35+ Interview Questions and Answers [Full List]

Background Image

The time has come!

After creating a killer resume and cover letter and passing the first round, it is time to face the final challenge:

Your job interview .

And that scares even to the best of us .

Being judged and evaluated by people who have your future in their hands is more anxiety-inducing than meeting the in-laws.

You’ve heard the interviewers and hiring managers say there are no right or wrong answers to calm you down before an interview.

But here’s the thing:

They are almost always looking for a specific way of answering .

Which brings us to this guide. We’re going to cover the most common interview questions and answers, turning you into a bona fide interview expert by the time you’re done reading.

So, let’s get started!

To make this guide as practical as possible, we covered just about every interview question out there. 

Don’t let that put you off, though. You don’t have to read the whole thing end-to-end. To get the most out of the guide, we’d recommend:

  • Going through all the common interview questions
  • Checking out the situational interview questions section and learning how to answer questions that are relevant for you
  • Learning what’s the idea behind behavioral interview questions, so you’re prepared to answer whatever the HR manager shoots at you
  • Tell me something about yourself .
  • How did you hear about this position?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why did you decide to apply for this position?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What do you know about this company/organization?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment?
  • What are your salary requirements?
  • Do you have any questions for us?
  • What are you looking for from a new position?
  • Are you considering other positions in other companies?
  • What is the professional achievement you’re most proud of?
  • What kind of working environment do you work best in?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • Why haven’t you gotten your Bachelor’s Degree/Master’s Degree/Ph.D.?
  • Why have you switched jobs so many times?
  • Why did you change your career path?
  • Why did you decide to leave your previous/current job?
  • Why is there a gap in your work experience?
  • Why were you fired?
  • How do you feel about working weekends or late hours?
  • How would your boss describe you?
  • Do you have any serious medical conditions?
  • What would your first 30, 60, or 90 days look like in this role?
  • Are you a team player?
  • Are you a risk-taker?
  • How do you deal with pressure or stressful situation?
  • Do you think there is a difference between hard work and smart work?
  • How quickly do you adapt to new technology?
  • Do you have any interests outside of work?
  • What do you think our company/organization could do better?
  • Give an example of how you have handled a challenge in the workplace before.
  • Give an example of when you performed well under pressure.
  • Give an example of when you showed leadership qualities.

How to Answer 14 Most Common Interview Questions [+ Sample Answers]

These questions are the ones you’re bound to hear at just about any job interview - whether you’re an intern or a senior professional with a decade of work experience.

All of these questions are used to learn more about you, both as a person and a professional.

You might have heard the popular idea that there’s no right or wrong answers for job interview questions .

Well, while that might be true, there ARE a set of rules you need to follow when answering these questions.

job search masterclass ebook

If you understand what, exactly, the interviewer is looking for with each question, you’ll be able to give the right answer (and rock that interview!)

In this section, we’re going to go through 14 of the most common job interview questions and answers. We’re going to explain what the HR manager wants to see in you, as well as give you sample answers you could use.

So, let’s get started! 

1) Tell me something about yourself.

How hard can it be to talk about yourself? We do it on a daily basis without much thought to it.

However, recruitment managers are not looking for your whole life story, your third-grade achievements, or what you had for dinner last night. Instead, they are looking for a pitch . 

This is usually the first question asked in an interview, so it acts as your introduction. Make sure your answer is relevant to the position you are applying for. What you should be aiming for here is to present yourself as the ideal candidate for the job.

A good rule of thumb is to structure your talking points as follows:

Now, let’s go through some examples:

Hey! So, my name is John Doe and I’ve worked as a business analyst for 5+ years in Company X and Company Y.

I have some background in data analysis, having studied Information Systems at [Made-Up] University.

Throughout my career, I’ve done some pretty impressive stuff (if I do say so myself, haha). 

For example, at Company X, I led a project for migrating all operations data to a new data warehousing system to cut down on costs. The new solution was a much better fit for our business, which eventually led to savings of up to $200,000 annually.

I am Jane Doe, a recent college graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

I have just graduated with honors in Biochemistry. I know my way around a lab and have had multiple opportunities to put my knowledge into practice as a chemistry research assistant.

The lab felt like home, which is why I’d love to work as a lab assistant. I am passionate, hard-working, and extremely responsible. I am also looking forward to putting to practice all the things I learned during my time at university.

2) How did you hear about this position?

Although at first glance this might seem like a straightforward question, you should grab any opportunity you can to show your interest in the company. 

Even if you haven’t been continuously refreshing the company’s website for job listings, make it seem like you have (in a professional way, of course). Show excitement and curiosity.

If someone inside the company told you about the position or recommended that you apply, definitely make sure to mention that.

You’ll have a much better chance at getting hired if someone credible can vouch for your skills.

So, mention his/her name and his/her position inside the company and give their reasoning for inviting or recommending you to apply for the position. Tell the hiring managers what excites you about the job opportunity or what exactly caught your eye.

“I’ve known about [MadeUpTechnologies] for a long time - I’m a big fan of your products. I even own one of your latest phone models!

I love the company’s passion for creating super intuitive, beautiful hardware, and I would love to be a part of it.

So, when I saw your job ad at [RandomJobBoardWebsite], even though I wasn’t actively looking for a job at the time, I couldn’t help but apply!”

“I heard from Jim Doe, my old colleague and college friend, that [Company X] was looking for a new sales director. He encouraged me to apply, saying that my experience managing a sales team at [Some Software Company] would be helpful for [Company X].

I’ve heard a lot about [Company X] from Jim, and I’m a big fan of the way you do things there. I’ve always wanted to work for a company with a flat organizational structure.”

3) Why did you decide to apply for this position?

Through this question, the interviewers want to assess how passionate you are for the position. And no, the answer isn’t:

“Well, I’m very passionate about not starving to death.”

“Well, I needed the money, and you guys tend to pay a lot.”

What the interviewer is looking for here is to see how passionate you are about the job or the company. After all, job performance is directly linked to job satisfaction. The happier you are about your position at the company, the more productive you’ll be.

And here’s the kicker - your passion will be very evident during the interview.

When you’re talking to a person that’s passionate about something, you can pretty much feel them glow as they talk. And if you’re an HR manager who’s interviewed hundreds of people, this is a very good sign to hire the candidate.

So, use this knowledge to your advantage. 

When asked this question, your answer should include 2 things:

I’m very passionate about sustainability and renewable energy . In fact, I minored in Environmental Science at [XYZ University].

I’ve always wanted to put my engineering degree to a good cause - and the position as a Sustainability Coordinator at [Company XYZ] is just the right thing.

I’ve been following your company for the past few years, and I love how you’re changing the renewable energy landscape in America. 

Keep in mind, though, that if you don’t know much about the company or the position - that’s OK too. Just be honest and show your passion for the job. However, it’s always better to do your homework before going to an interview..

I’ve always wanted to get into marketing. Having done promotional jobs here and there, I never had an opportunity to do something more serious.

I do believe, though, that I have just the right skills to get started: copywriting, basic photoshop, and of course, lots of creativity.

So, I thought that an internship at [Company X] would be an awesome start to my career in marketing.

Want to find more samples answers to this question? Check out our article on 10+ best answers to “ Why do you want to work here? ”

4) What are your biggest strengths?

There are two answers you could go for here: what your actual strengths are, and what you think the hiring manager or HR representative wants to hear. We would most certainly suggest you go with the first answer. 

For this question, you would want to narrow your answer down to at most three strengths . Pick 1 or 2 skills that would help you really excel at the job, and 1 or 2 personal (more or less unrelated) skills. 

Not sure which ones are your top strengths? Check out the table below to learn which one’s perfect for your field:

top strengths for different fields

After picking your strengths, back it up with a situation or story that shows how you have used it to benefit you on the job. 

After all, words are just that - words. The HR can’t know whether your “natural leadership” is an actual strength, or just means that you were super active in your high school class.

As you probably already know, this is one of the most common interview questions out there, so make sure you’re prepared for it before facing the HR manager!

My biggest strength is that I’m good at picking up new skills. I’ve worked a variety of different odd jobs - things like working as a waiter, house-keeper, cook, and a lot more (as you’ve probably seen on my resume).

For most of those jobs, I ended up picking up all the needed skills within 1 or 2 weeks (with basically no previous experience). 

So, I’m pretty sure while I don’t have any experience as a bartender, I have the right certification , and I believe I can get good at it within a week or two.

My biggest strength is that I’m very efficient at working under pressure. No matter the crisis or stress, I can make the right decisions on-the-spot.

As an event manager at Company X, we were organizing an IT conference for a client. There were a ton of last-minute hiccups - some speakers canceled and the catering company said they’d be late for the lunch break. On top of that, we were understaffed because 2 of our volunteer organizers got sick and couldn’t show up.

At that point, things looked so bleak that we were considering canceling the event or postponing it. Instead, I took the initiative in my hands and sorted through the problems one by one.

5) What is your biggest weakness?

Ah, this is always a tricky one! 

After all, you don’t want to mention your flaws during an interview, so it’s guaranteed to be a tough question.

The trick to answering this one is realizing that the interviewers don’t expect you to be perfect. Everyone has flaws, weaknesses, and things to improve on.

When asking this question, the HR manager is actually seeking to learn:

And NO: fake humble-brag weaknesses don’t count as weaknesses. You can’t just say that your biggest weakness is that you work too hard, or that you’re a perfectionist.

The key here is to mention a weakness that’s real , but not something that would get in the way of you doing your job. You wouldn’t want to say you’re bad at math if you’re applying for an accountant position, would you

It’s also good practice to mention how you are working towards overcoming this weakness and realizing how it affects you negatively. If you can, just balance it with a positive side effect: treat it like two sides of the same coin.

My biggest weakness has always been my communication skills. I’ve been pretty shy and anxious as a kid. Over the years, however, I’ve been really working on the issue.

At this stage, I’m much better than I’ve ever been, but I’m still far from perfect.

This, however, won’t have any impact on my job as a programmer. Despite lacking communication skills, I’m very good at working in a team.

Well, as a recent graduate, I’d say my biggest weakness is the lack of real-life work experience.

While I’ve worked on a dozen software projects in the university, I don’t have the experience of working in a fully agile environment with an experienced team.

I am, however, willing to do my best and catch up as fast as I can.

Looking for more samples answers about your strengths and weaknesses ? Check out our full guide!

6) What do you know about this company/organization?

A quick search in the “About” page of the company/organization you are applying for should be enough, right? Well, yes and no. 

Think of this as an open-ended question. There’s no real wrong answer here, other than:

I don’t know anything about this organization. In fact, how did I end up here? Can you guys call me a cab real quick?

However , the more you actually know about the company, the better your chances of getting hired.

Imagine 2 equally competent candidates:

Which one would you pick? Exactly, the second one!

So, with this job interview question, you want to convince the recruiter that you’re the candidate #2.

Now, how do you do that? Well, a rule of thumb here is to do some Googling before the interview and learn the following about the company:

I hadn’t heard about you until recently, actually. I found out about [Company X] through your job ad on RandomJobBoard.

After doing some brief research on you guys, I ended up falling in love with your software and your mission.

Now, I’ve worked with a ton of different project management software - Example Software 1, Example Software 2 - but none of them were as intuitive and as Example Software 3.

Well, I know that you’re one of the biggest investment banks in [town / state / country]. Company X pops up on news pretty often - I’ve read that you’ve invested in some of the hottest tech IPOs, and have several up-and-coming biotech companies in your portfolio.

I got particularly interested by your recent investment in [Startup X], I found that interesting because of [Y Reason].

7) Why should we hire you?

Ah, the ultimate humble-brag question. 

Now, the real question is, how do you sell yourself without trying to look arrogant, desperate, or needy? 

A good rule of thumb here is to stay away from the extremes. Think you’re a good fit for the job? Say that “you have the right experience.”

Whatever you do, don’t oversell yourself:

“I’m the best salesman you’ve ever met!”

Instead, make a general statement (I’m a great fit for the position because…) and talk about your experiences and achievements.

Here are 3 general points you can mention:

Well, as a start, I have all the skills and work experience required for the job. I’ve worked as a Sales Manager for 5+ years, and over the past 2, I’ve closed several deals totalling in 6-figures.

Oh, and on top of that, I have experience working with tech companies, so I’ll be able to pick up all the product specifics much faster than the other candidates.

I have just the right skill-set to excel as an executive assistant. While I haven’t previously worked as a personal assistant, I pretty much fit the bill for the role.

I’m extremely organized, having managed several project teams in my university. I led the organization of Event #1 and Event #2. This involved continuous communication with 12+ companies, 30 speakers, and 15+ sponsors.

I’m very meticulous and organized, and I’m more than capable of helping the CEO get the most our of their free time.

Looking for more sample answers? Check out these 10+ answers to “ Why should we hire you? ”

8) What are your salary requirements?

This is always a tricky question. You don’t want to lowball yourself, but at the same time, you don’t want to be told “No” because you gave such an outrageous number.

When answering, keep these 3 things in mind:

The final number you tell them should incorporate all 3 of the points we just mentioned. Do you know for a fact that the company is doing well (and compensates employees accordingly)? You’d quote a higher salary.

Is your skill-level above average? This should be reflected in your salary.

As a rule of thumb, you can figure out 2 numbers: what’s the “good” scenario, and what’s the “best” scenario?

Answer the interviewer with your “best” pay, and worst case scenario, they’ll negotiate it down.

Or, you can also answer with a range, and chances are, they’ll pick the number somewhere in the middle.

My salary expectation is around $70,000 annually.

My salary requirement is in the $30,000 - $40,000 range annually.

9) Do you have any questions for us?

You’ll hear this question in every interview you will attend. 

While there isn’t a right answer, there IS a wrong answer:

Nope, all good! Thanks, I’ll go show myself out.

Instead, with this question, you want to show your enthusiasm about the company. Imagine they’ve already hired you and you’re starting tomorrow - what would you like to know about them?

Keep in mind, though, that the questions shouldn’t be too easy (So, what does your company do?).

Other than showing the recruiter that you’re really interested in working for them, this is your opportunity to really find out more about the ins and outs of the place. 

The answers you get from the interviewer could also be an indicator of whether you really want to work there or not . 

So, what kind of questions can you ask? Here are some of the most essential ones:

For the complete list of all the questions you can ask the interviewer , check out our article!

10) What are you looking for in a new position?

The easiest way to answer this question would be to simply say that you’re looking for whatever the company is offering.

Look at it from the point of view of the potential employer. Would they hire someone if they answered this question with:

A good salary. And uhh, well, that’s about it!

This answer pretty much says that the moment they get a higher paying offer, they’re going to jump ship!

Instead, explain to the interviewer that this job at this company is the perfect fit for you. Mention what your short-term and long-term career goals are, and how this position ties to them.

I’m looking to further apply my machine learning skills that I developed during my 2+ years of work at [Startup X]. There, I used to do programmatic ads model design.

Now, I’m looking for an opportunity to work on a larger scale project that involves setting up programmatic ads for audiences of more than 10 million people.

I believe that worked with such a large-scale project will allow me to progress significantly faster in my career .

11) Are you considering other positions in other companies?

Here’s a tricky one: How much does the HR manager need to know here? 

If you admit to having interviews with other companies, it might look like you’re not 100% dedicated to this one. 

On the other hand, if you say you are not considering other positions, it might make you seem like you don’t have other options (and the company has the upper hand in salary negotiations).

The right way to go about here is to find common ground between the two answers.

The interviewer is probably asking because they want to know whether they have competition in hiring you. They also want to know if you are serious about the industry and are legitimately looking to be employed in this field of work.

If you do have other interviews lined up for other companies, express that you are keeping your options open but that you favor this job in comparison to the others. 

Don’t have many other options? Stick to the same approach.

Whatever you do, don’t make it seem like you’re desperate or that you don’t have any other options.

I have had two interviews during the past week with companies in X and Y industries.

However, as I’m very passionate about both your industry and the work you have done during the past several years, I am more inclined toward working for you, if everything works out.

Not yet - I wasn’t really actively looking for a job until my friend, [name], recommended your company. I’m not looking for just any company - I’m interested in an interesting, engaging project such as yours.

12) What is the professional achievement you’re most proud of?

This is another version of the “Why should we hire you” question, but with a focus on one very specific achievement.

This one’s pretty straightforward, just mention your #1 professional achievement and you’re good to go.

As a given, the achievement has to be related to the job you’re applying for. Let’s say you’re applying for the position of Sales Manager :

“I’m very good at underwater basket-weaving, having woven 20+ baskets in the past year.”

“In my previous sales position, I managed to hit and exceed department KPIs by 50%+ for 6 months in a row”

Keep in mind, though, that you want to be very specific with your answer. To get this right, try using the STAR method . It goes something like this:

So, find a work-related achievement that showcases your contribution through your skills and experience to something that matters to the company. 

My biggest achievement is the fact that I went from being an intern to managing company X’s entire marketing over 2 years.

As an intern, I basically had 0 instructions on what to do - it went like “hey, go learn social media advertising and get it going.” The founders didn’t exactly expect me to achieve much, and didn’t particularly care, as they were 100% focused on making the product work.

Instead of just complaining about a lack of direction, I started reading up on digital marketing - pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I learned how to do content marketing for example, from Neil Patel’s blog, and started putting everything into practice.

My first success was getting an article to go viral, generating over $5,000 revenue in a single day. While that’s not much for a software company, it felt like a lot for an intern.

After that, the founding team gave me a lot more trust, and assigned me a small marketing budget of $1,000 per month. With a lot more confidence in my abilities, I started experimenting with other strategies.

Then, over the next 2 years, I got promoted to Head of Marketing. After making a couple of hires, I managed to scale up our marketing efforts, growing the company from $2,000 to $30,000 monthly recurring revenue.

My greatest accomplishment so far is graduating from [University X] within 4 years, with a GPA of 3.9. My family was unable to support me financially, so I had to take care of all the university bills on my own.

Through hard work and dedication, I ended up graduating with almost no student loans. I managed this through a combination of:

13) What kind of work environment do you like best?

The aim of this question is to assess whether you’ll fit in the company’s working environment . 

For example, some organizations are pretty structured and hierarchical, they require tight organization and have a well-planned day filled with rules and guidelines on how to do things.

If you’re the creative, think-out-of-the-box type who likes to break the rules and innovate, this is probably not going to cut it for you.

On the other hand, some companies are more laid back, with a lot less bureaucracy. “Go get us more sales” can actually be your main duty for the week if you’re working in an early stage startup.

If you’re the type who prefers to have strict to-dos and objectives, you probably won’t enjoy such a job.

So, the takeaway? Different people work best in different environments, and that’s okay. 

Before you go to the interview, go through the company’s website and social media pages to get a sense of the general vibe and environment there. 

Look at employee reviews on GlassDoor, or if you know someone already working there, ask them. 

Depending on what you learn, answer accordingly.

I work best in smaller companies. I really dislike the corporate world - rules, guidelines, SOPs, and so on. I perform best when I have a certain level of freedom to do things. Want to find innovative solutions to problems you didn’t even know you had? I’m your guy.

Want someone to just blindly follow instructions and do what they’re told? Then we’d probably not be a good fit.

I love working in a youthful, energetic environment. You know, when you’re working on a common goal with a team of people who are as passionate as you are?

I like to think of my work as a second home, and my coworkers as family. 

The last company I worked at had such an environment, and I excelled at the job.

I get that exact feeling about Company X, since the moment I walked in here for the interview. So, I’m pretty excited to get to know how you guys work!

14) Where do you see yourself in five years?

Sometimes the honest answer to this is “Hopefully not doing this.” especially with entry-level jobs. 

Don’t think the hiring manager doesn’t know it, though. There are diplomatic ways to go around it. 

In general, the motivation behind this question is for the interviewer to assess whether you are an ambitious person or not and whether you have realistic expectations for your career. 

Make sure to avoid any of the cliche answers such as…

“In your seat!”

“As the big boss man”

Instead, think realistically about what the next step after this position is, and whether it is possible to reach it within the company you are applying at. 

Within the next 5 years, I’d like to reach the position of a Senior Business Consultant. During the time period, I would like to accomplish the following:

Help 20+ organizations improve their business

Create a personal network of highly specialized professionals

Learn as much as I can about optimizing and improving clients’ businesses, as well as the essentials of operating a company

As a start, I want to learn if accounting is the right field for me. While I loved what I studied at the university, I want to see if working in the field feels the same.

