How To Answer The 50 Most Common Interview Questions

By Maddie Lloyd and Experts - Feb. 1, 2021
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Imagine if you had a cheat sheet with perfect answers for every interview question a hiring manager could throw your way. Sadly, we can’t tell you exactly what questions will come up at your interview, but we can provide something almost as good.

Below are the 50 most common interview questions, along with advice for answering each and every one.

The interview process involves a good amount of research and preparation. With a little bit of homework, you can avoid a whole lot of stress. Keep our tips in mind, and you’ll be ready to make a great impression and deliver confident answers to the interview questions that get asked all the time.

Common Interview Questions About You

  1. Tell me about yourself.

    This is a really common interview question that’s typically used as an icebreaker. But don’t make the mistake of downplaying the importance of your answer. How you respond to this question will set the tone for the rest of the interview, and if you give a bad answer it also has the potential to ruin your chances of getting the job.

    Interviewers are looking to get to know you as a person and what interests you, and they might want to see how you react to being asked an unstructured question. Interviewers ask this question because they want to get a feel for your skills, your personality, and what you can do to help their business.

    Read more: “Tell me about yourself” tips and example answers

  2. What is your greatest strength?

    This may seem like one of the easier and more straightforward interview questions you’ll run into, but it’s also one of the most important. This question is an invitation for you to talk about why you’re the best and most qualified person for the job.

    Job type you want
    Full Time
    Part Time
    Internship
    Temporary

    It’s important to bring up traits that qualify you for the specific job and make you stand out from everyone else. Talking about your greatest strengths gives interviewers a look into your personality, what you value as an employee, and what you think gives you an advantage over other applicants.

    Read more: “What is your greatest strength?” tips and example answers

  3. What is your greatest weakness?

    This question has the ability to instantly freeze you in your seat, preventing you from conjuring any coherent words during a job interview. You might consider yourself a master of your trade, but at some point in your career, whether it was in college, or post-graduation in the working world, you’ve made a mistake.

    This question is all about self-awareness, so consider where you could use some improvement. You can use weaknesses that are irrelevant to the job or do the classic “turn a negative into a positive” answer. Just be wary of cheesy responses like “I work too hard” — interviewers cringe when they hear stuff like that.

    You can also take this opportunity to discuss how you’re working to improve your weaknesses. Employers don’t mind a few weaknesses if you’re continually improving.

    Read more: “What is your greatest weakness?” tips and example answers

  4. What sets you apart from other candidates?

    When you hear this question, interviewers aren’t asking you to talk about why everyone else sucks. They want to know what strengths and experiences you have that are valuable and how they could benefit the company. This is your opportunity to let the interviewer know why you should be hired over everyone else.

    This question sounds really similar to the “greatest strengths” question, but it’s asking for a different answer. The interviewer wants to know what you can bring to the company that no one else can. Don’t sell yourself short.

    Read more: “What sets you apart from other candidates?” tips and example answers

  5. What motivates you?

    This is one of those gray interview questions that can throw you for a loop after going through a list of black-and-white ones. This question demands a bit of introspection, a dash of eloquence, and a whole lot of intuition about what the interviewer is looking to hear.

    Without a bit of forethought, it’s tough to come up with an inspiring and coherent answer, but you may find it helpful to answer this one honestly to yourself first. This will force you to refine your search and figure out if a job truly aligns with your passions and goals, which will genuinely answer the question for you.

    Read more: “What motivates you?” tips and example answers

  6. Do you work well with others?

    Working on a team is essential to almost every job, and the interviewer wants to know you can get along with others. When you respond, you need to give an answer that goes deeper than just saying that you like working with other people.

    Interviewers want to know how you’d interact with your coworkers and if you’d fit into the company culture. People usually say that they “enjoy working with other people,” but don’t give any details to back up their response.

    Even if your job doesn’t require a lot of communication, it’s still important to be able to engage with your coworkers in a friendly and professional manner.

    Read more: “Do you work well with others?” tips and example answers

  7. How would your friends describe you?

    This question is a test of two things: your self-awareness and what non-career characteristics you find valuable in yourself and others.

    Interviewers already know that you’re going to paint yourself in a good light, but by getting you to remove yourself from the interviewee position for a moment and empathize with another person’s perspective, they encourage you to be just a bit more realistic.

