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20+ Common Interview Questions & Answers in 2024

Common Interview Questions & Answers Image

These are some of the most common interview questions you will probably encounter during your job hunt, along with advice on how to answer them effectively. Because these questions appear in almost every interview, hiring managers will expect you to have your answers prepared. And while it’s not necessary to memorize each answer, practicing in advance can significantly reduce interview stress.

Most common interview questions and answers

There’s a reason why hiring managers keep using these common interview questions. These allow them to get insight into who you are as an employee and person. But more importantly, they reveal a lot about your ambitions, goals, and potential value for the company. As such, these common interview questions require well-prepared answers. Remember that your goal for answering these questions should demonstrate that you are the best fit for the job.

Most Common Interview Questions And Answers List

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. How did you hear about this position?
  3. Why are you leaving your current job?
  4. What do you know about our company?
  5. Why do you want to work here?
  6. Walk me through your resume?
  7. What relevant experience do you have for this position?
  8. What are your career goals?
  9. Do you like working independently or on a team?
  10. What are your weaknesses?
  11. What is your greatest strength?
  12. Why should we hire you?
  13. What motivates you to achieve your goals?
  14. What is your greatest professional achievement?
  15. How well do handle stress and pressure?
  16. What has been your biggest failure?
  17. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  18. What are your salary expectations?
  19. How do you handle constructive criticism?
  20. Do you have any questions for me?

How to answer most common interview questions

1. Tell me about yourself

This question may seem simple at first, but don’t underestimate it. In your answer, you should avoid repeating your resume or reciting your entire work history. Instead, approach the answer as a pitch. Demonstrate why you’re the best candidate by introducing what you do in your current job, what you’ve done in the past that’s relevant to the position, and finally, what makes you a good fit for the job.

Example Answer:

I have spent the past three years working as a nurse at one of the city’s most prestigious hospital oncology center. During this period, I have not only had the chance to learn from some of the top experts in the industry, but I have also pursued my education to become a fully qualified nurse.

Read more: “Tell Me About Yourself” Tips and Example Answers

2. How did you hear about this position?

It is crucial to express enthusiasm and showcase your genuine interest in the role. Employers want to see that you are excited about the opportunity and that it aligns with your skills and professional goals. By emphasizing your enthusiasm, you can demonstrate your motivation to contribute to their organization.
In addition, it is important to avoid being vague in your response. Giving vague or one-word answers may indicate a lack of investment or interest in the role. Instead, provide specific details about how you discovered the position and what aspects of it stood out to you. For example, you can mention that you came across the role on a job website while actively seeking a good opportunity. After reading the job description and doing some research, you realized that the position perfectly aligns with your skills and professional goals.

Example Answer:

I heard about this position through a colleague who works in the same industry. They mentioned that this company has a great reputation for its work and the positive impact it has in the industry. After hearing their recommendation, I decided to look into the company further and discovered this exciting position. The more I learned about the company’s values and the responsibilities of the role, the more interested I became. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to contribute my skills and grow professionally.

3. Why are you leaving your current job?

No matter the reason, remember to keep your answer to this question positive. To align your answer to land the job, focus on why the job at hand is a better fit and why you’re excited about the opportunity. If you were let go from your current job, don’t dwell on the past too much. Simply say you were let go and redirect the answer towards the future and the position you’re applying to.

Example Answer:

After many years in my previous role, I am now seeking a new opportunity where I can contribute and grow on a larger scale. I am seeking a position that will challenge me and allow me to use the skills and knowledge I have gained.

4. What do you know about our company?

Interviewers mostly ask this question to ensure that you did some research and put the work in before coming to the interview. The best answer is to bring up specific, unique facts or news you find while researching the company. Your goal is to prove that you understand and are genuinely interested in their products, services, or mission. Specifically, you can focus on information such as the company’s product offering, customer base, age, size, competitors, and recent achievements.

Example Answer:

I read on your website that you are one of North America’s leading cybersecurity security organizations and that you were founded in 2015 to make internal payroll processes more secure and streamlined. In a recent news article, I also read that you plan to start offering similar services to educational institutions. Is that correct? I heard the company tripled in size last year and will most likely do it again this year, which is quite impressive.

