Job interviews can be dreadful, particularly when you’re aware that the final outcome of the entire hiring process may depend on what you say during the talk with the hiring professional. However, being familiar with the most common interview questions and how to answer them may be of huge help.
Although there are no right or wrong answers, there is still a specific way to respond to these questions. With this comprehensive guide, we’ll introduce you to some of them so that you can fully prepare and ace your interview.
- To check whether you’re genuinely interested in the company, a hiring professional will ask you how you heard about the position, why you applied for it, and why you want to work for them.
- Questions about strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments give an interviewer insight into your self-awareness, skills, and previous performance.
- Behavioral interview questions help hiring professionals learn how you act in specific situations.
- Some of the most common interview questions include ones about challenges at work, demonstrating leadership skills, working under pressure, and handling conflicts.
15 Common Interview Questions With Answers
Here is the list of the common interview questions hiring professionals ask most:
#1. How did you hear about this job?
While this question may seem pretty straightforward, the answer to it should show how interested you are in working for the company you’re applying for. Even if you submit an application randomly, without any particular interest, make sure that you show some during the interview.
If you’ve learned about the position from someone who works for the company, feel free to mention it. Your chances of getting hired will significantly increase if someone can vouch for your competencies.
Here’s a sample answer:
|I found out about the job through an acquaintance who works for your company. They praised the company culture and mentioned the opening. After more thorough research, I was impressed by your innovative projects and decided to apply.
#2. Tell me about yourself.
This question might seem so inviting to start talking about your childhood or adolescence when you used to win every single competition. Don’t fall into that trap; the point of this tell-me-about-yourself question is to be your elevator pitch and present yourself as the ideal candidate for the position.
Therefore, when you’re responding to it, make sure that you give answers that are relevant to the role you’re applying for. Focus on how long you’ve been working in the field and your relevant experience, and don’t forget to add two or three achievements.
Check out the example:
|I currently work as an account executive at Edelman Communications, managing our top-performing client. Previously, I worked at a marketing agency, where I handled four major IT brands.
As I enjoyed dealing with the IT industry, I’m excited to delve deeper into the startup sector, with a focus on one particular startup. This is the reason I’m thrilled about the opportunity with StellarSpark.
#3. Why should we hire you?
‘Why should we hire you’ is possibly one of the most intimidating interview questions that many candidates have trouble answering. Yet, this is another perfect opportunity to pitch yourself and your skills.
You don’t want to sound too pretentious or arrogant, so avoid extreme answers such as “I’m the best project manager you’ve ever met.” Instead, generate an answer that will cover three things:
- The results you can deliver
- Your ability to fit the team and overall company culture easily
- Your superiority over other candidates owing to your expertise and accomplishments.
Here’s an example:
|I believe that my combination of expertise, strong problem-solving skills, and dedication to continuous learning make me a valuable candidate for this role. My past experience in similar positions has equipped me with the ability to deal with challenges and deliver effective solutions. Plus, I can easily fit into any team due to my solid communication and teamwork skills.
#4. What are your salary expectations?
Inquiring about your salary expectations allows hiring professionals to see whether you fit into the company budget, i.e., whether they can afford you.
When answering it, don’t go for the minimum amount, as you would like to appear desperate. However, don’t come up with an astronomical sum since you don’t want to look greedy either.
To respond, give the salary range that works for you. Yet, make sure that you have researched the average salary for that position so as not to give a too little or excessive amount. Alternatively, you can flip the question and ask the interviewer to share how much they typically pay for the role.
Here’s how you can answer this question:
|Given my experience and qualifications, I’m looking for somewhere between $55,000 and $60,000 per year.
#5. Why did you apply for this position?
With this question, hiring professionals want to find out how eager you are to work for the company. The more motivated you are to get a job, the better your performance will be once you’re hired.
Refrain from providing humorous answers, such as “I need money in order not to starve” or “I have a family to provide for,” as they won’t be received quite well. Rather, explain what attracted you to apply for the role and why you chose that specific company.
Check out an example:
|I applied for this position because I am enthusiastic about digital marketing and the opportunity to contribute my skills and experience. Your company’s commitment to developing innovative approaches to advertising aligns perfectly with my career goals.
