Getting ready for a job interview can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. It’s like preparing for a big game or an important exam where you need to showcase your skills and experiences to land the job you desire. One crucial part of this preparation is knowing what questions the interviewer might ask.
In this article, we’ll dive into the top 15 most frequently asked interview questions in companies across various industries. These questions are not meant to catch you off guard but to help employers understand your qualifications, personality, and how you might fit into their team. By familiarizing yourself with these common interview questions and practicing your responses, you can boost your confidence and increase your chances of acing that job interview.
So, let’s embark on this journey to explore these frequently asked interview questions and learn how to craft impressive answers that leave a lasting impression on your potential employers. Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned professional looking for a new opportunity, this guide will help you navigate the often intimidating world of job interviews and take a step closer to your dream job.
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Here are the top 15 most frequently asked interview questions that you can expect to face in your job life:
- 1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
- 2. How did you hear about the position?
- 3. What do you know about the company?
- 4. Why do you want to work here?
- 5. Why should I consider hiring you?
- 6. Can you list your strengths?
- 7. What weaknesses do you have?
- 8. What is your greatest professional achievement?
- 9. Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it
- 10. What’s your dream job?
- 11. What other companies are you interviewing with?
- 12. Why are you leaving your current job?
- 13. What is your salary expectation?
- 14. What do you think we could do better or differently?
- 15. Is there anything that you would like to ask me?
It is fair to say that you might not be asked every one of these questions at an interview. You may even be asked other, more bizarre ones, like ‘If you were an animal, which would you be?
Such questions are designed to see how good you are at thinking on your feet so you cannot truly prepare for them. Just relax and say something sensible. For the other common interview questions, consider how you might answer them before you get face-to-face.
1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
This question seems simple, so many people fail to prepare for it, but it’s crucial. Here’s the deal: Don’t give your complete employment (or personal) history. Instead, give a pitch—one that’s concise and compelling and that shows exactly why you’re the right fit for the job. Start off with the 2-3 specific accomplishments or experiences that you most want the interviewer to know about, then wrap up talking about how that prior experience has positioned you for this specific role.
2. How did you hear about the position?
Another seemingly innocuous interview question, this is actually a perfect opportunity to stand out and show your passion for and connection to the company. For example, if you found out about the gig through a friend or professional contact, name-drop that person, then share why you were so excited about it. If you discovered the company through an event or article, share that. Even if you found the listing through a random job board, share what, specifically, caught your eye about the role.
3. What do you know about the company?
Any candidate can read and regurgitate the company’s “About” page. So, when interviewers ask this, they aren’t necessarily trying to gauge whether you understand the mission—they want to know whether you care about it. Start with one line that shows you understand the company’s goals, using a couple of key keywords and phrases from the website, but then go on to make it personal. Say, “I’m personally drawn to this mission because…” or “I really believe in this approach because…” and share a personal example or two.
4. Why do you want to work here?
This is your chance to show that you have researched the company you are applying to work with. Avoid saying anything negative about your current employer which makes it seem you are simply after any job at all.
Typical things you might say are that the company operates in your chosen sector, that it provides a clearly structured career path, and that the organization has a good reputation. Don’t simply trot these ideas out, though. Do your research!
5. Why should I consider hiring you?
If you are highly qualified for the job you are applying for, then you should point this out, but don’t forget that other people being interviewed may match or exceed your suitability. In such cases, focus on what else you can bring to the job, perhaps with your soft skill set, like being able to integrate well with existing members of the team, for instance.
Don’t give up on an interview if you´re not fully qualified for the job. Appeal to the interviewer’s desire to hire someone with drive. If you are not the finished article, then point out how keen you are to learn and be mentored. Accentuate the positive aspects of what you can do now and how quickly you will be able to progress with what you don’t know if hired.
6. Can you list your strengths?
An exhaustive list of adjectives, such as ‘capable’, ‘hard-working’, or ‘diligent’, won’t really portray you well because anyone can make such claims about themselves. Instead, think about three things that you do well and give concrete examples.
If you are a strong organizer, for example, then talk about a project that you coordinated or a new procedure that you formulated. If you are good with numbers, then talk about your skills with spreadsheets or financial matters.
7. What weaknesses do you have?
Never say that you have no weaknesses. Everyone who does this comes across like they have simply not prepared for the interview. Likewise, avoid giving yourself a back-handed compliment, such as, ‘I work too hard.’