    This question is a test of your self-awareness and an honest appraisal of how the world sees you, not just how you see yourself.

    Read more: “How would your friends describe you?” tips and example answers

  8. Why are you looking for a new job?

    Being on the job hunt while you still have a job is, in general, a pretty great position to be in. It’s certainly better than the alternative, as it gives your prospective new boss no reason at all to doubt your ability to play well with others and hold down a job.

    To answer this question, avoid negative talk about your current job. Focus on why you want to work for this company in particular and why you’re applying for this position. Always bring it back to the skills and value you can add to the company.

    Read more: “Why are you looking for a new job?” tips and example answers

  9. How do you define success?

    Your interviewer is looking for an answer that has to do with meeting goals, the quality of your work, overcoming difficult challenges, and impressive accomplishments. Even if you measure success by material wealth or power, leave those out of your answer.

    For the best answers, research the company to see what they value and align your answer accordingly. For instance, if they’re all about innovation, talk about how you feel most successful when you develop a new way of doing something.

    By giving a specific example of when you’ve felt proud of your success in the past, you’ll show off the skills that will make you a great employee for this job.

    Read more: “How do you define success?” tips and example answers

  10. What is your work style?

    You can answer this question a couple of ways, but it helps to think about how you want to frame your answer. Things to consider include your preference for working independently or collaboratively, the pace of the work environment, and whether you like a strict routine or prefer to adapt on the fly.

    You can also incorporate what contributes to you getting your best work done, whether that has to do with how you’re managed or your capacity for multitasking. Don’t be too rigid in your response, or you may send up a red flag that your work style won’t gel with the company.

    Also, it’s best to never say you prefer to work alone since most jobs require some level of collaboration. But you can state that certain responsibilities of your job are best performed independently, before bringing it to the rest of your team.

    Read more: “What is your work style?” tips and example answers

  11. Describe your work ethic.

    Don’t exaggerate or just list a bunch of impressive-sounding adjectives when describing your work ethic. Instead, focus on your motivations for working hard, whether that be tackling a new challenge or being super reliable.

    Keep the position in mind and consider using some similar language from the job description to describe your work ethic. For example, if the job posting says something about “efficient” and “responsible,” you should bring up examples of when you actively tried to make your work faster and more mistake-free.

    Read more: “Describe your work ethic” tips and example answers

  12. Walk me through your resume.

    Like “tell me about yourself,” but a little more focused. The best advice for this prompt is to know a coherent, natural story of your career. The end of your story should be your explanation of how this position fits in perfectly with your career goals.

    This question allows you the freedom to speak about elements of your resume that you wish you could’ve put in 32-pt font with flashing neon signs. Emphasize your relevant skills and experience to show why you’re the ideal candidate for the job.

    Read more: “Walk me through your resume” tips and example answers

  13. Why should we hire you?

    There are a bunch of ways to answer this rather silly and redundant interview question. Use words from the job description when you can and reiterate key skills.

    The best advice, though, is to stand out in an easy-to-remember way. Sell yourself as a problem solver, a consistent deliverer, a team player, or an expert, and stick with that as your character.

    Use your other answers to make for a narrative that’s easy for an interviewer to understand (and hopefully like).

    Read more: “Why should we hire you?” tips and example answers

  14. What do you do for fun?

    The key here is to bring up wholesome and/or productive hobbies. Even seemingly unproductive hobbies can be framed in a positive way.

    For example, instead of saying you play video games for 8 hours straight every night, mention how you enjoy solving puzzles and playing collaborative strategy games. Or instead of binging shows like The Crown, talk about your interest in 20th-century history.

    Another tip: don’t go too deep into a niche hobby. Start small, gauge your interviewer’s interest, and adjust accordingly.

    Read more: “What do you do for fun?” tips and example answers

  15. Who is your mentor?

    Talking about people you admire professionally says a lot about you as a job candidate. You’ll naturally bring up qualities that you highly value when answering because part of this question is also “why is this person your mentor?”

    Choose someone that you can honestly and enthusiastically speak about. You can give a quick story to summarize how you’ve developed certain strengths from this mentor.