If I do end up enjoying it, I’d like to specialize in either internal auditing or forensic accounting, as I really like to discover and solve problems. From what I’ve seen from your job ads, you guys are hiring for both, so I hope it’s going to be possible to move up from the position of an “intern” within the next few months!

Still not sure how to answer this one? We don’t blame you! Sometimes, you might not know what you’re doing next week, let alone next year! Check out our guide to answering the “ Where do you see yourself in 5 years? ” job interview question to find more possible answers.

How to Answer 18 Situational Job Interview Questions

You’re past the hard part. 

You already know the most common job interview questions, and can probably deflect whatever the interviewer throws at you.

Depending on your specific situation, though, you might also need to learn how to answer these situational job interview questions...

1) Why haven’t you gotten your Master’s Degree/Ph.D.?

As a start, keep in mind that the interviewer isn’t judging you for your decision.

After all, if they were looking for someone with a better degree, they wouldn’t have invited you to an interview. The degree is not the dealbreaker here, but your answer to the question might be.

When asking this question, the interviewer is trying to see your reasoning for pursuing a career instead of getting another degree.

Heck, there’s a chance that if you give them the right answer, they’re even going to like you more than someone with 3 Phds!

So, simply explain why you didn’t think that another degree was the right thing for you at the time.

Don’t say you were lazy or didn’t feel like it, or that it’s a waste of money (even if that might be the case). 

Instead, give compelling arguments, such as…

At this stage of my life, I decided to pursue my career instead of further education. On the one hand, I want to make sure that Marketing is what I want to do with my life.

On the other hand, I believe that in my field, practical work experience is a lot more valuable than academic.

So far, my decision has paid off pretty well - I’ve already gotten a lot of experience doing online marketing for 3+ companies and delivering awesome results to boot.

I might eventually decide to pursue a masters, but at this point, I really don’t see the point in that.

Because it’s not in sync with my future career path. I believe that for software engineering, practical experience matters a lot more than having a degree.

I’ve already done an internship as a Junior Javascript Back-end Developer, and I believe that it gave me a lot more knowledge than my B.A. in Computer Science.

While I am eventually planning on getting a Masters, it’s going to be in a more theoretical field, such as Artificial Intelligence.

2) Why have you switched jobs so many times?

If you’ve switched jobs in a very short period of time (2 or more full-time positions in 1 year), the interviewer is bound to ask about it.

After all, job-hopping is one of the biggest red flags for HR managers.

True, you might have had a reasonable cause. Maybe the second company you got hired in just wasn’t a good culture fit for you.

Well, you’ll have to communicate that.

Companies tend to be skeptical because of the following reasons…

So, your job here is to convince the interviewer that you don’t belong to any of those 3 categories. 

You need to make them realize that you will not jump ship a few months after getting hired just because some recruiter PM’d you on LinkedIn with a better offer.

The best way to answer this question is to explain the reason you switched jobs. It could be one of the following:

The last company I got hired in just wasn’t what I expected. The hiring manager didn’t communicate the role well enough.

As you already know, I’m a copywriter - I write sales copy. I work with:

-Landing pages

-Email marketing

-And sales pages

Around a week after I started work at the company, I realized that they were actually looking for something completely different. They asked me to write generic blog and social media posts, which is pretty far off from what I do.

This was really not what I expected, and not something I find interesting.

Well, as a start, my first job was in a big corporation straight out of university. While I did learn a lot there about Software Engineering practices, I also learned that a huge company with lots of regulations, rules, and the like isn’t for me.

So, at the end of my internship there, I decided to try working at a startup. I enjoyed that job a LOT more, as it gave me a lot of freedom when it comes to problem-solving. I wasn't told HOW to do it. Rather, I was given the option of coming up with my own solution.

Unfortunately, the company went belly-up after failing to raise money, putting me back on the job market. 

And here we are - [Company X] is pretty much THE place I’ve always wanted to work in. I’ve heard a lot about your company culture, and thought I’d really belong there.

3) Why did you change your career path?

If you recently changed your career path , the interviewer is sure to ask about it.

Don’t worry - there’s nothing wrong with this. 

A lot of people go through a career change . Some even do it several times in their lifetime! 

As long as you’re good at what you do, no one cares if you were a pediatrician in one year, and a professional chef in another.

When asked this question, all you have to do is answer truthfully. Explain how your old job just wasn’t for you, and how the job you’re applying for is so much more interesting.

I realized that being a doctor is not for me. While I did enjoy my 3 years in med school, the 6 year study period was too much.

I wanted to start making money and help out my family way before that, so I dropped out of university and started taking online courses in accounting.

At this point, I’m pretty good at it, having done 2 internships so far in [Company X] and [Company Y].

Simply because I enjoy doing sales much more than accounting. After 5 years of working as an accountant for Firm X, I decided I wanted to try something new.

I asked my boss at the time to let me transition to the sales team, and I ended up liking it AND being pretty good at it.

4) Why did you decide to leave your previous/current job?

When asking this question, the interviewer wants to learn:

“Oh, well, the company started bleeding cash and was on its way to bankruptcy.”

“I felt like it was time - I got to a point where everything I was doing felt monotonous. I learned as much as I could at this position while delivering amazing results. It was, however, time to switch to something new.”

“Things started to get really boring, and the boss man was kind of mean. I totally deserve better, so I just ghosted them and now I’m looking for a new company. Hi!”

“I didn’t feel like the company’s values coincide with mine. The management was too controlling and micromanaging. I prefer to have some control over my work, and being able to contribute by going above and beyond my requirements.”

Of course, I went through the off-boarding properly. Meaning, gave a timely resignation notice , and transferred all the essential company knowledge to my replacement.”

“I got fired for missing work for a week without an excuse.”

“I was fired, actually. The fault was in my communication skills at the time. I misunderstood my supervisor’s instructions and ended ended up setting a higher monthly spend on ad account for the client. The losses were not more than 3-figures, but apparently, the relationship with the client was already strained, so they ended up leaving.

Of course, I really took this to heart and worked very hard on improving my communication skills, to ensure that I don’t make any mistakes of this nature ever again.”

5) Why is there a gap in your work experience?

In most cases, a gap in your work experience doesn’t really mean anything. You probably have a very good reason for it.

The interviewer, however, will definitely ask about it, and you should answer adequately.

There’s no secret sauce to answering this question, just let the recruiter know about your situation, whatever that may be:

Whichever the case may be, just explain the situation in brief and move on.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that if you were laid off at work, or you quit and had trouble getting a new job , you should be very subtle about it.

If the interviewer knows that you’re struggling to find a job , you’re going to give them the upper hand in salary negotiations.

“I had a baby and had to take maternity leave.”

“My father was sick, so I had to be the one to take care of him full-time over a few months.”

6) Why were you fired?

Now this is a tough one.

Getting fired is pretty much never good.

Keep in mind that we’re talking about getting fired, not getting laid off. There’s a huge difference between the two:

If you got fired and the interviewer asks you about it, you should be honest. After all, they can easily check-in with your previous employer.

Your best shot here is to be critical about your mistakes, and explain what you’ve done to improve.

“None of it was my fault. My boss is a total tool, and he hates me for no real reason. He yelled at me for no real reason!”

In the example above, the interviewee gets defensive. That’s a pretty huge red flag for the HR manager.

Instead, try saying something that shows that you’re aware of your mistakes.”

“The main fault was in miscommunication. The interviewer was unclear about the job responsibilities - from what I understood, they were looking for a senior-level marketer to oversee their email marketing operations.

At the end of the day, though, it turned out that the company was looking to experiment with email marketing, and specifically for someone to set it up from scratch.

While I did my best to deliver, in the end it turned out that their niche doesn’t actually need email marketing. This was against the management’s vision, so that decided to let me go.”

7) How do you feel about working weekends or late hours?

You’re gonna get asked this question in one of the following 2 cases:

1) You’re applying for a job that requires working odd hours.

In this case, your answer is pretty straightforward - since you’re applying for such a job, you probably don’t have any problems working odd hours.

“Sure! I’m OK with working late hours or weekends, as long as you let me know about it at least a few days in advance.”

2) You’re applying for just about any other type of job.

Now, you should look at this as a red flag. Is the employer just checking your dedication, or are they looking for someone that’s going to work 24/7 with no overtime pay?

In this case, ask them to clarify what they mean.

“Given enough warning, sure. Is that something I’ll be required to do often? Do you offer overtime pay for this kind of situation?”

8) How would your boss or coworkers describe you?

This question is pretty much the same as “ what are your greatest strengths ,” the only difference is that it should be from the point of view from your boss or coworkers.

Here, you want to focus on your traits and achievements that you’ve previously been praised for (After all, the interviewer might ask for a reference!).

There are at least 2 ways to answer this question:

1) Describe a specific situation where you excelled at work (and received praise from your boss and coworkers)

“They’d say I’m super hard working. During my weekend-off, not one, but three of my coworkers got sick, and I had to spot for them.

The weekend was peak season in Nantucket, so the restaurant was getting seriously overwhelmed. All of a sudden, we went from being very prepared for the season, to complete panic.

Had to jump between serving, bussing, and line-cooking, but overall, managed to survive through the weekend successfully.”

2) Quote a performance review

If you’ve previously worked in an office job, you’re probably all too familiar with these.

Did your boss give you a glowing performance review? Make sure to mention it here!

“Well, in my last performance review in September, my boss described me as someone who takes initiative.

My position as a PR manager involves constantly keeping track of our clients brand reputation, and if something goes wrong, dealing with it as fast as possible.

In a lot of cases, you need to be very proactive - if you wait for your entire team to have a meeting on how to deal with the issue, it might already be too late.

There were 4-5 different situations where I had to take charge and react to problems literally the moment they arose, whether it was during my work hours, or not.”

9) Do you have any serious medical conditions?

When asking this question, the interviewer wants to learn if you have any medical conditions that could impair your ability to do the job correctly.

In most cases, you’re not obliged to give an answer. If you do have a health condition, and it doesn’t have anything to do with your career, you can simply choose not to answer, or to say “No.”

However, you might want to disclose anything that could potentially have an impact on how you perform.

For example, if the job requires you to lift heavy boxes, for example, and you’re not able to do so because of a condition, you should let the HR manager know.

“I don’t have any serious medical conditions”

“I’m unable to lift heavy objects because of issues with my back, but it won’t have any impact on how I perform at an office job”

10) What would your first 30, 60, or 90 days look like in this role?

If you’re applying for a senior or leadership role, you’re probably going to get asked this question.

Chances are, at this stage of the interview, you already know a lot about your future position and the company.

Now, it’s time to show off your knowledge in your field, and explain how you’re going to start making things happen at the company.

So, here’s how to answer the question:

You’re probably going to need to get to know the company first. You’re going to be learning as much as possible, including information on:

You’ll start start making things happen. From all the info you gathered, suggest a handful (3 to 5) initiatives you could take on:

You’re already have started making an impact. Describe several things you think are going to be functioning better:

11) Are you a team player?

Wherever you’re applying, the answer to this question should be a “Yes!”

Even if you’re applying for a completely solo role, chances are, you’re still going to have to work in a team occasionally . 

We’d recommend being very specific about your answer here - don’t just say yes. Give the interviewer an exact example of when you excelled at working with a team.

“I’m much better at working in a team than alone, actually. That’s what I love about working in advertising - everyone has their own specific type of a creative spark, and when you combine it all, magic happens!

I’m good at both leading and following in terms of creativity and brainstorming. I’m also super receptive to others ideas, and do my best to help them execute it without nay-saying or criticism.”

“Yep, definitely. I excel at team-work. 

This one time while working at [Company X], I was assigned to an existing team working on a web application for a business process management company.

They were working on a tight deadline, and needed help on the API side.

I optimised their development cycles and oversaw a team of three developers while collaborating with the other two dev teams.

Everything went pretty well, and we managed to finish the project on time.”

12) Are you a risk-taker?

This one’s pretty tricky, as the answer here depends on your profession and field.

Ask yourself - is risk-taking a valuable skill for the job?

If you’re a pilot, for example, the answer should be a strict “No!”

If, on the other hand, you’re a day trader, then risk is an essential part of your job.

So, depending on how valuable risk is for your job, answer accordingly.

You could also give a more strategic answer. Let’s say, for example, you work in investment banking. You need to be a risk taker to an extent, but being too risk-friendly might make the entire company go bankrupt.

The strategy in such a case would be to show that you’re all about calculated risk . You’re willing to take chances, but only when the odds are in your favor.

As with most interview questions, you should give examples of situations where you had to take risks, and what the end-results were.

“Yes, I’m a risk-taker. I believe that to achieve real results, you always need to be willing to take a certain level of risk.

Pretty much any marketing initiative you launch is tied to risk. You can plan everything from beginning till the end, but no matter how well you plan it out, things might just not work out.

It’s just part of the job - in order to succeed, you need to take launch risky campaigns on a regular basis, and hopefully, one in every 5 is going to bring you massive results.”

“I’m not a risk-taker, I’m more of a risk-manager. As someone who’s been in finance for years, I can say with a lot of confidence that there’s risk in everything.

The most important things are to one, minimize your risks, and two, minimize potential damages if everything goes very, very wrong.

While working at Investment Bank X, we had a very interesting policy for investing in new fintech projects. We used to avoid moon-shots, high-tech projects, as well as anything that had an experimental business model.

Our strategy was to invest in proven tech. As in, proven product-market fit, business model, etc. In most cases, these were runner up companies. We wouldn’t invest in that one innovative company that was all over the news - we’d instead invest in their latest competitor. More often than not, this ended up being more profitable, and significantly less risky.”

13) How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?

If you’re applying for a high-stress job, you’re guaranteed to get asked this question.

The aim of this question is to see if you’re the type of person who’d survive working at the job, or fall through the cracks when the first signs of trouble show up.

Obviously, you wouldn’t answer with the following…

“Well, I end up having a panic attack, crying, and running away from work.”

Instead, answer as follows…

Now, let’s go through some real-life examples:

“Though I can’t particularly say I enjoy stressful situations, I AM very good at working under pressure.

During chaos and panic, I tend to take a step back, think, plan, and prioritize.

For example, there have been times I’ve had to juggle multiple university projects and assignments at the same time. I would break up large assignments into small, individual tasks, and prioritize based on:

This way, my work became a lot more manageable. The most times I had to experience such situations, the better I performed overall.”

“I actually prefer working under pressure. I look at it as a challenge - a situation where I really have to up my game to succeed.

As a cook, working under pressure is pretty much part of the job. I’ve been in several situations where the restaurant was understaffed for the occasion. Heck, it’s pretty much a constant thing during peak season.

When there’s a ton of orders coming in and we can barely keep up, I tend to get significantly more productive than usual.”

14) Do you prefer hard work, or smart work?

By definition, hard work is when you, well, work hard. It’s when you’re willing to put in a lot of work to get the job done.

Smart work on the other hand, means doing the work efficiently. If you manage to get the job done in 2 hours instead of 5, with the same end-result, you’re doing smart work.

Keep in mind, though, that by asking this question, the interviewer is looking to understand what your work ethic is like. Meaning, they’re looking for a healthy combination of both, not just one.

That is, they want you to be the candidate who not only thinks smartly but works hard as well. 

So, your answer here shouldn’t be one-sided...

“Oh, I looove smart work. That’s when you come up with what to do, and make other people do it, right?”

Instead, explain how you excel at both:

“I don’t particularly have a preference - I believe that both hard and smart work is important to get the best results.

Smart work, on one hand, lets you figure out the best and most efficient way to get things done.

Hard work, on the other hand, means that you’ll do the job right. Even if there’s no way to do it smart or efficiently, you’ll be willing to put in long hours of work to get it done.

I’m the type that does both. 

For an example of smart for, during my time at [Made Up Corporation], I was in charge of the sales department. As a process improvement initiative, I migrated from an outdated, in-house CRM, to Pipedrive. This improved the department’s productivity by around 20%.

On the other hand, the whole migration process took around 3 months of hard work. As the software we were using was outdated, trying to learn how to map and migrate our data was a lot more complicated than we’d expected.”

15) How quickly do you adapt to new technology?

Today, whether you’re applying for a software engineering job, or as a cashier in a supermarket, you’re going to need to use technology at least on some level.

It’s very common for a company to adopt new tech - new point of service system, self check-out kiosks, customer management software, and whatever else.

So, you should be able to pick up new tech ASAP . Any new change shouldn’t completely disrupt your work.

So, when answering this question, you should talk about how tech-savvy you are.

“I’m pretty tech-savvy. I’ve worked with a lot of different Point of Service systems so far, and have zero difficulties learning how to use new ones.”

As a given, I own a PC, have used Office 365, and all the usual stuff.”

“I’ve always been interested in tech. In fact, I’m the type of person to actively seek out new software to help solve business problems at work.

I’ve worked with 3 different Customer Management Software in the past, such as PipeDrive, SalesForce, and Zoho CRM.”

16) Do you have any interests outside of work?

If the interviewer asks you this question, take it as a good sign!

It means that they liked your professional background, and now they’re just trying to get to know you and see if you’re a good fit for the company culture.

It’s pretty hard to go wrong here, unless you’re going to answer something like:

“I have literally no hobbies.”

“All I do is play video games all day.”

Just talk about your hobbies and interests , and you’re all set!

Bonus points if you can mention something that’s also relevant to your job (creative writing if you’re applying for a copywriting job, for example).

“I’m a big fan of creative writing. I have my own personal short-story blog, and contribute actively to several online writing communities (such as Writing Prompts on Reddit).

Oh, and I’m also a huge fan of the New York Giants.”

“Well, I’m very interested in all sorts of sports. I like to keep active, as it really helps keep me productive. Over the past 2 years, I’ve done a bit of everything - fencing, archery, hiking, and several other things.”

17) What do you think our company/organization could do better?

Well, this one’s interesting!

While not too common for most organizations, it’s a favorite amongst tech companies.

How come? Well, answering this question shows a couple of things…

Obviously, you should be very political about your feedback. You can’t just say that:

“Well, a lot of things really. I’m not enjoying this interview right here, for example.

And your product kinda sucks, no offense. But hey, there’s always room for improvement, am I right?”

Instead, you want to show off the research you’ve done. Talk about anything that might seem off about their product or business:

“I actually went through your resume builder before coming to the interview, and found several things that seemed kinda counter-intuitive.

Not to say that it’s too hard to understand, or something, but it took me a while to figure out some stuff.

If you want, I can open up my laptop and show you what I mean.”

How to Answer 3 Most Common Behavioral Questions in an Interview [w/ Possible Answers] 

Finally, behavioral job interview questions are questions that focus on how you’ve performed in the past, or how you’d perform in a specific situation.

They’re used to understand your thinking patterns, and whether you can think on your feet.

Remember the STAR interview method we discussed all the way up? Well, it can be used to answer just about any behavioral interview questions.

To brush up your memory, the main idea behind the STAR method is that each answer should involve the following:

Here are 3 of the most common behavioral interview questions (with sample answers):

1) Give an example of how you have handled a challenge in the workplace before.

What the interviewers want to know in this case is how well you handle conflict and difficulties.

So, the answer here should be pretty straightforward. You should describe a challenge you faced at work, and explain how you solved it.

“During my last job as a Google Ads expert, one of the company clients had accidentally butchered their own ad account. I noticed this over the weekend and saw that they were basically wasting money on nothing.

I took the initiative and immediately got in touch with the client to let them know about the issue. Then, we set up an impromptu meeting on the same day, and fixed the account before any real damage could be done.”

“During my last job, I was managing the creative and web dev team in charge of creating an online store for a client. Two days before deploying, we found a major bug that messed up the whole front-end user experience.

Now, we could have pushed the deadline a bit, but that would have messed up the relationship with the client. The project was already postponed once because of unforeseen circumstances, so this one was a do or die.

I assembled a task force consisting of web developers from my team, as well as some software engineers from another department. We focused 100% of our time on fixing the issue, and actually managed to launch on time at the end.”

2) Give an example of when you performed well under pressure.

For any high-stress work environment, you’re guaranteed to get asked this question.

“I actually perform a lot better when under a lot of pressure. The sense of urgency and importance really motivates me to up my game and make sure everything works out right.

When I worked as a Financial Analyst at [MadeUpFinanceCompanyInc], most of the work was very high pressure. I had to go above and beyond the line of duty to make sure we met the tight deadlines set by our clients. This often meant working 12 hour work days, and sometimes, working over the weekend.”

“As a seasonal worker, my entire career is high-pressure, haha... My last position was as a line cook during the summer at the SomeRestaurant in JacksonHole, Wyoming.

