25 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers
While interviews can be quite stressful, the good news is that most job interviews involve several common interview questions which means that you can prepare beforehand and ace your interview. With the help of the subject matter experts over at runrex.com, this article will look to highlight 25 of the most common interview questions and their answers.
Tell me a bit about yourself
This is one of the most common, and most dreaded, interview questions out there as discussed over at runrex.com. To answer this question your answer should provide some information on some of your professional accomplishments while giving the interviewer some information about your persona. You should also make sure that your answer is connected with the position you are applying for and why you feel you will be a good fit.
What are your biggest weaknesses?
This is another common interview question and one that regularly catches interviewees out. When answering this question, highlight an actual weakness you have and show how you are working to improve it. Avoid giving generic answers or saying that you are a perfectionist without any flaws.
What are your biggest strengths?
On the flip side, you are also likely to be asked about your biggest strengths. According to the gurus over at runrex.com, when answering this question, be concise and precise and you should not only highlight one of your actual strengths, you should give a practical example of how this strength shines through. If you say you are a great problem solver, highlight specific examples showing this in action.
Out of all the candidates applying for this job, why should we hire you?
This yet another common interview question and one that you should expect and be prepared to answer. Make sure that your answer shows the skills and qualifications you have, how they make you a great fit for the position as well as highlight your passion and skill for the job. Don’t talk negatively about the other candidates.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This is yet another question that you should expect, as discussed over at runrex.com. When answering this question, make sure your response aligns with the progression path on the role and the company you are interviewing for. Also, make sure that you don’t make it appear that the job you are interviewing for is just a pitstop and isn’t part of your long-term vision.
How did you learn about this job opening?
This is yet another popular question and one you can expect in your job interview. To answer this question, don’t just explain how you heard about the opening as this shows that you are looking for a job, any job, and not this one in particular. Show them that you were actively looking for this opening and that you are excited that you finally got a chance for an interview.
Why do you want this job?
According to the gurus over at runrex.com, this is your chance to go deeper into explaining why this job is the perfect fit for you and what you aim to accomplish, both in the short-term and the long-term. Show the interviewer that the job you are interviewing for is exactly where you want to be.
Tell me about the last time you had a conflict with a co-worker or client
To answer this question, avoid generic answers, and give an actual example of a time when you had a conflict with a colleague or client. Tell them the part you had to play in the conflict, how you fixed the situation, and what you have done since then to ensure that the situation doesn’t happen again. Don’t push the blame onto others and speak negatively about others.
What do you consider to be your biggest professional achievement?
The best way to answer this job, as per the folks over at runrex.com, is to make sure your response aligns with the job you are applying for. Your biggest achievement should be transferrable to the position you are interviewing for, allowing the interviewer to imagine you bringing the same benefits to the position should you get it.
What is your dream job? Describe it
While your answer should be relevant to the job you are interviewing for, you should also be genuine and honest when describing your dream job. The truth is, employees nowadays don’t expect employees who last forever, and if you plan to one day start your own business, then let them know that, and show them how the job you are interviewing for will help you and prepare you for when you do land your dream job someday. Don’t, however, say that your dream job is to join a rival company.
What kind of work environment do you like best?
To answer this question, as discussed over at runrex.com, you should consider the job you are applying for as well as the company culture and find ways to highlight how the company’s work environment will be a great fit for you. If you prefer a flexible work schedule but the company doesn’t offer one, don’t mention this, but find something elsewhere the company environment aligns with your preferences. If you can’t find anything, you probably shouldn’t take the job as you will end up being miserable.
Why do you want to leave your current job?
This is yet another common interview question that regularly catches interviewees out. Whatever you do, don’t talk ill of your boss or colleagues and try and paint them in a bad light. Instead, focus on the positives that a move will bring. For instance, talk about how the job you are currently interviewing you provides you with an opportunity to learn and grow as a professional., and other positive aspects.
Tell me about the toughest decision you have had to make in your professional life in the last couple of months
You should expect this question and have an actual answer prepared to tackle it. As per the gurus over at runrex.com, this question is designed to test one’s problem-solving skills, judgment, and so forth. If you have no answer, then it will be an immediate warning sign. The best answer is one that shows that you can make a tough decision while weighing both the interpersonal considerations and the business side of things.
Is there a time you disagreed with a decision? How did you go about things?
