30 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers
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, my 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 over-qualified 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 over-qualified, 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 something like, if 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 like, "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 like "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 straight-forward. 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? night & 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.
Obviously these are the most common questions, but this varies depending upon your field. If you're applying for a fashion designer position, they may ask you about fashion projects, designers, and fabrics. The same goes for a position in the food industry and etc. Be sure to brush up on specialized questions as well.
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.