Top 5 Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

  • Home
  • Career Advice

Top 5 Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Top 5 Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Are you prepared to ace your next job interview? One of the essential aspects of interview preparation is responding effectively to common interview questions.

From obvious questions like 'why do you want to work for us?' to strange and wacky ones like 'if you were an animal, what would you be?' you'll have a leg up with the best answers. Read our top interview experts' advice and be more prepared for your interview than anyone else.

Typical job interview questions and answers

You've been called in for a job interview. Congratulations!

And the fact that you're reading this guide indicates that you understand how important it is to prepare interview answers to land the job.

You're already one step ahead of some of your competitors.

Candidates who have prepared their answers are detailed, concise, and relevant. That is precisely what employers want to hear.

Preparation means you'll be more confident, less afraid of the unknown, and less likely to experience interview nerves.

We have some good news for you if you're preparing for an interview: Your responses will be more powerful if you know what to expect during the interview and have a clear idea of what you want to focus on. Knowing you're prepared will boost your confidence and allow you to relax during the interview.

Let's get to it;

Before we get into the specifics of the 2interview questions, it's worth noting two critical pieces of interview advice that our experts agree to apply to all interview questions:

  1. First, match your skills, competencies, and experiences to those listed in the job advertisement.
  2. Second, develop your responses to these frequently asked questions. Don't give canned answers. You won't find ready-made solutions here. Instead, we'll assist you in providing the best possible response.

Now, back to the questions

1. Tell us about yourself;

This is a common question used by interviewers to learn about your background. When responding, start by mentioning where you are now, followed by a brief explanation of how you got to your current position. Using this strategy, you can establish your professional history and emphasize the most important aspects.

Example: "I am currently a junior personal trainer with 25 recurring clients." I've earned certifications in yoga and pilates during my three years as a fitness instructor, allowing me to specialize in these rapidly growing areas. I've also taken online sales courses because I have a full client roster. As a fitness enthusiast, I am also self-motivated and driven to share my enthusiasm for health and well-being with my clients."

How not to respond

When answering this question, candidates frequently mistake saying too much. Don't ramble, be brief. There is no need to detail at this stage of the interview because the employer will delve deeper into specifics later on.

When a candidate says what they think interviewers want to hear and it just doesn't ring true, that's often the biggest turn-off.

Finally, don't give a canned response as with all interview questions. Make sure your bullet points are relevant to the position you're applying for.

2. Why do you want this job?

Hiring managers ask this question in interviews to determine how well you understand the job and the company. When you are asked this question, you have the opportunity to show how thoroughly you researched the organization and the job opening. Try mentioning the company's mission or accomplishments and the unique opportunities that the position provides in your response.

Example: "The role aligns well with my experience and future goals," for example. After three years in a supervisory retail sales position, I am well-prepared to advance to a managerial position in the field. I am excited about the management and financial skills I will gain from this position, as well as the opportunity to work for an established company that frequently sets goals and smashes them."

How not to respond

Answering this question negatively about your current employer is a big no-no. You can express your desire for advancement without implying that your current boss impedes your progress.

Don't frame your response in the past or the present. Instead, think about the future.

This is not the time to bring up salary, benefits, or even minor perks like free parking.

Also, avoid sounding desperate for the position. Make it clear that you don't just want any job, but you want this job in particular.

3. What are your strongest and weakest points?

Employers typically inquire about your strengths and weaknesses to learn more about your areas of strength and weakness. Mention your most vital technical and soft skills in your response. Choose an area where you have already taken steps to improve to discuss your weaknesses. This strategy allows you to add a positive spin to a potentially negative question.

How to Respond

It can be difficult to identify a flaw.

One trick is to ask your close friends and family what professional qualities they believe you should improve. Even better, someone at your current job in whom you have complete faith. They are more likely to provide useful feedback. The obvious risk is that your employer will learn that you are looking for another job.

Don't bring up any flaws that jeopardize your ability to do the job.

Here are some examples of what you could say:

  • "Previously, I was unable to remember and prioritize my tasks when managing multiple projects at the same time." To counteract this, I made a prioritized to-do list every day."
  • "I used to waste a lot of time on tasks that weren't the most important." Now I'm better at allocating my time to tasks that add value to the company."
  • "I used to get nervous giving presentations, so I enrolled in a public speaking course to improve my skills."

How not to respond

Don't choose a weakness that is a strength disguised as a weakness. The interviewer will see through your answer and interpret it as a bluff.

"I'm a perfectionist" is a classic, overused example. It is frequently advised to interviewees to use it. Don't. The advice is no longer relevant.

Please don't get too personal. They don't want to know if you never get your laundry done on time or if you drink too much at office parties. Discuss something related to your job. Identifying an area for improvement is a positive trait because it demonstrates a willingness to learn and grow.

And don't claim that you don't have any flaws.

4. What would an outstanding performance in this role look like?

The employer is attempting to ascertain three things:

  • How dedicated you would be to this role.
  • Your overall work ethic
  • What an impact you could have.

You should also ask yourself, "What challenges are you looking for in a job?" 

How to Respond

Consider the employer's definition of success. It won't be easy, but see if you can identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) and other targets that the employer regards as indicators of excellence and success. These may be broader in scope than measurable numbers. They could be about reputation management, avoiding criticism, winning awards, market recognition, or extending or renewing contracts.

Your response should then describe the steps you'll take to assist the employer in meeting those goals. Describe relevant examples from your current role whenever possible.

How not to respond

Many candidates make the mistake of over-promising, which can jeopardize their credibility.

Do not propose metrics that are either too easy or difficult to achieve.

Similarly, don't concentrate solely on your previous position. Instead, explain how everything you've learned throughout your career will enable you to deliver results in the role you're applying for.

5. What are your qualifications? Why should we hire you?

The word 'you' is crucial in this question. That is who the employer is looking for. What the employer is looking for is

"What makes you valuable to the company?" "Why are you motivated?"

How to Respond

Answering a question like this requires you to explain your unique selling points (USPs) in detail.

Typical USPs are as follows:

  • You've been taught how to use a specific tool, application, or service.
  • Your current boss has put you through management training.
  • You're certified or have a well-known qualification.
  • You have a background in health and safety or first aid.

Use questions like this to demonstrate your research on the company and the role requirements, rather than simply listing your skills. Discuss how your specific skills can help the company and its challenges.

How not to respond

Whatever you do, don't say, "I'm not sure."

Avoid answers that sound arrogant, even if you need to sell yourself. Instead of bragging about your skills and experience, present the facts.

Avoid using clich├ęs as well. Don't claim to be enthusiastic about your job. It's a cliche that doesn't tell me anything. Avoid using broad terms that could apply to anything in life, not just this role.

PS: Confused on how to write the perfect CV, Resume, or Cover Letter? Try MY CV Creator Today!

Get ahead of the competition

Make your job applications stand-out from other candidates.

Create your Professional Resume and Cover letter With AI assistance.

Get started