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30 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers

Yena Williams has been an online writer for more than 10 years. She loves writing about the process of finding a job.

Like with public speaking, the best way to ease the anxiety of a job interview is to be prepared.

Like with public speaking, the best way to ease the anxiety of a job interview is to be prepared.

These 30 most common interview questions were taken from interviews that I have been on personally, as well as from friends and colleagues in a variety of fields. Having an idea of the questions you'll be asked and knowing what you should say will give you an automatic edge over your competitors vying for the same job. So get your clothes ironed and get that job!

1. So, tell me about yourself.

This is an oldie and not a goodie. This one will come up 100% of the time, so have a mini-speech ready. Do not mention parts of your personal life, as they don't care. Start off with an introduction of yourself, talk about your education, and then go into your work history. Go in order from oldest to newest and discuss the job tasks that are relevant to the position you are applying for.

2. Why are you seeking a new job?

This is a nice way of asking why you are leaving your old job. Be honest and brief unless you were fired. Talk about wanting a more challenging opportunity or wanting to try a new field.

3. What do you know about this company/organization?

You obviously need to research the company before going into the interview. Find out what the company does and use the good ole' Who, What, Where, When, and some current events. If you drop a line about the acquisition of a new company in a merger, they'll be pleased to know you keep up with current events in the field.

4. What experience do you have in this field pertaining to this position?

Go through your past positions and explain how it correlates to the current position. If the position is not exactly parallel to the position you are applying for, explain how it relates in an unexpected way. Try to plan this ahead of time because it will be difficult to think up great answers on the spot.

5. Why do you want to work at this company/organization?

You now know a little bit about this company, so explain why you feel passionate about the mission of the company or the position. Try and tie in your own career goals.

6. Have you done anything to further your skills and/or experiences?

This can range widely from learning a new language through Rosetta Stone to taking an Adobe Photoshop class. Talk about why you care about furthering your knowledge and skill set.

7. What is your greatest strength?

There are numerous positive answers you can reply with. Don't gush off 20 different positive qualities. Stick to a few, and expand on them. Try and relate it to the position. Are they looking for a good team worker? Do they need someone who is extremely meticulous? Keep what qualities they are looking for in mind when selecting yours. My favorite is; results-oriented.

8. What is your biggest weakness?

This one is quite tricky. The most common thing interviewees do is turn a positive into a negative. Obviously, the HR rep will see straight through that since the 20 people before you did the same thing. I would stay honest but mention something minor or something completely unrelated to the position. If you're applying for a public relations job, you can talk about how bad you are with math.

9. Are you a team player?

Yes, you're a team player. Never say no. Describe an experience that displays that you are a team player.

10. If a co-worker were here, what would he/she say about you?

Think back to any compliments you were given by a co-worker. Don't say, "I think he would have said . . . " Be specific. Mention the occurrence, such as "Well, last year, my co-worker Don said about me . . . after I helped him complete a project."

11. Why do you think we should hire you?

Don't give a short answer here. Sound enthusiastic and give lots of reasons. Point out how your skills and ideas will directly benefit the company. Make sure they know what you can bring to the position.

12. Tell me about a time you made a suggestion that was implemented?

Think of a real suggestion you have made that netted positive results. Be very detailed. Don't just say that your idea had positive results. Talk about how sales went up 26% within the next three months, for example.

13. How do you cope with pressure or stress on the job?

You work great under pressure and stress.

14. Have you ever had issues with any previous employers?

This is a trick question. They are testing you to see if you'd ever speak badly about an employer/colleague. Say "no."

15. In terms of salary, what are you looking for?

This question really depends upon the work environment of the job you are going for. In some, you are expected to give your number, and at others, they expect you to be more polite. If they seem to want an answer, give a large range. And be sure to find the average salary range for that position online so that you can quote the right amount.

16. How would you compensate for your lack of experience? Or do you feel that you are overqualified for this position?

You are either one or the other. Explain your character strengths that show you can compensate. Try and tie as many related experiences as possible to the job you want. Sound confident that you could be the very best at the job. If you are overqualified, talk about why you are passionate about the position and the company. Discuss your passions for the position and why you feel like the job is actually a perfect fit.

17. How would you know if you were successful at your job?

Mention how the customer/your boss was happy with your work. Talk about the goals you would set and try to meet.

18. Are you willing to put the needs of the company/organization before your own personal needs?

Always reply "yes." Unless the company was doing something illegal.

19. What kind of person do you dislike working with?

Say that you get along with all types of people. They just want to know that you're not a sensitive whiner.

20. If hired, how long would you expect to work for us?

Don't give them a real timeline unless you really want to disclose it. Say something generic, such as "For as long as the employer feels I'm doing a good job."

21. What motivates you to do a good job?

No, it's not money. (Even if it is!) Try something such as "To become better at what I do," "To learn something new," or "Feeling good about a job well done."

22. Tell me about a professional disappointment.

Talk about a real situation and how you handled it. It's not negative as everyone has had a professional disappointment.

23. Have you ever learned from a mistake you made on the job?

Talk about a mistake and what you learned. Be sure the mistake isn't something so dramatic, though. Be sure to emphasize the lesson learned and how your behavior has changed from it!

24. Tell me about the most fun you've had on a job.

This is straightforward. Describe something you had fun doing, like accomplishing a huge project or landing a big-name client.

25. What is your dream job?

Be honest here. Especially if the job is entry-level or mid-level. They are aware that you don't want to be an assistant for the rest of your life! However, if you're going for a very high-level position, be wary. No company wants to hire someone who doesn't like doing what they do.