#6. What is your greatest weakness?
No one wants to share their flaws and weaknesses, particularly not with their prospective employers. Yet, the purpose of this question is not to ridicule or humiliate you but to help an interviewer see if you’re self-aware and willing to improve.
Note that being an overachiever or perfectionist isn’t considered a weakness, so don’t try to humble brag. Be honest and realistic; state what your flaws are, but make sure that you don’t focus on the ones that may affect your work.
It’s also good to add that you know how these weaknesses might be affecting your work and that you’re working on overcoming them.
Here’s a good answer:
|One area I’ve identified for improvement is my tendency to be overly critical of my own work. I’m well-aware of the fact that striving for excellence is important; however, I’ve learned that I can be too self-critical at times.
#7. What is your greatest strength?
This seemingly easy interview question can be a bit tricky—most candidates tend to be too modest in their answers or fail to stress the strengths that align with the position requirements.
With this question, a hiring professional wants to see whether your skills match the responsibilities of the job. As they will decide whether you’re a good candidate according to what you say to them, make sure that you mention hard and soft skills that align with those the company is seeking.
For instance, you can choose one or two hard skills and one or two soft skills. Here’s an example:
|One of my key strengths is my adaptability, as it allows me to excel in dynamic environments. My strong communication skills let me collaborate effectively with diverse teams. I am also known for my meticulous attention to detail, which helps me ensure the quality and precision of my work.
#8. What is your greatest accomplishment?
When asking what your greatest accomplishment was, an interviewer is trying to assess your past performance as well as how you deal with specific and possibly stressful situations.
To answer this question, don’t just brag about how skilled or competent you are, as you’ll look preposterous. Add figures or percentages to back up your claims and make them more credible.
Also, don’t talk about the sports competition you won when you were 10. The accomplishment you want to mention needs to be job-related.
A good answer may look like this:
|One of my most significant accomplishments was leading a cross-functional team to successfully implement a streamlined project management system. I coordinated the team actions, addressed challenges proactively, and made sure that communication went smoothly. This initiative resulted in a 20% increase in overall project efficiency and a 15% reduction in costs.
#9. Why do you want to work for us?
If a hiring professional asks you why you want to work for their company, they want to see whether you’re particularly interested in the position and company, how familiar you are with them, and if the position matches your career goals.
To give a good answer, you need to prepare by researching the company (if you’re not already familiar with it) to find out what their core values and mission are and describe how they align with yours. Next, explain how you can grow within the company and emphasize your zeal for the company’s product or service.
Check out an example:
|I have read that your company has been listed as one of the most desirable places to work. I’ve also come across numerous employee reviews and learned that you support and encourage employee growth via education, training, and other resources. I would really love to be a part of your innovative team, contribute to the innovation you constantly develop, and continue to grow and improve my skills.
#10. Why are you leaving your current position?
Although you may think that the interviewer is being a bit too nosey, there is a plausible reason behind this question.
With it, they are trying to discover whether you’ll be able to get along well with other team members and fit with the new company and if you can effectively discuss difficult subjects. Most importantly, they want to know whether you plan to stay at the company once you’re employed.
No matter how badly you think you were treated, don’t badmouth your current employer. Simply say that the job was not quite a match for you and that you want a more challenging role that will let you grow.
This is how you can frame your answer:
|I am looking for new challenges and opportunities for professional growth that align better with my skills and long-term career goals. While I have greatly appreciated the experiences and learning opportunities at my current position, I believe that a change will allow me to contribute my expertise more effectively and continue to develop in a dynamic environment.
#11. What are you looking for in a new job?
This is one of the most common interview questions that hiring professionals love asking either during a phone, in-person, or video interview. They want to see if you want this job for specific reasons or if you’re just spraying and praying. Plus, they want to make sure that their job matches your ambitions and career goals.
To give the best answer, you should be aware of the challenges and learning opportunities you’d like to take advantage of. Your aim is to seem eager and motivated so that the hiring professional realizes that you’re truly excited about the position.