    Don’t feel limited to just one mentor, either. It can only make you sound good if you’ve had a lot of positive mentor-mentee relationships in your life.

    Read more: 11 Characteristics of a good mentor

  16. What’s your management style?

    If you’re interviewing for a position that involves overseeing others, you can expect to hear the question “What’s your management style?”

    Not every management style works for every company, and the interviewer is trying to figure out if you would be a good fit for their team. To give a good answer, you have to show off your ability to handle situations and problems as a manager, while talking about real experiences.

    Read more: “Whats your management style?” tips and example answers

  17. What gets you up in the morning?

    A large part of the interview is meant for the hiring manager to learn how you would work as a member of their team, so you should prepare to answer personal questions like this one.

    Don’t just list off seemingly obvious answers – your interviewer doesn’t want to hear about your love of coffee or how your cat with borderline diabetes meows at you until you get out of bed to feed it. This question is meant to help the interviewer learn more about you, what you value in life, and what motivates you.

    Read more: “What gets you up in the morning?” tips and example answers

  18. What makes you unique?

    Skip the party tricks and deeply personal answers. Tie your answer back to the job in some way, even if it’s seemingly irrelevant.

    For instance, if you’re a world-traveler, talk about your love of learning new things and meeting new people (especially if the job you’re applying for involves a lot of that).

    Don’t feel compelled to be exciting or special with your answer. Boring can be perfectly fine if framed the right way. Even the most ordinary hobbies can involve important professional skills.

    Read more: “What makes you unique?” tips and example answers

  19. What are you passionate about?

    When answering this question, be sure to choose a passion that you’re actively involved with and knowledgeable about. There’s no right or wrong answers here, but you should select a passion you’re actually enthusiastic about, or your interviewer may see right through you.

    You don’t have to force your answer to tie back to work-related skills (although it’s not bad if it does.) Honesty reigns supreme for this question.

  20. How do you prioritize your work?

    Interviewers hope to learn about your organizational skills, time management, ability to handle stress, work values, and industry knowledge with this question. There are a few ways to go about your answer.

    You can mention what you do to stay organized (charts, lists, etc.). Talking about previous experience with tight deadlines is also good, especially if this position is deadline-driven. Or you can go into how you deal with curveball situations where prioritization isn’t easy.

    Read more: “How do you prioritze your work” tips and example answers

What’s a common interview question and would you prepare to answer it?

Thea Kelley
Job Search & Interview Coach

“Tell me about yourself” (or “introduce yourself,” or such) is a very common question, and it’s possibly the most important one. It’s a great opportunity to tell the interviewer about what makes you stand out, so build it around your REV (Relevant, Exceptional, Verifiable) Points. That’s why I call this answer your REV Intro.

Here’s an example from my book, Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview:

“(Interviewer’s name), based on your job announcement and my phone screening with (recruiter’s name), it’s clear the new person in this role needs to hit the ground running and deliver results fast. That’s what I’ve been able to do at Top Tier Technology; I transformed team morale and doubled revenues within three months. At Strong Solutions I achieved similar early wins, which my manager later mentioned in a recommendation on LinkedIn.

“As a manager, and earlier as a rep, I’ve consistently been well over goal, as you may have noticed from the awards in my resume. There are some interesting stories behind those, which I would be happy to tell if you like.

“Another need that was mentioned in the announcement – and something that’s a specialty and a passion of mine – is to anticipate and capitalize on change. At Strong I saw how the new wearable technologies were creating opportunities for us, and I worked with Marketing and Product to maximize those.

“Would you like to hear more about anything I’ve said so far?”

An intro like this gets your interview off to a very focused and confident start.

Common Interview Questions About Your Past

  1. How do you handle stress?

    Interviewers ask questions like this because they want to know how pressure affects you and what you do to handle it. To give a good answer to this question, you should provide examples of how you’ve handled stress in the past and how it’s made you a more productive worker.

    Employers want people who work well in stressful situations and solve problems instead of avoiding them. They want to know that you won’t crumble emotionally under the weight of your responsibilities or pass off your duties onto everyone else.

    Read more: “How do you handle stress?” tips and example answers

  2. Tell me about a time you failed.

    This is definitely one of the scarier interview questions you’ll run into. Questions like this one give interviewers a chance to learn a lot about you in many different ways at once.

