10 Common Job Interview Questions

Practice and get comfortable with these common job questions and answer samples before our interview and we’ll feel more confident, while giving much better answers.

We recommend spending some time getting comfortable with what we might be asked, what hiring managers are really looking for in our responses, and what it takes to show that we’re the right man or woman for the job.

1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
To answer, walk them through our background, starting at how we began our career or our current line of work.

Take them through key accomplishments, key career moves we’ve made, and end by sharing what we’re looking to do next in our career and why we’re job hunting.

Good answer sample:
“I started my career in Marketing after graduating with a Business degree in 2011. I’ve spent my entire career at Google, receiving 3 promotions and 4 awards for outstanding performance.

I’m looking to join a smaller company now, and take on more leadership and project management.”

2. How did you hear about the position?
This is one of the simplest question and answer scenarios in any interview, but that doesn’t mean it can’t ruin our chances at the job if we answer incorrectly.

Good answer sample:
“I saw the job posted on a website, and the position seemed interesting so I wanted to learn more”

“I found the position while looking for jobs online”

“Your company was recommended to me by somebody I worked with in a previous job and had heard good things about your organization

“I heard about it from a friend”

3. What do you know about our company?
Our primary goal is to show we’ve done our research or knew about their company before applying. If we do this, we’ll be fine.

If we don’t seem like we know anything about them, we’ll come across as desperate – somebody who will take any job they can find. And that’s going to make we unattractive to any good employers out there.

Good answer sample:
“From what I read, your company is one of the leaders in providing security software to other businesses. I read the list of clients on your website. Do you mostly serve Fortune 500 clients? I saw a couple big Fortune 500 companies mentioned on the list, including … and … .”

“You’re one of the largest investment banks in the US. Your headquarters is in Raleigh, NC, and you have 25,000 employees worldwide based on what I read on your website.”

4. Why did you apply for this position?
We need to sound like we want the RIGHT job and that we’re being picky. Companies want the best performers, and the best performers are picky in their job hunt.

Stay away from negatives and complaints too. Do not bad-mouth our current company or boss.

Focus on the positives of the company we’re interviewing with.

Good answer sample:
“I’ve heard great things about the work environment here from a few colleagues.

And when I saw this job posting, it seemed to match my skills very closely. For example, I saw on the job description that you need somebody who’s an expert in mySQL programming.

This is what I focused on in both of my previous positions, and was even the focus of my academic work before graduating university. I consider myself an expert in mySQL and it’s a skill I hope to continue specializing in.”

“Since beginning my career, I’ve wanted to work for a larger organization in this industry, and I know you’re one of the leaders in this space.

I’m very interested in your services, especially the mobile applications you’re building recently, so I’d be excited to come here and grow my skills with an organization like yours.”

5. Why should we hire you?
Try to talk about them and how we’ll help them. What will be better for them if they hire us?

What will we improve for them?

And show we’ve done our research. Make it clear that we know what this position involves, and we’re ready to perform the tasks.

Good answer sample:
“I read on the job description that you’re looking for someone with experience in software programming. I’ve done that for 3 years and can immediately help you accomplish software programming”.

6. Why are you looking to leave your current company?
If we chose to leave on our own terms, stay positive and focus on what we wanted to gain from the decision, rather than bad-mouthing or focusing on negatives we wanted to avoid.

Good answer sample:
“I was hired for a project management role, but over time that changed and I was no longer being given the opportunity to do the work I was interested in.

I left to pursue an opportunity that I felt was more aligned with what I’ve chosen to focus on in my career.”

7. What are your greatest professional strengths?
Answer it well and it’s one of the best ways we can show off our skills and show that we stand out among other candidates.
Choose 1 to 3 attributes we want to mention (depending on whether the question asks for one strength or multiple) and cap it there.
We’ll want to think strategically about what skills will position us as qualified for the job and a good fit for the company.
Does the position require client interaction? Communication and relationship building makes sense.
Or if the environment is fast paced and constantly evolving our ability to multitask, adapt, and learn quickly would be good to highlight.

Good answer sample:
“I think some of my greatest strengths are my communication skills and willingness to take initiative.

During my last internship, when I was helping to manage several social media accounts, I made sure that everyone on the team was on the same page and knew what our messaging strategy was by taking the initiative to send out a weekly email to keep the team up to date and to seek feedback.

This ended up being so helpful that the weekly social media update was incorporated into a fulltime staff member’s responsibilities.”

8. Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.
Focus on a specific work-related challenge and talk about how we overcame obstacles, used it as a learning experience, used the resources around us (including people/colleagues if applicable), and ended up with a positive result!

That’s how to answer this interview question. Keep it work related, not personal.

Good answer sample:
“In my last job, we were facing a tough deadline and my boss was out for the day. Our client was expecting a project to be delivered by 5PM, but we were far behind schedule.

I took the lead on the project, delegated tasks to the four other team members in a way that I thought would utilize everyone’s strengths best.

And then I re-organized my own personal tasks so I could dedicate my entire day to contributing to this project as well.

The project was a success and we delivered the work on-time. I went on to lead more projects after that, and used what I learned to be a better project manager.”

9. How much money are you looking to earn?
Unfortunately this question is left off of many lists of job interview questions and answers examples.
But it’s extremely important and the wrong answer here can cost us thousands of dollars in the negotiation later on.
Stand our ground and tell them we don’t have a number in mind yet, or aren’t sure.

Good answer sample:
“Right now I’m focused on finding a job that’s the right fit for my career.

Once I’ve done that, I’m willing to consider an offer you feel is fair, but I do not have a specific number in mind yet, and my priority is to find a position that’s a great fit for me.”

10. Why do you want to work here?
This is very similar to the question: “Why did you apply for this position?”

Show them that we know what that their job involves (at least as much as we could learn from the job description and company website), and that we’re excited to be interviewing for this position.

Good answer sample:
“I’ve been actively searching for jobs since graduating with my Nursing degree.

I’m interested in intensive care and emergency medicine and I’ve seen your hospital mentioned as having one of the best ER’s in the region.

I thought the job description matched up well with my background, and saw some of my personal strengths mentioned, like multitasking and being able to thrive in a fast paced environment, so I’d love to begin my career here.”

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