The 10 Most Common Job Interview Questions (And What the Interviewer Wants You to Say!)

Got an interview coming up? No need to lose any sleep before the big day — we’ve got you covered!

Here are ten of the most common job interview questions, along with some tips about how to respond:

  1. Tell me a little about yourself.

Job interview questions like this are not an invitation to talk about your love of Pokemon Go! Instead, you should give a short pitch explaining why you’d be an ideal fit for the job. Why not try the present-past-future approach? First, tell the interviewer about your current job and your main responsibilities. Then talk about your previous job and key experiences. End by emphasising how excited you are about the possibility of working at the company and explaining why.

  1. What are your strengths?

Choose strengths that you actually possess and are relevant to the position, and back up your list with an example or two demonstrating how you have used those skills in a professional setting. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2016 survey, the key strengths employers are looking for are leadership skills, the ability to work in a team, written communication skills, and the ability to solve problems — so do your best to incorporate them into your answer!

  1. What are your weaknesses?

This is one of the most feared job interview questions — but you know it’s coming! What the employer wants to see here is that you are self-aware and dedicated to self-improvement. Avoid cop-out answers (I guess Im too dedicated to self-improvement) or deal-breakers (Im always late for appointments). Instead, pick something that you are genuinely trying to improve upon. For instance, a computer programmer could mention a coding language that they study in their free time. For more details, check out this awesome guide from Big Interview.

  1. Why do you want to work here?

Don’t tell them it’s for the money and the better vacation time! Employers want you to show that you’ve done your research on their company and explain why you’d be an ideal candidate for the job. So, say something like this: Well, when I was doing my research on your company, I saw that you do [x], and I wanted to be a part of that. Whats more, I think that with my experience in [y], wed be a perfect match.

  1. Why do you want to leave your current position?

When answering this question, it’s important to remain positive about your current (or previous) position. For instance, you could say that it has been a fantastic experience, one that you’ve learned a lot from, but that the position you are applying for is more suited to your abilities and goals. For more details, check out Monster’s excellent advice.

  1. Tell me about a successful experience you had at work.

Whenever you are asked to describe a specific professional experience, it is advisable to follow the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). That is, briefly explain the background details (the company, the job, the project/problem/situation), and then detail the actions that you took. Finally, highlight how your actions resulted in a positive outcome for the company.

  1. Tell me about a difficult situation you faced at work and how you handled it.

You should also use the STAR method for job interview questions like this. What the interviewer is looking for here is for you to highlight your leadership, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. For a detailed guide on how to handle this type of question, check out Big Interview’s wonderful advice here.

  1. Do you work well as part of a team?

Even if you hate all of humanity, for the duration of this interview, you’re a people person! Seriously, the best thing to do here is to directly state some of your positive interpersonal traits and skills and then share an example or two of occasions in which you worked well as part of a team. For more advice and sample answers check out these tips from The Balance.

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Job interview questions like this are basically designed to see if you have ambition and a genuine interest in the job. Avoid common errors like suggesting that you have no idea, want to take the interviewer’s position, or hope to work in an entirely different field. Instead, try to sound enthusiastic and driven, and sell yourself as someone who will be an asset to the company in five years. Here’s a great guide with some excellent sample answers.

10. Do you have any questions for us?

How much is the pay? Can I work from home? How quickly will I be able to get a promotion? Questions like this scream, “DON’T HIRE THIS PERSON!” However, not having any questions prepared shows a lack of care and ambition. Job-Hunt.org provides an excellent list of potential questions job-seekers can ask about the position, the company, the interviewer, and the hiring process.

Every interview includes a few curveballs. But by preparing for the most likely job interview questions, you can be ready to hit a few home runs, too! We hope that this guide has been helpful for you, and we wish you the best of luck in your upcoming interview.

About 

Dara Sheahan is an experienced writer and language teacher from Dublin, who has taught in colleges and universities in Ireland and South Korea. Now a freelance educator and blogger, he has a passion for all things related to education, travel, and entrepreneurship.

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