    From the story you choose to tell to how much responsibility you take on yourself for the mistake, talking about one of your work-related failures can give a hiring manager a lot of insight into what kind of employee you might turn out to be.

    Having to tell a person who you’re actively trying to impress about a time when you made a huge mistake can be daunting, but there are ways to frame your answer as a learning experience. Just don’t talk about any massive mistakes that cost the company oodles of money or put someone in danger.

    Read more: “Tell me about a time you failed” tips and example answers

  3. Tell me about a challenge you’ve faced at work.

    In order to be successful with this question, you need a strategy — not scripted answers. Your goal should be to emphasize your past experiences that best fit what each interviewer is looking for.

    Interviewers ask this question to gain insight into your behavior, interpersonal skills, and your overall ability to manage conflict — not to learn about how much of a jerk your former coworker or customer was. How you answer this question is almost as important as the answer you give.

    Show off your accomplishments with a story you can be proud of.

    Read more: “Tell me about a challenge you’ve faced at work” tips and example answers

  4. Why did you leave your last job?

    This common interview question isn’t a trap, per se, but it can feel like one. That’s most likely because the question is a little disingenuous.

    It’s not really asking why you left in terms of total honesty; it’s just trying to gauge why it is that you’re back on the job market, and whether you’re diplomatic enough to talk about your previous employers in a positive way despite the fact that you’re no longer working with them.

    The trick is to be honest without being a huge downer about your last boss. After all, what the person interviewing is looking for is just a good reason why you’re no longer working for your previous employer, not a Russian novel detailing your every grievance.

    Read more: “Why did you leave your last job?” tips and example answers

  5. What is your greatest accomplishment?

    To answer this question, start by giving the interviewer some context; what was the situation that led to your accomplishment? Then, give your task and the actions you took to achieve whatever it was you achieved.

    Finally, talk about the positive result and how you’re personally proud of the accomplishment. More importantly, though, focus on the value that your accomplishment provided for your employer.

    Bonus points if you can quantify your results and tie your achievement in with job responsibilities for this position.

    Read more: “What is your greatest accomplishment” tips and example answers

  6. Why is there a gap in your employment history?

    If your resume shows gaps in your employment history, be prepared to talk about it at the interview. Be honest, but give specifics of how you spent that time. Don’t let your interviewer assume you were completely idle.

    For a truly masterful answer, tie in how that gap in your employment history served your future career goals or set you up for success at this position. For instance, taking coding classes or volunteering in a relevant field.

    The best advice though? Keep your answer short and sweet.

    Read more: “Why is there a gap in your employment history?” tips and example answers

  7. How do you handle conflict at work?

    This is what’s known as a behavioral interview question, and using the STAR method is an easily winning strategy for all of these. STAR stands for situation, task, action, result.

    Set up your conflict story (what was the situation that led to conflict), then get into your task in this situation (whether it was your job to solve the conflict or get work done despite the conflict). Next, talk about what actions you took to resolve the conflict.

    Finally, talk about a positive result where everyone involved came out better than they started. Avoid stories where you caused the conflict or the conflict went unresolved. Don’t throw blame around; just talk about how the situation was fixed.

  8. When have you made a split-second decision at work?

    This question will often come up in departments with a fast-paced work environment. Again, the STAR method is really handy for answering behavioral interview questions like this.

    Talk a little about your decision-making skills and show how you’ve been successful at making quick decisions in the past. Your thought process is also important to spell out when answering this question.

    Read more: “When have you made a split-second decision at work?” tips and example answers

  9. What did you like most/least about your last/current position?

    Whatever exact form this question takes, focus on the job rather than the people. You can mention how your manager’s style didn’t gel well with your work style, but don’t be insulting if you’re talking about things you didn’t like.

    In any case, talk about what the new job offers that your old job didn’t. Even when you’re asked about what you liked least, try to bring it back around to the positives you’re hoping to experience at the new position.

    Always consider what the recruiter is thinking as you answer this question. Something seemingly harmless, like “my last job was repetitive and I like new challenges every day” might give an interviewer pause.

    Maybe the job you’re interviewing for has repetitive elements, and your interviewer will wonder if you’ll get sick of it and quit, which would make hiring you a bad choice.

