20 Job Interview Questions Most Likely to Get Asked
After working for different industries and having my fair share of job interviews, I realized that the industries and the nature of the job could be completely different but there are common questions that are always likely to get asked. They get so frequently asked that not even a fresh graduate interviewing for his or her first job would have any excuse to be unprepared for them.
- Tell me about yourself.
This question is so common that we sometimes forget to prepare for it. No, the interviewer does not really want to know your life story or the current status of your love life. As concisely as possible, just describe yourself focusing on what would most likely be relevant to the job. Highlight your accomplishments and facts about you that would most likely interest the interviewer.
- Why do you want this job?
A company will most likely hire someone who clearly exudes a passion for the job or things related to the job so make sure you think carefully about why you really want it. Identify one or two factors why you are suited for the job and why it is suited for you. Be honest if the job is also attractive because of some perks (unusually high salary for example) but make sure you emphasize that this is not the most important factor.
- Why are you looking for another job? (Or why did you leave your previous job?)
This is quite a tough one and you would want to be well-prepared for itl. Cardinal rule: Never but never, bad-mouth your previous employer no matter how unpleasant your departure may have been (if you have already left), or talk about your gripes and woes. It could only end badly. State your reasons as honestly and as positively as possible. If you were let go, talk about how much you have grown and matured because of that experience.
- Why do you want to join this company?
Research about the company beforehand and think of all the reasons why you would like to join to them based on what you know. Keep it calm though. Overdoing the praises will make you look desperate. However not saying anything positive will make your interviewer doubt about how much you really want the job.
- Why should we hire you?
This is a critical question because it would essentially show how confident you are and how determined to get the job. Again, pitch yourself without resorting to dishonesty. Emphasize that you possess the specific qualities and skills that they are looking for, and back them up with experience or instances that demonstrate these skills. Mention one or two other factors that makes you stand out from rest.
- What are your strengths?
Highlight those that make you a great fit for the job and an excellent addition to the company. Describe your “true strengths” and not what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Give examples of instances where you were able to demonstrate these strengths in a professional environment.
- What are your weakness?
While lying is definitely out of the question, it would be best if you can cite weaknesses that can actually be seen in a positive light (e.g. “I tend to be very detail-oriented”). If possible, mention weaknesses that do not sound directly detrimental to the job.
- How do you see yourself five (or ten) years from now?
Be honest about your future goals but bear in mind that the interviewer would like to know if you have realistic expectations about the job and if the position is aligned with your goals. Think about what the position can possibly hold in store for you and try to answer along those lines. If the position is not really in line with your true aspirations, try to establish how important your experience would be towards achieving your ultimate goal.
- What did you like about your last job?
This is a question that’s quite hard to mess up. But you can do even better and stand out from what would most likely be “acceptable” answers from others if you mention specific factors that would show you as a person who has good work ethics, has social skills and gives importance on personal and professional growth.
- What did you least like about your last job?
Same as #3, be as honest as possible without bad-mouthing your previous employer. Do not be too negative. Do not focus on what it was that you did not like but rather, talk about what it is you’re looking for and how you can see it in this new job and company.
- How would you describe your work style?
Describe your work style, highlighting why it makes you an ideal candidate. Ideally, your answer should be something similar or close to what the job you are applying for requires.
- What would be your ideal working environment?
Similar to #11, your answer should ideally be something similar or close to what the working environment of the company is.
- What do you do during your free time (or what do you like to do for fun)?
Describe your hobbies and interests in a way that highlights your skills and positive qualities as a person. Your answer should ideally be able to support the idea that you have passion, ambition, and desire for growth and improvement. It would be better if you can answer with something directly related to abilities needed for the job.
- What is your ideal boss?
Your interviewer would want to know how you respond to authority and supervision. Think about what qualities you desire in a good leader. Try to strike a balance between working with minimum supervision and an ability to take orders or direction. Do not bad-mouth previous bosses and do not paint an image of a “superhuman” boss that will only make you come across as unrealistic.
- What is your greatest fear?
Just like describing your weaknesses, provide answers that can actually be construed positively and can be considered a “good thing”. Do not dwell so much on what it is but rather on what you can do or are doing to overcome it.
- How do you handle stressful situations and working under pressure?
It would be unrealistic to say that you do not get stressed so avoid giving that answer. Your interviewer wants to see how well you know yourself in relation to managing stress or pressure. Give work-related examples and focus on how you successfully dealt with the pressure, and do not dwell so much on how you felt about it.
- What are you like working in a team?
Your interviewer would want to know how well you work with other people and have an idea how working with you everyday would feel like. Describe the positive things you can see about working with a team such as efficiency and camaraderie. Do not specifically make a strong preference between working with a team or working alone but rather, strike a balance between enjoying teamwork and having the ability as well to work alone.
- What’s your biggest achievement so far?
A track record of achieving great results in previous jobs or projects definitely boosts your chances of getting the job so this is not a time to be shy! Be specific in describing what needed to be done and be even more specific in describing what you did to make it a success, highlighting your strengths. If you are a fresh graduate, cite a specific achievement in college and the qualities you have that helped you achieve it.
- What are your salary expectations?
Do your research about this one. If it is possible to ask around, do so. Be prepared to give a range and be open to negotiate if need be. Consider other benefits aside from basic pay such as health insurance, vacation leaves, and the like.You can also check out websites like Payscale or Glassdoor.
- Do you have questions for us?
This is not really a yes or no question. You must ask a question or two. Well-crafted questions for your interviewer will add to the overall impression that you are very interested in working for the company and eager to know more about it, its culture, or its people. This is your opportunity to “sniff out more” if you would really enjoy staying in the company.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of honesty. If you prepare well, there is a way to balance out being candid and putting yourself in the best light possible. It is also important to cite specific examples that demonstrate why you are the perfect candidate for the job, rather than giving general, overused adjectives to pitch yourself. For most of these questions, there are really no right or wrong answers. The battle is therefore more on how well you stand out from other qualified candidates.