29 Most Common Interview Questions
In a perfect world, you could walk into an interview knowing what questions you’d be asked, eliminating any of the potential stress of being caught off guard. While this isn’t technically possible, we have the next-best solution: a list of the 29 most commonly asked interview questions and answers, gathered from our very own employers.
This list should adequately prepare you for what hiring managers are looking for, and more importantly, what it takes to prove that you’re the best candidate for the job.
1. Can you share a little about yourself?
Because this question seems so open-ended, candidates often overlook the most important details they should be sharing. It’s important to keep in mind what is worth mentioning—which are the details that are concise, compelling, and display individually why you’re a good fit for the position. Begin with only a couple of accomplishments or experiences you’d like the interviewer to know, then finish with how that experience has shaped you for the job.
2. How did you find this role?
This question can give you an unexpected chance to stand out and show a personal connection to the company. In the case that you found out about the job through a friend, tell the interviewer their name and include the reason you were excited to hear about the position. If you saw the company or listing through an article or even a job board, mention what piqued your interest in the position.
3. What have you learned about our company?
When asked this question, keep in mind that the interviewer isn’t necessarily looking for you to recite their vision statement back to them. Show the interviewer you understand and align with the company’s purpose and main goals. You should aim to incorporate a few key phrases from their website while keeping it personal. Examples could include, “I’m interested most in this business model because it…” or “I believe in the same values which are…” and share a couple of your own experiences.
4. Why this job?
Remember companies are looking for people who are excited and invested in the job, so make sure you’ve prepared an excellent answer about why you want the position. Establish a couple of key factors that make the job an ideal fit for you (e.g., “I love customer support because I enjoy the constant human interaction and the fulfillment that comes from assisting someone in solving a problem”), then share a reason why you are truly interested in the company (e.g., “I’ve always been interested in education, and I think you guys are making great strides, and I want to be a part of that”).
5. Why should our company hire you?
While this question is intimidating at face value, it’s also the perfect opportunity to delve into your skills to the hiring manager and point out why you are so much more competitive than the other candidates. Your answer should convey the following key things: you can guarantee good results, you’d make a great addition to the team, and you’d be a better choice than the other candidates.
6. What are your strengths?
This is the time to shine, but also be very accurate about your professional strengths. You should be listing your true strengths, relevant to the job and can be described as “specific.” Make sure to always follow up with an example of how you’ve exemplified these qualities in a professional setting.
7. What are your weaknesses?
An interviewer would ask this question to see if there are any red flags or to gauge how self-aware you are in your weakness. “I can’t follow through on anything” or “I don’t have any weaknesses” are both terrible responses.
Your goal here is to say something that you struggle with, but it is also repairable. For example, you can say that your biggest weakness is being able to delegate tasks and the best way to improve on that is being able to recognize to other team members and a way to help you delegate tasks is trusting people and prioritizing your tasks.
8. What do you consider to be your best achievement?
The best way to get an interviewer to notice you is to have a solid track record. A behavioral answer to this question presents an awesome opportunity to utilize what we all know as the STAR Method.
The STAR acronym represents:
Situation: Describe the event or the situation that you were in.
Task: Explain the task you had to complete
Action: Describe the specific actions you took to complete the task
Results: Close with the results of your efforts
For example, “At my previous company, my department made an aggressive department goal for us to sell about $600,000 in product for the first month of 2017 and through the use of gamification and weekly goals my team was able to increase sales profits for my team 32% by the end of that month.”
9. Tell me about a time you failed or had a challenge, and how you dealt with it.
This is also a behavioral question that is used to gauge your ability to respond to the failure or challenge within the workplace. Everyone is all kind in the interview, but what happens when they are hired and someone is disagreeing with them. Again, we highly recommended you use the STAR Method mentioned in the previous question.
10. What do you see for your career in five years?
When this question is asked, it is okay, to be honest and specific about your goals. Your interviewer is looking for is:
- A) Do you have realistic goals for your career?
- B) Do you have the ambition to grow within your job?
- C) Do you see yourself long term within a position and if you are willing to grow and move up within a company.
To really nail this answer, the best thing to talk about is how you see yourself in the position that you are interviewing for as well.
11. If you had your pick, what’s your dream job?
This question that needs to align with your professional goals mentioned above and how the position that you are interviewing for can be a stepping stone to those goals.
12. Are you interviewing with other companies and if so, who are they?
There are many explanations on why an interviewer might ask you this question. Most often it is to understand their competition, but it can also be to see if you are ready to join the industry that they are in. In this case, we recommend you say you are exploring a number of options, similar to the one you are interviewing for now, within similar industries. You can provide more detail, such as the unique skill sets you are interviewing for within each role and leave it at that.