Remember that being able to identify a weakness is a strength. Focus on an area of your work that needs to be improved. You might have been trained in something that you’d like to take to the next level, for example. Point out that this is a weakness, but something you have identified and are focusing on resolving. Interviewers want to understand that you have the ability, to be honest about yourself and to seek self-improvement.
8. What is your greatest professional achievement?
Nothing says “hire me” better than a track record of achieving amazing results in past jobs, so don’t be shy when answering this interview question! A great way to do so is by using the S-T-A-R method: Set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context (e.g., “In my last job as a junior analyst, it was my role to manage the invoicing process”), but spend the bulk of your time describing what you actually did (the action) and what you achieved (the result). For example, “In one month, I streamlined the process, which saved my group 10 man-hours each month and reduced errors on invoices by 25%.”
9. Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.
In asking this interview question, “Your interviewer wants to get a sense of how you will respond to conflict. Anyone can seem nice and pleasant in a job interview, but what will happen if you’re hired and Gladys in Compliance starts getting in your face?” says Skillings. Again, you’ll want to use the S-T-A-R method, being sure to focus on how you handled the situation professionally and productively, and ideally closing with a happy ending, like how you came to a resolution or compromise.
10. What’s your dream job?
Along similar lines, the interviewer wants to uncover whether this position is really in line with your ultimate career goals. While “an NBA star” might get you a few laughs, a better bet is to talk about your goals and ambitions—and why this job will get you closer to them.
11. What other companies are you interviewing with?
Companies ask this for a number of reasons, from wanting to see what the competition is for you to sniffing out whether you’re serious about the industry. “Often the best approach is to mention that you are exploring a number of other similar options in the company’s industry,” says job search expert Alison Doyle. “It can be helpful to mention that a common characteristic of all the jobs you are applying to is the opportunity to apply some critical abilities and skills that you possess. For example, you might say ‘I am applying for several positions with IT consulting firms where I can analyze client needs and translate them to development teams in order to find solutions to technology problems.’”
12. Why are you leaving your current job?
This is a toughie, but one you can be sure you’ll be asked. Definitely keep things positive—you have nothing to gain by being negative about your past employers. Instead, frame things in a way that shows that you’re eager to take on new opportunities and that the role you’re interviewing for is a better fit for you than your current or last position. For example, “I’d really love to be part of product development from beginning to end, and I know I’d have that opportunity here.” And if you were let go? Keep it simple: “Unfortunately, I was let go,” is a totally OK answer.
13. What is your salary expectation?
This is one of the most troublesome questions for many interviewees. For some people, however, it causes no bother at all. It will depend on your personality as to how you feel talking about salary expectations. That said, there are some tips to help you deal with the question.
Firstly, it is okay to talk about pay in terms of ranges and not to be specific about a particular number. It is also okay to include other benefits, like healthcare, pensions, and time off within the context of salary. Make sure you have looked at other, similar jobs being advertised in other organisations so that you have an idea of the pay rate in the market
14. What do you think we could do better or differently?
This is a common one at startups (and one of our personal favorites here at The Muse). Hiring managers want to know that you not only have some background on the company but that you’re able to think critically about it and come to the table with new ideas. So, come up with new ideas! What new features would you love to see? How could the company increase conversions? How could customer service be improved? You don’t need to have the company’s four-year strategy figured out, but do share your thoughts, and more importantly, show how your interests and expertise would lend themselves to the job.
15. Is there anything that you would like to ask me?
Always have at least one question prepared in advance. This is your chance to drill down into an area of the business that might not have been covered in the interview. Alternatively, you may simply like to ask for feedback on how you have done in the interview.
A good tip is to pick up on something that has been mentioned in passing by the interviewer about the job. Ask him or her to expand on this. Not only does it make you appear interested, but it shows that you have been listening attentively to what has been said. It should leave the interviewer with a good final impression of you.
These ten questions are certainly not the only ones that can be posed, but they are the most common ones. Remember that you don’t need to answer all questions at an interview if you feel they are too personal or you are not comfortable with them. Getting yourself prepared for common questions is necessary prep work before attending an interview.
Don’t make the answer come across as rehearsed; rather, just remember the gist of your answer and then let the sentences flow freely during the interview, which gives the interviewer a much better impression of you. Good luck!..