If you opened this article, chances are you’ve already looked at several other articles on interview questions. If you’ve just started your research, we’ll save you some time! The top ten questions are the same as they have been for years. We’ve posted them below, with some answers that will hopefully assist you in tailoring them to your own and being prepared for your interview.
Top 10 Interview Questions:
1. What is your greatest strength?
- When working on a project, I don’t want just to meet deadlines. I prefer to complete the project ahead of schedule.
- I have excellent time management skills. I’m organized, efficient, and take pride in my work. (be prepared to give a brief example. Keyword: brief!).
- I’ve exceeded my sales goals every quarter and I’ve earned a bonus each year since I started with my current employer. (Numbers and percentages speak volumes. Adapt this strategy to what ever your job may be).
- I pride myself on my ability to work with others. Whether it is excellent customer service or working within a team. (Again, be prepared for a brief example).
2. What is your greatest weakness?
In your answers to this type of question, you always want to focus on skills that you have already improved upon during your previous job, so you are showing the interviewer that you can make improvements. Do not solely focus on a skill that needs improvement and stop there. If you do, chances are, you just finished your interview!
Note that the term “weakness” isn’t used in the sample answers – you always want to focus on the positive answering any question, regardless of what the question is.
- Sometimes, I spend more time than necessary on a task, or take on tasks personally that could easily be delegated to someone else. Although I’ve never missed a deadline, it is still an effort for me to know when to move on to the next task, and to be confident when assigning others work.
- I’ve learned to make my perfectionism work to my advantage at work. I am excellent at meeting deadlines, and with my attention to detail, I know my work is correct.
- I used to like to work on one project to its completion before starting on another, but I’ve learned to work on many projects at the same time, and I think it allows me to be more creative and effective in each one.
3. How do you handle stress and pressure?
- Prioritizing my responsibilities so I have a clear idea of what needs to be done when, has helped me effectively manage pressure on the job.
- I react to situations, rather than to stress. That way, the situation is handled and doesn’t become stressful.
- I find that when I’m under the pressure of a deadline, I can do some of my most creative work. (Be prepared to give real examples of these statements).
4. Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it.
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is important, however, to be prepared for it. Go over your work history prior to the interview and come up with concrete examples of difficult situations that actually happened at work. Then discuss what you did to solve the problem. Keep your answers positive and be specific. Remember to be to the point, It shouldn’t take longer than 60 to 90 seconds to answer this question. Usually, it spawns further questions. Be prepared.
5. How do you evaluate success?
- I evaluate success in different ways. At work, it is meeting the goals set by my supervisors and my fellow workers. After work, I enjoy playing softball, so success on the field is catching the winning pop-up.
Again, tailor your answers to your real life experiences. If you know that there is an incentive program at the company you are interviewing with, you may want to use some similar experience if you have it.
6. Why are you leaving, or have left your job?
RULE: Regardless of why you left, do not speak badly about your previous employer. Period. Prepare in advance to answer this question. Practice your responses so you sound positive, and clear, about your circumstances and your goals for the future.
- I was laid-off from my last position when our department was eliminated due to corporate restructuring.
- After several years in my last position, I’m looking for a company where I can contribute and grow in a team-oriented environment.
- I’m interested in a job with more responsibility, and I am very ready for a new challenge.
- There isn’t room for growth with my current employer and I’m ready to move on to a new challenge.
7. Why do you want this job?
Remember to customize these answers to fit your situation.
- I want this job because it seems tailored to my competencies, which include sales and marketing. As I said earlier, in a previous position I created an annual growth rate of 22 percent in a flat industry. Additionally, the team I would work with looks terrific.
- As a dedicated technician, I like doing essential research. Being part of a breakthrough team is an experience I’d love to repeat.
8. Why should we hire you?
Be sure to give concrete examples of why your skills and accomplishments make you the best candidate for the job. Take time to compare the job description with your abilities, and mention what you have accomplished in your other positions. Be positive and reiterate your interest in the company and the position.
9. What are your goals for the future?
This is similar to the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?”. Don’t discuss your goals for returning to school or having a family, they are not relevant and could knock you out of contention for the job. Rather, you want to connect your answer to the job you are applying for.
- I see myself as a top performing employee in a well-established organization, like this one. I plan on enhancing my skills and continuing my involvement in (related) professional associations.
- In the XYZ Corporation, what is a typical career path for someone with my skills and experiences?
10. Tell me about yourself.
Caution: Prepare this answer in advance! Otherwise you will most likely find yourself hemming and hawing, or worse, rambling on about what an easy-going, loyal, dedicated, hard working employee you’ve been. This is usually your first impression question. Get it right!
- Offer a razor sharp sentence or two that sets the stage for further discussion and sets you apart from your competitors.
- Give them a synopsis of your professional success. Example: “I’m a seasoned Retail Manager strong in developing training programs and loss prevention techniques that have resulted in revenue savings of over $2.3 Million for (employer’s name) during the past 11 years.” Remember…numbers speak louder than words. Use them!
- Be specific; use the 15 words or less rule if you can.
- Be prepared; always be prepared to answer this question. Sit down at home and write it out if you have to. But it is highly important to perfect this answer.
Don’t stop here. There are several lists on the internet that provide examples outside of these ten basic / common questions. Look for difficult interview questions, or interview questions employers should not ask. Don’t forget to research questions YOU should ask as well!