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Top 10 Job Interview Questions and Best Answers

by Sandra Jenkins

For many of us, a job interview is one of the most significant and most nerve-wracking professional activities that we will ever undergo–and rightly so. After all, it’s a crucial part of the recruitment process, one that can make or break your career.

As important as it is, preparation is always the best cure for fear.

We’re all scared of what we don’t know, which is precisely why job interviews can be so frightening. Simply put, we’re afraid of the possible interview questions that might come our way.

But don’t worry, with the right preparation, you can overcome anything. In this article, we’ll help you prepare for your next job interview by discussing the top interview questions that HR managers ask and how you should answer them.

10 Most Common Job Interview Questions

Here are the ten most common questions asked in an interview, digital or otherwise.

1. “Tell me about yourself.”

Why Interviewers Ask It

No job interview in the world skips past this timeless question. In fact, this question is so common that most people hardly think about it anymore.

However, it’s popular for one main reason: it’s an excellent opportunity for employers to know exactly who they’re dealing with, beyond what your resume says.

Basically, they want to know how you present yourself professionally and whether you represent the company’s core values.

How You Should Answer It

Regardless of what it seems like at first glance, this question isn’t always an invitation for you to talk about your personal life. Instead, you can use it as a way to highlight yourself as a value-adding individual and to “sell” yourself to your potential employers.

a. Professional chronology

This format consists of all your professional experiences, including:

  • Present roles and accomplishments
  • Past job experiences relevant to the position you’re applying for
  • Future ambitions (i.e., how you see yourself in the job you’re applying for)

b. Professional values, principles, and passions

If you don’t have much professional experience or want to distinguish yourself from other applicants with competitive profiles, talk about your values and principles instead.

That said, if you’re planning to go down this route, it will do you well to research the company, especially its culture and values, extensively beforehand.

Make sure that you align your principles with theirs by talking about what you value professionally – bonus points if you can relate how you acted those principles out in previous employment.

Job Interview Answers

2. “Why do you want to work at this company?”

Why Interviewers Ask It

This is one of the most common digital interview questions around, and it’s easy to see why.

Simply put, this question will reveal the preparations that you made for the job interview. This is because the only way to answer this question impressively is to do a lot of research about the company you’re applying to.

Many applicants fail at this stage because they’re just regurgitating what they say to all the other companies. If you want to stand out from the rest, this isn’t the way to go.

How You Should Answer It

Instead of spouting generic answers, you should personally tailor your response to the company you’re applying to.

Align to their values

One way to do this is by looking at their mission, vision, values, and goals.

Find something there that aligns with what you believe in, then display a solid conviction to this principle with relevant and truthful supporting details, such as:

  • A previous event in your workplace and how you reacted to it
  • A relevant achievement in your life
  • An active membership to a relevant organization

Interviewers will be impressed that you did your research, and, at the same time, you will also demonstrate how much of a great fit you are to their company.

Mention specific aspects of the organization

Another way to answer this question is by talking about a unique aspect of the company that you can resonate with. It can be:

  • A unique company culture that you think you’ll fit right in
  • The organization’s career enrichment or advancement plans
  • How you can positively contribute to the company’s goals

Regardless of your exact response, remember to be specific and always paint the company in a good light.

Most Common Job Interview Questions

3. “Why should we hire you?”

Why Interviewers Ask It

Although the question sounds a bit intimidating and somewhat standoffish, don’t let this faze you. In truth, this question is one of the best interview questions for you to advertise yourself to your recruiters.

How You Should Answer It

Once again, beware of giving generic answers. Also, don’t just repeat what you wrote in your application letter or resume. Instead, go with these three trusted methods.

Show off your skillset

One way to impressively answer this question is to outline your skills and how you think they can contribute to the position without rehashing your resume.

Tell the interviewer how you intend to function in your day-to-day role in that position, and then lay out exactly how that can add value to their daily operations.

Highlight what makes you unique

This is a twist on your answer about your valuable skills. Instead of just talking about those, talk about what you have that other candidates don’t, such as volunteer experience, relevant awards, accomplishments, and areas of study, among others.

Solve a problem

Companies hire people because they want to solve a problem in their workplace, like too heavy workloads, for instance.

Try to appeal to your interviewer by talking about how you can make everyone’s life easier in the company if they hire you.

4. “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?”

Why Interviewers Ask It

This is one of the most common questions in an interview, and it’s there for a reason.

Instead of assessing your strengths and weaknesses, this question reveals far more: your self-awareness and sense of responsibility.

How You Should Answer It

Since this question assesses your self-awareness, your response should give the interviewers a glimpse of how you see yourself.

Be careful about being too honest or too flippant. For example, never say you don’t have a weakness or that you’re good at anything. At the same time, you should also never talk about a trait that will affect your chances of being hired–like not meeting deadlines, for example.

Instead, strike a balance by talking about an insightful yet somewhat neutral character trait.

A good ‘strength’ is something that helps you do your job. Meanwhile, a good ‘weakness’ is something that doesn’t hinder you from working your best.

No matter what you choose to say, keep in mind a few things:

  • Be specific. Choose one character trait for each category and build upon it. Don’t just list a bunch of adjectives.
  • Tell a story. Stories that illustrate your characteristics are more memorable and will help you stand out.
  • Circle back to your purpose. Always conclude your answer by circling back to why you’re the best person for the job.

5. “What are you most passionate about?”

Why Interviewers Ask It

This question is a chance for the interviewer to know the personal details of your character. It can also assess what extra activities you can do within the company, such as joining the company’s sports team or music band.

How You Should Answer It

The only way to answer this question is with honesty. Don’t be afraid to talk briefly about any personal interests you have, even if it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the position you’re applying for.