When answering this question, show that you were professional and that you raised your concern in a productive way. Give an actual example and not a generic answer. Also show that, if it was decided that the decision stands, you were able to support the decision and get fully behind it even if you didn’t agree with it in the first place; as long as it wasn’t unethical or immoral. If you don’t have an answer, then it will be another red flag as no one agrees with every decision.
Tell me about your leadership style
To avoid a situation where your answer is full of platitudes, the best way to answer this question, as per the experts over at runrex.com, is to give examples of some of the leadership challenges you have faced, how you dealt with a problem and your process as far as the solution is concerned. This will give the interviewer a great sense of your leadership style.
What can we expect from you in the first three months?
To answer this question, show them that you will hit the ground running and you have already thought about the position and have come up with ways through which you can make an immediate impact, and won’t spend ages in orientation or learning about the company. Also, let it be known that you will be a good colleague and will help bring a sense of teamwork and comradery to the workplace.
What were your salary at the start and the end of your previous job?
While the fear that there are companies that ask this question as an opening salvo in salary negotiations, it is still important to answer honestly as you don’t want to be caught in a lie, as discussed over at runrex.com. This question is also designed to let the interviewer see if you were given a pay rise during your tenure working at the previous job to see how valued you were.
What are your hobbies?
This question may seem weird for interviewees, but it is a way for companies to find out if prospective employees will be a fit, culturally. When answering this question, don’t claim to enjoy hobbies you don’t as this may come out down the line and won’t reflect well on you. A great answer is to focus on hobbies and activities that show some form of growth, or goals you are trying to accomplish; for instance, you can say how you are using your free time to learn a new language.
A chameleon is at the bottom of a 25-foot tree. Each day it climbs up 4 feet, but at night it slips back 3 feet. How many days will it take to get to the top of the tree?
You won’t be asked this exact question, but you can expect such a question as they have become more and more popular in recent years as discussed over at runrex.com. The interviewer is not looking for the right answer but is looking to get an insight into your reasoning ability. Talk them through your logic when trying to solve the problem, and don’t be afraid to correct or even laugh at yourself when you realize you are wrong as they may also want to see how you deal with failure.
Do you have any questions for me?
If you say you don’t have any questions for the interviewer, then it is a big red flag as it shows you lack interest in the job. Ask smart and relevant questions that show your interest in the company, and that shows that you are looking to see if the company will be the right fit for you.
Are you interviewing with other companies?
This is yet another tricky question that seems to catch interviewees out, as discussed over at runrex.com. This is the way of the company to know if you are looking for any job or are looking for this particular one. If you are applying for multiple jobs, be honest, and find a common characteristic in each of all those positions that show that you are looking for a job that utilizes specific professional skills, and there is a method to it all and are not just throwing mud on the wall hoping some will stick. Also, make sure you don’t appear overly flustered with this question as it is usually a red flag for interviewers.
Were you fired from your last job? Why?
If you were indeed fired from your last job, this is the question that you will be dreading, but it is one you should handle straight on. don’t try and speak negatively about your former employer, or dive int too much detail. Still, it is important, to be honest, and upfront about it, and makes sure that you end on a positive note, with the focus being on showing how the event was a teachable moment for you and how it helped, rather than hinder, your professional journey.
Why is there a gap in your employment?
As covered over at runrex.com, most people find themselves with an employment gap in their resume, due to being unemployed for a while. Many employers may see it as a red flag and you can expect it to come up in the interview. Again, the best way to answer here is, to be honest about the situation and show that you used the time constructively. If you took time because you were laid off, to further our education, or to raise your family, be honest. Let them know about the activities you did during the gap, like if you took that time to do some volunteer work, and explain why you are returning to the workforce and why you feel you are well-placed to benefit the company you are interviewing for.
How do you handle success and failure?
The best way to answer this question is by giving examples from the past that show how you have handled success and failure. Provide an actual example and avoid generic answers and platitudes. When talking about success, make sure you credit all the people involved in the process and when talking about failure, let them know what you learned from the situation and how you would handle the situation differently now. Also, don’t blame anyone else for the failure.
How do you handle stress in the workplace?
Employees know that stress can be detrimental to productivity, which is why this question usually crops up in interviews. A good way to answer this question according to the gurus over at runrex.com, even if you are prone to stress, is to talk about your time management and organizational skills, which will allow you to have a better work-life balance, reducing stress. You should also give examples showing how you handle stressful situations at work while mentioning some of your stress-relieving tactics.
We hope that this article will help you have a successful interview and land the job you had been looking for, with more information on the same to be found over at runrex.com.