Around 3 out of 4 of the months were super high stress - there was a LOT of work, and the restaurant was pretty much always full. Heck, I’ve even had to skip breaks just to make sure we wouldn’t be understaffed.”

3) Give an example of when you showed leadership qualities.

Applying for a leadership position? You’ll definitely get asked this behavioral interview question.

Keep in mind, though, that this question doesn’t necessarily mean that you should have held a managerial position.

What the interviewer is asking for is a situation when you took the initiative and led a project or an initiative.

“As an entry-level marketer, there was not much expected of me at SoftwareCompanyInc.. My main to-dos involved doing research, and completing whatever tasks were assigned to me.

During a content marketing brainstorming session, I came up with an awesome idea to market the company. The gist of it was, we’d interview company clients who were very successful at using the software, create case studies on what exactly they’re doing, and include it in our email marketing strategy.

The Chief Marketing Officer loved the idea and put me in charge of executing the project, which I did with flying colors.”

[BONUS] Job Interview Infographic

Now, it’s time for a quick recap! Check our our new infographic on some of the most common job interview questions (and how to answer them):

interview questions and answers info graphic

Additional Interview Preparation Tips

And we’re finally here!

If you managed to get to this point, you definitely deserve a high-five!

Now, before we wrap up the article, let’s go through a couple of essential tips on acing your interview…

And finally, good luck on the interview! You got this!

Suggested readings:

cookies image

To provide a safer experience, the best content and great communication, we use cookies. Learn how we use them for non-authenticated users.

Your 2023 Guide to the Most Common Interview Questions and Answers

Hot jobs on the muse.

two people in a job interview, one facing the camera and smiling, the other facing away

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what questions a hiring manager would be asking you in your next job interview?

We can’t read minds, unfortunately, but we’ll give you the next best thing: a list of 50 of the most commonly asked interview questions, along with advice for answering them all.

While we don’t recommend having a canned response for every interview question (in fact, please don’t), we do recommend spending some time getting comfortable with what you might be asked, what hiring managers are really looking for in your responses, and what it takes to show that you’re the right person for the job.

Consider this list your interview question and answer study guide. (And don’t miss our bonus list at the end, with links out to resources on specific types of interview questions—about emotional intelligence or diversity and inclusion, for example—and interview questions by role, from accountant to project manager to teacher.)

50+ most common job interview questions

1. Tell me about yourself.

This question seems simple, so many people fail to prepare for it, but it’s crucial. Here's the deal: Don’t give your complete employment (or personal) history. Instead, give a pitch—one that’s concise and compelling and that shows exactly why you’re the right fit for the job. Muse writer and MIT career counselor Lily Zhang recommends using a present, past, future formula. Talk a little bit about your current role (including the scope and perhaps one big accomplishment), then give some background as to how you got there and experience you have that’s relevant. Finally, segue into why you want—and would be perfect for—this role.

Possible answer to “Tell me about yourself.”

“ Well, I’m currently an account executive at Smith, where I handle our top-performing client. Before that, I worked at an agency where I was on three different major national healthcare brands. And while I really enjoyed the work that I did, I’d love the chance to dig in much deeper with one specific healthcare company, which is why I’m so excited about this opportunity with Metro Health Center.”

Read More: A Complete Guide to Answering “Tell Me About Yourself” in an Interview (Plus Examples!)

2. Walk me through your resume.

Like “Tell me about yourself,” this question is a common interview opener. But instead of framing your answer around what qualities and skills make you best for the position, your answer should group your qualifications by your past jobs and tell your career story. You might choose to tell this story chronologically, especially if there’s a great anecdote about what set you on this path. Or, as with “Tell me about yourself,” you can begin with your present job then talk about what brought you here and where you’re going next. But regardless, when you speak about your “past” and “present,” highlight your most relevant experiences and accomplishments for this job and wrap up by talking about the future, i.e. connect your past and present together to show why this job should be the next one you add to your resume.

Possible answer to “Walk me through your resume.”

“Well, as you can see from my resume, I took a bit of a winding road to get to where I am today. In college, I double majored in chemistry and communications. I found early on that working in a lab all day wasn’t for me and at some point I realized I looked forward to the lab class I TA’ed the most.

“So when I graduated, I found a job in sales for a consumer healthcare products company, where I drew on my teaching experience and learned even more about tailoring your message and explaining complex health concepts to people without a science background. Then, I moved into a sales training role at a massive company where I was responsible for teaching recent graduates the basics of selling. My trainees on average had more deals closed in their first quarter than any of the other trainers’ cohorts. Plus, I got so much satisfaction from finding the right way to train each new hire and watching them progress and succeed. It reminded me of my time as a TA in college. That’s when I started taking night classes to earn my chemistry teaching certificate.

“I left my full-time job last year to complete my student teaching at P.S. 118 in Manhattan, and over the summer, I worked for a science camp, teaching kids from the ages of 10 to 12 about basic chemistry concepts and best practices for safe experiments. Now, I’m excited to find my first full-time teaching job, and your district is my top choice. The low student-to-teacher ratio will let me take the time to teach each student in the best way for them—which is my favorite part of the job.”

Read More: How to Respond to “Walk Me Through Your Resume”—and Get Your Interview Started on the Right Note

3. How did you hear about this position?

Another seemingly innocuous interview question, this is actually a perfect opportunity to stand out and show your passion for and connection to the company. For example, if you found out about the gig through a friend or professional contact, name-drop that person, then share why you were so excited about the job. If you discovered the company through an event or article, share that. Even if you found the listing through a random job board, share what, specifically, caught your eye about the role.

Possible answer to “How did you hear about this position?”

  “I heard about an opening on the product team through a friend of a friend, Akiko, and since I’m a big fan of your work and have been following you for a while I decided it would be a great role for me to apply for.” Read More: 3 Ways People Mess Up the (Simple) Answer to “How Did You Come Across This Job Opportunity?”

4. Why do you want to work at this company?

Beware of generic answers! If what you say can apply to a whole slew of other companies, or if your response makes you sound like every other candidate, you’re missing an opportunity to stand out. Zhang recommends one of four strategies: Do your research and point to something that makes the company unique that really appeals to you; talk about how you’ve watched the company grow and change since you first heard of it; focus on the organization’s opportunities for future growth and how you can contribute to it; or share what’s gotten you excited from your interactions with employees so far. Whichever route you choose, make sure to be specific. And if you can’t figure out why you’d want to work at the company you’re interviewing with by the time you’re well into the hiring process? It might be a red flag telling you that this position is not the right fit.

Possible answer to “Why do you want to work at this company?”

“I saw on The Muse that you were also hiring for new positions on the West Coast to support your new operations there. I did some more reading about the new data center you’re building there and that excites me as I know this means there’ll be opportunities to train new teammates. I also learned through a Wall Street Journal article that you’re expanding in Mexico as well. I speak Spanish fluently and would be eager to step up and help liaise whenever necessary.”

Read More: 4 Better Ways to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work at This Company?”

5. Why do you want this job?

Again, companies want to hire people who are passionate about the job, so you should have a great answer about why you want the position. (And if you don’t? You probably should apply elsewhere.) First, identify a couple of key factors that make the role a great fit for you (e.g., “I love customer support because I love the constant human interaction and the satisfaction that comes from helping someone solve a problem”), then share why you love the company (e.g., “I’ve always been passionate about education, and I think you’re doing great things, so I want to be a part of it”).

Possible answer to “Why do you want this job?”

“I’ve always been a fan of X Co’s products and I’ve spent countless hours playing your games. I know that your focus on unique stories is what drew me and other fans into your games initially and keeps us coming back for more. I’ve followed X Co on social media for a while, and I’ve always loved how you have people in different departments interact with users. So I was psyched when I came across this posting for a social media manager with TikTok experience. At my last job, I was responsible for launching our TikTok account and growing it to 10,000 followers in six months. Between that experience, my love of gaming, and my deep knowledge of your games and fanbase, I know I could make this TikTok account something special and exciting.”

Read More: 3 Steps for Answering “Why Do You Want This Job?”

6. Why should we hire you?

This interview question seems forward (not to mention intimidating!), but if you’re asked it, you’re in luck: There’s no better setup for you to sell yourself and your skills to the hiring manager. Your job here is to craft an answer that covers three things: that you can not only do the work, but also deliver great results; that you’ll really fit in with the team and culture; and that you’d be a better hire than any of the other candidates.

Possible answer to “Why should we hire you?”

“ I know it’s been an exciting time for General Tech—growing so much and acquiring several startups—but I also know from experience that it can be challenging for the sales team to understand how new products fit in with the existing ones. It’s always easier to sell the product you know, so the newer stuff can get shortchanged, which can have company-wide ramifications. I have over a decade of experience as a sales trainer, but more importantly, most of those years were working with sales teams that were in the exact same boat Gen Tech is in now. Growth is wonderful, but only if the rest of the company can keep up. I’m confident I can make sure your sales team is confident and enthusiastic about selling new products by implementing an ongoing sales training curriculum that emphasizes where they sit in a product lineup.”

Read More: 3 Better Ways to Answer “Why Should We Hire You?”

7. What can you bring to the company?

When interviewers ask this question, they don’t just want to hear about your background. They want to see that you understand what problems and challenges they’re facing as a company or department as well as how you’ll fit into the existing organization. Read the job description closely, do your research on the company, and make sure you pay attention in your early round interviews to understand any issues you’re being hired to solve. Then, the key is to connect your skills and experiences to what the company needs and share an example that shows how you’ve done similar or transferable work in the past.

Possible answer to “What can you bring to the company?”

“As Jocelyn talked about in our interview earlier, PopCo is looking to expand its market to small business owners with less than 25 employees, so I’d bring my expertise in this area and my experience in guiding a sales team that’s selling to these customers for the first time. In most of my past roles, this segment has been my focus and in my current role, I also played a big part in creating our sales strategies when the business began selling to these customers. I worked with my managers to develop the sales script. I also listened in on a number of sales calls with other account execs who were selling to these customers for the first time and gave them pointers and other feedback. In the first quarter, our 10-person sales team closed 50 new bookings in this segment, and I personally closed 10 of those deals. I helped guide my last company through the expansion into small businesses, and I’m eager to do that again at PopCo. Plus, I noticed you have a monthly karaoke night—so I’m eager to bring my rendition of ‘Call Me Maybe’ to the team as well.”

Read More : What Interviewers Really Want to Hear When They Ask “What Can You Bring to the Company?”

8. What are your greatest strengths?

Here’s an opening to talk about something that makes you great—and a great fit for this role. When you’re answering this question, think quality, not quantity. In other words, don’t rattle off a list of adjectives. Instead, pick one or a few (depending on the question) specific qualities that are relevant to this position and illustrate them with examples. Stories are always more memorable than generalizations. And if there’s something you were hoping to mention because it makes you a great candidate, but you haven’t had a chance yet, this would be the perfect time.

Possible answer to “What are your greatest strengths?”

“ I’d say one of my greatest strengths is bringing organization to hectic environments and implementing processes to make everyone’s lives easier. In my current role as an executive assistant to a CEO, I created new processes for pretty much everything, from scheduling meetings to planning monthly all hands agendas to preparing for event appearances. Everyone in the company knew how things worked and how long they would take, and the structures helped alleviate stress and set expectations on all sides. I’d be excited to bring that same approach to an operations manager role at a startup, where everything is new and constantly growing and could use just the right amount of structure to keep things running smoothly.”

Read More: 3 Smart Strategies for Answering “What's Your Greatest Strength?”

9. What do you consider to be your weaknesses?

What your interviewer is really trying to do with this question—beyond identifying any major red flags—is to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. So, “I can’t meet a deadline to save my life” is not an option—but neither is “Nothing! I’m perfect!” Strike a balance by thinking of something that you struggle with but that you’re working to improve. For example, maybe you’ve never been strong at public speaking, but you’ve recently volunteered to run meetings to help you get more comfortable when addressing a crowd.

Possible answer to “What do you consider to be your weaknesses?”

“It can be difficult for me to gauge when the people I’m working with are overwhelmed or dissatisfied with their workloads. To ensure that I’m not asking too much or too little from my team, we have weekly check-ins. I like to ask if they feel like they’re on top of their workload, how I could better support them, whether there’s anything they’d like to take on or get rid of, and if they’re engaged by what they’re doing. Even if the answer is ‘all good,’ these meetings really lay the groundwork for a good and trusting relationship.”

Read More: 4 Ways to Answer “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?” That Actually Sound Believable

10. What is your greatest professional achievement?

Nothing says “hire me” better than a track record of achieving amazing results in past jobs, so don’t be shy when answering this interview question! A great way to do so is by using the STAR method : situation, task, action, results. Set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context (e.g., “In my last job as a junior analyst, it was my role to manage the invoicing process”), then describe what you did (the action) and what you achieved (the result): “In one month, I streamlined the process, which saved my group 10 person-hours each month and reduced errors on invoices by 25%.”

Possible answer to “What is your greatest professional achievement?”

“My greatest accomplishment was when I helped the street lighting company I worked for convince the small town of Bend, Oregon to convert antiquated street lighting to energy-efficient LED bulbs. My role was created to promote and sell the energy-efficient bulbs, while touting the long-term advantage of reduced energy costs. I had to develop a way to educate city light officials on the value of our energy-efficient bulbs—which was a challenge since our products had an expensive up-front cost compared to less efficient lighting options. I created an information packet and held local community events aimed at city officials and the tax-paying public. There, I was able to demo the company product, answer questions, and evangelize the value of LED bulbs for the long term. It was crucial to have the public on board and I was able to reach a wide variety of community members with these events. I not only reached my first-year sales goal of $100,000, but I was also able to help us land another contract in a neighboring city. Plus, the community-focused strategy garnered attention from the national media. And I’m proud to say I got a promotion within one year to senior sales representative.”

Read More: The Perfect Formula for Answering “What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment” in an Interview

11. Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.

You’re probably not eager to talk about conflicts you’ve had at work during a job interview. But if you’re asked directly, don’t pretend you’ve never had one. Be honest about a difficult situation you’ve faced (but without going into the kind of detail you’d share venting to a friend). “Most people who ask are only looking for evidence that you’re willing to face these kinds of issues head-on and make a sincere attempt at coming to a resolution,” former recruiter Richard Moy says. Stay calm and professional as you tell the story (and answer any follow-up questions), spend more time talking about the resolution than the conflict, and mention what you’d do differently next time to show “you’re open to learning from tough experiences.”

Possible answer to “Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.”

“ Funnily enough, last year I was part of a committee that put together a training on conflict intervention in the workplace and the amount of pushback we got for requiring attendance really put our training to the test. There was one senior staff member in particular who seemed adamant. It took some careful listening to understand he felt like it wasn’t the best use of his time given the workload he was juggling. I made sure to acknowledge his concern. And then I focused on his direct objection and explained how the training was meant to improve not just the culture of the company, but also the efficiency at which we operated—and that the goal was for the training to make everyone’s workload feel lighter. He did eventually attend and was there when I talked to the whole staff about identifying the root issue of a conflict and addressing that directly without bringing in other issues, which is how I aim to handle any disagreement in the workplace.”

Read More: 3 Ways You’re Messing Up the Answer to “Tell Me About a Conflict You’ve Faced at Work”

12. Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills.

You don’t have to have a fancy title to act like a leader or demonstrate leadership skills. Think about a time when you headed up a project, took the initiative to propose an alternate process, or helped motivate your team to get something done. Then use the STAR method to tell your interviewer a story, giving enough detail to paint a picture (but not so much that you start rambling) and making sure you spell out the result. In other words, be clear about why you’re telling this particular story and connect all the dots for the interviewer.

Possible answer to “Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills.”

“I think that a good leader is someone who can make decisions while also listening to others and being willing to admit when you’re wrong and course correct. In my last role, my team and I were responsible for giving a big presentation to a prospective client. I quickly assigned different tasks to members of my team, but the project never really got moving. I gave everyone an opportunity to share their input and concerns, and it turned out that they were struggling in the roles I’d given them. I ended up switching a few people around. Meanwhile, the employee I’d assigned to give the presentation was nervous, but still wanted to give it a try. I worked with them to make sure they were ready and even held a practice session so that they could rehearse in a more comfortable environment. When the time came for the real thing, they nailed it! We landed the client and the company still has the account to this day. And that employee became a go-to person for important client presentations. I’m really glad I took the time to listen to everyone’s concerns so that I could re-evaluate my approach and help my team be the best it could be.”

Read More: The Best Way to Answer “Tell Me About a Time You Demonstrated Leadership Skills” in a Job Interview

13. What’s a time you disagreed with a decision that was made at work?

The ideal anecdote here is one where you handled a disagreement professionally and learned something from the experience. Zhang recommends paying particular attention to how you start and end your response. To open, make a short statement to frame the rest of your answer, one that nods at the ultimate takeaway or the reason you’re telling this story. For example: “I learned early on in my professional career that it’s fine to disagree if you can back up your hunches with data.” And to close strong, you can either give a one-sentence summary of your answer (“In short…”) or talk briefly about how what you learned or gained from this experience would help you in the role you’re interviewing for.

Possible answer to “What’s a time you disagreed with a decision that was made at work?”

“In my job as a finance assistant, I was in charge of putting together reports for potential company investments. It was important to get the details and numbers right so that leaders had the best information to make a decision. One time, my boss asked me to generate a new report on a Wednesday morning and wanted it done by Thursday at 5 PM. Because I’m committed to high-quality work and I wasn’t sure my boss fully understood what goes into each report, I knew I needed to speak up. At her next available opening, I sat down with my boss and explained my concerns. She was firm that the report would be completed by Thursday at 5 PM. So I decided to ask if there was anyone who could help out. After thinking about it, my boss found another assistant who could put in a few hours. While it was a tight timeline, we got the report done, and the committee was really pleased to review it at the meeting. My boss appreciated my extra efforts to make it happen and I felt good that I hadn’t let the quality of the report slip. It was a good experience of being a team player but also knowing when and how to ask for help. And once I explained how much time and work goes into each report, my boss was careful to assign them further in advance.”

Read More: Here’s the Secret to Answering “Tell Me About a Time You Had a Conflict With Your Boss” in an Interview

14. Tell me about a time you made a mistake.

You’re probably not too eager to dig into past blunders when you’re trying to impress an interviewer and land a job. But talking about a mistake and winning someone over aren’t mutually exclusive, Moy says. In fact, if you do it right, it can help you. The key is to be honest without placing blame on other people, then explain what you learned from your mistake and what actions you took to ensure it didn’t happen again. At the end of the day, employers are looking for folks who are self-aware, can take feedback, and care about doing better.

Possible answer to “Tell me about a time you made a mistake.”

“Early in my career, I missed a deadline that ended up costing us a really big account. There were a lot of factors that contributed to this, but ultimately, I was the one who dropped the ball. From that experience, I went back and thought really hard about what I could’ve controlled and what I would’ve changed. It turns out that I was not nearly as organized as I thought I was. I sat down with my boss, asked for suggestions on how to improve my organizational skills, and a few months later I was able to score an even bigger account for the department.”

Read More: 3 Rules That Guarantee You'll Nail the Answer to “Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake”

15. Tell me about a time you failed.

This question is very similar to the one about making a mistake, and you should approach your answer in much the same way. Make sure you pick a real, actual failure you can speak honestly about. Start by making it clear to the interviewer how you define failure. For instance: “As a manager, I consider it a failure whenever I’m caught by surprise. I strive to know what’s going on with my team and their work.” Then situate your story in relation to that definition and explain what happened. Finally, don’t forget to share what you learned. It’s OK to fail—everyone does sometimes—but it’s important to show that you took something from the experience.

Possible answer to “Tell me about a time you failed.”

“ As a team manager, I consider it a failure if I don’t know what’s going on with my staff and their work—basically if a problem catches me by surprise then I’ve failed somewhere along the way. Even if the outcome is ultimately fine, it means I’ve left a team member unsupported at some point. A somewhat recent example would be this training we do every year for new project managers. Because it’s an event that my team has run so many times, I didn’t think to check in and had no idea a scheduling conflict was brewing into a full-on turf war with another team. The resolution actually ended up being a quick and easy conversation at the leadership team meeting, but had I just asked about it sooner it would never have been a problem to begin with. I definitely learned my lesson about setting reminders to check in about major projects or events even if they’ve been done dozens of times before.”