At the same time, the key to answering this question superbly is to always look at the central values of your hobby or passions.

If you’re passionate about woodworking, this shows that you’re dedicated and not afraid to do hard work. If you like sports, that means you’re competitive and sportsmanlike. Even a passion for staying organized can translate to being a meticulous and detail-oriented worker.

Regardless of your interests, there’s a deeper value to any passion that you will surely bring into whatever you do.

6. “How do you deal with stressful situations?”

Why Interviewers Ask It

As an employee, you’re inevitably going to go through some challenging situations in the workplace. And when you do, your employers need to know that they can count on you to get through it.

So when they ask this kind of question, they want to know how much they can expect from you when times get tough.

How You Should Answer It

There are many ways to deal with stressful situations, and most of them will be very subjective.

However, no matter what you answer, remember never to do these three things:

  • Never say that you aren’t affected by pressure. Although this might sound ‘cool’ in your mind, it tells your interviewer that you have low self-awareness.
  • Never say that you have to take a break during high-pressure situations. This can make your interviewer feel that you’re not dependable when the workload starts to get rough.
  • Never say that you just “push through it.” This indicates that you’re the kind of person who will likely burn out. What’s more, just “pushing through it” indicates that you’re not creating creative solutions to lessen your workload or motivate yourself.

Instead, you can talk about how you can stay motivated despite hardships. You can even discuss proactive stress-relief techniques that you practice, such as meditation or mindfulness.

7. “Tell me about a time you disagreed with a decision made at work.”

Why Interviewers Ask It

Conflict is inevitable at work, and it’s the hallmark of a great employee to approach and resolve disputes competently.

With this question, interviewers want you to illustrate how you deal with frictions in the workplace by presenting a real-life experience.

How You Should Answer It

The first thing to remember is that this question should be answered in anecdotal form. Stories stick to people’s minds better, which works well for this type of question.

Like any good story, your response should have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

  • Begin with a strong opening statement. A summary of the event is fine, but a summary that provides a point you can circle back to later is much better.
  • Provide the necessary details. Outline the relevant details of the event. Talk about the situation, why you disagreed with someone, what the counterpoint was, and the resolution of the incident. Stick to the point and don’t include unnecessary details.
  • Close with a professional lesson that you learned. Conclude your story by providing a succinct summary of what happened and what you learned from it.

8. “What’s a challenge you faced at work and how did you deal with it?”

Why Interviewers Ask It

Like the previous question, this interview prompt is meant to assess how well you can handle workplace conflict. However, while the previous question centered on professional disagreements, this question is more involved. 

How You Should Answer It

You might be tempted to vent out your frustrations about your last job, but don’t do it. Remember, what you say about someone else says more about you than it does about them.

Try to talk about your previous company in a positive light, even though you may have had some negative experiences there. Deliver a compelling story that ends with you learning some sort of professional value at the resolution.

Also, don’t focus on the actual conflict or your involvement in it, whether positive or negative. Instead, focus on how you resolved the situation professionally. Don’t be scared to admit your faults. Assure your interviewer that you learned and grew from the experience.

9. “Why is there a gap in your employment?”

Why Interviewers Ask It

All employers want someone who is loyal to the job and willing to stick around when the going gets tough. Someone who does a lot of job-hopping and takes long breaks from work often can appear irresponsible and indecisive to any hiring manager.

So, if there are gaps in your employment, it’s only natural for them to be curious about what you were doing during that time.

How You Should Answer It

It’s best to answer this question honestly while putting a positive spin on it. Regardless of what it is, focus on what you learned from the experience and how it changed you for the better.

What are you most passionate about?
Where do you see yourself in five years?

10. “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Why Interviewers Ask It

When interviewers ask this question, it’s because they want a peek into your plans. After all, nobody wants stagnant employees or employees who will simply use the company as a stepping stone to something else.

Instead, employers want ever-improving employees who will stick with them in the long run.

How You Should Answer It

Even if you know what they want to hear, you should still be honest when answering this question. Don’t say you’re willing to commit to the company long-term when you’re not.

Actually, dealing with these digital interview questions and answers is straightforward: you should strike a balance between advancement and commitment.

The key to answering this question is being honest about your career goals and focusing on how this position will help you get there. Make sure to frame the position’s value to you as positively as possible.

Bonus: “Do you have any questions?”

And now, for a bonus. Most interviews end the same way: with the interviewer asking you if you have any questions.

Why Interviewers Ask It

This question is not just a polite way to end the conversation.

In the first place, a job interview isn’t just a one-way street–it’s also your chance to learn more about your potential employers. Thus, this question is a way for interviewers to gauge your eagerness to work for the company.

More than that, it’s also a great way to stand out from among the crowd. The right questions will stick to your interviewers and make you more memorable.

How You Should Answer It

Having insightful interview questions for managers is the key to making full use of this opportunity. You can also ask questions about the interviewer to make it a more grounded conversation.

Some great questions are:

  • What do you love the most about working in this company?
  • What’s your favorite part of the company culture?
  • What exciting events are happening in the organization?

You can also ask about the position, the next steps in the process, and how long you have to wait for a decision.

Whatever question you want to ask, make sure it’s insightful and not simply something that has already been mentioned in the interview.

Answering the Top Job Interview Questions

Job interviews can be scary, but with the proper preparation, you can replace your nervousness with adrenaline.

This article gave you in-depth pointers about video interview questions and answers. All that’s left is for you to give it a unique and personal twist. Compose your answers well before the interview date and familiarize yourself – don’t memorize.

If you do everything well, you’re sure to have a deal-closer for a job interview soon.

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