26. How would you describe your work ethic?

They are simply trying to gauge your laziness meter. Be confident and answer, "It's great!"

27. Do you know anyone who works for this company?

This is tricky. If someone referred you or if it's a family member, you obviously shouldn't lie. However, be cautious in mentioning a bunch of friends you know, in case your employer doesn't have such a hot impression of them.

28. Are you comfortable with travel? How much?

Be honest here. You're the one that's going to have to travel. Give a percentage you're comfortable with. Ask about gas reimbursement.

29. Would you be willing to work overtime? Nights and weekends?

Be honest here as well, since you'll have to work those hours.

30. Do you have any questions for me?

Yes! You must always have questions prepared! Have at least six, since some of them could get answered along the way if you and the interviewer get caught up in conversation. Have a mix of general and specific questions related to the position.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


mariamae on August 03, 2020:

This is a helpful guide when I'll have my interview. Came up to 6 important interview question and answer also here you may check it out.

MyCreditUnions on July 26, 2016:

I had an interview as a Technology Director of Robins Federal and I think by far the most important piece of the interview was the closing.

I always ask if they have any additional questions for me. Then I start...I ask "What is the short and long term goals of the position", and "How do you define success in the position". This allows you to determine the biggest challenges of the position and determine who is the manager.

Then close with highlighting your skills around there definition of success.

Works everytime.

nudgereyes on November 05, 2015:

thumbs up ! all the information are quiet important and useful specially for all job hunters. It was great !

Carrie on November 29, 2014:

Thumbs up! One of the best I ever read! Hope I get the job:)

ryukendo on February 22, 2014:

thank u itz very useful

sirmulumba on October 16, 2012:

These modal questions are typically used by most of employers during interviews. Thank you!

suri fouzdar on February 25, 2012:

How much i can take benefit for the it sector field .

can i take chance to see some more questions related to only it sectors.!!!

Yena Williams (author) from California on December 15, 2011:

cordballey: Those are also great examples of possible "problem solving" interview questions. Thanks!

cordbailey on December 07, 2011:

Other questions to look out for are those that require you to provide a solution to particular issue such as "what would you do if you encounter a dissatisfied customer who upset and yelling in the lobby?" Or "two employees are involved in an argument, how would you resolve the situation?"

Yena Williams (author) from California on October 23, 2011:

I'm glad it was helpful for you!

Pater Smith on October 19, 2011:

I'm not afraid every anterview because of your help. It really useful. I always thank to you .

Yena Williams (author) from California on August 21, 2011:

ekeisman: I"m glad the info was useful for you. You're welcome!

ekeisman on August 20, 2011:

very useful hub. interviews are always a challenge and it's great to have some advice. thanks!

Yena Williams (author) from California on August 19, 2011:

Greg: Thanks!

Gregory S Williams from California on August 18, 2011:

Nicely handled. Straight forward and honest!

Yena Williams (author) from California on March 21, 2011:

vernpaulwriter: Congratulations on your job! Yes, writing jobs can be more casual than most. Thanks!

Vernpaulwriter from backwoods of Nevada on March 20, 2011:

good hub, I recently went to a job interview, no shave holy tee shirt and jeans and still got the job, the boss looked worse, but it was a writing job, i was there to check out the publication and did not expect the editor to be there.

Yena Williams (author) from California on February 26, 2011:

M Zvyagintsev: Thanks for the compliments! I'm so glad it was helpful for you even over in Japan. It's interesting how the questions don't change! Thank you!

M Zvyagintsev from Auckland, New Zealand on February 25, 2011:

Awesome hub!

I'm applying to work and live in Japan now, eventhough it's an online application form, the questions are very similar to what you'd expect in a verbal interview.

Love the sense of humour - brilliant write :)


Yena Williams (author) from California on February 25, 2011: I'm so glad if was helpful for you. Incorporating some of these questions in your company's recruiting process is a great idea. Thanks! from CA, US on February 25, 2011:

i just bookmarked this hub, really informative...i'm applying your points in my company.

Keep Posting

Yena Williams (author) from California on February 24, 2011:

@crystolite: You're welcome! I'm glad it was helpful for your interview. =)

Emma from Houston TX on February 24, 2011:

Thanks for this information. It will help me build up my answer in an interview

Yena Williams (author) from California on February 24, 2011:

Mike: Thanks!

TreasuresofHeaven: Thanks for commenting, appreciate it!

Sima Ballinger from Michigan on February 23, 2011:

Great list of questions and responses. This is good. Vote UP!

Mike on February 23, 2011:

Good summation of the most common questions, definitely accurate.

Yena Williams (author) from California on February 22, 2011:

Hi James: Thanks, I appreciate it!

James on February 22, 2011:

Great info, it is helpful, nice hub :)

Yena Williams (author) from California on February 16, 2011:

@Peter Owen: Yes, it's definitely needed for all fellow Americans out of work, thanks!

Peter Owen from West Hempstead, NY on February 15, 2011:

Nice list and right on target. People should be prepared since the questions will be asked

Yena Williams (author) from California on February 11, 2011:

DjBryle: Thanks! I really did want to help out recent graduates and other people suffering from unemployment and constant job interviews!

DjBryle from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =) on February 11, 2011:

I love this hub! Very useful and it can really give so much help for those who are seeking jobs. Thanks for sharing! =)

Yena Williams (author) from California on February 10, 2011:

@troyjones345: I'm glad they're on point. Welcome to Hubpages!

Troyjones345 from Fredericksburg,va on February 10, 2011:

Great blog. I was asked a few of these questions recently=)!!