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Top 32 common interview questions with answers

Top 32 common interview questions with answers 1. Please tell me about yourself. This question is one of the most frequently asked ques...

Top 32 common interview questions with answers

1. Please tell me about yourself.

This question is one of the most frequently asked questions. Where do you start. What do they really want to know. Are you to begin from elementary school or college. You have to be very careful on how you answer this question because your answer here sets the tone for the rest of the interview. This question is mostly asked as an icebreaker but if you did not prepare for it, it becomes a real problem.

The right approach to this is to discuss your key strengths and how they relate to the job. Talk about a few of your accomplishments. Talk about your current employer and then tell them how you see yourself fitting into a position at their company.


2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years. Or what are your career goals.

It is crucial that you discuss your objectives and how you intend to achieve them.

For instance: I would like to be the best in my department or I would love to be the person my colleagues can rely on. I also feel I would be skilled and experienced enough to handle whatever responsibilities might come my way.

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3. Why should we hire you.

This is a very common question that is asked in almost every interview. I love this question because it gives you the opportunity to sell yourself. Discuss what makes you standout from the crowd and show them how you can help advance their company. Remember to be specific. This is where all the company research you have done comes into play. You should have an idea as to why the company is hiring or looking to hire someone for that position. What problem do they have that they are looking for people to help them solve. And once you can establish this, you are to show them how you can solve this problem for them.

DO:

a. Highlight the qualities that make you the most qualified for the position, present yourself as the candidate that solves their problem
b. Let them know that you already know certain things about the company and their general practice because you have researched the firm and are prepared.
c. Tell a success story that emphasizes your qualities and how they helped solve a problem similar to theirs.

DO NOT:

a. When you are things like we already have lots of qualified candidates do not get discouraged. If they already have the right person for the job, they would not bother looking for someone to hire
b. This is your chance to shine, do not ruin it by being too modest, but do not be arrogant
c. Do not generalize things, it does not help
d. Your response should be geared towards why you are the perfect fit for the job and not why you want the job.

4. What is the most difficult situation you have had to face and how did you tackle it.

The reason why you are asked this question is to hear what you consider difficult and how you approached the situation. Select a difficult work situation, which was not caused by you and can be explained in a few sentences. You can then show yourself in a positive light by explaining how you handled the situation.

5. What is your greatest strength.

This could be a very simple question if you are prepared for it. You just have to talk about the strengths that you know would be of value to the company.

DO:

a. Make the most of this question. This question gives you the control to guide the interview to where you want it so take advantage.
b. Emphasize the strengths you have that are crucial to the position
c. Find out from the job description and from company research, the kind of strengths the company invests in.

DO NOT:

a. Do not be too modest or claim to be what you are not
b. Do not try to mention things you cannot illustrate with a brief example
c. Do not mention the strengths that are not relevant to the job at hand


6. What are your weaknesses.

Turn this question into a strength question in disguise. For instance, say something like I do not like not being challenged at work or you could mention a weakness that has nothing to do with the job and that you can overcome with training. This way, you end up turning this potentially tricky question into a positive.

Sometimes, you may be asked about certain challenges you faced in your previous position. If you are asked this question, lean towards the problem that happened early in your carrier and that you were able to solve. Do not try to blame others, just identify the problem and the role you played in solving it.

7. How would your co-workers describe you.

Questions such as this one are asked with the aim of getting you to discuss some of your qualities, perhaps hidden that you would not have mentioned if you were not asked.

Well, my colleagues will tell you they can count on me. They will tell you that I am a team player and someone they enjoy working with.

8. Think of a good decision you made and a recent decision that wasn't good. What did you do differently in making these decisions.

Your answers should focus on how well you can review relevant facts, consider various options and select the most appropriate option. Discuss how you factor in variables such as constraints and resources.

9. When delegating a recent duty, plz describe how you showed your confidence in the person's ability to do the job.

Discuss your method of assigning responsibility to the best candidates. How you communicate with employees to make them understand what is expected of them and how you make sure that the employees have the resources needed to carry out specific tasks. You should also chip in your follow-up procedures.

10. Why do you want to work for us.

Here, they just want to know how motivated you are about the position or if you are just there for the pay. They want to ascertain that you would form an important part of the company. You have to show them that you are willing to be part of the company and would do all you can to ensure you and the company grows together.

You can also try to show them the alignment between their needs and yours.

DO:

a. Talk about the things you like about the firm. This can only be possible if you have done your homework before the interview.
b. Be complimentary; people enjoy compliments but just do not overdo it
c. Emphasize your strengths and how they align with the position and company culture.

