How to Answer the Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions
Do you have a job interview coming up? Are you prepared? The best way to get ready for an interview is to take the time to review the most common interview questions you will most likely be asked. Knowing what you're going to say, can eliminate a lot of interview stress.
Prepare for the Interview
You don't need to memorize an answer, but do take the time to consider how you'll respond. The more you prepare, the more confident you'll feel during a job interview. When you're not sure what to expect during an interview, also review this refresher on how job interviews work, and tips on how to prepare to ace a job interview.
Review examples of the best answers for the most frequently asked interview questions in several different categories, and advice on how to answer.
Job Interview Questions and Best Answers
These are the top ten most commonly asked interview questions, with examples of the best answers. Also, review job-specific interview questions for many different positions to get ideas for framing your own interview responses.
Interviewers will ask questions about you to gain insight into your personality and to determine whether you're a fit for both the job and the company. These are open-ended questions which will give you the opportunity to show the employer that you're well-qualified for the position.
- Tell me about yourself.
- What is your greatest strength?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Tell me about something that's not on your resume.
- How will your greatest strength help you perform?
- How do you handle failure?
- How do you handle success?
- Do you consider yourself successful? Why?
- How do you handle stress and pressure?
- How would you describe yourself?
- Describe a typical work week.
- Are you lucky?
- Are you nice?
- Are you willing to fail?
- Describe your work style.
- Do you work well with other people?
- Do you take work home with you?
- How are you different from the competition?
- How do you view yourself? Whom do you compare yourself to?
- How does this job fit in with your career aspirations?
- How many hours a week do you normally work?
- How would you adjust to working for a new company?
- How would you describe the pace at which you work?
- How would your co-workers describe your personality?
- Is there anything else we should know about you?
- What motivates you?
- Are you a self-motivator?
- What do you find are the most difficult decisions to make?
- What has been the greatest disappointment in your life?
- What are you passionate about?
- What are your hobbies?
- What are your pet peeves?
- What is your dream job?
- What will you miss most about your last job?
- What won’t you miss about your last job?
- Would you rather be liked or respected?
- Why should I take a risk on you?
- If you could relive the last ten years of your life, what would you do differently?
Leaving Your Job
Employers almost always ask about why you left, or are leaving, your job. Be prepared with an explanation for why you're moving on. Do make sure the reasons you give match what past employers will say about you if they are contacted for a reference.
Some of the hardest questions to answer during a job interview are about compensation. Here's what you will be asked and examples of the best answers. Questions about salary can be tricky to answer, and, in some locations, employers aren't allowed to ask about your salary history.
The most important thing for interviewers to determine is whether you're qualified for the job. Here's what they will ask to find out. When responding, be specific.
- What applicable experience do you have?
- Are you overqualified for this job?
- How did you impact the bottom line?
- Interview questions about your abilities.
- Sell me this pen.
- Tell me about your educational background.
- What can you do better for us than the other candidates for the job?
- What part of the job will be the least challenging for you?
- Which parts of this job are the most challenging for you?
- What philosophy guides your work?
- What strength will help you the most to succeed?
- Why are you interested in taking a lower level job?
How you performed in previous roles can indicate how you will perform in the job for which you're applying. Be prepared to answer questions about what you did well - and what you didn't.
Be careful about how you to respond to negative questions. You can frame your responses in a positive manner, even when discussing a challenging situation.
As with questions about qualifications, be sure to relate your performance to the employer's requirements.
- What do people most often criticize about you?
- What is the biggest criticism you received from your boss?
- What is the worst thing that you have ever gotten away with?
- What makes you angry?
- What problems have you encountered at work?
- What strategies would you use to motivate your team?
- What would you be looking for in an applicant?
- When was the last time you were angry? What happened?
- Why weren't you promoted at your last job?
- Tell me about something you would have done differently at work.
- If the people who know you were asked why you should be hired, what would they say?
Is your work history stable, has it prepared you for the job you're interviewing for, and do you have any gaps in your employment history that the company should be concerned about? If not, prepare to answer questions about what you were doing when you weren't in the workforce.
- Questions about your work history.
- Questions about your resume.
- What were your expectations for the job and to what extent were they met?
- What were your responsibilities?
- What major challenges and problems did you face? How did you handle them?
- What have you learned from your mistakes?
- What did you like or dislike about your previous job?
- Which was most / least rewarding?
- What was the biggest accomplishment/failure in this position?
- Questions about job demotions.
- How have you impacted worker safety?
- Describe the gap in your employment history.
Management and Teamwork
Are you a team player? Do you work well with others? Do you prefer to work in a solitary environment or as part of a team? Your work style, and how you get along with others, including co-workers, managers, and customers or clients is important to all employers. Here are some of the questions employers ask about getting along at work.
- Who was your best boss and who was the worst?
- Describe your ideal boss.
- If you know your boss is 100% wrong about something how would you handle it?
- What do you expect from a supervisor?
- Have you ever had difficulty working with a manager?
- How did you fit in with the company culture?
- Describe how you managed a problem employee.
- Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?
- Give some examples of teamwork.
- More teamwork interview questions.
Why You Should Be Hired
Why should you be hired over the other applicants? What makes you the best candidate for the job? Here's when you'll have the opportunity to make a case for getting a job offer, and the chance to sell yourself to the interviewer.
The New Job and the Company
What do you know about the company, why do you want the job, and what would you do if you were to be hired, are just some of the questions you'll be asked about the position and employer. Take the time to research the employer prior to the interview, so that you can ask informed questions about the job and company.
- How is our company better than your current employer?
- What interests you about this job?
- What do you know about this company?
- Why do you want this job?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What challenges are you looking for in a position?
- What do you see yourself doing within the first 30 days on the job?
- What can we expect from you in the first 60 days on the job?
- Are you willing to travel?
- What is good customer service?
- What would be your ideal company culture?
- When could you start work?
- Is there anything I haven't told you about the job or company that you would like to know?
Are you going to stick around if you're hired is something most employers want to know. All these questions will gauge your interest in making a commitment.
- Tell me about the trends in your profession and industry.
- What are you looking for in your next job? What is important to you?
- What is your professional development plan?
- Where do you see yourself five years from now?
- How do you plan to achieve your goals?
- What will you do if you don't get this position?
- Where else are you interviewing?
The Final Question
The last question you'll most likely be asked is whether you have any questions. Here's how to respond.