5. Why do you want to work here?

Research is crucial if you want your answer to stand out from the hundreds of others. Instead of giving generic reasons that could very well apply to any other workplace, pick aspects or values that you genuinely appreciate about the company. This could be that you’ve followed the business since its conception, heard amazing things from past and present employees, or shared values you are passionate about. Whichever angle you focus on, make sure your answer is as specific as possible to the company you’re applying to.

Example Answer:

I’ve actually been following the developments of XYZ Company ever since 2009! Back then, the company was one of the few to focus on renewable resources in all its endeavors, which fascinated me as an environmental science student. I had the chance to speak to some of your employees at a conference a couple of years back, and they only had great things to say. I particularly appreciate how goal-oriented the company culture is and the fact that every employee has a voice and a chance to form the company’s goals.

6. Walk me through your resume

Similar to “Tell me about yourself,” this question typically appears at the beginning of an interview. Your answer should present your complete career history, preferably in chronological order. Much like your other answers, you should focus on how your past experiences will help you succeed in the position you’re applying to. So, connect your past to your future by highlighting transferable skills and experiences that make you qualified for the job.

Example Answer:

As you can tell from my resume, I started my career in a sales position in a different field. Soon after, I found a job in a company offering wholesale healthcare products and quickly grew into a leadership role within the sales team. I led a team of 15 employees for over 5 years, increasing annual sales by 31% in my first year as a team leader. From there, I accepted a position at an international healthcare company where I oversaw 3 departments and focused mainly on business development, B2B sales, and innovation.

7. What relevant experience do you have for this position?

When discussing your relevant experience for a position, it is important to highlight how your past experiences align with the requirements and responsibilities of the role.

Example Answer:

I have a strong background in project management, leading cross-functional teams and managing complex projects from initiation to completion. I am skilled in developing and implementing project plans, coordinating resources, and ensuring timely delivery of high-quality results. Additionally, I have experience in data analysis and reporting, and I am proficient in tools such as Excel and SQL. Additionally, I have a proven track record of collaborating effectively with cross-functional teams and stakeholders, ensuring alignment and successful project outcomes. Overall, my experience in project management, data analysis, and cross-functional collaboration  make me well-equipped to take on the responsibilities of this role and contribute to the success of the team.

8. What are your career goals?

Ensure that your career goals are relevant to the position and industry you are interviewing for. Avoid discussing goals that are unrelated or incompatible with the company’s vision and objectives.

Example Answer:

In software engineering, my career goals center around growth, innovation, and making a lasting impact. In the short term, I aim to excel in the role I’m applying for, utilizing my technical skills to contribute to the team and organization. I’ll stay current with programming languages, frameworks, and methodologies through bootcamps and conferences. As I progress, I aspire to lead and mentor junior engineers, driving the development of cutting-edge solutions. Ultimately, I strive to contribute to the organization’s technological advancements and create positive change in the software engineering industry.

9. Do you like working independently or on a team?

Share specific examples from your past experiences where you have successfully worked both independently and in a team. This demonstrates your ability to handle different work scenarios.

Example Answer:

I value both independent work and teamwork in different situations. Working independently allows me to focus, take ownership, and meet deadlines efficiently. For instance, in my previous role, I completed projects independently, showcasing my problem-solving skills and attention to detail. However, I also appreciate teamwork for fresh perspectives, creativity, and idea sharing. Balancing both is crucial for success, and I can adapt seamlessly based on project or organizational needs.

10. What are your weaknesses?

Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of your weakness, highlight how it has helped you develop other skills or how you have learned from it. This demonstrates a positive attitude and the ability to turn challenges into opportunities.

Example Answer:

Weakness: Public speaking

Presenting in front of large audiences used to make me feel anxious and nervous. However, I’ve been actively working on improving my public speaking skills by attending workshops, joining public speaking clubs, and seeking opportunities to practice in a supportive environment. This continuous effort has significantly boosted my confidence and ability to communicate effectively in public settings.