Read More: 4 Steps for Answering “Tell Me About a Time When You Failed”

16. Why are you leaving your current job?

This is a toughie, but one you can be sure you’ll be asked. Definitely keep things positive—you have nothing to gain by being negative about your current employer. Instead, frame things in a way that shows that you’re eager to take on new opportunities and that the role you’re interviewing for is a better fit for you. For example, “I’d really love to be part of product development from beginning to end, and I know I’d have that opportunity here.” And if you were let go from your most recent job? Keep it simple: “Unfortunately, I was let go,” is a totally acceptable answer.

Possible answer to “Why are you leaving your current job?”

“I’m ready for the next challenge in my career. I loved the people I worked with and the projects I worked on, but at some point I realized I wasn’t being challenged the way I used to be. Rather than let myself get too comfortable, I decided to pursue a position where I can continue to grow.”

Read More: 4 Better Ways to Answer “Why Are You Leaving Your Job?”

17. Why were you fired?

Of course, they may ask the follow-up question: Why were you let go? If you lost your job due to layoffs, you can simply say, “The company [reorganized/merged/was acquired] and unfortunately my [position/department] was eliminated.” But what if you were fired for performance reasons? Your best bet is to be honest (the job-seeking world is small, after all). But it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Frame it as a learning experience: Share how you’ve grown and how you approach your job and life now as a result. And if you can portray your growth as an advantage for this next job, even better.

Possible answer to “Why were you fired?”

“After working for XYZ Inc. for four years, there were some changes made to the amount of client calls we were expected to process per hour. I used the techniques we were taught after the change took effect, but didn’t want our customer service to slip. Unfortunately, I wasn’t consistently completing the required number of calls, and, as a result, I was let go. I felt really bad about this and in retrospect I could have done better sticking to the process that would have let me meet the per hour quota. But you’ve told me about the customer service standards and the volume expectations here, and I believe it won’t be a problem.”

Read More: Stop Cringing! How to Tell an Interviewer You've Been Fired

18. Why was there a gap in your employment?

Maybe you were taking care of children or aging parents, dealing with health issues, or traveling the world. Maybe it just took you a long time to land the right job. Whatever the reason, you should be prepared to discuss the gap (or gaps) on your resume. Seriously, practice saying your answer out loud. The key is to be honest, though that doesn’t mean you have to share more details than you’re comfortable with. If there are skills or qualities you honed or gained in your time away from the workforce—whether through volunteer work, running a home, or responding to a personal crisis—you can also talk about how those would help you excel in this role.

Possible answer to “Why was there a gap in your employment?”

“I spent a number of years working at a company in a very demanding job, in which—as you’ll see from my references—I was very successful. But I’d reached a stage in my career where I wanted to focus on my personal growth. The time I spent traveling taught me a lot about how to get along with people of all ages and cultures. Now I feel more than ready to jump back into my career with renewed energy and focus and I feel this role is the ideal way to do that.”

Read More: How to Explain the Gap in Your Resume With Ease

19. Can you explain why you changed career paths?

Don’t be thrown off by this question—just take a deep breath and explain to the hiring manager why you’ve made the career decisions you have. More importantly, give a few examples of how your past experience is transferable to the new role. This doesn’t have to be a direct connection; in fact, it’s often more impressive when a candidate can show how seemingly irrelevant experience is very relevant to the role.

Possible answer to “Can you explain why you changed career paths?”

“Ever since my brother was diagnosed with a heart condition, I’ve been training and running with him in your annual Heart Run to raise money for your organization and help support patients with expenses not covered by insurance. Each time, I’ve been struck by how truly dedicated and happy to be there your employees have been. So when I saw this posting for a fundraising role, it felt like it was meant to be. For the last 10 years of my career I’ve been an account executive for various SaaS companies, and I’ve really honed my skills when it comes to convincing organizations to make regular payments for something over the long-term. But I’ve been looking for a position in fundraising where I can use these skills to really help people and I’m highly motivated to do that with your organization.”

Read More: How to Explain Your Winding Career Path to a Hiring Manager

20. What’s your current salary?

It’s now illegal for some or all employers to ask you about your salary history in several cities and states, including New York City; Louisville, North Carolina; California; and Massachusetts. But no matter where you live, it can be stressful to hear this question. Don’t panic—there are several possible strategies you can turn to. For example, you can deflect the question, Muse career coach Emily Liou says, with a response like: “Before discussing any salary, I’d really like to learn more about what this role entails. I’ve done a lot of research on [Company] and I am certain if it’s the right fit, we’ll be able to agree on a number that’s fair and competitive to both parties.” You can also reframe the question around your salary expectations or requirements (see question 38) or choose to share the number if you think it will work in your favor.

Possible answer to “What’s your current salary?”

“Before discussing any salary, I’d really like to learn more about what this role entails. I’ve done a lot of research on [Company] and I am certain if it’s the right fit, we’ll be able to agree on a number that’s fair and competitive to both parties.”

Read More: Here's How You Answer the Illegal “What's Your Current Salary” Question

21. What do you like least about your job?

Tread carefully here! The last thing you want to do is let your answer devolve into a rant about how terrible your current company is or how much you hate your boss or that one coworker. The easiest way to handle this question with poise is to focus on an opportunity the role you’re interviewing for offers that your current job doesn’t. You can keep the conversation positive and emphasize why you’re so excited about the job.

Possible answer to “What do you like least about your job?”

“In my current role, I’m responsible for drafting media lists to pitch. While I’ve developed a knack for this and can do it when it is necessary, I’m looking forward to a job that allows me to have a more hands-on role in working with media partners. That’s one of the things that most excited me about your account supervisor position.”

Read More: What Interviewers Really Want When They Ask, “What Do You Like Least About Your Job?”

22. What are you looking for in a new position?

Hint: Ideally the same things that this position has to offer. Be specific.

Possible answer to “What are you looking for in a new position?”

“I’ve been honing my data analysis skills for a few years now and, first and foremost, I’m looking for a position where I can continue to exercise those skills. Another thing that’s important to me is the chance to present my findings and suggestions directly to clients. I’m always very motivated by being able to see the impact of my work on other people. And I’m definitely looking for a position where I can grow since I hope to take on managerial responsibilities in the future. To sum it up, I’d love a position where I can use my skills to make an impact that I can see with my own eyes. Of course, the position is only part of the equation. Being at a company where I can grow and work toward something I care about matters, too. DNF’s goal of being at the intersection between data and education inspires me, and I’m really excited about this opportunity.”

Read More: 4 Steps for Answering “What Are You Looking for in a New Position?”

23. What type of work environment do you prefer?

Hint: Ideally one that's similar to the environment of the company you're applying to. Be specific.

Possible answer to “What type of work environment do you prefer?”

“I really like the environment in my current position. My manager is a great resource and always willing to help out when I run into an issue, but they trust me to get my work done so I have a lot of freedom in how I schedule and prioritize, which is very important to me. Everyone has their own cubicle, so it’s often pretty quiet to get our work done, but we all get lunch together and our team has a lot of check-in meetings and communicates frequently via Slack so we still get a lot of opportunities to bounce ideas off each other. So I like both individual and more collaborative work. How would you describe the mix here?”

Read More: 3 Steps to Answering “What Type of Work Environment Do You Prefer?”

24. What’s your work style?

When an interviewer asks you about your work style, they’re probably trying to imagine you in the role. How will you approach your work? What will it be like to work with you? Will you mesh well with the existing team? You can help them along by choosing to focus on something that’s important to you and aligns with everything you’ve learned about the role, team, and company so far. The question is broad, which means you have a lot of flexibility in how you answer: You might talk about how you communicate and collaborate on cross-functional projects, what kind of remote work setup allows you to be most productive, or how you approach leading a team and managing direct reports. Just try to keep it positive. And remember, telling a story will almost always make your answer more memorable. 

Possible answer to “What’s your work style?”

“I tend to do my best work when I’m collaborating with colleagues and we’re working together toward a common goal. I was that rare student who loved group projects and now I still get a rush of excitement when I’m planning marketing campaigns with a team and bringing new and different voices into the fold. When I was working at XYZ Agency, I made it a habit to extend invitations to folks in different departments to join certain brainstorming and feedback sessions. Some of our most successful campaigns grew out of the ideas we generated together with coworkers in IT, HR, product, and customer success. That’s why I was so excited to learn that this role would have me working closely with the product and sales teams as well as with a talented marketing team. The other thing I find is crucial to making these collaborations successful is organization and documentation, so I’m also really big on creating one central home for all materials related to a project, including meeting notes, action items, drafts of campaign copy and visuals, and timelines.”

Read More: How to Answer “What Is Your Work Style?” in an Interview (Plus Examples!)

25. What’s your management style?

The best managers are strong but flexible, and that’s exactly what you want to show off in your answer. (Think something like, “While every situation and every team member requires a bit of a different strategy, I tend to approach my employee relationships as a coach...”) Then share a couple of your best managerial moments, like when you grew your team from five to 15 or coached an underperforming employee to become the company’s top salesperson.

Possible answer to “What’s your management style?”

“ Management style is so hard to put your finger on, but I think in general a good manager gives clear directions and actually stays pretty hands-off, but is ready and available to jump in to offer guidance, expertise, and help when needed. I try my best to make that my management style. I also go out of my way to make sure I know when my team needs help. That means plenty of informal check-ins, both on the work they’re doing and on their general job satisfaction and mental well-being. I remember one project in particular at my most recent position that involved everyone working on a separate aspect of the product. This meant a lot of independent work for my team of seven people, but rather than bog everyone down with repetitive meetings to update me and everyone else on progress made, I created a project wiki that allowed us to communicate new information when necessary without disrupting another team member’s work. I then made it my job to make sure no one was ever stuck on a problem too long without a sounding board. Ultimately, despite the disparate project responsibilities, we ended up with a very cohesive product and, more importantly, a team that wasn’t burnt out.”

Read More: How to Answer “What’s Your Management Style?”

26. How would your boss and coworkers describe you?

First, be honest (remember, if you make it to the final round, the hiring manager will be calling your former bosses and coworkers for references!). Then try to pull out strengths and traits you haven’t discussed in other aspects of the interview, such as your strong work ethic or your willingness to pitch in on other projects when needed.

Possible answer to “How would your boss and coworkers describe you?”

“Actually, in my most recent performance review in April, my direct supervisor described me as someone who takes initiative and doesn’t shy away from hard problems. My role involves a lot of on-site implementation, and when things go wrong, it’s usually up to me to fix it. Rather than punting the problem back to the team, I always try to do what I can first. I know she appreciates that about me.”

Read More: 3 Strategies for Answering “How Would Your Boss or Coworkers Describe You?”

27. How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?

Here’s another question you may feel the urge to sidestep in an effort to prove you’re the perfect candidate who can handle anything. But it’s important not to dismiss this one (i.e. don’t say, “I just put my head down and push through it,” or, “I don’t get stressed out”). Instead, talk about your go-to strategies for dealing with stress (whether it’s meditating for 10 minutes every day or making sure you go for a run or keeping a super-detailed to-do list) and how you communicate and otherwise proactively try to mitigate pressure. If you can give a real example of a stressful situation you navigated successfully, all the better.

Possible answer to “How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?”

“I stay motivated by thinking about the end result. I’ve found that even in the midst of a challenging situation, reminding myself of my goals helps me take a step back and stay positive.”

Read More: 3 Ways You’re Messing Up the Answer to “How Do You Deal With Stressful Situations?”

28. What do you like to do outside of work?

Interviewers will sometimes ask about your hobbies or interests outside of work in order to get to know you a little better—to find out what you’re passionate about and devote time to during your off-hours. It’s another chance to let your personality shine. Be honest, but keep it professional and be mindful of answers that might make it sound like you’re going to spend all your time focusing on something other than the job you’re applying for.

Possible answer to “What do you like to do outside of work?”

“I’m a huge foodie. My friends and I love trying new restaurants in town as soon as they open—the more unusual the better! I love discovering new foods and cuisines, and it’s also a great activity to share with friends. I try to go out with the same group at least once a week and it’s a fun way to make sure we keep in touch and share experiences even when we’re busy with other things. We even took a trip to New York City and spent each day in a different neighborhood, buying something to share from a few restaurants.”

Read More: How to Answer “What Are Your Hobbies?” in an Interview (It’s Not a Trick Question!)

29. Are you planning on having children?

Questions about your family status, gender (“How would you handle managing a team of all men?”), nationality (“Where were you born?”), religion, or age are illegal—but they still get asked (and frequently). Of course, not always with ill intent—the interviewer might just be trying to make conversation and might not realize these are off-limits—but you should definitely tie any questions about your personal life (or anything else you think might be inappropriate) back to the job at hand. 

Possible answer to “Are you planning on having children?”

“You know, I’m not quite there yet. But I am very interested in the career paths at your company. Can you tell me more about that?”

Read More: 5 Illegal Interview Questions and How to Dodge Them

30. How do you stay organized?

Would you want to work with a hot mess? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Neither does anyone else. A disorganized worker doesn’t just struggle in their own role, they can also create chaos for peers, managers, direct reports, clients, customers, and anyone else they interact with. So interviewers will often ask about how you keep yourself organized to make sure you’d be able to handle the workload and gauge what you’d be like to work with. In your answer, you’ll want to reassure them you’d have things under control (both in what you say and how you say it), describe a specific system or method you’ve used (bonus points if you can tie it to the role you’re interviewing for), and explain how it benefited you and your team. Just make sure your answer is succinct and, well, organized.

Possible answer to “How do you stay organized?”

“I take pride in my ability to stay organized, and it’s really come in handy in my past roles and especially the social media assistant job I’m in now. First, I keep a really meticulous calendar for each of the platforms I’m responsible for using Hootsuite—which I noticed you use here as well—and I try to block off time twice a week to get ahead on creating and slotting in posts. 

“ Second, I’m a big fan of Trello, where I have one personal board I use as a to-do list color-coded by type of task and marked with priority level and one shared marketing team board that we use to coordinate campaigns launching across social, email, and other channels. We pay very close attention to the news in case we need to pause a campaign. If needed, I’d tag all the relevant stakeholders on Trello, immediately suspend all scheduled content in Hootsuite, and start a discussion on Slack or suggest a meeting to reassess strategy.

“Finally, I created a shared folder on Google Drive with subfolders by campaign that I update with one-pagers on goals and strategies, assets, a record of the actual posts deployed, performance analyses, and retros. That way, there’s a go-to place for anyone on the team to refer back to past projects, which I’ve found really helps us learn from every campaign and incorporate those learnings into what we’re working on next.”

Read More: What Interviewers Really Want to Know When They Ask “How Do You Stay Organized?”

31. How do you prioritize your work?

Your interviewers want to know that you can manage your time, exercise judgement, communicate, and shift gears when needed. Start by talking about whatever system you’ve found works for you to plan your day or week, whether it’s a to-do list app you swear by or a color-coded spreadsheet. This is one where you’ll definitely want to lean on a real-life example. So go on to describe how you’ve reacted to a last-minute request or another unexpected shift in priorities in the past, incorporating how you evaluated and decided what to do and how you communicated with your manager and/or teammates about it.

Possible answer to “How do you prioritize your work?”

“I’d be lost without my daily to-do list! At the beginning of each workday, I write out tasks to complete, and list them from highest to lowest priority to help keep me on track. But I also realize priorities change unexpectedly. On one particular day recently, I had planned to spend most of my time making phone calls to advertising agencies to get price quotes for an upcoming campaign. Then I did a quick check-in with my manager. She mentioned she needed help putting together a presentation ASAP for a major potential client. I moved the more flexible task to the end of the week and spent the next few hours updating the time-sensitive presentation. I make it a point to keep lines of communication open with my manager and coworkers. If I’m working on a task that will take a while to complete, I try to give a heads-up to my team as soon as possible. If my workload gets to be unmanageable, I check in with my boss about which items can drop to the bottom of the priority list, and then I try to reset expectations about different deadlines.”

Read More: A Foolproof Method to Answer the Interview Question “How Do You Prioritize Your Work?”

32. What are you passionate about?

You’re not a robot programmed to do your work and then power down. You’re a human, and if someone asks you this question in an interview, it’s probably because they want to get to know you better. The answer can align directly with the type of work you’d be doing in that role—like if, for example, you’re applying to be a graphic designer and spend all of your free time creating illustrations and data visualizations to post on Instagram.

But don’t be afraid to talk about a hobby that’s different from your day-to-day work. Bonus points if you can “take it one step further and connect how your passion would make you an excellent candidate for the role you are applying for,” says Muse career coach Al Dea. Like if you’re a software developer who loves to bake, you might talk about how the ability to be both creative and precise informs your approach to code.

Possible answer to “What are you passionate about?”

“One of my favorite pastimes is knitting—I love being able to create something beautiful from nothing. Of course, knitting also requires a keen attention to detail and a lot of patience. Luckily, as an accountant I have cultivated both of those qualities!”

Read More: 3 Authentic Ways to Answer “What Are You Passionate About?” in a Job Interview

33. What motivates you?

Before you panic about answering what feels like a probing existential question, consider that the interviewer wants to make sure you’re excited about this role at this company, and that you’ll be motivated to succeed if they pick you. So think back to what has energized you in previous roles and pinpoint what made your eyes light up when you read this job description. Pick one thing, make sure it’s relevant to the role and company you’re interviewing for, and try to weave in a story to help illustrate your point. If you’re honest, which you should be, your enthusiasm will be palpable.

Possible answer to “What motivates you?”

“I’m driven primarily by my desire to learn new things—big or small—and take on new responsibilities so that I’m constantly growing as an employee and contributing more to my team and organization. I spent several summers working as a camp counselor and felt most fulfilled when I volunteered to lead planning for a talent show, jumped in to help with scheduling logistics, and learned how to run pickups efficiently. All of that experience helped immensely when I took a step up to become the lead counselor last year focused on operations, and that’s what excites me so much about the opportunity to take on this managerial role for the after-school program.”

Read More: 5 Easy Steps to Answer “What Motivates You?” in an Interview

34. What are your pet peeves?

Here’s another one that feels like a minefield. But it’ll be easier to navigate if you know why an interviewer is asking it. Most likely, they want to make sure you’ll thrive at their company—and get a glimpse of how you deal with conflict. So be certain you pick something that doesn’t contradict the culture and environment at this organization while still being honest. Then explain why and what you’ve done to address it in the past, doing your best to stay calm and composed. Since there’s no need to dwell on something that annoys you, you can keep this response short and sweet.

Possible answer to “What are your pet peeves?”

“It bothers me when an office’s schedule is really disorganized, because in my experience, disorganization can cause confusion, which can hurt the motivation of the team. As a person who likes things to be orderly, I try to help keep my team on task while also allowing for flexibility.”

Read More: 6 Tips for Answering “What Are Your Pet Peeves?” in an Interview

35. How do you like to be managed?

This is another one of those questions that’s about finding the right fit—both from the company’s perspective and your own. Think back on what worked well for you in the past and what didn’t. What did previous bosses do that motivated you and helped you succeed and grow? Pick one or two things to focus on and always articulate them with a positive framing (even if your preference comes from an experience where your manager behaved in the opposite way, phrase it as what you would want a manager to do). If you can give a positive example from a great boss, it’ll make your answer even stronger.

Possible answer to “How do you like to be managed?”

“I enjoy having my hands in a lot of different projects, so I like working with managers who allow their employees to experiment, be independent, and work cross-functionally with other teams. At the same time, I really welcome it when a boss provides me with support, guidance, and coaching. No one can do anything alone, and I believe when managers and employees collaborate together and learn from one another everyone comes out on top.”

Read More: 3 Easy Steps to Answer “How Do You Like to Be Managed?” in an Interview

36. Do you consider yourself successful?

This question might make you uncomfortable. But you can think of it as an opportunity to allow the interviewer to get to know you better and to position yourself as an excellent choice for this job. First off, make sure you say yes! Then pick one specific professional achievement you’re proud of that can be tied back to the role you’re interviewing for—one that demonstrates a quality, skill, or experience that would help you excel in this position. You’ll want to explain why you consider it a success, talk about the process in addition to the outcome, and highlight your own accomplishment without forgetting your team. Zooming in on one story will help if you feel awkward tooting your own horn!

Possible answer to “Do you consider yourself successful?”