DO NOT:

a. Do not give the impression that you are there because you need money
b. Do not give the impression that you may be gone in a couple of months.

11. Would you describe a typical day in your current job.

As much as you want to sell your self in a good light, do not make the mistake of exaggerating your current position. Add some of your routine tasks to make it realistic and do not neglect things like paperwork. Try to be in the interviewers shoes as you answer this question. A job you have been doing for years should be part of you already and as such; you must know all the tasks you undertake. Try to show them that you plan well before you begin work and after you attain your goals, you review the process to see how you could be more efficient.

12. What is your greatest accomplishment.

This is just like the what is your greatest strength. question and should be treated similarly. You should pick accomplishments that show that you have the qualities the company is looking for and this adds value to you as a candidate for the position you are interviewing for. You may have achieved a lot over the years but for the sake of the interview, pick only the relevant ones

DO:

a. Highlight the accomplishments that show what makes you the perfect candidate for the position
b. Show passion for the job as you discuss anything

DO NOT:

a. Do not ever think your accomplishments are too small. Remember that an accomplishment, no matter how little can be more relevant if it is line with the position than a massive breakthrough that is not related.

13. How do you respond to working under pressure.

The essence of this question is to test your composure, ability to solve problems and staying true to the task, even in unfavorable conditions. Give an example of a time where you were faced with a challenge and what you did to remedy the situation. In the process, highlight how you were calm and in control till everything was okay.

14. Why do you wish to leave your present job.

No matter what you say, do not mention negative things about your employer, neither should you mention anything about more money being the reason. The reason is simple; if you are leaving a company because of money to come to theirs, you will definitely leave them to move on to another if it promises a better paycheck. Your best bet is to ay it on responsibility and challenge and how your previous position want challenging you enough. Indicate that you yearn for more responsibility and how what you have to offer outweighs the responsibility and challenge posed by your former position.

15. What sort of salary are you looking for.

Note that whenever you are going for an interview, this question may be asked. Before going, try to find out what the average salary for someone holding that position in that industry is paid. This would help prepare you for what is in front of you.

Do not forget that this is only an interview and you have not been offered the job, so do not go on negotiating. Just state something within the range you have researched and move on. Whatever you do, do not sell yourself short.


16. What questions do you have for me.

About 3 in 4 candidates respond with a No and this is a very poor response.

This question is the perfect opportunity you need to show that you are different from every other candidate. Have a couple of questions prepared. It shows you are motivated and you have some knowledge about the company you are applying to

Tips to answer this question:

a. Your approach to this question should be mostly on what you can do for them
b. Ask about something you discovered while doing your research about the company
c. Always have a question, do not ever say: No, I think that all for now
d. Do not make your questions about yourself
e. Do not ask about time offs and benefits at this point
f. Do not ask questions that have ready answers you could have found on your own
g. Do not ask how soon you can start applying for other positions within the company.


17. What do you know about the company?

Anybody can memorize the information on the “About” page on a company’s website. So, when asked a question like this by an interviewer, they want to know if you care about the information you find on their website than just understanding it. When responding to this question, begin by describing that you understand their goals in one line, make use of important keywords and phrases from the company’s site, and add a personal contribution. You can say something like; “I believe in this organization’s approach because…” or “I was attracted to your mission because….,” then include one or two personal examples.

18. Why do you want to work with us?

Another thing to know is that hiring organizations want people with passion about the job to be a part of their team, so having an attractive answer on why you want the job can increase your likelihood of getting it. And if you cannot answer this question, then you should apply somewhere else. The first thing to do when answering this question is to pinpoint some relevant factors that make the role you are applying for a good fit for you. For instance, you can say; “My love for continuous interactions with humans makes me love customer support as well as the satisfaction when I assist an individual in solving a problem. Afterward, you can include why you love the organization, something like; “I am passionate about Information Technology, and your company is one of the best IT organizations in the field, I will love to be a part of it.”

19. Any reason about the gap in your employment?

If there was a gap of unemployment, be straightforward about what you were up to within that period (hopefully, about the classes you were taking to improve your knowledge or talk about jobs you volunteered for). Then, start a conversation about your plans for the job as well as your contribution to the company. For instance; “I decided to pause for a while, but now I am fit to contribute my quota to this company in ways such as…”

20. Was there a time you disagreed with a decision you made at work?

There are situations one may not agree with their boss’ decision, but when asked this question in an interview, the interviewer is interested in knowing if you can do so professionally and productively. According to Peggy Mckee of Career Confidential, “You should avoid telling a story about a period you disagreed with your boss because of his actions where unprofessional, but you gave in because you wanted peace to reign. And you should skip a story you realized you did wrong. Your stories should be about when the actions you made turned the situation into something positive, whether it was related to work or a productive working relationship.”