11. What is your greatest strength?

This is the perfect opportunity to talk about what makes you a great candidate. Choose one or more of your biggest strengths relevant to the role depending on the question. Instead of just listing them out, provide examples by sharing when you’ve successfully used these strengths in the past.

Example Answer:

My greatest strength is problem-solving. I’m a methodical researcher, but I’m also comfortable thinking creatively. This helps me find the information I need and go further, providing opportunities to innovate and improve existing processes. For example, I found a minor coding issue that was causing the checkout process to be unnecessarily complicated. Thanks to the problem getting removed, we were able to increase customer satisfaction by 20%.

Read more: Strengths and Weaknesses for Job Interviews

12. Why should we hire you?

Here comes another opportunity to pitch yourself as the best fit for the job. In your answer, try first to highlight your relevant achievements. Then, explain why you think you would be a good fit for the company culture and the team. This shows that your values align with the company’s and that you put in the time and did your research beforehand. Finally, mention what sets you apart from all the other qualified applicants. This could be a unique skill, a relevant yet non-traditional work experience, or something similar.

Example Answer:

After studying the job description, I understand that it is essential to find a candidate who is eager to learn and ready to tackle obstacles head-on. Generally, I enjoy the chance to explore the unknown, and I am prepared to learn as much as possible from others. Additionally, I have a successful track record of creative problem-solving in my previous managerial position. I believe that this makes me an excellent fit for the job since I am an exceptional match in this aspect and my qualifications align with the requirements.

Read more: Why Should We Hire You? 3-Step Guide to the Best Answer

13. What motivates you to achieve your goals?

Illustrating your response to demonstrate alignment with factors pertinent to the position you are seeking highlights your genuine enthusiasm for the role and underscores your unwavering determination to thrive in it, leaving a lasting impression on the interviewer.

Example Answer:

I believe in leading by example. As a manager, I made sure to demonstrate a strong work ethic and a commitment to excellence. I believe that when team members see their leader putting in the effort and striving for the best, it motivates them to do the same. I would actively participate in projects, collaborate with team members, and provide guidance and feedback. This hands-on approach created a sense of shared responsibility and a drive for collective success.

14. What is your greatest professional achievement?

Every employer wants to find employees who will drive the company forward with their achievements. So, don’t hold back when answering this question. Use the STAR method to give a comprehensive answer covering the main points that won’t bore the interviewer. Explain the situation and task at hand, what action you took, and the positive result that action had.

Example Answer:

In my previous position, we encountered a challenging obstacle that required us to change all the office hardware to a new model. This required switching out over 150 computers, installing new software, and setting up all the devices to work correctly in only 10 days. I developed a process that streamlined and sped up the entire task by dividing the work accordingly and managing the time we had effectively. In the end, we made the switch in under 8 days.

More common interview questions and answers

15. How well do handle stress and pressure?

In any job, you will run into stressful situations from time to time. The interviewer wants to know how well you can perform under pressure or when stress in the workplace occurs. The best way to answer is to recognize both the negative and positive effects of stress and pressure. Then, explain how you handle and overcome stress and whether you can use it to motivate you.

Example Answer:

It took me some time to learn to perform well in stressful situations. Now, I maintain my motivation and drive by focusing on the outcome. Even in the middle of a difficult situation, I’ve found that remembering my goals helps me see the bigger picture and remain optimistic. That being said, I believe that long-term stress can still affect my overall performance, so I manage my time and communicate to avoid such situations whenever possible.

Read more: How to Answer “Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?”

16. What has been your biggest failure?

Without a doubt, it can be stressful to talk about your failures while interviewing for a job. The key to a good answer is being honest, taking responsibility, and focusing on what you have learned. Make sure also to explain why you consider the situation your biggest failure, as this can give the interviewer insight into your values and priorities. Much like before, it’s best to present your failure as a story and highlight what you took away from experience.

Example Answer:

One of my early professional mistakes cost us a large account. Although there were many external factors, I was ultimately the one who caused the deal to fall through. Afterward, I thought about what I could’ve controlled and would’ve done differently. I realized I wasn’t as organized as I had imagined. I went to my manager to discuss how I could improve my organizational and time management skills. A few months later, I was able to secure a larger account for the department using my newly learned skills.

17. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This question allows the interviewer to gauge whether you are ambitious and can set realistic goals and whether the position you’re applying to aligns with these goals. This is important to keep in mind, as you should base your answer around it. When preparing your response, think about the growth opportunities within the company and where you could get if you landed the job. Be honest in your answer and assure the interviewer that you can see yourself growing as part of the company rather than leaving as soon as a new opportunity comes along.

Example Answer:

As a recent graduate, I am just beginning to work in my new field and learning to put my theoretical knowledge into practice. In the next five years, I would like to hone my skills among an exceptional team of talented individuals. This position initially caught my eye since the organization has a remarkable reputation for fostering employee growth and building a collaborative environment.

Read more: How to Answer “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”

18. What are your salary expectations?

This question certainly requires some research in advance. Use sites like Glassdoor or similar to figure out the average salary for the position in your area. Also, don’t forget to account for your education and experience. When the interviewer asks, you can then give them a relevant range based on this data. If you’re not ready to answer yet, you can flip the question and ask them for the range. Alternatively, you can delay the salary conversation until you learn more about the role and the company’s benefits.

Example Answer:

Based on my research and qualifications, I believe a salary range of $X to $Y would be appropriate for this position. However, the job benefits also play a role for me. The free wellness center, transportation benefits, and other perks might allow me to be somewhat flexible with my salary.

Read more: How to Answer “What Are Your Salary Expectations?”

19. How do you handle constructive criticism?

Emphasize how you used the feedback to grow both personally and professionally. Discuss the specific actions you took to implement the suggestions and demonstrate your commitment to continuous improvement

Example Answer:

I view constructive criticism as an opportunity for personal and professional development. When I receive feedback, I express gratitude for the input and take the time to reflect on it. I analyze the feedback objectively and identify areas where I can make improvements. For instance, in a previous project, a team member provided feedback on my collaboration skills, suggesting that I could be more proactive in seeking input from others. I took this feedback to heart and started actively involving team members in decision-making processes, which improved collaboration and fostered a more inclusive work environment.

20. Do you have any questions for me?

The interview isn’t just a chance for the interviewer to determine if you’re the right fit – it’s also your opportunity to gauge if you are genuinely interested in the position. Whatever you want to know about the company culture, the day-to-day business goals, or anything else, this is your chance to find out. It’s always a good idea to ask unique questions, or ones targeted to the interviewer, to hear first-hand about what working for the company is like.

Examples:

  • In what direction is the company planning to grow in the next 5 years?
  • What do you like most about working here?
  • Which skills are missing from the team right now that I should bring?
  • Will I be taking over another employee, or is this a newly established role?
  • What does a typical day in this position look like?

How to prepare for a job interview

Effectively preparing for a job interview is crucial in improving your chances of success. To help you with this, here are some steps you can take:

Research the industry and the company

One of the most important aspects of interview preparation is conducting research on the industry and the company you are interviewing with. This will help you understand the company’s values, mission, culture, and recent developments. It will also enable you to tailor your answers and questions to align with the company’s goals and values. You can start by reading the company’s website, including the “About Us” section, and exploring their social media presence. 

Prepare for the most common interview questions

While you can’t predict every question you will be asked, preparing for common interview questions can help you feel more confident and articulate during the interview. Preparing your answers to these questions in advance will help you structure your thoughts and provide concise and relevant responses. 

Practice speaking and using body language correctly

Your speech and body language play a significant role in the impression you make on the interviewer. Practicing speaking in a confident and clear voice before the interview can help you sound more composed and professional. Additionally, pay attention to your body language, such as maintaining eye contact, smiling, and giving a firm handshake. Practicing these aspects beforehand, even with friends or family, can help you feel more comfortable and confident during the actual interview.

Send a thank-you email

 This is an opportunity to express your gratitude for their time and reiterate your interest in the job. In the email, briefly summarize your most relevant qualifications and what sets you apart from other candidates. Sending a thank-you email shows your professionalism and can leave a positive impression on the interviewer.


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