When preparing for your next job interview, you’ll want to have top-notch answers to the 8 most common interview questions. These answers provide a guideline to follow, and the most important thing to do is be yourself when answering these common interview questions. The sincerity that will come through will do more to impress the interviewer than anything you have to say.
Given that, here are the 8 most common interview questions:
1. Tell me about yourself.
Perhaps this the most famous and common interview question of all interview questions. “Tell me about yourself” is the gateway to just about anything you wish to say. When asked the question, the interviewer doesn’t want to know where you were born or what color your hair is. This question prompts you to show the interviewer why you are qualified for this job. Your answer may reveal some of your greatest achievements or how your past experience might relate to the job you are applying for.
2. Why would I hire you?
For this common interview question, you need to realize that the better answer you give, the easier it is for the employer — It’s up to you to give the employer a reason to hire you. This is a great time to tell the interviewer about any past work experience that is relevant to the job you are applying for. You might say, “When I was working at my previous job, I did (fill in with specific duty or responsibility). I feel that this experience will allow me to excel at this position I am applying for.” This helps the interviewer picture you in the position, and is a great answer to this common interview question.
3. What are you strengths?
The first thing you should do is figure out 2-3 things about yourself that you really like about yourself and elaborate. This should put you in good shape to answer this commonly asked interview question. Always support your strength with a real-life example. For example, you may say you are dedicated. You should back this up with the time at your last job where you had an important project due and worked extra hours to make sure it got done, for instance. Now the interviewer has better insight into your work ethic and how you conduct yourself in pressure situations.
4. What are your weaknesses?
When answering this common interview question, you always want to give an answer that isn’t really a weakness. You may say, “I don’t speak a second language,” or “when I start a project, I can’t focus on anything else until I get it done.” This shows that you are dedicated and hard working. You never want to truly bash yourself when answering this common interview question. That isn’t the point. Making a positive seem negative is the trick.
5. What is the most important thing to you in a job?
If there is something really important for you to have in a job, be honest and say it. Remember, a job interview is a tool to reveal the best fit for the company. If something is really important to you that the company doesn’t offer, it is best to reveal it now. Out of all the common interview questions, this is the one where you really need to follow your instincts.
6. What are you career goals?
Employers ask this interview question because they want to see what positions you might grow into if you were hired. The company may be looking for a candidate they can groom into their next Senior VP. However, if you are only looking for a job to cover you for the next couple of years, it might not be the best match.
7. Do you have any questions for me?
Do your research ahead of time and if you truly have a question, ask it. When you ask legitimate, relevant questions, you show the interviewer you put in time to research beforehand. However, don’t ever ask questions just to ask questions or to look good. The interviewer will sense your lack of authenticity right away and that may hurt your chances. Make the time to think of an intelligent question about the job before hand. You may ask, “what is a typical day like for this position?” You can also ask, “What opportunity for advancement does this position have?”
8. Why did you leave your last job?
Whatever the reason was, tell the story of why is was mutually beneficial for you to leave the company. Never blurt out, “I got fired,” and end it at that. It makes you look bad and can even make the interviewer feel uncomfortable. Prepare an honest story with a logical reason that doesn’t reveal too much personal information or company gossip. If you did get fired, you can use this as an opportunity to discuss what you lessons you learned and what you would now do differently.