  10. When have you demonstrated leadership skills?

    This question is more common for supervisory roles, but it may come up in an interview for any position. The key is to think about what leadership means to you and how you try to embody those qualities when the situation calls for it.

    Think of a story that shows these traits off. Like many interview questions about the past, it’s a behavioral question, so the recruiter is hoping to learn what your future actions might be based on your past behaviors.

    Think about the rest of your selling-points you’ve been building throughout the interview and try to highlight them again when talking about your leadership skills.

    For instance, if you’re a problem-solver with great communication skills, tell a story where you fixed a situation quickly by communicating each team member’s responsibility in a clear way.

Kim Lifton
President, Wow Writing Workshop/College Essay Expert/Professional training/ Student coaching/Top Voices in Education
Wow Writing Workshop

A lot of people have solid advice for how to prep for an interview, how to behave, dress, how to shine on a Zoom meeting, etc. For me, an interview is much like a college essay, which is essentially how to tell colleges what you want them to know about you to strengthen your case for admission; you want to add to the resume, the information they already know about you. So, to shine:

-Answer any question in a genuine way. No lies. No exaggerations.

-Focus on what you want them to know, not what you think they want to hear.

-Consider what the interviewer knows about you. Then add what you want them to know in a genuine way that shares something meaningful about you and also answers to the question. They have your resume. They know your skills, job history, where you live, where you went to college.

-But they don’t know how hard you worked at your last job, if you feel satisfied, what you aspire to, how you will fit into the company culture.

Common Interview Questions About Your Future

  1. What’s your dream job?

    The interviewer wants to make sure that the job you’re interviewing for matches up with the one you really want — so you need to be sure that you don’t imply that this job would be a temporary pitstop, but rather a checkpoint on the journey to your fulfilling life.

    Your real goal in answering this question is to describe a position that the job you’re applying for could feasibly help you reach.

    Read more: “What’s your dream job” tips and example answers

  2. What are your career goals?

    You can talk about short and long-term goals in your answer, but remember that the position you’re applying for should fit logically with your goals. For example, don’t say your career goals include designing aircraft if you’re applying for an accountant position.

    This is similar to “where do you see yourself in five years,” but your answer can be a bit vaguer here. The interviewer is asking what you hope to achieve with your career rather than what position you hope to land.

    If you don’t have any definite career goals, don’t feel compelled to lie. Instead, you can use this opportunity to ask where this position typically leads and then express (hopefully) genuine enthusiasm about your career progressing in that direction.

    Read more: “What are your career goals” tips and example answers

  3. Where else are you interviewing?

    When this question comes up, usually interviewers are curious about what other companies you have interviews with for a variety of reasons.

    Interviewers might want to know how focused you are on furthering your career or how seriously you’re looking for a new job. They want to get a sense of your job hunt and exactly what it is you’re looking for in an employer.

    Even though this is a pretty simple question, don’t get too comfortable. There’s no need to give specific company names when answering this question. Just mention the industry you’re focused on and the sorts of positions you’re applying for.

    Also, don’t say this is your only interview — they don’t need to know that and it won’t help your chances.

    Read more: “Where else are you interviewing” tips and example answers

  4. Where do you see yourself in five years?

    The goal of every interview answer is to show how you are the solution to the company’s problem. You need to ask yourself — what kind of response are interviewers looking for with this question? They’re generally trying to get a sense of how your career aspirations align with the company and position.

    Interviewers want to see how motivated, hardworking, and ambitious you are, and they want to know all about your career goals and if you plan to stick around.

    Avoid answers like “in your seat” or “running the company” –they’re obnoxious as hell.

    Read more: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” tips and example answers

  5. What made you change career paths?

    Never focus on the negatives when you’re discussing a dramatic career change. Things to avoid include hating the company culture/management, being fired or laid off, and being bored in your former industry.

    Instead, give an inspiring reason that shows how passionate you are about your new field of choice. Additionally, you can focus on where you see your future going with this new career path and the exciting challenges you hope to take on and conquer.

    If you know this question is likely to come up, get ahead of it and address your lack of formal experience in the new field. Focus on your transferable skills and the value and energy that you’ll bring to this new job.