Here’s an example:
|I aspire to take on a more hands-on role in leading client projects. In my current position as an account manager, I coordinated communication with clients, but the team leader managed the majority of projects, delegated tasks, and supervised the deliverables. Now I’m seeking a role where I can actively lead and contribute to the success of the clients’ projects more directly.
#12. How would your boss and coworkers describe you?
The key purpose of this question is to give a hiring professional insight into not only your self-awareness but your personality as well. Provided that they have managed to reach out to your references, they may also put your self-assessment to the test.
It’s critical that you’re honest here. There’s no point in lying or stretching the truth, as interviewers have already heard from your references. Share relevant anecdotes to illustrate how others may perceive you but mince your words. You don’t want to mention how you may behave after a drink or two during team-building parties!
Your answer may look like this:
|My boss and coworkers would likely describe me as a dedicated and collaborative team member. I strive to maintain open communication and positive working relationships. They might highlight my strong work ethic, attention to detail, and ability to adapt to changing priorities.
I believe they would also mention my willingness to take the initiative and support others when needed. Overall, my goal is to contribute positively to the team dynamic, as well as to create a productive and enjoyable work environment for everyone.
#13. What’s your management style?
Given the fact that good managers are flexible, adaptable, and empowering, this is what you should aim for in your response. You may even share several good leadership moments that you’re most proud of.
Here’s what a good answer looks like:
|I would describe my management style as collaborative and empowering. I believe in keeping open communication within the team, encouraging each member to contribute their ideas and perspectives.
I also believe in recognizing individual strengths, and I’m committed to supporting professional development. I’m adaptable, adjusting my approach based on the needs of the team and the goals of the project. I aim to create a positive work environment that promotes both individual and collective success.
#14. What do you like to do outside of work?
Believe it or not, hiring professionals don’t only want to learn about you career-wise. They’d like to learn about you outside of work, too, particularly about your interests or hobbies. This will help them gain a better understanding of your personality and what you’re passionate about.
This is one of the common interview questions for teachers, and you can be completely honest when answering this question. Still, be professional and mindful of the intensity of your response. You don’t want to sound as if your hobbies are more important than your job.
This is how you can formulate your answer:
|I’m a photography enthusiast, so I’m all about capturing life’s wonderful moments through photography. I love playing around with different techniques, editing pictures, and just letting my creative side run wild.
Traveling is another big thing for me—I’m all about diving into new cultures, trying out local foods, and making memories in different corners of the world. It’s not just a fun time; it’s my way of bringing a fresh vibe to both my personal and professional life.
#15. Do you have any questions?
This question is yet another way hiring professionals use to check if you’re indeed interested in working for their company. Use this opportunity to find out more about the role, team, department, or company itself.
Even if you’ve already learned everything you were interested in, don’t give a negative answer, as it will raise red flags. The interviewer may perceive this as an absence of interest or motivation.
Prepare at least one or two questions to ask, such as:
5 Common Behavioral Interview Questions With Answers
Behavioral interview questions have a very clear and specific purpose—to show how you may behave in specific situations. Though they may not make much sense to you, they are valuable for hiring professionals who squeeze them in quite frequently during the interview.
Here are the five most common ones:
#1. Tell me about a time when you faced a challenge at work.
This extremely common question shows an interviewer how you deal with difficulties and possible conflicts. Use the STAR method to respond—provide a straightforward answer in which you’ll explain the challenge and how you overcame it.
Check out an example:
|One particular challenge that stands out was when we were facing tight deadlines on a project, and unexpected technical issues arose. The team and I had to quickly troubleshoot and find solutions to keep the project on track.
I took the lead in coordinating efforts, maintained open communication, and collaborated with different departments. The constant positive and solution-oriented mindset helped us overcome the challenge, meet the deadlines, and deliver a successful project.
This challenge taught me the importance of adaptability and effective teamwork in dealing with unexpected hurdles.
#2. Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership capabilities.
The key point of this question is to show your leadership skills, so focus on them when giving a response. Elaborate on your responsibilities, the problem or challenge you might have faced, and how you dealt with it.
Here’s an example:
|In my previous role, we were implementing a new system, and resistance to change was high among team members. I recognized the importance of buy-in and decided to take the specific initiative. I organized a series of workshops to address concerns, educated the team on the benefits, and involved everyone in the decision-making process.