“I do consider myself successful, even though I’m early in my professional career. I took a full load of classes in my junior year of college because I wanted to take that summer to volunteer for a human rights organization overseas. I knew that I needed to make sure I was on track with my major, minor, and graduation requirements. It was difficult to juggle it all with my part-time job, which I kept to help account for the fact that I wouldn’t be earning money over the summer, and there were a few sleepless nights. But it was worth the hard work: I ended the year with a 3.9 GPA and the opportunity to volunteer for the agency in Ghana without falling behind my graduation timeline. For me success is about setting a goal and sticking with it, no matter how hard it is, and this experience was proof that I could be successful even when there’s a lot to balance, which I know there always is at a nonprofit like this one.”

Read More: How to Answer “Do You Consider Yourself Successful?” Without Feeling Like a Show-Off

37. Where do you see yourself in five years?

If asked this question, be honest and specific about your future goals, but consider this: A hiring manager wants to know a) if you've set realistic expectations for your career, b) if you have ambition (a.k.a., this interview isn't the first time you’re considering the question), and c) if the position aligns with your goals and growth. Your best bet is to think realistically about where this position could take you and answer along those lines. And if the position isn’t necessarily a one-way ticket to your aspirations? It’s OK to say that you’re not quite sure what the future holds, but that you see this experience playing an important role in helping you make that decision.

Possible answer to “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

“In five years, I’d like to be in a position where I know more about my longer-term career aspirations as a designer. I will have gotten experience working for a design agency and know more about the industry overall. I’ll have grown my technical skills and learned how to take feedback from clients and incorporate it. And the way your agency is set up, I’ll also have gotten the opportunity to design different kinds of deliverables—including websites, branding, and ad campaigns—for different kinds of clients to see where I really feel at home before settling on a focus.”

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

38. How do you plan to achieve your career goals?

Having goals shows interviewers you care, are ambitious, and can think ahead. Having a plan for how you’ll achieve your goals demonstrates your self-motivation as well as organizational and time management skills. Finally, the fact that you’ve accomplished past goals you’ve set for yourself is proof of your ability to follow through. All together, these are indications that you can not only set and achieve goals of your own, but also help your prospective boss, team, and company do the same. To craft your answer, make sure you focus on one or two goals in detail, explain why the goals are meaningful, communicate what milestones are coming up, highlight past successes, and connect back to this job. 

Possible answer to “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”

“My current goal is to earn the CPA license so that I’m fully certified and prepared to contribute in a junior staff accounting job. My undergraduate degree is in finance and I completed an accounting internship with XYZ Company last summer. While I was there, I decided that each week I’d ask one person from a different team to coffee to learn about their job and career path. Not only did those conversations impress upon me the importance of getting my CPA as soon as possible, they also helped me realize I was eager to pursue forensic accounting, which is why I’m so excited about the opportunity to join this team. In order to ensure I earn my CPA this year, I enrolled in NASBA workshops, created a study schedule to keep myself on track, and will be taking my first trial test in three weeks. I plan on taking the actual test within the next three to six months.”

Read More: How to Answer “How Do You Plan to Achieve Your Career Goals?” in an Interview

39. What are your career aspirations?

Career aspirations are bigger and loftier than career goals. With this question, interviewers are asking: What kind of career would make you happiest (while also being realistic)? Your aspirations might revolve around what kind of company you’d like to work for, what tasks you’d like to do, who you’d like to help, or how you’d like to be seen by your colleagues. So to answer this question, talk about what would energize and fulfill you and connect it to the position you’re interviewing for. Be specific about how this job will help you achieve your career aspirations.

Possible answer to “What are your career aspirations?”

“After growing up in a food desert, my biggest professional aspiration is to help make healthy food more widely available and accessible regardless of where you live. I also love solving complex problems. Currently, as a project manager, I specialize in strategic planning and combine it with a natural ability to engage critical stakeholders—resulting in on-time and under-budget delivery. This role would help me use those skills to work on a mission I’m passionate about. I am determined to use these skills to help your organization guarantee our community has access to affordable, nutritious food and information to make healthy decisions. In the next five or so years, I would love to take on additional responsibility and be in a decision-making role to drive the mission beyond our community and support even more families in gaining access to nutritious food options.”

Read More: How to Answer “What Are Your Career Aspirations?” in an Interview

40. What’s your dream job?

Along similar lines, the interviewer wants to uncover whether this position is really in line with your ultimate career goals. While “an NBA star” might get you a few laughs, a better bet is to talk about your goals and ambitions—and why this job will get you closer to them.

Read More: The Secret Formula to Answering “What's Your Dream Job?” in an Interview

41. What other companies are you interviewing with?

Companies might ask you who else you’re interviewing with for a few reasons. Maybe they want to see how serious you are about this role and team (or even this field) or they’re trying to find out who they’re competing with to hire you. On one hand, you want to express your enthusiasm for this job, but at the same time, you don’t want to give the company any more leverage than it already has by telling them there’s no one else in the running. Depending on where you are in your search, you can talk about applying to or interviewing for a few roles that have XYZ in common—then mention how and why this role seems like a particularly good fit.

Possible answer to “What other companies are you interviewing with?”

“I’m interviewing with a few companies for a range of positions, but they all come down to delivering an excellent customer experience. I wanted to keep an open mind about how to best achieve that goal, but so far it seems that this role will really allow me to focus all of my energy on customer experience and retention, which I find very appealing.”

Read More: How to Answer “What Other Companies Are You Interviewing With?”

42. What makes you unique?

“They genuinely want to know the answer,” Dea promises. Give them a reason to pick you over other similar candidates. The key is to keep your answer relevant to the role you’re applying to. So the fact that you can run a six-minute mile or crush a trivia challenge might not help you get the job (but hey, it depends on the job!). Use this opportunity to tell them something that would give you an edge over your competition for this position. To figure out what that is, you can ask some former colleagues, think back to patterns you’ve seen in feedback you get, or try to distill why people tend to turn to you. Focus on one or two things and don’t forget to back up whatever you say with evidence.

Possible answer to “What makes you unique?”

“I basically taught myself animation from scratch. I was immediately drawn to it in college, and with the limited resources available to me, I decided to take matters into my own hands—and that’s the approach I take in all aspects of my work as a video editor. I don’t just wait around for things to happen, and when I can, I’m always eager to step in and take on new projects, pick up new skills, or brainstorm new ideas.”

Read More: A Simple Way to Answer “What Makes You Unique?” in Your Job Search (Plus, Examples!)

43. What should I know that’s not on your resume?

It’s a good sign if a recruiter or hiring manager is interested in more than just what’s on your resume. It probably means they looked at your resume, think you might be a good fit for the role, and want to know more about you. To make this wide-open question a little more manageable, try talking about a positive trait, a story or detail that reveals a little more about you and your experience, or a mission or goal that makes you excited about this role or company.

Possible answer to “What should I know that’s not on your resume?”

“Well, one thing you won’t find on my resume: the time I had to administer emergency CPR. Last year, I was at the lake when I saw a young girl who looked like she was drowning. I was a lifeguard in high school, so I swam out, brought her to shore, and gave her CPR. Although this was—hopefully—a one-time event, I’ve always been able to stay calm during stressful situations, figure out a solution, and then act. As your account manager, I’d use this trait to quickly and effectively resolve issues both within the team and externally. After all, obstacles are inevitable, especially in a startup environment. And if anyone needs CPR at the office beach party, well, I’m your woman.”

Read More: The Right Way to Answer “What Should I Know That’s Not on Your Resume?”

44. What would your first few months look like in this role?

Your potential future boss (or whoever else has asked you this question) wants to know that you’ve done your research, given some thought to how you’d get started, and would be able to take initiative if hired. (In some interviews, you might even get the more specific, “What would your first 30, 60, or 90 days look like in this role?”) So think about what information and aspects of the company and team you’d need to familiarize yourself with and which colleagues you’d want to sit down and talk to. You can also suggest one possible starter project to show you’d be ready to hit the ground running and contribute early on. This won’t necessarily be the thing you do first if you do get the job, but a good answer shows that you’re thoughtful and that you care.

Possible answer to “What would your first few months look like in this role?”

“It’s been exciting to hear about some of the new initiatives the company has started in our previous conversations—like the database project and the company-wide sync, but I know there’s still a lot for me to learn. The first thing I’d do is line up meetings with the stakeholders involved in the projects I’d be tackling to help me figure out what I don’t know and then go from there. Hopping into a database project halfway through can be tricky, but I’m confident that once I know what all the stakeholders are looking for, I’ll be able to efficiently plot out our next steps and set appropriate deadlines. From there, I’ll be focused on hitting the milestones that I’ve set for the team.”

Read More: The 30-60-90 Day Plan: Your Secret Weapon for New Job Success

45. What are your salary expectations?

The number one rule of answering this question is: Figure out your salary requirements ahead of time. Do your research on what similar roles pay by using sites like PayScale and reaching out to your network. Be sure to take your experience, education, skills, and personal needs into account, too! From there, Muse career coach Jennifer Fink suggests choosing from one of three strategies:

(And here’s some more info on responding to a question about your salary requirements on an application form .)

Possible answer to “What are your salary expectations?”

“Taking into account my experience and Excel certifications, which you mentioned earlier would be very helpful to the team, I’m looking for somewhere between $42,000 and $46,000 annually for this role. But for me, benefits definitely matter as well. Your free on-site gym, the commuter benefits, and other perks could definitely allow me to be a bit flexible with salary.”

Read More:  3 Strategies for Answering “What Are Your Salary Expectations?” in an Interview

46. What do you think we could do better or differently?

This question can really do a number on you. How do you give a meaty answer without insulting the company or, worse, the person you’re speaking with? Well first, take a deep breath. Then start your response with something positive about the company or specific product you’ve been asked to discuss. When you’re ready to give your constructive feedback, give some background on the perspective you’re bringing to the table and explain why you’d make the change you’re suggesting (ideally based on some past experience or other evidence). And if you end with a question, you can show them you’re curious about the company or product and open to other points of view. Try: “Did you consider that approach here? I’d love to know more about your process.”

Read More: How to Answer the “How Would You Improve Our Company?” Interview Question Without Bashing Anyone

47. When can you start?

Your goal here should be to set realistic expectations that will work for both you and the company. What exactly that sounds like will depend on your specific situation. If you’re ready to start immediately—if you’re unemployed, for example—you could offer to start within the week. But if you need to give notice to your current employer, don’t be afraid to say so; people will understand and respect that you plan to wrap things up right. It’s also legitimate to want to take a break between jobs, though you might want to say you have “previously scheduled commitments to attend to” and try to be flexible if they really need someone to start a bit sooner.

Possible answer to “When can you start?”

“I am excited for the opportunity to join your team. I have several projects to wrap up in my current role at [Company]. I plan to give them two weeks’ notice to make a smooth transition for my coworkers and will be happy to come onboard with the team here after that time.”

Read More: 4 Ways to Answer the Interview Question “When Can You Start?”

48. Are you willing to relocate?

While this may sound like a simple yes-or-no question, it’s often a little bit more complicated than that. The simplest scenario is one where you’re totally open to moving and would be willing to do so for this opportunity. But if the answer is no, or at least not right now, you can reiterate your enthusiasm for the role, briefly explain why you can’t move at this time, and offer an alternative, like working remotely or out of a local office. Sometimes it’s not as clear-cut, and that’s OK. You can say you prefer to stay put for xyz reasons, but would be willing to consider relocating for the right opportunity.

Possible answer to “Are you willing to relocate?”

“I do love living in Raleigh and would prefer to stay here. However, for the right opportunity I’d be willing to consider relocating if necessary.”

Read More: The Best Responses to “Are You Willing to Relocate?” Depending on Your Situation

49. How many tennis balls can you fit into a limousine?

1,000? 10,000? 100,000? Seriously? Well, seriously, you might get asked brain-teaser questions like these, especially in quantitative jobs. But remember that the interviewer doesn’t necessarily want an exact number—they want to make sure that you understand what’s being asked of you, and that you can set into motion a systematic and logical way to respond. So take a deep breath and start thinking through the math. (Yes, it’s OK to ask for a pen and paper!)

Read More: 9 Steps to Solving an Impossible Brain Teaser in a Tech Interview (Without Breaking a Sweat)

50. If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?

Seemingly random personality-test type questions like these come up in interviews because hiring managers want to see how you can think on your feet. There’s no wrong answer here, but you’ll immediately gain bonus points if your answer helps you share your strengths or personality or connect with the hiring manager. Pro tip: Come up with a stalling tactic to buy yourself some thinking time, such as saying, “Now, that is a great question. I think I would have to say…”

Read More: 4 Steps for Answering Off-the-Wall Interview Questions

51. Sell me this pen.

If you’re interviewing for a sales job, your interviewer might put you on the spot to sell them a pen sitting on the table, or a legal pad, or a water bottle, or just something . The main thing they’re testing you for? How you handle a high-pressure situation. So try to stay calm and confident and use your body language—making eye contact, sitting up straight, and more—to convey that you can handle this. Make sure you listen, understand your “customer’s” needs, get specific about the item’s features and benefits, and end strong—as though you were truly closing a deal.

Read More: 4 Tips for Responding to "Sell Me This Pen" in an Interview

52. Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

Just when you thought you were done, your interviewer asks you this open-ended doozy. Don’t panic—it’s not a trick question! You can use this as an opportunity to close out the meeting on a high note in one of two ways, Zhang says. First, if there really is something relevant that you haven’t had a chance to mention, do it now. Otherwise, you can briefly summarize your qualifications. For example, Zhang says, you could say: “I think we’ve covered most of it, but just to summarize, it sounds like you’re looking for someone who can really hit the ground running. And with my previous experience [enumerate experience here], I think I’d be a great fit.”

Read More: How to Answer “Is There Anything Else You’d Like Us to Know?”

53. Do you have any questions for us?

You probably already know that an interview isn’t just a chance for a hiring manager to grill you—it’s an opportunity to sniff out whether a job is the right fit from your perspective. What do you want to know about the position? The company? The department? The team? You’ll cover a lot of this in the actual interview, so have a few less-common questions ready to go. We especially like questions targeted to the interviewer (“What's your favorite part about working here?”) or the company’s growth (“What can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth?”) If you’re interviewing for a remote role, there are some specific questions you might want to ask related to that.

Read More: 57 Smart Questions to Ask in a Job Interview in 2022

Bonus questions

Looking for more interview questions? Check out these lists of questions (and example answers!) for different types of interviews.

Want even more advice for answering common interview questions?

Click through for more tips and examples!

examples of job application questions and answers

examples of job application questions and answers

10 Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

examples of job application questions and answers

Use this guide to stand out from the crowd and land the role you want.

Interviews can be high stress, anxiety-driving situations, especially if it’s your first interview. A little practice and preparation always pays off. While we can’t know exactly what an employer will ask, here are 10 common interview questions along with advice on how to answer them. The questions include:

Ascend logo

Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .

Resignation numbers have remained abnormally high in the U.S. between July 2021 and October 2021, with millions of Americans quitting their jobs  — which also means there are millions of new openings up for grabs. If you’re entering the market for the first time, or just looking to make a change, use this guide to prepare for your next interview.

Below is a list of 10 common job interview questions, along with answering techniques that will help you dazzle your prospects, and hopefully, secure the role you want.

1. Could you tell me about yourself and describe your background in brief?

Interviewers like to hear stories about candidates. Make sure your story has a great beginning, a riveting middle, and an end that makes the interviewer root for you to win the job.

Talk about a relevant incident that made you keen on the profession you are pursuing and follow up by discussing your education. In the story, weave together how your academic training and your passion for the subject or industry the company specializes in, combined with your work experience, make you a great fit for the job. If you’ve managed a complex project or worked on an exciting, offbeat design, mention it.

Example:  “I come from a small town, where opportunities were limited. Since good schools were a rarity, I started using online learning to stay up to date with the best. That’s where I learned to code and then I went on to get my certification as a computer programmer. After I got my first job as a front-end coder, I continued to invest time in mastering both front- and back-end languages, tools, and frameworks.”

2. How did you hear about this position?

Employers want to know whether you are actively seeking out their company, heard of the role from a recruiter, or were recommended to the position by a current employee. In short, they want to know how you got to them.

If someone recommended you for the position, be sure to say their name. Don’t assume that the interviewer already knows about the referral. You’ll probably want to also follow up with how you know the person who referred you. For example, if you and Steve (who recommended you) worked together previously, or if you met him over coffee at a networking event, mention it to give yourself a little more credibility. If Steve works at the company and suggested that you apply for the job, explain why he thought you’d be the perfect fit.

If you sought out the role yourself, be clear about what caught your eye — extra bonus points if you can align your values with the company and their mission. You want to convince the hiring manager that you chose their company, over all other companies, for a few specific reasons.

Lastly, if you were recruited, explain why you took the bait. Did this role sound like a good fit? Does it align with the direction you want to take your career? Even if you weren’t familiar with the organization prior to being recruited, be enthusiastic about what you’ve learned and honest about why you’re interested in moving forward with the process.

Example : “I learned about the position through LinkedIn as I’ve been following your company’s page for a while now. I’m really passionate about the work you’re doing in X, Y, and Z areas, so I was excited to apply. The required skills match well with the skills I have, and it seems like a great opportunity for me to contribute to your mission, as well as a great next move for my career.”

3. What type of work environment do you prefer?

Be sure to do your homework on the organization and its culture before the interview. Your research will save you here. Your preferred environment should closely align to the company’s workplace culture (and if it doesn’t, it may not be the right fit for you). For example, you may find on the company’s website that they have a flat organizational structure or that they prioritize collaboration and autonomy. Those are key words you can mention in your answer to this question.

If the interviewer tells you something about the company that you didn’t uncover in your research, like, “Our culture appears buttoned-up from the outside, but in reality, it’s a really laid-back community with little competition among employees,” try to describe an experience you’ve had that dovetails with that. Your goal is to share how your work ethic matches that of the organization’s.

Example:  “That sounds great to me. I like fast-paced work environments because they make me feel like I’m always learning and growing, but I really thrive when I’m collaborating with team members and helping people reach a collective goal as opposed to competing. My last internship was at an organization with a similar culture, and I really enjoyed that balance.”

4. How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?

The employer wants to know: Do you hold down the fort or crumble under pressure? They want to make sure that you won’t have a meltdown when the pressure becomes intense and deadlines are looming. The ability to stay calm under pressure is a highly prized talent.

Share an instance when you remained calm despite the turmoil. If it’s a skill you’re developing, acknowledge that and include the steps you’re taking to respond better to pressure in the future. For example, you could indicate that you’ve started a mindfulness practice to help you better deal with stress.

Example:  “I realize stressful situation are always going to come up, and I definitely have had to learn how to navigate them throughout my career. I think I get better at it with every new experience. While working on a new product launch at my last company, for example, things were not going according to plan with my team. Instead of pointing fingers, my first reaction was to take a step back and figure out some strategies around how we could we solve the problem at hand. Previously, I may have defaulted to panicking in that situation, so being calm and collected was definitely a step forward and helped me approach the situation with more clarity.”

5. Do you prefer working independently or on a team?

Your answer should be informed by the research you’ve done on the company culture and the job in question. Nevertheless, you should expect that most work environments will have some team aspect.

Many positions require you to work collaboratively with other people on a daily basis, while some roles require you to work on your own. When you answer this question, highlight the best traits of your personality and how they fit the job requirements. It could also be in your interest to answer this question by highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of both situations.

Example: “I enjoy a blend of the two. I like having a team to strategize with, get diverse opinions from, and reach out to for feedback. But I am also comfortable taking on assignments that require me to work independently. I find I do some of my best work when I can focus alone in a quiet space, but I really value collaborating with my teammates to come up with the best ideas.”

6. When you’re balancing multiple projects, how do you keep yourself organized?

Employers want to understand how you use your time and energy to stay productive and efficient. They’re also looking to understand if you have your own system for staying on track with the work beyond the company’s schedules and workflow plans. Be sure to emphasize that you adhere to deadlines and take them seriously.

Discuss a specific instance when you stayed on track. Talk about the importance and urgency of the projects you were working on and how you allocated your time accordingly. Explain how you remain organized and focused on the job in front of you.

Example:  “I’m used to juggling projects at my current job where I’m often moving between coding one software program to another. I use the timeboxing technique to make sure they’re all on track, allocating time on my calendar for certain tasks. I’ve found it really helps me prioritize what needs to get done first, and it holds me accountable for the more repetitive day-to-day tasks I’m responsible for.”

7. What did you do in the last year to improve your knowledge?

This question may come up as a result of the pandemic. Employers want to know how people used their time differently. Know that you don’t have to feel scared about answering this question if you didn’t spend your time brushing up on skills or taking courses. We learn from any experience we have.

If you spent time honing your professional skills, you might say the following.