  6. How do you like to be managed?

    This one requires some self-reflection to answer, so take the time to consider what qualities you appreciate in a manager (and which you don’t). You can talk about negative experiences, but frame them positively by talking about what you learned about yourself as an employee through each experience.

    You can talk about the type of work environment you prefer, communication styles, and levels of oversight in your answer. Use positive and negative examples to fill out your answer with some context.

    Finally, use your research of the company to inform your answer. If you’ve learned that this employer offers flexible schedules and has a flat corporate structure, then an answer stating your preference for a traditional supervisor-supervisee relationship probably won’t go over well.

    Read more: “How do you like to be managed” tips and example answers

  7. Are you willing to travel?

    This question is only likely to pop up at a job interview for a position that requires travel. But it will come up 100% of the time you are applying for such a job.

    Don’t lie or overstate your availability, or you and the employer will both be unhappy later on. However, if you’re excited about the prospect of traveling for your job, mention positive travel experiences and past work experiences where you had to travel.

    Just don’t make it sound like travel is all fun and games; your interviewer doesn’t want to hear that you love going out to new bars when you travel, because that’s not what they’re paying you for.

    Read more: “Are you willing to travel” tips and example answers

  8. What’s your ideal work environment?

    If it’s genuine or you don’t have much of a preference, try to describe your ideal work environment as one that matches the employer. Use your research of the company to inform your answer.

    Things to consider include the office pace (slow or fast), how structured the roles are (hierarchical vs. egalitarian), whether you prefer emerging or traditional industries, how flexible you like your workspace and time to be, and if you prefer competitive or collaborative environments.

    Read more: “What’s your ideal work environment” tips and example answers

  9. What skills would you bring to the job?

    Your answer should include at least a couple of the skills listed in the job description. Try to incorporate both hard and soft skills, and really emphasize those that will have the greatest impact on your job performance.

    Keep your answer short, or the interviewer won’t remember any of it. It’s better for her to hear and remember your top 2-3 skills than hear a list of every skill under the sun and forget it all.

    As always, incorporate examples of when you’ve successfully leveraged your skills to accomplish great things.

  10. What do you want to accomplish in the first 30/60/90 days of this job?

    Try to be as specific as you can be in your answer using your research and what you learned in the interview itself. If you can have a 30/60/90 day plan ready before you even step foot into the room for the interview, that’s incredibly impressive.

    Show the interviewer that you know what needs to be done and how to do it while admitting that you don’t have all the answers. You’ll need to go through orientation to learn exactly how the company operates, after all.

    But showing that you know the job requirements and have the ability to predict your milestones will go a long way in convincing the interviewer that you’ll be adding value to the company from your very first day.

Common Interview Questions About the Company or Job

  1. What do you know about our company?

    You’re almost guaranteed to hear this question during a job interview. Even if you hadn’t even heard of the company before applying for the job, you don’t want to be remembered as the person who gave the answer “jack diddly squat?”

    Failing to give a thorough and thoughtful answer to this question can hurt your chances of getting a job offer, but with some careful research before your interview, you can gather all the information you need to seamlessly and successfully answer this question and leave a positive impression on your interviewer.

    Read more: “What do you know about our company?” tips and example answers

  2. How did you hear about the position?

    Out of all the questions you’re going to be asked during a job interview, this one is one of the easiest to answer and hardest to screw up. This question usually comes at the beginning of an interview and is meant to be an icebreaker, not a trick question.

    Even though this question seems to be a no-brainer, some people do somehow still manage to screw it up. Don’t be one of those people. Icebreakers can determine how the rest of your interview goes. You should look like you actually want this position with their company, instead of just looking like the least-bad option.

    Read more: “How did you hear about the position” tips and example answers

  3. What are your salary requirements?

    When you’re looking for jobs, at some point you’ll probably be asked to give an employer your salary requirements or salary history. It’s important to be careful with how you describe this information — you don’t want to be screened out or offered a low salary.

    Use salary calculators to determine a fair salary for your position, region, and level of experience. Always give a range rather than a hard figure, so there’s room for negotiation. Start on the higher end, so you don’t sell yourself short.

    Read more: “What are your salary requirements?” tips and example answers

  4. Why do you want to work for us?

    Of all the questions you can expect to be asked during an interview, this one might be the easiest to answer — as long as you can keep your eyes on the prize.

