What are the 20 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers?
What are the 20 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers?
You always feel more confident when you go into a task well prepared, and this is very true when it comes to job interviews as discussed over at runrex.com. While it is not recommended that you have canned responses for every interview question, spending some time familiarizing yourself with common interview questions will do your chances of having a successful interview a lot of good. This article will look to help you with that by highlighting 20 of the most common interview questions and answers.
Tell me about yourself
Many people fail to prepare for this question as it sounds simple enough, but it is crucial and can trip you up if you are not careful according to guttulus.com. When answering this question, don’t give your complete employment or personal history, instead, give a pitch – one that is concise and compelling and that shows exactly why you are the right fit for the job. A good way to approach this question is talking a bit about your current role, then give some background as to how you got there and the experience you have that is relevant, and then finally pivot into why you want, and would be perfect, for the role you are interviewing for.
How did you hear about this position?
This seemingly innocuous question is the perfect opportunity to separate yourself from the pack and show your passion and connection to the company. If you found out about the position through a friend or professional contract, name-drop that person and then share why you were so excited about the job. From discussions over at runrex.com, if you discovered the company through an event or article, share that. If you found the listing through a random job board, share what, specifically, caught your eye about the position.
Why do you want to work at this company?
As the gurus over at guttulus.com point out, when answering this question, avoid generic answers. There are 4 strategies to approach answering this question: do your research and point to something that makes the company unique that really appeals to you; focus on the organization’s opportunities for future growth and how you can contribute to it; share what has gotten you excited from your interactions with employees so far or talk about how you have watched the company grow and change since the first time you heard about it. Just make sure your answer is specific, whichever strategy you choose.
Why should we hire you?
This question might seem a bit forward, not to mention intimidating, but is one of those that present you with a perfect opportunity to sell yourself and your skills to the hiring manager. Your answer should cover three things: the fact that not only can you do the work, but can also deliver great results; that you will fit perfectly in with the team and culture; and that you would be a better hire than any of the other candidates.
What are your greatest strengths?
When answering this question, focus on quality rather than quantity. This means that, instead of rattling off a list of adjectives, pick one or a few specific qualities that are relevant to the position you are interviewing for and then illustrate them with examples.
What do you consider to be your weakness?
As explained over at runrex.com this question is designed to help the interviewer gauge your self-awareness and honesty. Therefore, you should avoid giving weaknesses that are disguised as strengths such as “I’m a perfectionist”, or answering with “I’m perfect, I have no weaknesses!”. Instead, think of something that you struggle with but are working to improve.
What is your greatest personal achievement?
Don’t be shy when answering this question. As outlined over at guttulus.com, use the STAR method when answering this question: situation, task, action, results. This involves setting up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context, then describe what you did (the action), and, finally, what you achieved (the result).
Tell me about a challenge or conflict you have faced at work and how you dealt with it.
When you are asked this question directly, don’t pretend that you have never had any conflicts at work. Be honest about a difficult situation you have faced while avoiding going into too much detail like you would when sharing with a therapist or venting to a friend as discussed over at runrex.com. Stay calm and professional as you tell the story, and make sure you spend more time talking about the conflict resolution than the conflict and then finish by mentioning what you learned and what you would do differently next time to show your willingness to learn from tough experiences.
Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills
When answering this question, think about a time when you headed a project, took the initiative to propose an alternate process, or helped motivate your team to get something done. Then use the STAR method to tell the interviewer a story, giving enough detail to paint a picture while – but not too much detail that you start rambling – and make sure you spell out the result.
Tell me about a time you failed
When answering this question, make sure you pick a real, actual failure you can speak honestly about. Start by making it clear to the interviewer how you define failure and then situate your story in relation to that definition and explain what happened. Finally, don’t forget to share what you learned from the experience.
Why are you leaving your current job?
This is a question that you can be sure will come up according to guttulus.com. When answering this question, keep things positive and avoid at all costs being negative about your current or previous employer. Instead, frame things in a way that shows that you are eager to take on new opportunities and that the role you are interviewing for is a better fit for you.
Why were you fired?
This is a likely follow-up question to the previous one if you were let go from your last job. If you lost your job through layoffs, you can simply say, “The company reorganized/merged/was acquired and, unfortunately, my position/department was eliminated”. However, if you were fired for performance reasons, your best bet is, to be honest, and try and frame it as a learning experience. As explained over at runrex.com, share how you have grown and how your approach to your job and life is different now as a result. And if you can portray your growth as an advantage for this next job, even better.
Why was there a gap in your employment?
You should be prepared to discuss the gap(s) in your resume. Maybe you were taking care of children to aging parents, dealing with health issues, or traveling the world, etc. The key, as per the gurus over at guttulus.com, is to be honest, although that doesn’t mean that you have to share more details than you are comfortable with. If there are skills or qualities you honed or gained in your time away from the workforce, you can also talk about how they would help you excel in this position.
What do you like least about your job?
Tread very carefully when answering this question as the last thing you want to do is let your answer devolve into a rant about how terrible your current company is or how much you hate your boss or a coworker. The best way to approach this question is to focus on an opportunity for the role you are interviewing for offers that your current job doesn’t. Keep the conversation positive.
What type of work environment do you prefer?
When answering this question, make sure your answer is similar to the environment of the company you are applying to. Also, make sure you are specific with your answer. Research the company’s environment and culture beforehand.
How would your boss and coworkers describe you?
As articulated over at runrex.com, be honest when answering this question since if you make it to the final round, the hiring manager will be calling your former bosses and coworkers for references. Then try to pull out strengths and traits you haven’t discussed in other aspects of the interview like your strong work ethic or your willingness to pitch in on other projects when needed.
What do you like to do outside of work?
As discussed over at guttulus.com, this question is designed for the interviewer to get to know you a little better – find out what you are passionate about and devote time to during your off-hours. It’s yet another opportunity to let your personality shine through. Be honest, but keep it professional and be mindful of answers that might make it sound like you are going to spend a lot of, if not all, of your time, focusing on something other than the job you are applying for.
What motivates you?
When asking this seemingly probing existential question, the interviewer just wants to make sure you are excited about the role you are interviewing for and that you will be motivated to succeed if selected as per runrex.com. So, think about what has energized you in previous roles and pinpoint what made your eyes light up when you read this job description. Pick one thing, make sure it is relevant to the role you are interviewing for, and try to weave in a story to help illustrate your point.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
If you are asked this question, be honest and specific about your future goals, but consider this: A hiring manager wants to know if you have set realistic expectations for your career, if you have ambition, and if the position aligns with your goals and growth. Therefore, your best bet is to think realistically about where this position could take you and answer along those lines.
What other companies are you interviewing with?
Companies might ask you this question to find out how serious you are about this role and team or to find out who they are competing with to hire you. While you want to express your enthusiasm for this job, you don’t want to give the company any more leverage than it already has by telling them there is no one else in the running. Depending on where you are in your search, you can talk about applying to and interviewing for a few roles that have XYZ in common and then mention how and why this particular one seems like a great fit.