Example:  “The extra time on my plate really allowed me to get introspective around where I want to take my career. I read a lot of journals to keep abreast of the latest ideas in my field, and sharpened my skills by taking some online courses, such as…” (and then be specific).

If you chose to work on your personal development, you could say something like the following.

Example: “Like everyone else, I, too, gained some time last year from not having to travel two hours a day to and from work. I decided to spend my time on things I love. So I got back to learning how to play the guitar and journaling. I feel it brought me closer to myself and has been really great for my mental health and productivity.”

8. What are your salary expectations?

Before you walk in for your first interview, you should already know what the salary is for the position you’re applying to. Check out websites such as Glassdoor, Fishbowl, or Vault.com for salary information. You could also ask people in the field by reaching out to your community on LinkedIn.

Employers will always ask this question because every position is budgeted, and they want to ensure your expectations are consistent with that budget before moving forward.

Remember that it’s often better to discuss a salary range rather than a specific number during the interview and leaving room for negotiation. It’s also better to err on the side of caution and quote a slightly higher number as it’s easier to negotiate downward than upward. As a general rule of thumb, I advise not bringing up the questions about salary until your interviewer does or bringing it up too early in the process.

Example:  “Based on my skills and experience and on the current industry rates, I’m looking at a salary around $____” (then fill in with your desired salary range and rationale).

9. Are you applying for other jobs?

Interviewers want to know if you’re genuinely interested in this position or if it’s just one of your many options. Simply, they want to know if you’re their top choice. Honesty is the best policy. If you’re applying for other jobs, say so. You don’t have to necessarily say where you’re applying unless you have another offer. But they might want to know where in the hiring process you are with other companies. You can also mention that you’re actively looking for offers if your interviewer asks.

Example:  “I’ve applied to a couple of other firms, but this role is really the one I’m most excited about right now because…”

10. From your resume it seems you took a gap year. Would you like to tell us why that was?

Gap years are more popular in some cultures than others. In some professions, gap years may have a negative connotation (the industry moves too fast and you’re not up to date).

Let your interviewer know that your gap year wasn’t about procrastinating over your transition from childhood to adulthood, but that it added value to the confident professional you have become. Based on what part of the world you’re in and how common these are, employers are likely looking to hear stories of what you did and how your experiences have benefitted and prepared you for this role.

Provide a short explanation of why you decided to pursue a gap year, then focus on what came out of it that made a positive difference for your future.

Example: “During my last year of high school, I didn’t feel ready to choose my educational path, so I took a wilderness course for a few months to sort out my life goals. It may seem a little random, but the time I spent actually helped my develop so many new skills — in the areas of leadership, communication, (etc…). During that time, I realized that I wanted to earn a degree in (state your degree) to align with my passion (say what that is).”

To make a winning impression, you’ll need to answer each question with poise and passion. But practicing first really helps. Meticulous preparation will allow you to appear confident and in control, helping position you as the ideal candidate when the competition is tough.

Partner Center

Career Sidekick

Interview Answers

Top 20 Essential Interview Questions and Answers

300+ Interview Questions Answered.

300+ Interview Questions with Expert Answers.

Job Interview Questions and Answer Examples

If you’re looking for the commonly asked job interview questions, then keep reading. After working for years as a recruiter, I’m going to share the top 20 job interview questions and answer examples, plus do’s and don’ts to get you ready to ace your interview. For each question, you’ll get:

I’m also including a printable interview questions and answers PDF at the bottom of this article, so make sure you read until the end.

Let’s get started…

20 Interview Questions and Answer Examples

1. tell me about yourself.

This is one of the most common interview questions, and it trips a lot of job seekers up because of how open-ended it is. Here’s what the best answers include, and how to impress when the interviewer asks this question: First, keep your answer work-related when answering, “ Tell me about yourself. ” While technically they’ve left it open to include personal details, it’s not what the typical interviewer is looking for. And to keep your answer clear and easy to understand, tell your story in chronological order. Walk them through your background, starting with how you began your career or your current line of work. If you’re a recent graduate or entry-level candidate, you can discuss your academic work. Why did you choose this field of study? What projects have you done and what have you worked on? If you have prior work experience, walk the interviewer through your key accomplishments, key career moves you’ve made and why, and end by sharing what you’re looking to do next in your career and why you’re job hunting.


Interview answer example:

​“I started my career in Marketing after graduating with a Business degree in 2013. I’ve spent my entire career at Microsoft, receiving two promotions and three awards for outstanding performance. I’m looking to join a smaller company now, and take on more leadership and project management.”

2. What do you know about our company?

This is one of the most common interview questions to practice for . You’re very likely to hear it in an early-stage interview, especially a phone interview . In the sample answers below, you’ll see that the goal is to show them you’ve done your research and didn’t apply to their company without knowing anything about them. If you don’t seem like you know anything about them, you’ll come across as desperate – somebody who will take any job they can find. And that’s going to make you unattractive to any good employers out there. So when they ask, “ what do you know about our company ?”, your primary goal is to show you’ve done your research or knew about their company before applying. If you do this, you’ll be fine.

Interview answer example 1:

“From what I read, your company is one of the leaders in database and website security for large corporations. I read your list of clients on your website and saw multiple Fortune 500 companies mentioned, including Verizon and IBM. Beyond that, I recently had an informational interview with James from the Marketing team, after messaging him on LinkedIn, and he shared a bit about your company culture; mainly, the emphasis on collaboration and open interaction between different departments and groups. That’s something that sounds exciting to me and that I’m hoping to find in my next job. Can you share more about how you’d describe the company culture here?”

Interview answer example 2:

“I know you’re one of the leaders in contract manufacturing for the pharmaceutical industry. I read two recent news articles as well and saw that you just finalized plans to build a new facility that will double your manufacturing capacity. One of my hopes in my current job search is to find a fast-growing organization that could take full advantage of my past experience in scaling up manufacturing operations, so I was excited to have this interview and learn more about the specific work and challenges you need help with from the person you hire for this role.”

3.  How did you hear about the position?

When they ask “how did you hear about the position?” it’s typically best to give an honest, direct answer. The interviewer is simply curious how you came to know about them and the general idea behind why you applied. They’re curious how you’re finding positions to apply to in general, too. If you found the job through a colleague, through researching employers online, through a job board or job posting, or any other common method, simply tell them the truth.

Good answer examples:

“I found the position while looking for jobs online” “I heard about it from a colleague/friend” “Your company was recommended to me by somebody I worked with in a previous job and had heard good things about your organization” “I saw the job posted on LinkedIn, and the position seemed interesting so I wanted to learn more”

4. Why did you apply for this position?

When they ask “ why did you apply for this position ?” pick something specific that interested you. If you say you love their products, tell them why. That’s the key to giving a convincing answer to this job interview question. Stay away from sounding like you’re desperate, or that you want just any job. Yes, if you were laid off it’s okay to say that, but then re-focus the conversation on exactly what you’re looking for in the next opportunity and why you feel their company might have it.

You need to sound like you want the RIGHT job and that you’re being picky. Employers won’t hire you if you don’t demonstrate that you want to work for them in particular. So it’s best to appear picky and selective in your job search. That means being clear about what you want in your next role. Also, the best answers will stay away from negatives and complaints. Don’t bad-mouth your current company or boss. Focus on the positives of the job you’re applying for now.

Example answer 1:

“Since beginning my career, I’ve wanted to work for a larger organization in this industry, and I know you’re one of the leaders in this space. I’m very interested in your products/services, especially the mobile applications you’re building recently, so I’d be excited to come here and grow my skills with an organization like yours.”

Example answer 2:

“I’ve heard great things about the work environment here from a few colleagues. And when I saw this job posting, it seemed to match my skills very closely. For example, I saw on the job description that you need somebody who’s an expert in Java programming. This is what I focused on in both of my previous positions, and was even the focus of my academic work before graduating from university. I consider myself an expert in Java and it’s a skill I hope to continue specializing in.”

5. Why are you looking to leave your current company?

If you’re job searching while employed, this is one of the most important interview questions and answers to know. (And if you’re job hunting while unemployed, make sure you prepare to answer, “Why did you leave your last position?” instead.) Otherwise, the most important thing to do when they ask why you are looking to leave your current job is to stay positive and never badmouth your current employer, boss, or even team members. Rather than complaining or talking badly about your situation, say that you’re looking for more of something positive. What are you hoping to gain from a job change? Is your current boss a jerk? Say that you’re looking for an environment with more leadership you can learn from.

Good sample answer:

“I’m looking for more leadership opportunities. I’ve been at my company for three years and have really enjoyed the experience but I feel in order to take the next step in my career, it’d be helpful to join a larger organization and use what I’ve learned in the past to lead more projects. That’s why this Project Manager role excited me.”

6. Tell us about a challenge you’ve faced and how you handled it

Focus on a specific work-related challenge and talk about how you overcame obstacles, used it as a learning experience, used the resources around you (including people/colleagues if applicable), and ended up with a positive result! That’s how to answer this interview question. Keep it work-related, not personal.

Answer example:

“In my last job, we were facing a tough deadline and my boss was out for the day. Our client was expecting a project to be delivered by 5:00 PM, but we were far behind schedule. I took the lead on the project and delegated tasks to the four other team members in a way that I thought would utilize everyone’s strengths best. And then I reorganized my own personal tasks so I could dedicate my entire day to contributing to this project as well. The project was a success and we delivered the work on time. I went on to lead more projects after that , and used what I learned to be a better project manager.”

7. How much money are you looking to earn?

This question is left off of many lists of common job interview questions, yet it’s extremely important and the wrong answer can cost you thousands of dollars. The best answers to this question follow one rule: DON’T say a specific number or even a narrow salary range that you’re targeting. Why? You have the least amount of leverage possible at this point in the job interview and job search process. You haven’t finished interviewing with this employer, and they don’t even know if you’re a good fit for the position. So you can’t command a high salary right now. There’s nothing to gain by answering salary questions so early, and quite a bit to potentially lose. If you go too low with your desired salary range, it could limit the offer you receive later, even if they would have offered more normally. Or, you could worry them that you’re not at the level they were hoping for! Meanwhile, if you share a number or range that’s too high, you could scare them off before they get to know you and see your worth! Whereas, after talking with you in a few interviews, they might have been willing to stretch their budget to hire you! I’ve seen this happen frequently as a recruiter.

Therefore, it’s a lose-lose to tell them your salary target before you know they’re interested in hiring you. When you’re preparing what to say in a job interview, especially an early-stage interview, salary goals should not be a part of it! You can, however, share some basic research you’ve done into broad salary ranges for this type of position in your city. 

Example answer:

“Right now I’m focused on finding a job that’s the right fit for my career. Once I’ve done that, I’m willing to consider an offer you feel is fair, but I do not have a specific number in mind yet. My priority in my job search is to find a position that’s a great fit and will allow me to continue learning and becoming more skilled. That said, I did some baseline research into salaries for this type of role here in Seattle and found that the average seems to be in the $50K to $75K range, so if your job is within that range, I think it makes sense to keep talking.”

For more info, here’s a full article on how to answer desired salary on applications and interviews .

8. Why should we hire you?

Employers ask, “Why should we hire you” to see how well you understand the role, and to hear your perspective on how your skills can help them. When you hear interview questions like this, you should be thinking about their role, their needs, and how you’ll help them. How will they benefit if they hire you? What will you improve for them? What will become easier, more efficient, or more profitable? And show you’ve done your research. Make it clear that you know what this position involves and that you’re ready to perform those exact tasks in your next job.

Example interview answer:

“I read on the job description that you’re looking for someone with experience in ____. I’ve done that for 3 years and can immediately help you accomplish ____”.

9. Why do you want to work here?

If they ask “ why do you want this job ?” show you’ve done plenty of research to learn about them before coming in to interview. You want to make them feel like you chose them for a reason. This is very similar to the previous question: “Why did you apply for this position?” Show them that you know what their job involves (at least as much as you could learn from the job description and company website) and that you’re excited to be interviewing for this position. The bottom line is: The typical employer looks to hire someone who will want to work for them in particular, not just someone who wants to work any job they can find.

Here’s how to demonstrate that you want to work for them and that you’re a good fit when you answer:

Sample interview answer:

“I’ve been actively searching for jobs since graduating with my Nursing degree. I’m interested in intensive care and emergency medicine and I’ve seen your hospital mentioned as having one of the best emergency departments in the region. I thought the job description matched up well with my background, and saw some of my personal strengths mentioned, like multitasking and being able to thrive in a fast-paced environment, so I’d love to begin my career here.”

10. Why did you leave your last job?

There are a lot of good answers to this interview question. There isn’t just one “right” answer. Here are some guidelines: If you chose to leave on your own terms, stay positive and focus on what you wanted to gain from the decision, rather than bad-mouthing or focusing on negatives you wanted to avoid. And if you were fired or laid off, be upfront and clear. You’re not going to make employers want to hire you by being vague or trying to hide something. If you got fired, show what you’ve learned from the experience, and what you’ve done to make sure this doesn’t happen again. That’s how to spin it into a positive.

“I was hired for a project management role, but over time that changed and I was no longer being given the opportunity to do the work I was interested in. I left to pursue an opportunity that I felt was more aligned with what I’ve chosen to focus on in my career.”

You can also get more ideas for how to answer this on our list of 20 answers for “why did you leave your last job.”

11. What is your greatest weakness?

When they ask, “what’s your greatest weakness?” you want to name a real weakness. I recommend picking something skill-based, not personality-based. You never want to say you struggle to work with others, or you’re bad at resolving disagreements, or taking direction from a manager, etc. Those things will get you rejected in the interview . So pick a specific skill, but pick something that won’t severely impact your ability to do this job.   For example, if the job involves data entry with Excel spreadsheets all day, you do not want to say Excel is your weakness. Or that you struggle to pay attention to details. Finally, end your answer by explaining what you’re doing to overcome or improve your weakness.

Take a look at the do’s and don’ts and the interview answer example below to get a sense of what the best answers will sound like.

“I’m not particularly strong in social media marketing. For the first few years of my career, I focused entirely on email marketing. That’s still what I specialize in, which is why I applied for your Email Marketing Manager job. But I’ve realized it’s also helpful to understand the principles of social media marketing because some of the strategies that work there also work well in email. So I’ve started spending a couple of hours per week of my own time to study and learn this new area, which has helped me a lot.”

Note that you the interviewer might also ask, “what areas need improvement?” In that case, you can use the same approach, and I still recommend naming one single weakness, just to keep your answer simpler and more concise.

12. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

​​ There are three big reasons interviewers ask “ where do you see yourself in 5 years? “:

So, pick a work-related goal of where you’d like to be five years from now, and make sure it’s slightly challenging or ambitious-sounding. You don’t want to say, “I see myself in the same position five years from now.” And make sure to share a goal that is related to the type of job you’re interviewing for. You want to sound like the experience you’ll gain in this job fits your long-term goals. Otherwise, they’re going to be scared to hire you. Why would they offer you the job if it doesn’t fit the goals you described to them? You’d be unsatisfied, bored, and would probably quit within the first year. No company wants this.

“I’m glad you asked. In five years I see myself taking on more responsibilities, either through management or higher-level individual contributions. I’m not sure which path will make sense to pursue, but I know my goal right now is to build a strong foundation and gain valuable experience so that I’ll have a successful future in this industry.”

They may also ask, “What are your career goals” so prepare to answer that, too. You can read career goal examples here.

13. Tell me about a time you failed

This is one of the most common interview questions in many fields, from retail to corporate positions, and is intended to find out if you’re able to learn from mistakes and bounce back when things don’t go your way. Employers want to see if you can own up to your mistakes, be accountable, and also learn and improve from the experience. That last piece is key if you want to give a good answer to this question.

When you answer, “tell me a time when you failed” … here are the most important do’s and don’ts to follow:

“In my most recent position, I had recently been promoted to Supervisor and was managing the department by myself right before the close of business. An employee was acting out and I confronted him in front of everybody. It made the situation worse and caused a lot of distraction for everyone on the floor. I failed to lead properly in this situation, and spoke to my manager the next day to discuss what I could have done better. We both agreed that I should have handled this privately with the employee by asking them to step inside my office. If I had done this instead of reacting the way I did, the situation would have turned out much better. From that point onward, I am always conscious of whether a discussion with a team member should occur in public or behind closed doors, and it made me a better leader.”

14. How do you make decisions?

This is another one of the most common interview questions you’ll hear.  You may also hear this phrased as a behavioral interview question, like, “Tell me about a time you had to make a difficult decision. How did you handle it and what did you decide?” With any of these decision-making job interview questions, hiring managers want to know that you’ve made good decisions in the past and are comfortable making a tough decision under pressure. Demonstrate this, and they’ll feel more confident that you’ll be able to make good decisions in your next job, too… while working for them.

So to show the hiring manager that you’re the right fit, prepare to explain how you organize and structure your decisions. The best answers will show that you’re calm and follow a logical system when you make important decisions .

Answer sample 1:

“Just last week I had a situation that describes my process pretty well. One of our largest clients was having an issue with our latest software update and I had to decide between doing a fresh install on their system or trying to troubleshoot. The fresh install would come with downtime, but it was a known variable. Whereas, if we took troubleshooting steps, it could resolve the problem eventually, but the company would be working with multiple software bugs and issues for an unknown period. I spoke to our representative from their company, and also spoke to the Account Manager within our firm who had originally brought this client on, since he had the closest relationship with the firm. The company didn’t express a preference and told us that we should decide what’s best. However, the Account Manager I spoke with said that this company is typically risk-averse and doesn’t like uncertainty. They want to know how bad the “damage” will be whenever a problem arises. Based on this information, I felt the best way to resolve the situation was to do a complete reinstall of the software, causing 30 minutes of downtime, but solving the problem that day. I also spoke to our billing team to provide a special discount to help offset the lost revenue our software caused, which the company appreciated and thanked me for.”

Answer sample 2:

“I typically list out all available options and then weigh the pros and cons and expected outcomes of each. If other teams or people are impacted by the decision, I’ll ask for their thoughts, too. Sometimes a peer will point out a pro or con that I hadn’t seen, so I find it helpful to talk to others when appropriate. After this, I’ll choose the course of action that I feel is most likely to bring about the best outcome. I also weigh the risks of each possible decision. If one decision has a good potential outcome but comes with too much risk for the company, then it may not be the right choice. Would you like me to give an example? Or did that answer your question…”

15. What is your greatest achievement?

You shouldn’t brag about yourself in every interview question and answer, but sometimes it’s called for. And this is one of those cases. Don’t be timid and don’t hold back. This is your chance to share one accomplishment that you’re most proud of and why. I recommend choosing a professional achievement, but if the biggest win that comes to mind is personal, that’s fine too. Ideally, share a story that illustrates how you overcome a challenge, went through a transformation, or overcame doubt or fear to accomplish something that you’re proud of. If you can show determination and resiliency, that’s going to impress most employers. However, there are plenty of scenarios where your biggest achievement might show other traits instead. That’s fine, too.

16. What are your leadership experiences?

Even if you’re not directly interviewing for a management role, you may face some leadership interview questions. Employers like a candidate who can take initiative and lead projects and tasks even if it’s not their main role to lead. Plus, that shows you’ve got room to grow and can be promoted in the future.  So before any interview, think about one or two recent leadership experiences , ideally from work situations. Did you lead any meetings or projects? Did you train or mentor anyone? Did you spearhead a new initiative at work? If you have no examples from work, then look to university experience, sports, or other clubs/activities where you led a project, task, meeting, or event.  Note that you may also be asked, “what is your leadership style?” but this is typically reserved for positions where you’ll be leading as a core part of your role. 

17. How would you describe yourself?

While this question is similar to, “Tell me about yourself,” it’s best answered with a shorter response. To prepare, pick two or three key positive adjectives that you’d use to describe yourself and your work , and be ready to explain why.

I would describe myself as careful and hard-working. I’m persistent, and my work ethic is something I take pride in. But I also like to work carefully and ensure that I’m not committing mistakes or having to redo my work. I’ve found that by slowing down and working carefully and methodically, you can often save yourself a lot of time and hassles in the long run.