21. Can you explain why you switched career paths?

Do not be destabilized when a question like this comes up, relax, then explain to the interviewer why you decided to switch career. Most importantly, give examples of how you can transfer your past experience to the new job you are applying for. This does not have to be a direct link; interviewers will be impressed when you try to make irrelevant experience appear relevant for the role.

22. How do you handle pressure or deal with stressful situations?

 “Your answer should describe a scenario where you handled a stressful situation positively and productively, make sure nothing stops you from accomplishing your aims,” says Peggy Mckee. A nice approach is to discuss your stress reduction approaches (making an important to-do list, taking deep breaths to calm down), and give an example of a situation you navigated easily while under stress.

23. What is your style of management?

Not only are the best managers strong, but they are also flexible; make sure you reflect this in your answer. You can say something like; “while a different strategy is required for every situation or team member, I tend to approach my relationship with my employees as a coach…” Then you can share with them some examples of your best moments as a manager, like when you coached an employee with low performance to become a top salesperson in the company or when you increase your team size from five to fifteen.

24. What would your first one, two, or three months look like in this role?

Begin by describing what you need to do to get started, like the information you need, employees you will want to sit down with, part of the company you need to familiarize yourself with, and so on. Then, talk about some areas in the company you can contribute to straight up. For instance, “ I think a good starter project would be diving into the company’s email marketing campaigns and creating a system to track them.” Well, if you secure the job, then you or your new recruiter might decide there is a good place to start, but having an answer planned will provide insights to the interviewer on where you will be more effective when you start.

25. Tell me about the last time a customer or colleague got annoyed with you. What occurred?

Conflicts are inevitable in an organization; mistakes are bound to happen. Although strength is up front, weakness also rears their heads. That’s okay; nobody is perfect.

But an individual who likes to push blames or responsibility to handle situation onto another person is a candidate to avoid. Recruiters will prefer going for candidates who take actions to address situations instead of looking for someone to blame.

Every organization needs people who are willing to take responsibilities for their actions, admit when they are wrong, and also learn from the experience.

26. What kind of environment do you like best?

You may prefer to work alone, but this answer is not suitable if you are being interviewed for a call center job.

So, try to relax and reflect on the role you are applying for as well as the company’s code of conduct or culture. If you desire a flexible schedule, but the company cannot offer it, then focus on another thing. If you prefer constant support and direction, but the company expects their employees to be self-sufficient, then think of something else.

Discover ways to highlight how the work environment is suitable for you, and if you cannot identify ways, shun the job because you will end up not being happy.

27. What relevant experience do you have?

If you have relevant experience for the job you are applying for, that’s good for you. But if you are switching careers, your experience may not seem to match up. Thus, you need a bit of honest creativity to link the experiences required with what you have. A skill is a skill, after all, you just need to describe how you will apply a customer service skill to an internal management position.

28. How do you cope with working under pressure?


There are numerous ways to answer this question, but ensure your answers are positive. You may thrive under pressure, or maybe you prefer working under pressure, but if you give an answer that shows you cannot handle working under pressure, then the possibility of you securing the job is slim.

29. Which do you prefer, working alone or in a team?

This is a tricky question, and the answer is dependent on the type of job you are applying for. But the best answer to this question in most cases is to say you prefer whichever get the job carried out effectively and provides a product of top quality. You can emulate this response below;
My preference is dependent upon if I can achieve better results working with others or working alone. And I have discovered that most times, a group of employees comes in handy in projects that require expertise in several different areas.

30. Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work. How did you fix your mistake?

Interviewers ask this question to assess the candidate’s abilities to solve problem or damage control. Be honest when describing the mistake; however, focus more on describing how you solved the problem.

31. Have you ever had a conflict at work with someone? How did you handle it?

You need to show that you are civilized, fair and level-headed when answering this question. In your answer, think of a situation where you applied rational judgment to address a personal conflict with an employee at work. You can say something as simple as a difference of opinion in approaching a project to something like handling gossip at work.


32. How long do you want to work with us?

Companies want to retain their staff for as long as feasibly possible. Thus, you have to assure the company you want to work for that you will stay put if hired. A nice way to answer a question like this is to say you are seeking a long-term opportunity in a company that promotes career growth. An answer like this shows that besides you seeking for career growth, you are interested in contributing your quota to the company for a long time.

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