The topic of this post will concern top 10 job interview questions and answers that can either get you your dream job or lose it for you. I don’t want to bore you with a long intro this time, so I’ll get straight to the point. But in case you want to read about how to write the perfect resume/CV, make sure to check out this post.
Top Job Interview Questions and Answers
1. Tell me a little about yourself.
The most common of all job interview questions and answers, and is probably the first one that an interviewer will ask you. Don’t overthink this and don’t make the answer too long either.
See it more as an “icebreaker” that is meant to give a direction to the interview. You simply want to show that you know how to speak, preferably well, and you want to share some of the key points from your life that led you to apply for this job.
For example, talk about how you always saw yourself as a social person, which is why you want to find a job in which you will be able to socialize a lot. You can talk a little about your education and work experience. But try not to go into talking about all the ten pets that you have had.
2. What do you know about our company?
I personally would say this question is very important. You can either show that you are very interested in the position by knowing a lot about the company, or that you haven’t done any research prior to the meeting, which probably means that you are not that interested after all.
Go through the company’s website and Wikipedia page, if it is listed there. Find out about its history and some particular aspects that the company has that you value as well. Maybe the company is all about being green, using recyclable products or that they are very much focused on the needs of their employees. Go a little deeper into that and show that it interests and resonates with you.
3. Why do you want this job?/Why should we hire you?
Here the floor is all yours. Show that you are extremely interested in the position. Talk about your strengths, but make sure not to come off as cocky. You want to sound sophisticated at all times and that you really have what the company wants.
You can get into your education and especially your previous work experiences. Explain that your previous positions have allowed you to see what you do best, and as a result led you into believing that you will be especially suitable for this position.
If you have a friend that works in the company that has briefed you about the position, make sure to state that as well. That means you have a good amount of information about the company and the position, which also means that you really know what you are applying for.
4. Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.
I know that the first thing that will come to your mind is that you have no weakness, or that at least you should not mention them. But trust me, we all have weakness and your interviewer knows about that.
Start off by saying what you are great at. After having said a few valid points, you can name one or two weaknesses, but make sure you turn them into something that doesn’t sound negative. You don’t want to say that you hate paperwork when trying to get a position where you know you will be having to deal with a lot of paperwork.
For example, one real weakness I have is that I tend to get stuck on things that are not working out. Instead of putting the task aside, and returning to it once everything else is done, I may spend too much time on it. This is what I have always said in interviews, and I always added that the problem exists because I am a perfectionist. I always need to get things done the right way. But I also add that I am constantly working on improving it. See how it doesn’t sound bad at all? The interviewer should see that your weakness actually has a positive note to it, or is something that can easily be improved.
5. What are some of your professional achievements, if any?
If you have done something during your studies or professional career that makes you stand out from the crowd, now is the time to say it. And if you feel that you haven’t done anything significant, you should prepare in advance and really find something.
All of us without exception have done things in life that can be of value to your future employer. Maybe you have helped someone achieve something, or maybe you have a project you worked on or a hobby that is related in some way to work. Try not to say “I don’t know”, but rather name a few minor things. Although asked often, this question is not the most crucial, especially if you have little real experience, so don’t worry.
6. What are your salary expectations?
A bad example is what a friend of mine did. Wanting the job so badly, in an interview he jokingly said that he is even willing to work for food! This made him look very insecure. Interviewers don’t like this.
This is one of the trickiest job interview questions and answers, but there is a way around this just like with any other question.
1. Don’t underestimate yourself. If you have experience, then you probably know how much you are worth. Try naming an amount near the higher end of what you think is possible. If it’s too much, they will simply say it’s too much. And this doesn’t mean that you won’t get hired because of the number. I have had an interviewer say that it was too much, but I still got hired.
2. Make sure you make it clear that you are flexible. Say that you would like a certain amount, but you are willing to negotiate it. Say that you are interested in hearing what they are willing to offer you.
3. Research the salaries in advance. If this is your first job and you are not sure how much you can ask for, go online to websites, such as https://www.glassdoor.co.in and look at the salaries that people get within your field with a similar amount of experience.
7. Why did you leave your last job?
One of the most hated job interview questions and answers. There may be hundreds of different reasons why you left your last job, and it is really up to you how you will present this. However, you have to keep a few things in mind in order not to make a mistake that will cost you your new position.
1. Don’t say that you didn’t like the boss or got into arguments with coworkers. You can simply say that you had your differences and you didn’t like the way things were done in the company.
2. You can say that you felt the need to grow further as a professional, which is why you believe the new company suits you more.
3. Don’t “hate” on your previous work. Be professional.
4. If you got fired, don’t say you didn’t. Honesty is very valuable and if your interviewer finds out that you are not honest with them, then you can say bye-bye to the new job. On the other hand, if you explain well why you got fired, you still have the opportunity to get chosen.
8. Describe a difficult work situation and what you did to overcome it.
Be creative and think of a situation that you handled really well. Maybe you helped someone at work or showed that you are an independent employee that can handle tough situations. Don’t say you did something against the rules at your old job, even if it turned out well. Instead, name a situation in which you brought value to the company or other workers.
9. If you get hired, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This is asked in order to understand whether you are serious about the position or not.
Even though the answer to this question cannot be known, be creative about it. Say that you want to gain some experience in your position, and then you are willing to expand further within the field and the company. The idea is to show that you are ambitious. But in no way say anything along the lines of “I want to become the boss of the company”. 🙂
10. Do you have any questions for us?
The last question from our list of top job interview questions and answers. By this point, the interviewer usually has an image and understanding of what kind of a person you are. If you were chosen for the position by now, you can be relaxed about this and calmely ask any question you like.
On the other hand, if you think that there is still a chance to change the outcome of the interview, you can ask something about the technical side of your future position. Additionally, if you have read something about the company or position that you would like to get more details about, this is the time to ask it. Again, by having relevant questions you show that you are motivated and have interest towards the position.
Related material: Understanding Body Language is Your Absolute Must
But if you have no questions, don’t stress about it. It’s ok to say that you probably have some, but at the moment your mind is a little all over the place. The interviewers totally understand this. Don’t ask a question for the sake of asking it.
These are some of the most popular job interview questions and answers. Depending on the type of profession, there may be some technical questions as well. Moreover, you can be asked totally random questions, such as “who is your role model?”. The goal is to always try to say something, even if you think the question has no connection to the job itself. The interviewer just wants to know what kind of a person you are, and a great way to do it is to ask you something abstract.
In any case, I want to wish you luck on your next interview. Take it easy, and enjoy the process! 🙂
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