13. Why do you want to leave your current job?
This is a pretty hard question to answer. When asked this question, you want to keep it optimistic, so it doesn’t appear you have any negative feelings with your past employers. The best way to answer this question is to showcase your interest in your career and how other opportunities are more in line with your career path. And that it is all.
For example, “I wanted to be a part of a team that is rapidly growing and have the opportunity to help build a marketing team from the ground up.” And be honest if you were laid off, just keep it simple, so nothing can be left to the imagination.
14. Why were you let go?
To piggyback off of question 13, this is most likely be asked after you say you were let go. The answer to why you were fired might not be something you want to highlight, but it is critical that you are honest. What you need to follow up with is what you learned from getting let go and how through that experience you were able to learn for your next job.
15. What do you want out of a new role?
Simple, every responsibility listed in the position that you’re currently interviewing.
16. What kind of work culture are you seeking?
Take some notes from above. ^ Align this answer with what you know on the culture of the company you are interviewing with.
17. What is your preferred management style?
Strong managers are assertive but are also understanding, and that is what you want to portray in your answer. For example, “While every team and situation is different, I approach the relationships with my employees as a coach…”) The cherry on top is to give examples when you were a manager for teams in the past and how you invested in team members that were underperforming and transform them into better associates.
18. Share an experience where you exemplified leadership?
Based on the role you are interviewing for, you want to be able to give an example that shows your skills in leadership. The most reliable answer to this question is to provide examples that are realistic and exemplify your leadership abilities. You want to be able to show your management abilities with noteworthy evidence.
19. Describe a time you didn’t agree with a decision at work?
While working in a team, there are bound to be disagreements. What your interviewer wants to understand, is if you can work in a team and be productive and professional. Don’t ever share a story where you just gritted your teeth and barred it or about a time where you the one who was wrong.
Instead, describe a situation in which you provided a solution to the disagreement, you took initiative and created a much more productive work relationship.
20. How would your manager and team members describe your work self?
Remember honesty is the best policy when describing yourself. The best answer is to pull from your strengths (mentioned earlier) and any skills you might not have been able to touch on through the interview.
21. Why is there a gap in your work history?
If there was an unemployment gap in your resume, be transparent in what you were doing during that gap. If what you were doing did not contribute to your professional growth, then it’s crucial that you try to defect from that period in time. For example, “After me leaving my previous company, I took time for myself to travel. It was good while it lasted, but I truly thrive and find a bigger meaning in learning and working, so I’m ready to contribute this to your organization.”
22. Can you share why you are changing your career?
This is a pretty tricky question. What you need to touch on are the directions you have taken in your career and how your past roles can help with your potential new role. It is quite impressive if you can make an irrelevant experience connect to a role that relates to the job that you are interviewing for. Plan for making these connections!
23. How do you handle high-pressure work?
Here you are going to want to focus on a time, any time where you truly nailed it, in a high-stress work situation. You want to sound productive and motivated by the pressure. The best approach to this question is to talk about the stress reduction tactics that you would do to tackle a high-pressure environment.
24. What do you envision for your first few months at this position?
In this question, it is important that you talk about how you are going to acclimate yourself. Familiarize yourself with company systems and programs. From there, choose a couple of areas that retaliate to the position and how you can make a contribution in those areas. Yet again, have this answer well thought out before it is asked.
25. What are your salary expectations?
You must do your research on this position on websites like Payscale and Glassdoor, in order to develop a valid answer. From there, you able to create a range and we highly recommend sticking with the higher end of that scale, when it comes to the answer you actually communicate. Then, you need to let the interviewer know that you are open to negotiation. It is important to leverage your worth and see where your skills are valuable.
26. What do you do for fun?
It is common for an interviewer to ask personal questions in an interview. Companies value their culture and if they are adding someone to their team, they want to make sure they will fit in. Remember to keep it professional and not to talk about your party habits, but maybe instead what you do for exercise or how you spend time with your family.
- What animal would you choose to be?
Funny enough, this is a perfect personality question in the interview because it usually comes as shock and shows your ability to process, think fast and choose. There is no wrong animal here, but you will need to relate your animals with strengths within your personality. Also, completely normal if you need some extra seconds to think on this answer.
28. Where do you think we could improve?
We see this question a lot more in smaller companies. This is where your research on the company is very important. The interviewer wants to know if you did your homework and if you are able to bring new ideas to the table. If you have done those things, then be honest and say where you can see improvement. You don’t have to get too invested in your idea, but it is important that you can offer your expertise and skills in this position.
29. What are your questions for us?
This question is usually asked at the end of the interview. Don’t give in to your likely fatigued brain and say, “I don’t have any.” Use this opportunity to do more investigating on this position.
Great questions to ask – How quickly are you making a decision? Is there anything from my resume or my experience holding me back from moving on to the next round? What does every day look like for this position?
Having questions really shows your seriousness with this position and how serious you are about this roll. Leave on a good note and having more questions leaves a strong impression.