    Unlike some of the other questions you’ll hear during an interview, total honesty could work pretty well for this question. After all, this can’t be some cookie-cutter answer — it needs to apply specifically to the company you’re interviewing with.

    Read more: “Why do you want to work for us?” tips and example answers

  5. Why are you interested in this position?

    “Why are you interested in this position?” can be a deceptively tough question to answer if you haven’t given it the proper level of thought and preparation.

    It’s easy to get so caught up in worrying about making a good first impression that you start talking about the one thing you know the most about — yourself.

    But while your personality and your interests are part of the answer, they’re not all of it, and focusing too much on the ways that the job might benefit you can leave your hiring manager with a sour taste in their mouth.

    This question takes some significant forethought about who you are and what kind of company you’re applying to, especially when it comes to the projects the company is actively working on or the corporate culture you’d be entering.

    Read more: “Why are you interested in this position?” tips and example answers

Other Common Interview Questions

  1. Illegal interview questions.

    During a job interview, you’re bound to hear all sorts of questions that are meant to help employers pick people who have the skills and experience that are needed for the job. But beware — there are some questions that have no place in an interview.

    Every now and then, an illegal interview question or two will slip out. Most of the time, these questions aren’t meant to demonize you or make you feel like you’re not good enough for the job. Sometimes people just ask questions without even realizing that they’re illegal.

    Questions about your family situation, religion, or disabilities that are asked in a discriminatory way can all be illegal.

    Read more: Examples of illegal interview questions

  2. How to give an elevator pitch.

    An elevator pitch is a 30-second speech that summarizes who you are, what you do, and why you’d be an ideal candidate. The idea behind an elevator pitch is that you should be able to tell someone all of that in the time it takes to ride the elevator.

    How do you get the attention of someone important who has a dozen other things on their mind? How can you turn a quick hello into a promising job lead?

    The answer may or may not surprise you — it’s the use of a practiced elevator speech.

    Read more: How to write an elevator pitch

  3. Do you have any questions for me?

    Perhaps the most common final question in any job interview is “what questions do you have for me?” Unfortunately, this question is inherently a trap. Despite having plenty of correct answers, the question has a definite wrong answer that’s easy to accidentally give, and that’s “no.”

    Having no questions to ask a hiring manager at the end of an interview is a major faux pas when it comes to job hunting. And there’s no trick you can use as a defense for this question. Either you’ve done your research into the company and you’re prepared to ask a few substantive questions about it, or you’re not.

    Think of questions about the role, the company, or the next steps in the hiring process if you’re drawing a blank.

    Read more: “Do you have any questions for me?” tips and example questions

  4. Is there anything else we should know about you?

    This is one of those wrap-up questions that gives you a final opportunity to share something extra special about yourself as a candidate. You can drive home your strengths and make sure that your final impression is exactly how you want it to be.

    Or you can bring up new and interesting information that doesn’t directly relate to the job in question but shows impressive attributes nonetheless. You don’t have to add anything else if you feel like the interview went well but still ask about the next steps in the hiring process at this point.

    Above all, avoid talking about your weaknesses, and don’t forget to thank the interviewer for their time as things wrap up.

    Read more: “Is there anything else we should know about” tips and example answers

  5. When can you start?

    Congratulations on making it to this part of the interview; it’s a good sign if your interviewer is asking when you can start. Obviously, your answer depends on your situation.

    If you can (and want to) start right away, then it’s pretty straightforward. You can also turn the question around and ask when they’d prefer you start working.

    If you need to give two weeks’ notice to your current employer, explain that as well. The interviewer will understand and appreciate your professionalism. Don’t give a long-winded answer here — one or two sentences should suffice to explain your availability.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Maddie Lloyd

Author

Maddie Lloyd

Maddie Lloyd was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog focused on researching tips for interview, resume, and cover letter preparation. She's currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University's department of English concentrating in Film and Media Studies.

Expert

Matthew Zane

Matthew Zane is the lead editor of Zippia's How To Get A Job Guides. He is a teacher, writer, and world-traveler that wants to help people at every stage of the career life cycle. He completed his masters in American Literature from Trinity College Dublin and BA in English from the University of Connecticut.

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