When preparing for your next job interview, you might want to consider what type of possible job interview questions your prospective employer could ask you. Preparing points for these basic interview questions will help you make a great first impression and might help you feel more confident before and during the interview.
Here’s a list of the 10 most common job interview questions and answers. Make them your own and tailor them to fit your professional experience.
- Tell me a bit about yourself
This question is usually the first thing an interviewer will ask you to get to know you and what your professional background is.
Best way to answer: When an employer asks you this, they are not expecting you to tell them about your personal interests, but rather about what you can bring to the table for this role. Connect this question with why you’re interested in this position, what your current role is, where you’d like to be in a couple of years, how you want to progress in your career, and what makes you most qualified for this role.
- How would you describe yourself?
- How would your current employer describe you?
Why did you apply for this role?
You must research the company and the role you’re applying for before attending the interview. Get a feel of the company culture, ask yourself why you’d like to work within that environment and what you want to gain from this experience should you be hired.
Best way to answer: Mention what appeals to you about the company; maybe they are very charitable or environmentally conscious. Speak about how you’d like to grow within the company and how this role aligns with your career goals. Mention what skills you’ve gained from previous jobs and how they would be beneficial in this role.
- What interests you about this role?
- Why are you interested in working with this company?
Why are you leaving your current job?
There could be several reasons why you might be leaving your job, such as:
- You’d like better pay
- The company went out of business
- You’d like to find a job with better career growth opportunities
- You felt undervalued in your previous/current role
- You would like to work for a different industry
Best way to answer: The number one rule to answering this question is to never bad mouth your current or previous employers, as it comes across as unprofessional and rude; even if you did end up leaving on a bad note.
Focus on the future and about what you’d like to gain in your next job experience.
- What did you like most about your previous job?
- What did you like least about your previous job position?
- Why were you let go?
Why should we hire you?
Don’t be intimidated by this question. Interviewers do not ask you this to trick you, but to see what you can offer and why you think you would be the best candidate.
Best way to answer: Mention your strengths and how they as a company can benefit from your talent. Talk about what you’d like to do once you’re employed—what your goals are, and why you would be a good culture fit.
- What makes you different from the other candidates who applied for this position?
- What can you bring to the table?
- Why are you interested in this role?
- What are some of your greatest strengths?
Here are some examples of possible strengths you can mention:
- Leadership skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Organisational skills
Best way to answer: There’s no need to give a list of your strengths. Instead, pick one or two, describe what they are and how you can utilise them in this role and be sure to illustrate your strengths with examples. Don’t just say that you’re an organised person, mention how—prove it.
- What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
What are some of your greatest weaknesses?
An employer will ask you this question not to make you feel uncomfortable, but to gauge your self-awareness and honesty.
Here are some examples of possible weaknesses:
- Not great at public speaking
- Not detailed-oriented or too detail-oriented
Best way to answer: The trick to this question is to mention 1-2 weaknesses and highlight what you have done or are doing to overcome it. Maybe you’re not great at public speaking, but you’re challenging yourself and attending a public speaking class. Or for example, you take on too many tasks when you already have other deadlines, and you’ve started to set expectations. The important thing is that you show that you want to improve.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Your prospective employer is not interested in whether you see yourself getting married in five years, but where you’d like to be career-wise, what you’d like to achieve, and if you would still like to work with them in the future.
Best way to answer: Determine your long-term career goals and see how this job position plays into helping you reach those goals. Talk about what skills you want to develop, and what roles you want to be in and what you hope to accomplish.
- What are your goals for the future?
- What is your dream job?
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced at work and how did you overcome it?
It is inevitable that at some point in your career, you will face a challenging situation. Your prospective employer wants to get a feel of how you would approach such stressful situations, to determine how well you work under pressure and your problem-solving skills.
Employers want someone who will react to stress in a constructive, rational way.
Best way to answer: Go through the situation and make sure to detail how you overcame it—make sure to show, don’t tell. You can also mention what you would have done differently if you had the knowledge you have now. Make sure to answer in a way that shows your personal growth.
- Do you work well under pressure?
- How do you handle conflict?
What are your salary expectations?
Some job vacancies might not list the salary range they will be offering, therefore be sure to research what the salary range is for that particular role. You can also use salary benchmarkers to determine what your expected salary should be.
Best way to answer: Know your worth and ask for a reasonable amount. Also, be sure to show that you’re flexible with your rate.
Is there anything you’d like to ask?
This is usually the final question any interviewer will ask. Asking a question or two will show that you’re interested and excited about the position.
Here are some questions to ask in an interview:
- What do you love most about working with this company?
- What are some challenges I might face in this position?
- How is performance measured?
- What are the most important values of your company?
- Do you have any questions for us?
Practice answering these questions until you feel comfortable and confident enough. There’s no need to know your answers by heart, but it’s good to practice.
If the interview doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, don’t give up. Take it as a learning opportunity, focus on what you can do better next time, and continue searching for roles that interest you.