Common interview questions and answers (With examples!)
According to conventional wisdom, if you don't prepare, you'll prepare to fail. However, deciding what to prepare for a job interview can be difficult. There are a million and one instructions on how to respond to interview questions, but there aren't as many on which questions are most likely to be asked.
We'll go over the most typical interview questions and answers, and by the end of this article, you'll be a true interview expert.
Tell me about yourself
Discuss a meaningful experience that sparked your interest in the profession you're pursuing, and then go on to your studies. Integrate how your academic training and passion for the field or area in which the company specializes, as well as your work experience, make you a wonderful fit for the job in the story. Mention any time you've handled a large project or worked on a unique design.
Here, your goal should be to position yourself as the best candidate for the job. The following is a solid rule of thumb for structuring your talking points:
Introduce yourself briefly: What's your name, by the way? When did you start working as [profession]?
What aspects of your profession do you enjoy the most?
What are your top 2-3 relevant achievements for the position you're applying for?
Example: My name is Jane Doe, and I recently graduated from the University of so-so with a bachelor's degree.
I recently received my bachelor's degree in Biochemistry with honors. As a chemistry research assistant, I know my way around a lab and have had numerous opportunities to put my expertise to use.
I'd like to work as a lab assistant because it felt like home to me. I am a dedicated, hardworking, and responsible individual. I'm also looking forward to putting all I learnt throughout my time at university into practice.
How did you learn about this position?
Employers want to know if you're actively looking for a job, heard about it via a recruiter, or were referred by an existing employee. In other words, they want to know how you came to be there. Make it appear as if you have been checking the company's website for job openings on a regular basis, even if you haven't (in a professional way, of course). Make it seem exciting.
If you went looking for the job, be specific about what drew you in - bonus points if you can match your values with the company's objective. You want to persuade the recruiting manager that you chose their organization over all others for a few reasons in particular.
Example: I learned about the position through LinkedIn as I’ve been following your company’s page for a while now. I’m really passionate about the work you’re doing in X, Y, and Z areas, so I was excited to apply. The required skills match well with the skills I have, and it seems like a great opportunity for me to contribute to your mission, as well as a great next move for my career.
What prompted you to apply for this position?
The interviewer is interested in seeing how enthusiastic you are about the job or the firm. After all, job satisfaction is inextricably connected to job performance. The more satisfied you are with your job, the more productive you will be. When asked this question, your response should incorporate the following two points:
What drew you to apply for this role in particular?
Why did you choose this firm? Have you ever heard of them?
Example: I'm a big believer in renewable energy and sustainability. In fact, at [XYZ University], I minored in Environmental Science.
I've always wanted to put my engineering degree to good use, and the position of Sustainability Coordinator at [Company XYZ] is exactly what I've been looking for.
I've been following your company for a few years now, and I admire how you're transforming America's renewable energy landscape.
Which type of work environment do you prefer?
Before the interview, make sure you've done your homework about the company and its culture. Your research will come in handy here. Your desired working environment should be closely aligned with the company's workplace culture (and if it isn't, it might not be the best fit for you). For example, you can discover from the company's website that they have a flat organizational structure or that collaboration and autonomy are important to them. These are important terms to include in your response to this question.
Example: I enjoy fast-paced work environments because they make me feel like I'm continually learning and growing, but I thrive when I'm working with a team and helping people achieve a common objective rather than competing. My previous internship was at a company with a similar atmosphere, and I loved the mix.
What do you consider to be your greatest strengths?
You have two options here: tell the recruiting manager or HR representative what your genuine strengths are, or tell them what you believe they want to hear. The first option is unquestionably the best. You should limit your response to no more than three strengths while answering this question. Choose 1 or 2 professional skills and 1 or 2 personal (more or less unconnected) skills that will help you flourish at your career.
After you've chosen your strengths, back them up with a situation or narrative that demonstrates how you've used them in the workplace. Words are, after all, just that: words. HR has no way of knowing whether your "natural leadership" is a genuine strength or simply a result of your high school class's high activity level.
Example: My greatest strength is my ability to function effectively under duress. I can make the appropriate decisions on the spot, regardless of the crisis or stress.
We were preparing an IT conference for a customer as an event manager at Company X. There were numerous last-minute difficulties, including the cancellation of some speakers and the food company's announcement that they would be late for the lunch break. Furthermore, we were short-staffed since two of our volunteer organizers became ill and were unable to attend.
Things seemed so bad at that time that we considered canceling or postponing the event. Instead, I took control of the situation and worked through the issues one by one.
Do you like to work alone or in a team?
Your response should be based on your study of the company's culture and the job in question. Nonetheless, you should anticipate that most job contexts will include some element of teamwork. Many jobs demand you to collaborate with others on a daily basis, but others require you to operate independently. When answering this question, emphasize your best personality attributes and how they align with the job criteria. It might also be in your best interests to respond to this question by stressing the benefits and drawbacks of both scenarios.
Example: I prefer a combination of the two. I enjoy having a team to strategize with, receive different perspectives from, and ask for input from. But I'm also happy to take on jobs that require me to work alone. I feel that focusing alone in a quiet environment allows me to produce some of my finest work, but I also value brainstorming with my teammates to come up with the best ideas.
Why should we consider hiring you?
Avoiding the extremes is a solid rule of thumb here. Do you believe you'd be a good fit for the job? Say you have the right experience.
Whatever you do, don't exaggerate your abilities. Instead, make a broad statement (I'm a wonderful fit for the role because...) and then go into detail about your previous experiences and accomplishments.
Here are three general points to consider:
How you're enthralled by the prospect of working with the company (and why).
How well your abilities match their needs.
How will you assist the firm in resolving their current issues? Improve a metric, establish a method, and so forth.
Example: To begin with, I possess all of the necessary abilities and professional experience for the position. I've been a Sales Manager for over 5 years, and in the last two years, I've closed several multi-million dollar projects.
I've also worked with IT firms before, so I'll be able to pick up on all the product details much faster than the other applicants.
What are your salary expectations?
You should know the salary range for the employment you're seeking for before you step into your first interview. Salary information can be found on websites like Glassdoor, Fishbowl, and Vault.com. You might also go out to your LinkedIn community and ask professionals in the sector. Employers will always ask this question since every position has a budget, and they want to make sure your expectations are in line with that budget before proceeding.
Remember that during the interview, it's usually best to discuss a pay range rather than a specific number, as this allows for more room for negotiation. It's also a good idea to err on the side of caution and quote a somewhat higher figure because it's easier to negotiate downward than above.
Example: I'm expecting a salary of roughly $___ based on my qualifications and expertise, as well as current industry rates".
Do you have any questions that you'd want to ask us?
This is a question you'll hear in every interview you go to. You wish to demonstrate your excitement for the firm with this inquiry. What would you like to know about them if they've already recruited you and you're starting tomorrow?
However, keep in mind that the questions shouldn't be too simple (for example, what does your firm do?). Aside from demonstrating to the recruiter that you're serious about working for them, this is your chance to learn everything there is to know about the company.
What does a typical day at this company entail?
What is your favorite aspect of working for the company?
What is the most inconvenient aspect of working for the company?
What, in your opinion, are the most significant challenges that a person in this position would face?
What are the most important abilities and attributes to succeed in this position?