18. What are you passionate about?

Employers like to hire a candidate who has interests, passions, etc. This is also why companies often ask, “what motivates you?” or, “what gets you out of bed in the morning?” When answering, “what are you passionate about?” you have a lot of freedom. The question is very open-ended. I recommend naming one single area. This keeps everything simple and makes it easier to prepare. That’s why I recommend it for multiple interview questions and answers above, too. So pick one topic that gets you really excited. It can be mission-oriented, like solving a crisis or helping the world. Or it can simply be that you enjoy challenges at work, learning, improving, problem-solving, reaching new levels of skill, etc. You can also share a personal story explaining how you got into your field of work or why it matters to you.  No matter what you choose, pick one thing, and tell the truth. There isn’t one “right” answer here but employers can tell if you’re being genuine/honest, and that’s what they want to see.

19. Do you want to tell us anything else about yourself?

As you reach the end of the job interview, the employer may ask, “do you want to tell us anything else?” When you hear this, you have two choices. First, if you feel the interview went well and you don’t have anything else to add, it’s completely fine to say:

“No, I think we covered the important topics here. I’m satisfied if you are. I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback, though, and the role sounds exciting to me.”

This is normal/acceptable and you shouldn’t feel pressure to say more if you’re satisfied that the interview went well. This is not a trick interview question. However, if there is a topic you wish they had asked about but didn’t, or something unique that sets you apart from other candidates that you didn’t explain yet, then feel free to share it. They’re giving you the opportunity because they genuinely want to know. You can also give yourself the opportunity to share a final point even if they don’t ask. Just say, “Is it alright if I share one more detail? Something came to mind and I think it’s relevant.” 99% of interviewers will say, “Yes, sure!”

20. Do you have any questions for us?

If you don’t ask good questions in each interview, you might be costing yourself job offers. Asking questions shows interest in the position and shows employers that you’re looking for the right fit, not just any job. This will make them trust you more and want you more. You can ask about the work, the training, the challenges you’d face, the overall direction of the company. Don’t ask about salary, benefits, time off, or anything that isn’t related to the work. Wait for them to bring it up, or until you know they want to offer you the position.

Here are 27 unique interview questions to ask employers.

“Yes, I have a couple of questions actually. The first thing I wanted to ask: Is this a newly-created position, or did somebody hold this role in the past? And if so, what did that person go on to do after this position?”

Printable Interview Questions and Answers

If you want to print/save this article so that you can practice these questions and answers on the go, here’s a printable version of this list of questions and answers , in PDF format.

Popular Interview Questions

Tell me about yourself.

4 Examples of How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in Interviews.

Why should we hire you?

Best Answers to "Why Should We Hire You?" (4 Samples).

Why did you choose this job?

Eight answers to "Why Did You Choose This Job/Career?".

What to say in a job interview

Top 20 Essential Interview Questions and Answers.

Why did you apply for this position?

3 Example answers for why you applied.

Popular Resources

Thank you email after interview.

4 expertly written sample emails for after your interview.

Follow up email after interview

No response after an interview? Here's how to follow up by email.

Resume summary examples

10 Resume summary examples that will get you interviews.

Signs an interview went bad

15 Signs your interview didn't go well.

Best excuses to miss work

9 Good reasons to miss work.

Biron Clark

Biron Clark

Biron Clark is a former executive recruiter who has worked individually with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.


wish i could print this for my kids who are in college

You can. Not sure if you’re on Windows or Mac, but on Windows, you can right click and select “Print”. I’m guessing there’s a way to print these questions & answers out on Mac too, but you’d have to research how.

great advice and information, thank you.

it s very informative.its great!!!

Thanks so much , it is an awesome resource, I teach English at a Tech Community College in Ecuador, and students appreciated it immensely.

This article has provided me with everything I needed to prepare for an interview. Everything! Absolutely. I had the answers to all the questions in my most recent interview because I used this link. Thank you so much!!

I’m glad it was helpful! Good luck!

Very informative! Thanks for this!

good tips thank you

Very helpful article Biron, thanks for sharing your knowledge. Specific to question 6 about salary, most online application processes require you to add your salary expectation to the system with your resume and cover letter. Any advice on how to approach this as the wrong answer here could eliminate your resume from the ATS scanning process even before you get to the interview?

Hey Russel, great question. Every system is a bit different, but in general, I recommend trying to type something like, “negotiable” or “—“. If the system doesn’t accept this, you can try, “000” or “999” or “99,999”. That should make it pretty clear that this isn’t your real expectation, and that you hope to answer the question face-to-face in an interview, instead.

Then, look for a section of the online form where you can include an additional note. If you find a spot to include notes, you can say, “Regarding expected salary, this is negotiable and can be discussed in an interview.”

FYI – this article has more info on answering this question: https://careersidekick.com/best-answers-desired-salary/

It’s really helpful thank you a lot

Your interview questions prompted me to reevaluate my past and spin a positive on some of my downfalls. Also, as you designed, Your sample answers allowed me to apply the questions specially For my industry. Thanks for the knowledge I will be going into the interview with confidence! Keep it POSITIVE.

Thank you so much. It was really helpful.

Very Helpful, I notice a few mistakes that I did in my previous interview. I have another interview tomorrow and I will be more prepare this time. Thank you!

Hi Maria, no problem! Glad it helped. Good luck in the interview tomorrow.

Your answers were not clear

I have a interview working for the same company

I really loved the tips and I think will help a lot

Thanks very much for the help you have rendered to us the job seekers on how answer interview questions

Thank you for posting this!

Can i ask a question Can you help me to answer a interview question

So impressing, helps to know how to approach a question before rushing for an answer

This was truly helpful

Thank you for guiding me

I found this to be very helpful. I have recently retired after 20+ years and am now going through job interviews. I know of one question that is asked that I didn’t see. What are your strengths? Any advice for this one?

Hi! I do have an article on it, even though it’s not mentioned here.

Does this help?


Yes Biron it helped tremendously! I was able to come up with a suitable response.

Very helpful n so informative

I want to thank you for your help

It was too helpful, ThankYou!!

Last week I had an interview and it was great. Thank you so much for your help!!!!!

I realized my mistakes in my past interviews. Thank you, it help a lot. Indeed very informative.

Excellent answers

Very helpful, thank you!

It’s so comforting and calming to know there are lots of tips as these online and am glad I found these ones in particular that has specific questions and sample answers making an interview process seem easy. Thanks alot for the insightful tips


Thank you for your insight. I haven’t had to apply for a job in over 30 years so you really helped me understand the best way to handle an interview.

Thank alot I learn some strategy how to answers correctly the question

You have helped me a lot

The article is impressive &helpful thanks a lot

Glad it helped, Patrick. Thanks!

impressive advice i realize my error in my interview.thanks

I appreciate your comment is from 2017 and you may never read this, but for other visitors I have been in this situation and found the best way to approach this is to spin it positively.

Whilst it is true that many of those contracts you may have taken just to pay the bills, you don;t have to go into that too much, instead talk about why you were contracting and why you’re now looking for a permanent position (if you’re interviewing for another contract position they’re unlikely to question your history of contracting).

By that, I mean – mention that for a while contracting was easier to balance with your home-life, but now you’re in a position to look at permanent positions and you’re eager to secure a permanent position in a company with whom you can grow professionally over the coming years.

Hope this helps!

The page was very informative thank you.

Comments are closed.

Privacy Preference Center

Privacy preferences.

Example questions and answers

If you need a bit of inspiration to help you answer some of the trickier job application form questions take a look at our example responses to get you started

While some sections of a job application form only need straightforward, factual answers, such as your personal details or education history, others will demand you work a little harder.

You may be asked to write a personal statement, or be asked competency-based questions . These require you to discuss specific times when you've demonstrated the essential skills and qualities for the role, referring to the job description and person specification outlined in the advert.

For more information on completing a form and what to include, explore how to  write a successful job application .

While the precise wording of questions may vary between job application forms, they tend to cover similar ground. Here are ten typical application form questions and answers to help you.

Why do you want to work here?

The employer is trying to figure out your motivations and whether you've given serious consideration to your application. You need to show that you've done your research and understand exactly what the job entails. Explain how it fits into your long-term career plans.

Example answer:

Your company stood out when I was researching the leading electronics companies in the country. I am aware of your dedication to the development of innovative consumer products and I believe that this role would be the perfect fit considering my strong design background.

Why do you think you are suitable for this role?

You need to describe how your skills, knowledge and experience match the job outline, while also explaining your motivation and goals.

I have always wanted to work as an exhibition designer for a museum that embraces cultural changes and provides a sensory experience for its visitors. My degree helped me to develop key artistic and organisational skills, while the experience that I gained from working at my local museum has been the ideal preparation for a career in this field. I would relish the opportunity to be part of the team that works on the concepts for your upcoming exhibits and collections.

Briefly outline your relevant skills and experience

Even if you haven't had any direct experience, you can still highlight any transferable skills that relate to the role. Turn your answer into a positive one by making it clear that you want the job in order to gain experience in the area.

Although I haven't had the chance to gain work experience at an advertising agency yet, I have already created high level concepts that have been used by leading brands such as Marks & Spencer. At university, I was the copywriter for a number of students' union marketing campaigns and have generated interest in my work through my website, which I designed myself.

Give an example of when you have worked under pressure

You need to prove that you've handled deadlines successfully in the past. Describe how you overcame obstacles that you had no control over.

During my work placement last year I faced various conflicting demands on my time due to the fact that my role was inter-departmental. One particular week, the pressures did threaten to get overwhelming as a number of key staff members were off sick. However, this allowed me to show that I could rise to the challenge. I left the company with praise from my peers as I always gave my best no matter what.

What is your greatest achievement?

Choose something outside of your academic life that's uniquely significant to you. This is an assessment of your attitude and motivations, to find out whether your values are compatible with those of the organisation.

When my mother was diagnosed with a serious illness last year, it was obviously a traumatic and stressful time for the whole family. Even though I hadn't done any sport since school, I decided to sign up for a run and raise money to increase awareness of the disease. I trained hard for a number of months and kept to a strict eating regime. I managed to raise nearly £3,000 for the charity and finished the race in a time I could never have dreamed was possible.

Give an example of how you made a positive contribution to a team and what the outcome was

The employer is checking that you have experience of working in a cohesive team environment. Describe a scenario where you had to draw on strengths and qualities in order to accomplish a group task. Explain your particular role, how weaknesses were overcome and what you learned.

During my time in the university film society, we decided to run a series of workshops for the local community. My role involved planning the daily activities, ensuring that the intensive course covered everything we wanted to include. While some tasks did overrun, the event was a resounding success with attendees remarking on how well it had been organised.

Describe an occasion when you've had to communicate complex information

This is a test of your ability to analyse complicated information effectively, and communicate it in a way that the audience can understand. Set the scene and describe your thinking process in a step-by-step way.

For my scientific research project, I had to present the ideas behind my thinking to the rest of the class. While presentations were common at university, this was a particularly complex proposal. I had to filter the relevant information and summarise my work, delivering this at a level the other students could appreciate and understand.

What is the biggest challenge that you've faced and how did you handle it?

The employer will be looking to find out about your attitude to challenges, as well as your ability to problem-solve and overcome obstacles, so you need to provide a significant example that demonstrates your adaptability in this area.

In my summer job working in a busy aftersales department I inevitably had to deal with some tough customers. This was my first real job, and I had to learn to successfully negotiate and interact with many people throughout the working day. On many occasions, I was the only staff member manning the desk so I had to cope with the pressure that this role demanded. I now feel that I am better equipped to handle whatever challenges come my way.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Describing your strengths may come more naturally, but when it comes to your weaknesses, it is important to be honest and reveal things you are genuinely looking to improve on. Your answers need to be well-considered and tailored towards the role you are applying for. Show them that you are actively looking to learn and grow.

I'm a driven person who works hard to attain my goals. The ability to overcome obstacles and follow things through to completion has always been a strong point of mine, which is why I've managed to thrive in such a competitive degree subject. However, I am aware that as a perfectionist my delegation skills could be improved. I would welcome training in conflict management as well as any other opportunities to develop in this area.

Discuss a time when you failed to complete a project by the deadline

Your response should adequately justify the reasons for missing the deadline. While there are various ways to approach this, you'll need to give a good explanation and demonstrate that you've learned from this setback. The employer is looking to determine whether you'll manage your time effectively in the future.

In my first year, I failed to hand a history assignment in on time as I had underestimated how long it would take to complete the project. I got carried away with the gathering of information and left the write-up to the last minute. I lost marks on my final grade, but fortunately still managed to pass the year. This has never happened since, as I've made a point of allocating sufficient time to each task. I certainly learned a valuable lesson from the experience.

Please provide further information in support of your application

This will usually be placed at the end of the form and is similar to a personal statement, making it one of the most important sections to get right. Never leave this section blank, thinking that it’s enough to just answer the questions. It is an opportunity for you to show the employer why you are the best candidate for the job, kind of like a cover letter . You'll need to relate your skills directly to those outlined in the job description.

Before tackling this section, learn more about  what skills employers want .

Find out more

How would you rate this page?

On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like

Thank you for rating the page

search the site

100+ Most Common Job Interview Questions and Answers

Even more than a resume or job application , the interview can show an employer if you're the right candidate for the position. Regardless of whether you apply online or in person, you will eventually have to interview before becoming hired.

Answers to Interview Questions

There are a number of standard questions that nearly all interviewers ask during the course of a job interview. These common interview questions may be familiar to you, but you may not know exactly how to answer them. Many of these frequently asked interview questions involve your professionalism, work history, and desire to work for the company at hand .

Types of Questions Professionals often break down interview questions into the following categories. Click a link to jump down the page to that section.

Behavioral Questions

Skills & experience questions.

Practical Skills and Job Logistics Questions

Get Ready for the Interview Knowing what employers are looking for during the interview will make you seem less nervous, more confident, and more qualified for the job.

In order to comfortably and confident reply to these interview questions, think about the questions ahead of time and rehearse your responses. Remember to answer personally. However, you can feel free to use this guide as examples of what to say during an interview.

Also, check out our interview tips for each company .

Behavioral interview questions ask candidates to describe some of their past experiences and how they performed previously in professional situations. When asking behavioral questions, employers are operating under the assumption that a candidate’s past behavior will be indicative of their future behavior. For candidates, this is a great opportunity to showcase how you’ve handled past situations with concrete examples.

At What Point in Life Did You Choose This Profession?

Can You Deal with High-Pressure Situations?

How Did You Prepare For This Interview?

How Do You Handle Criticism?

How Do You Handle Stress?

How Do You Manage Multiple Deadlines?

How Do You Manage Your Time?

How Do You Want to Improve Yourself in the Next Year?

How Long Will It Take You To Make a Contribution to This Business?

How Would You Address Conflicting Priorities?

How Would You Define Customer Service?

What Are Your Goals for the Future?

What Challenges Will You Face Here?

What Do You See Yourself Doing in the First 30 Days?

What Do You Ultimately Want To Become?

What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?

What Is Your Greatest Failure?

What Is Your Greatest Fear?

What Steps Do You Follow to Study a Problem?

What Will It Take To Attain Your Goals?

Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?

Why Did You Choose Your Major?

As its name implies, questions related to your skills and experience are meant to evaluate your existing skills and previous experience against those needed for the position. Employers want to know what you already know and what you need to learn. This is a good chance to discuss your soft skills, as well as your technical or hard skills, and other qualifications you bring to the table.

What Have You Been Doing in the Last Year?

When Have You Felt Most Satisfied in a Job?

What Are Your Strengths?

What Are Your Weaknesses?

If I Were to Ask Your Last Supervisor What Training You Require, What Would She Say?

What Have You Been Doing Since Your Last Job?

Why Should We Hire You?

Why Are You Qualified For The Job?

What Experience Do You Have In This Field?

What Has Disappointed You about a Previous Job?

Do You Have Any Blind Spots?

Are You Overqualified for This Job?

How Do You Propose To Compensate For Your Lack Of Experience?

What Will You Miss About Your Last Job?

Tell Me About A Fun Job Experience

What Computer Programs Are You Familiar With?

Do You Need Additional Training?

What Did You Like or Dislike About Your Last Job?

Why Are You the Best Candidate?

Describe a Time When You Had to Work as Part of a Team

Personality and Cultural Fit Questions

These types of questions are designed to help the employer get to know you better in a more holistic sense. Depending on the company, employers may use your answers to these questions to see if you’d be a good fit for their environment or company culture. While you should always try to stay focused on the company or job, it is a great way to tell them more about what you’re like outside of a professional environment and how that may positively influence your work.

Tell Me About Yourself

What Do You Know About Us?

What Is Your Style of Leadership?

What Annoys You?

What Is Your Attitude Towards Work?

If You Had Enough Money to Retire Right Now, Would You?

If We Were to Give You the Salary You Want, But Let You Write Your Own Job Description, What Would it Say?

Which is More Important to You, the Money or the Work?

If You Could Work For Any Company, Where Would You Work?

“Do You Consider Yourself to be Successful?”

How Would You Describe Your Work Style?

What Would Your Friends Say About You?

Are You a Big-Picture or Detail-Oriented Person?

What Motivates You?

Are You Willing To Put the Interests of This Organization Ahead of Your Own?

What Are the Positive Character Traits You Don’t Have?

What’s The Most Important Thing You Learned In School?

Would You Work for Someone Who Knows Less?

What Do You Do in Your Spare Time?

Do You Have Any Questions For Me?

Who Is Your Hero? Why?

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Questions

These types of questions are meant to test your problem-solving skills and see how you’ll react in difficult or tricky situations. Always respond honestly, but be sure to highlight the more positive aspects of your ability to handle these situations. This is a great way to talk about your merits if you don’t have any previous job experience.

Tell Me About A Challenge That You Had to Overcome

Tell Me About a Difficult Period in Your Life

Describe a Time You Made a Suggestion to Improve Business

Describe Your Ideal Job

If You Were Hiring Someone for This Position, What Would You Be Looking For?

What Qualities Do You Look For in a Boss?

Tell Me About A Time You Resolved A Conflict

Describe A Situation Where You Had To Make A Quick Decision

How Would You Deal With An Angry Customer?

Tell Me about a Time You Went Above and Beyond Duties

What Would You Do if You Saw a Coworker Stealing?

Interpersonal and Conflict Management Skills Questions

Even if the position requires a lot of independent work, you’ll have to work with other people in some capacity in virtually any job. Employers want to know how you interact with other people and ensure you can function effectively in their larger team. Use these types of questions to demonstrate that though you’re able to work alone, you are also capable of working with colleagues, supervisors, vendors, and customers.

Have You Ever Disagreed with a Boss or Co-worker?

What Sorts of People Do You Enjoy Working With?

Have You Ever Fired Someone and How Did that Make You Feel?

How Well Do You Interact with Management?

What Kind of Person Will You Refuse to Work With?

Do You Work Better In A Team Or Alone?

How Will You Earn the Respect of Your Co-Workers?

What Position Do You Prefer When Working on a Project?

Should a Boss Be Feared or Liked?

Although they may not seem as nerve-wracking or difficult to answer as the other types of questions above, your responses to logistical questions are hugely important to your interview. Always answer honestly, even with questions that may paint you in a negative light. Being fired from a previous position or admitting to applying to other jobs will not guarantee that you’re ruled out as a candidate; employers know that no one is perfect and they will value your honesty. These questions are also important for you to gauge whether or not this truly is the right job for you.

Why Do You Want to Work Here?

Do You Know Anyone Who Works for Us?

What Are Your Salary Expectations?

Are You Willing to Relocate?

How Long Do You Expect to Work for Us if Hired?

Have You Ever Been Fired?

Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

What Are You Looking for in Terms of Advancement Potential and Career Growth?

Are You Willing to Work Nights and Weekends?

Are You Applying to Any Other Jobs?

Can You Do the Job?

Are You Over the Age of 18?

Can You Provide Proof of Age?

Do You Have Any Travel Restrictions?

Can You Lift 50 / 75 / 100 lbs?

Do You Have Any Responsibilities That Might Prevent You from Meeting Your Specified Work Schedule?

Are You Able to Perform This Job’s Duties with or without Reasonable Accommodations?

Can You Complete Job Assignments Safely?

What Languages (Besides English) Do You Know?

Are You Legally Authorized To Work In The United States?

Have You Ever Been Convicted of A Crime?

List Any Organizations That You Belong To

What If You Get More Than One Job Offer?

Are You Planning To Continue Your Studies?

When Do You Expect A Promotion?

What Can You Bring to This Company?

When Can You Start?

job applications logo

Privacy Policy

Terms of Use


Chapter 3: sample questions and responses.

This section of the guide is packed full of sample application form questions and responses. Please note: the sample responses are for guidance purposes only. They are not to be copied word for word. Instead, use them as a basis when creating your own responses.