Thanks to open communication and the positive aspects of the change, I managed to gain the team’s support. This experience highlighted my ability to lead through influence, communicate effectively, and overcome challenges during periods of organizational change.
#3. Tell me about a time when you worked under pressure and how you handled it.
Tight deadlines, heavy workloads, too many responsibilities, an intense workday, and even micromanaging cause a lot of stress and pressure.
If any of them are part of the role you’re applying for, a hiring professional might pop out this question to see if you can make cool-headed decisions or strategies in a heated atmosphere.
Don’t say that you tend to get stressed if you need to juggle several projects. You’ll ruin your chances of getting a job if it requires a lot of multitasking. Don’t say that you never feel stressed, either, as no one will believe you.
Instead, say that stress acts as a motivator for you. Describe a situation when stress and pressure urged you to work more efficiently and proactively.
Here’s an example:
|There was a project where we faced an unexpected surge in workload with a tight deadline. To manage the pressure, I quickly prioritized tasks and delegated responsibilities to team members based on their strengths.
Despite the intense timeframe, we successfully delivered the project on schedule. This experience reinforced my ability to stay calm under pressure, make effective decisions, and collaborate efficiently with the team to achieve our goals.
#4. Tell me about a time when you got into a disagreement with a team member.
This so-called conflict-resolution question helps a hiring professional discover how you handle conflicts and drama in your workplace. This is the perfect opportunity to show your soft skills—or, more precisely, your problem-solving skills—as well as your emotional intelligence and ability to maintain professional composure.
When answering the question, explain why you disagreed with a co-worker and what you did to resolve it.
Here’s how you can respond:
|While we were working on a project, a team member and I had different perspectives on the approach to a critical task. Instead of letting it escalate, I initiated a one-on-one conversation to understand their viewpoint. I used this opportunity to share mine as well.
We found common ground by focusing on the project goals, and we eventually came up with a hybrid approach that incorporated both of our ideas.
#5. How do you stay motivated when your job requires repetitive tasks?
Motivation is critical for maintaining productivity and efficiency. However, when carrying out repetitive tasks, it could easily die out.
With this question, the interviewer wants to see how you keep your spirits high when performing tasks that are dull and monotonous. A good answer should revolve around keeping a positive mindset, adaptability, and strategies for maintaining motivation.
Here’s an example:
|I encountered this situation when I handled data entry tasks. To stay motivated, I focused on the larger goal, reminding myself that these tasks were crucial for maintaining accurate records.
I also introduced some variety by exploring different methods of data entry and streamlining the process. I set personal goals to improve my efficiency, aiming to complete tasks within set time frames without compromising accuracy.
30 More Common Interview Questions
Here’s a list of 30 more interview questions that hiring professionals frequently pop out:
- Can you explain gaps in your resume?
- Why is our company interesting to you?
- Would you be willing to work nights and weekends?
- Can you walk us through your resume?
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
- What’s your work style?
- Can you explain why you changed career paths?
- What type of work environment do you prefer?
- How do you stay organized?
- What makes you unique?
- How do you plan to achieve your career goals?
- How do you prioritize your work?
- What are your pet peeves?
- How do you plan to achieve your career goals?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What’s your dream job?
- Do you take work home with you?
- What are the most difficult decisions for you to make?
- How quickly do you adapt to new technology?
- How well do you assimilate into a new environment?
- Is there anything else we should know about you?
- What motivates you?
- What has been the greatest disappointment in your life?
- Would you rather be liked or respected?
- Are you considering other positions in other companies?
- Why have you switched jobs so many times?
- Are you a risk-taker?
- Are you willing to relocate?
- Tell me about a time you failed.
- Why were you fired?
Job interviews can be rather overwhelming; you may constantly be at a loss whether you provided a good answer or made some stupid mistakes. Besides that, knowing that the result of the entire hiring process depends on your performance during the interview may make your anxiety even worse.
But knowing the most common interview questions in advance will help you prepare better and rock the interview. Our guide is here to help you ace it and land that dream job hassle-free!