Common interview questions

Take the uncertainty out of the interview with these common interview questions

WRITTEN BY: Janelle Vreeland
Common interview questions

Before heading off to your interview, look over these common interview questions. Compile answers in your head—you just might be asked to answer one of them!

  1. Tell me about yourself. This is one of the most common interview questions, and can be the most difficult if you’re not prepared. Remember, your interviewer isn’t looking for your life story or your favorite football team. He or she is looking for you to “get to the point and sell your professional self,” according to Career Builder. Answer this job interview question with a one-minute self-advertisement that highlights your experience and skills.
  2. Why do you want this job? Use this opportunity to show off what you know about the company from your research. If you have any relevant skills, talk about them in the job interview. Lead up to your biggest achievement. Remember, your interviewer may not have asked for your biggest achievement, but this is a job interview and you need to show the best aspects of yourself.
  3. Where do you see yourself in five years? Don’t be afraid to state an answer to this common interview question that doesn’t include the company interviewing you. At the job interview, show that you have ambition by talking about your genuine dreams. Better yet, talk about the steps you have already taken to get there, according to Monster Career Advice.
  4. What is one of your weaknesses? The classic way to go about answering this common interview question is to name a strength in disguise as a weakness. Don’t say, “I can be too perfectionist.” Chances are, your interviewer has heard this before and it won’t mean much. Instead, at the job interview, talk about an actual weakness that has improved. For example, you may say you used to have trouble working with people. “But now,” you can say, “I volunteer with a group of people and help out at the local homeless shelter. It’s really improved my ability and comfort level with teamwork.
  5. What are your strengths? Think about what you do outstandingly well. Leadership, teamwork, interpersonal skills and creative problem solving are all good strengths to mention during a job interview, according to the University of Kent. When answering this common interview question, elaborate on these strengths by giving examples of how you displayed them in real-life situations. 
  6. Describe a situation during which you worked in a team. Your interviewer is looking to see how well you can relate to others and be productive in a team environment in this common interview question. During the job interview, outline the situation, detailing your position and what duties it entailed. Mention any problems, how they were solved, and what you learned from the experience.
  7. What classes have you taken? This is a common interview question for entry-level jobs and internship positions. Rather than listing all the classes you’ve taken in the last three years during the job interview, talk about classes that are relevant to the particular position. It is also a good idea to name a series of classes that show outside interest in a subject. For example, if you are interviewing for an accountancy position, you may mention the handful of business ethics classes you’ve taken.
  8. What didn’t you like about your last job? Be careful. You don’t want to sound bitter about your last job, boss or company. Instead, put yourself in a better light during the job interview by showing respect, competency and ambition: “I really enjoyed my last position as an intern at a marketing firm, but I wish they would’ve given me more responsibility in handling clients.”
  9. Why did you leave your last job? Again, remain positive. During a job interview, don’t cite a riff with a coworker or boss, because it may cause the interviewer to question whether you are capable of working will with people. Instead, look forward. When answering this common interview question, talk about how you want to grow in your field and have access to more opportunities, and that you think this job can do that for you.
  10. Do you have any questions? It’s best to have a short list of questions prepared prior to the job interview, and then bring it to the interview for reference. Ask anything you want to know, but avoid questions about salary, vacation time and pension at this point. Instead, ask about the job’s specific duties or the team you might be working with. This is also a good time to bring up anything you wanted to say during the job interview but didn’t get a chance to mention. 

Unsure of what to wear for an interview? Find out in our lifestyle section!

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