Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what questions a hiring manager would be asking you in your job interview? While we unfortunately can’t read minds, we’ll give you the next best thing: a list of the 20 most frequently asked interview questions.
- Can you tell me a little about yourself?
This question seems simple yet so many individuals fail to answer it correctly. This question is not an invitation to recite your entire life story: It’s your chance to pitch the hiring manager on why you’re the right candidate for the job. Start off talking about 2-3 accomplishments you are proud of and the skills and experience you have gained.
- How did you hear about the position?
Your response to this question should be kept short: something along the lines of “I found it on (wherever you found the job), and since I’ve been hoping to work for the company for a long time, I was excited to see the opening had become available.
- What do you know about the company?
Any candidate can read and repeat a company’s ‘About’ page. So, when interviewers ask this question they aren’t trying to observe whether you understand their goals- they want to know if you care. Start with one line that shows you understand the company’s goals, using a couple key words and phrases from the website, but then go on to make it personal. Say, “I’m personally drawn to this mission because…” or “I really believe in this approach because…” and share a personal example or two.
- What are your strengths?
This question is an open invitation for you to talk about your skills and accomplishments and to show how you match the employer’s values and requirements. Demonstrate your unique value as a candidate by identifying key strengths and then match them to the requirements and skills that are needed to carry out the job.
- What are your weaknesses?
This is the interview question that nobody likes, but you should still be prepared for a well-thought-out answer. When answering this question, think about something that isn’t a strong skill, but think about it back in the past. Talk about how you’ve taken steps to overcome it or worked hard on performing well and mention that you still are working to improve.
- Why do you want to work for us?
When interviewers ask this question, they want to learn about your career goals and how the position you are applying for fits into your plan. Make sure you are interested in the job and will be motivated to perform well if hired. Your answer should demonstrate your knowledge of the company and the skills, talents, experience and strength you have.
- What skills can you bring to the role?
This interview question is one likely to make you think about the skills and experience you already have. Think about what skills you could contribute to the new role. These might consist of the standard required skillset for the position. To ensure you stand out from other job seekers attending the interview, make sure the examples you choose are relevant to the role and reflect you in a positive and professional light.
- What is your greatest accomplishment?
When the interviewer asks you this question, this is your opportunity to talk about your proudest achievement. They want to know what sets you apart from other candidates to get a better sense of what you’ve done and what you value. Make sure you are comfortable talking about yourself and your work in a positive, natural way that conveys confidence.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Interviewers ask this question as they want to understand more about your career goals. They are interested in your career goals as they want to hire someone who is motivated and proactive. This question should get you thinking about where the position you’re applying for could realistically take you and think about how that aligns with some of your broader professional goals.
- Why should we hire you?
Don’t just talk about why the company would be great to work for; talk about how the position is a perfect fit for what you hope to accomplish, both short-term and long-term.
Quote the aspects of the job that you like and explain why it matches with your career path and your expectations.
- Tell me about a challenging situation and how you overcame it
For this question, the interviewer is testing your ability to be resilient and cope under pressure. Your answer should focus on a work-related issue, explain clearly the measures you took to overcome the problem. This question gives you the opportunity to demonstrate how you can use your initiative and act with integrity. Don’t fall into the trap of criticising your company or colleagues and trying to present yourself in a superior light. This will come across as unprofessional and arrogant.
- Do you enjoy working as part of a team?
You should answer that you do enjoy working as part of a team, but also that you aren’t afraid of taking on individual tasks, either. You want to show that you can indeed be a great team member and collaborate well with others to produce results. However, you also want to emphasise that you value the opportunity to share your own input.
- How do you handle criticism?
Mention the positive aspects of criticism and think of an experience you had where it was useful to get criticism. Your answer should be along the following lines: “I always think that it is important to get feedback on how I am performing so that I can improve my work.
- How would you deal with conflict?
In asking this question, the interviewer wants to get a sense of how you would response to conflict. Focus on talking about how you would handle the situation professionally and productively, and wrap up with a happy ending, like how you would come to a resolution or compromise.
- Can you please explain the gaps in your resume?
Having a gap on your resume won’t necessarily prevent you from being successful through the interview process. But potential employers will expect an explanation. Take the time beforehand to work out how you can address the gap in a way that projects confidence and positivity. You want to be truthful without going into unnecessary detail. A basic template for your answer could be: “I [reason you were not employed]. During that time, [what you did during the gap]. Returning to work was one of my priorities during the period and I’m ready to do that now.”
- Why did you leave your previous position?
This can be a challenging question to answer. Keep things positive—you have nothing to gain by being negative about your past employers. Show the interviewer that you are eager to take on new opportunities and that the role you’re interviewing for is a better fit for you than your last or current position.
- What are your salary expectations?
Employers ask about your salary expectations to get a sense of whether they can afford you. They might also ask you this to see how much you value yourself and the work that you do. By doing some research and preparing an answer ahead of time, you can demonstrate to the employer that you are flexible with your salary, but that you also know what you are worth. Your answer can be something along the lines of:
My salary expectations are in line with my experience and qualifications.” Or, “If this is the right job for me, I am sure we can come to an agreement on salary.”
- What are your hobbies?
Interviewers ask this question to see if you are a well-rounded person who will fit in with the company culture. Employers want to know if you are passionate about certain things. Your response should be honest and brief. You could mention your hobbies include: Exercise and Health-related activities, Volunteering and Community participation and Professional Development.
- What do you believe makes a good team leader/manager?
This is a difficult question as most people will have different ideas about what makes a good manager. If you’re applying for a managerial role, or if you might progress into one, you’ll need to show a good understanding of the most important qualities to manage people effectively. Setting realistic goals, giving constructive feedback and providing support to team members to help them build their skillset are all good examples of excellent management qualities.
- Do you have any questions?
Always answer “Yes” to this question. You’re there to find out information about your employer as much as they’re there to find out about you – and the more details you know, the better you’ll be able to ascertain your suitability for the job. You’ll need to be just as prepared once the tables turn. Here are some questions you could ask at an interview:
- What are the skills and experiences you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?
- What training programs are available to your employees?
- Are there opportunities for advancement or professional development?
- What are the company’s plans for the future?
- When can I expect to hear from you?