interview questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tailor my answers to common interview questions to stand out from other candidates?

To differentiate yourself, focus on providing unique examples from your experience that showcase your skills and achievements. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses, and be sure to align your answers with the company's values and the specific role you're applying for. This approach demonstrates your fit for the job and your ability to reflect on your experiences critically.

What strategies can I use to handle unexpected interview questions confidently?

When faced with a surprise question, take a moment to compose your thoughts. It's acceptable to ask for clarification or to take a brief pause to consider your response. Use this time to quickly structure your answer with a clear beginning, middle, and end, and relate it back to the job description or company mission if possible. Practicing common interview questions can also help you develop the agility to handle the unexpected smoothly.

How should I prepare for behavioral interview questions specifically?

Behavioral interview questions require you to draw on past experiences, so prepare by reflecting on various scenarios you've encountered in your professional life. Identify examples that demonstrate key competencies such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability. Practice articulating these experiences clearly and concisely, focusing on the actions you took and the outcomes that resulted. This preparation will help you convey your qualifications effectively during the interview.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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