It is also worth highlighting at this point that the majority of employers will have a copy of your application form at interview. They may ask you questions during the interview in order to verify the information you have supplied on your form. Make sure you keep a copy of your application form before you submit it and also make sure the responses you provide are true and accurate.

This is a very common question. I have read many different responses to this question in the past and many of them fall at the first hurdle; they fail to respond to the questions that are being asked. If you read the question carefully you will note that there are actually two questions as follows:

Q1.  Why are you applying for this post?

Q2.  What do you have to offer?

I have seen people time and time again fail to answer the second part of the questions. When responding to this question split your response into two parts. The most effective way to achieve this is to start each part as follows:

Part 1  I am applying for this post because…

Part 2  I have to offer… If you follow this piece of advice you will be ensuring that you actually answer the questions that are being asked. Always read the question very carefully before answering it.


Please explain why you are applying for this post and what you have to offer.

“I am applying for this post because, having studied the person specification and job description, I believe that I am very well suited to the position. I have over five years experience in a similar role, which I excelled in. I am fully aware of the requirements for this role and believe that the skills and attributes I posses would be of extreme benefit to your organisation. For example, whilst in my previous role I assisted the organisation in achieving Investors in People status. This was achieved through meticulous preparation, planning and organisation. My role was to provide the assessors with evidence of where we the organisation met each assessable criteria. I have to offer many qualities, skills and experiences. I am a hard working, driven, ambitious and a flexible person who can be relied upon to achieve any given task. For example, in my previous role I was often asked to work late hours so that the company could meet tight deadlines. I always made sure that I was available to assist and fully realised how important these deadlines were. To summarise, I believe that I have all of the necessary skills and qualifications to perform exceptionally in this role. I have many years experience in a similar role and can be relied upon to achieve the organisations aims and objectives.”

This type of question is asking you to ‘list’ proficiencies, attributes and experiences. Therefore, you may decide to answer this question with 3 lists, each headed by the specific requirement. Before you respond to this question take a look at the person specification and job description and highlight the qualities and skills required to perform the role. Then, when responding to this question, try hard to match them. In the following sample response I will use the role of a  customer service assistant  as an example.


Please list your proficiencies, qualities, attributes and experiences that you may contribute to your performance in this post.

I have a large number of exceptional qualities, attributes and proficiencies that would contribute to my performance in this post as follows:



IMPORTANT TIP:  Once again it is very important to obtain a copy of the person specification and job description before listing each criteria. Remember to makes sure that you include all ‘ESSENTIAL’ criteria and try to add as many ‘DESIRABLE’ as possible.

Now use the template on the following page to create your own proficiencies, qualities, attributes and experiences.

As I have mentioned previously within this guide, evidence is very important. Anybody can write down on paper that they are good at a certain job, but providing actual evidence is another matter.

In the following sample response I have provided evidence of where a person meets the requirements for the role of a Sales Manager.


What evidence do you have to support your application?

“I am already highly experienced in the role of Sales Manager and believe that the skills, qualities and attributes I possess will be a valuable asset to your team.

To begin with I have 4 years experience at recruiting and training sales staff. In my previous role I set up a recruitment section that was responsible for headhunting the best sales staff available in the South East of England. This venture proved to be extremely successful with a retention rate of 87%. Once I had recruited the appropriate staff I then ensured they received the highest standard of training available. Each member of the team would embark on an NVQ in sales and marketing and it was my responsibility to monitor their performance in line with their appraisal.

During staff appraisals I would always monitor team morale as I believe this to be a key link to my team’s high retention rate. I also have many years experience of allocating specific areas to sales executives in line with their own specific skills and qualities. Before I allocated each area I would ensure that the individual was aware of their budget and their targets for the year.

In order to keep myself abreast of company changes and policies I would keep and maintain a weekly Continuous Performance Development (CPD) folder. This essentially meant that I would allocate one hour at the beginning of every working week to CPD. The end result of this was that I was always fully up-to-date with company progress, products and services which in turn allowed me to brief my team effectively.

In terms of additional certifiable evidence I hold the following qualifications:

– BTEC National Diploma in Business (Marketing)

– Currently in the final year of my MBA

I also have evidence of 4 years appraisals which demonstrate that I perform to a continuously high performance.”

IMPORTANT TIP:  Those people who can provide firm evidence of where they meet the essential criteria have a far greater chance of being invited to assessment and interview. Remember to always focus on providing ‘evidence’ when completing your application form. Make it difficult for the person assessing your form to reject it!

Now use the template on the following page to create your own response to this question based on your own evidence.

This question has been designed to assess your ability to work with others regardless of their background, age or gender. Many organisations, especially those in the Public Sector, will want to see evidence of where you have already worked with people of different ages, sex, sexual orientation, backgrounds, cultures and religious beliefs.

Remember to be specific in your response, relating it to a particular situation. Do not be generic in your response. An example of a generic response would be – ‘I am comfortable working with people from different backgrounds and have done this on many occasions’. This type of response is not specific and does not relate to a situation. Now take a look at the example response on the following page before using a blank sheet of paper to construct your own response based on your experiences.


Describe a situation where you have worked with people who are different from you in relation to age, background or gender.

“Whilst working in my current role as a sales assistant I was tasked with working with a new member of the team. The lady had just started working with us and was unfamiliar with the role. She was from a different background and appeared to be very nervous. I tried to comfort her and told her that I was there to support her through her first few working days and help her get her feet under the table. I fully understood how she must have felt. It was important that I supported her and helped her through her first few days at work. We are there to help each other regardless of age, background or gender. As a result of my actions the lady settled into work well and is now very happy in her role. We have been working together for 3 months and have built up a close professional and personal relationship.”

IMPORTANT TIP:  Try to provide an example of where you have gone out of your way to help somebody from a different background, age or gender from you. Examples that demonstrate you ‘volunteered’ to help, rather than having to be forced into doing it, will score higher.

Now use the template provided on the following page to create your own response to this question.

In the vast number jobs that you will apply for, having the ability to build working relationships with your colleagues is very important. Never underestimate how important teamwork is in an organisation. This question is designed to see whether you have the ability to fulfill that role. Remember again to be specific about a particular situation and avoid the pitfall of being too generic. Try to think of a situation when you have worked as part of a team, maybe to achieve a common goal or task. The following is a sample response to this question.


Describe a situation where you have worked closely with other people as part of a team.

“I currently play football for a local Sunday team and we were in fear of relegation to a lower league. I offered to help the team out by arranging and coordinating an extra training session on a weekday evening so that we could look for ways to improve our skills. I felt that the team needed support and encouragement. We all needed to work together to improve our skills. I knew that unless the team pulled together and began to work closely as a unit we would be relegated. We all met up for the extra training sessions and worked on our skills and fitness whilst supporting and helping each other. I helped a team-mate to work on his fitness levels by running 3 miles with him every session. At the end of the season we managed to avoid relegation due to the combined team effort. I fully understand how important teamwork is to any organisation. I will always ensure that I work closely with other people, communicate effectively and support those people who need my assistance.”

And here’s another sample response to this question:

“I recently volunteered to work with a new member our team at work. The task required us both to successfully complete a stock take of the entire warehouse within a short timeframe. The reason why I volunteered for the task is because I am a conscientious person who enjoys working with other people, and carrying out tasks to a high standard. Initially I showed the new team member how to stock take in a professional manner in accordance with company guidelines. He had never carried out this type of work before and I wanted to ensure he was both comfortable with the task and that he was doing it correctly. Once I had achieved this we both then set about methodically working through each aisle, stocktaking as we went along. Periodically we would stop to ensure that the task was being done correctly.

At the end of the specified timeframe we had completed the stock take and were able to provide accurate figures to our line manager. Whilst working as a team member I always concentrate on effective communication, focusing on the task in hand and providing support to team members who require assistance.”

IMPORTANT TIP:  Do not underestimate the importance of teamwork in the job that you are applying for. Most employers will want to see evidence of how you have successfully worked as part of a team in the past. The last thing they want is someone who cannot mix or work with other people. A disruptive employee/team member is every employer’s worst nightmare.

Remember:  the more prominent skills of a competent team member include:

Once again, use the template provided on the following page to create your own unique response to this question.

A good employee will be capable of learning new skills and improving on existing ones. Another term for this is called ‘Continuous Professional Development’. Your potential employer may want to know that you have the ability to improve on your current skills and learn new things. When answering this question, try to think of an example where you have learnt something new. This may be through your working life, at home or in your leisure time. There are probably many experiences that you can draw from so take the time to think of a suitable response. I have now provided a sample response to help you.


Describe a situation where you have taken steps to improve your skills and/or learn new things.

“Approximately three months ago I asked my manager at work if I could attend a two-day customer care skills course. I work as a sales assistant for a large leisure retail outlet. The course was quite in depth and whilst on it I learnt new skills including how to provide a better level of service. The reason why I took this course of action was because I wanted to improve my skills in customer care. I am always looking for ways to improve my knowledge and learn new things. I also felt that by attending the course I would be improving the level of service that our customers receive. As a result of my actions I successfully passed the course and I received a qualification in customer care skills. I feel more confident in my abilities and feel more qualified to perform my role. As a result of the course I have also improved the level of service to the customer.”

IMPORTANT TIP:  When you join any new job there will naturally be an element of initial training/development. It is not unreasonable, therefore, for the employer to want to see some form of evidence of where you have already taken steps to learn new skills etc. Try to provide recent examples.

Now use the template provided to create your own response.

Describe a situation where you have taken steps to improve your skills and/or learn new things .

Some jobs that you may apply for will require an ability to remain calm and controlled in a stressful situation. Jobs that require this type of skill include:

– High pressurised sales roles

– Dealing with members of the public

– Dealing with complaints

– Emergency services

– Call handlers and operators

When responding to this question, think of an occasion where you have had to stay calm and in control. This does not necessarily have to be in a work situation but it may be during leisure time or at home. Be careful not to answer this question generically. Focus on a particular situation that you encountered recently. Again, I have provided you with a sample response to this question.


Describe a situation where you have had to remain calm and controlled in a stressful situation.

“Whilst driving home from work I came across a road accident. I parked safely and went over to see if I could help. An elderly lady was in one of the cars suffering from shock. I remained calm and dialed 999 asking for the Police and Ambulance services. Once I had done this I then gave basic First Aid to the lady and ensured that the scene was safe. The reason for taking this course of action was simply because when I arrived people were starting to panic so I knew that somebody needed to take control of the situation. By remaining calm and confident I was able to get help for the lady. As a result of my actions the emergency services soon arrived and the lady was taken to hospital. The Police then took some details of my actions and thanked me for my calm approach and for making the scene safe.”

IMPORTANT TIP:  Most application forms will not ask this type of questions, simply because there are very few jobs that require this skill. If you are asked this question, make sure you take the time to respond to it in a comprehensive and accurate manner. Questions of this nature normally carry a lot of weight in the marking stakes!

Now use the template on the following page to create your own response to this question.

Some jobs will require an ability to work unsupervised whilst following strict guidelines and procedures. This type of question is designed to assess how trustworthy you are as a person. When answering this question, try to think of an occasion when you have worked on your own following specific guidelines. Once again, ensure that you are specific about a particular situation and avoid being too generic. The following is a sample response to this question.


Describe a situation where you have had to work on your own in accordance with guidelines.

“Whilst working in my current role as a gas engineer I was tasked with fitting a new boiler to a domestic property in a safe and effective manner. I carried out this work unsupervised and was relied upon to follow strict procedural and safety guidelines. I took this course of action because if I did not follow the procedural guidance that I received during my training, then I would be putting lives at risk. I must ensure that I carry out my work responsibly and follow all safety procedures to ensure that my work is carried out in accordance with my company’s policies. As a result of my actions the boiler was fitted to the required standard in accordance with the relevant British Standard and all safety procedures were followed. The customer was satisfied with my work and I was happy that I carried out my duties responsibly and in a competent manner.”

Now use the template provided to create a response based on your own experiences.

If an organisation or business is to improve then it must constantly looking for ways to change, develop and modernise. In order for a company to complete its modernisation agenda, it requires its employees to be adaptable to change. This question is designed to assess what you are like at accepting change. Some people do not like change and see it as ‘change for changes sake’. Employers want to take on people who have no issue with change and who embrace it. When answering this question try to think of a specific situation, either at work, home or through your leisure activities, where a change has been imposed by someone in a position of authority. Take a look at the following sample response to this question.


Describe a situation where you have had to change the way you do something following a change imposed by someone in authority.

“Whilst working in my current job as a recruitment consultant, my manager wanted to restructure the office and change everyone’s roles and responsibilities. The company was performing well but I looked upon this as an opportunity to see if we could improve even further. I fully supported my manager and offered to assist him in the process of change. I strongly believe that change and continuous improvement is important if an organisation is to keep on top of its game. I embrace change and look at it as a positive thing. As a result of my supportive actions everybody soon settled into their new roles. The change process was a success and the organisations end of quarter figures were on the increase.”

IMPORTANT TIP:  As human beings it is only natural to be frightened of change. Many people in many organisations are reluctant to accept change. In some organisations, especially those that fall within the public sector, this can be a real problem. It is important that you can embrace change as it does bring lots of healthy benefits.

Use the template that follows to create your own response to this question.

The clue in this type of question is to READ about the job you are applying for. The question is asking you to match your knowledge, experience and skills with the job you have applied for. Therefore you need to read the job description before responding. Job descriptions or person specifications usually have both ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ criteria included. Basically you must provide evidence of where you can meet the ‘essential’ criteria on your application form. Matching the desirable criteria will also gain you extra marks.

If the company you are applying for have not sent you a copy of the job description then try to obtain a copy of it before completing the form. This will give you an insight into the role that you are applying for. Once you have read the information about the post you will then be able to construct you’re a suitable answer. Try to include any knowledge, skills or experience you may have that relates to the job description.


Now that you’ve read more about the job, please tell us why you’re applying for it and what knowledge, experience or skills you have that might be relevant.

“I am applying for this post because I am looking for a new and challenging role. I enjoy working in a customer-focused environment and believe I would make an excellent employee within your company. I understand that the company is changing and moving forward and I believe you would be an exciting company to work for. I also believe I can bring something to the team in terms of commitment, motivation and enthusiasm.

I have worked in a customer-based role for a number of years now and during this time I have developed skills that can be applied to the role that I am applying for. As well as being a good communicator and possessing excellent practical skills I am also an outstanding team player and understand that this is a very important element of the role.

I have educational qualifications in English Language, English Literature and Art and I am also coming to the end of studying for a Diploma in Management Studies. I also hold a Health and Safety qualification through IODA in Nottingham. I am a fit and active person who visits the gym/swimming pool three times a week and I also play football for a local Sunday team. I am a very good communicator and learn new skills quickly. I am used to working long and varied hours and I understand that the role requires a high level of flexibility, which I am prepared for. I enjoy working with and meeting people from all walks of life and I truly value the benefits of a diverse workforce. To summarise, I am a highly professional, caring, trustworthy, friendly and motivated person and I believe I would make an excellent member of your organisation.”

IMPORTANT TIP:  Have a copy of the job description and person specification next to you when responding to this question and try to match the essential and desirable qualities.

Use the template on the following page to create your own unique response to this question.

This type of question is designed to assess the type of person you are outside of work. This will give the company an idea of how you are likely to perform at work and will tell them if you are fit, healthy and active. When responding to this type of question, make sure you make reference to the job description. What type of duties will you be required to perform and can you match your external activities to them? Being fit and active is always a positive aspect that the assessing staff will be looking for. If you are active outside of work, then you are also likely to be active at work and achieve your tasks to the required standard. If you have recently achieved any educational or academic qualifications outside of work then it would be a good idea to make reference to these too. Now take a look at the sample response before creating your own based around your own skills, knowledge and experience.


Please tell us about anything you get up to outside work that gives us a better idea of what you’re like as a person and why you might be right for our company. Please give the name of the activity and what it says about you.

I attend the gym at least 3 times per week and carry out some light weight work. Whilst at the gym, I usually perform 20 minutes of rowing each time and cover a distance of 5,000 metres. I particularly enjoy swimming and swim 50 lengths, 3 times per week. When I get the opportunity I like to go walking in order to keep healthy. Staying fit and healthy means that I am able to maintain a high level of concentration at work and it also helps to keep my enthusiasm and motivation levels high. This shows that I am a dedicated and determined person who is always looking to improve himself.

I also currently play the drums and the piano. I have always enjoyed being creative and I play the drums in a function band that plays at wedding events and parties on some weekends. This shows that I have the dedication to learn new skills and I have the ability to concentrate on the task in hand when required. Learning new skills is essential to the role that I am applying for and I believe that I have the ability to learn new skills quickly and adapt them to the work environment in a safe and effective manner.

Now use the template provided to create your own response to this question.

Having the initiative to solve problems is integral to some roles, especially those that involve either a managerial or supervisory capacity. Whilst you will normally have set procedures and policies to adhere to at work you must still have the required initiative to solve difficult problems. Before responding to questions of this nature make sure you read the question very carefully first and try to understand what is required. Remember to write a response that identifies the use of your initiative to solve a difficult problem.


Please provide examples of how you have used your initiative to solve a difficult problem.

“During a recent staff meeting I was aware that there were a number of problems between some members of the team. The team wasn’t working effectively so we all discussed ways in which we could improve. The actions of the team were starting to have an effect on the team’s performance, so I decided to take the initiative to resolve the issue. I facilitated the meeting and asked everybody to share their views and opinions. I listened to each person individually and tried to encourage people to come up with solutions in order to improve the team’s effectiveness. A positive point that came from our discussions was that people felt that we didn’t hold enough meetings to talk about the problems we all face. It was agreed that with immediate effect we would hold weekly meetings to discuss issues, gather and share information, and look for ways that we could all support each other in our work. Since the meeting the team has moved forward and is now working far more effectively.”

Use the template on the following page to create your own response to this question.

Having the ability to constantly review your own performance and take steps to improve is an important aspect of everyday life. This is particularly relevant in the workplace and the majority of employers would rather take on someone who is capable of improving and developing.

When responding to this type of question try to think of an example or examples where you have improved yourself. This may be through a training course or educational qualification(s). This type of questions is sometimes asked on application forms where the post applied for involves some form of intensive initial training course.


Please provide a recent example of how you have developed your abilities to improve yourself.

“In order to carry out my duties in my current role effectively I felt that I needed more management skills. I decided to pay for, and embark on, a Diploma Course in Management. I am coming to the end of the course and have found it a useful tool for improving my skills. I am always looking for new ways to improve my skills and knowledge so that I can perform better both in a professional and personal capacity. I also believe it is important to keep fully up-to-date and conversant with company policies. Every week I read the company policy update log to ensure I am fully aware of any changes or amendments to working practices.”

Use the template that follows to create your response to this question.

This type of question may be asked on application forms for jobs that involve a managerial or supervisory role. Try to think of an occasion when you have been part of a team or have even been the leader of a team. When responding to questions of this nature think of a scenario where you worked as part of the team to achieve a task or solve a problem. Now take a look at the following sample response before using blank sheet of paper to construct your own.


Please provide an example of how you have played a positive role as team member or leader.

“In my current role I am responsible for the safety of my team and for ensuring that any health and safety incidents are reported in line with company regulations. I am also involved in coaching and mentoring my team and providing them with feedback, often helping them to improve. I currently lead a team of 18 staff and I am required to ensure the team operates effectively in terms of management, health and safety, and training. Following any incident that relates to health and safety I always fully brief each member of the team to ensure that I have done everything in my power to prevent an incident occurring again. In particular I recently carried out the appraisals of all of my staff. This was a long and difficult process but it was important that I was thorough and consistent in my approach. I identified that two members of the team required development in specific areas so I arranged for consolidation training to be undertaken. This action resulted in improved performance for both of them. As a leader it is my responsibility to identify problems within my team and act accordingly.”

Now use the template that follows to create your own response to this question.

Some careers will require you to work under pressure or to tight deadlines. Examples of this type of role include:

When responding to this question try to think of a scenario where you have worked under pressure but still achieved the task or goal.

Take a look at the following sample response before using a blank sheet of paper to construct your own response based on your own experiences.


Please provide an example of how you have had to work under pressure.

“In my current role as customer service manager I am required to work under pressure on a daily basis. Recently, I was presented with a situation where two members of staff had gone sick leaving me with only three other staff members to manage the shop during a busy Saturday.

During the morning we were due to take a stock delivery which meant that I had to perform many tasks without taking a break. During the day I dealt with two customer complaints, took delivery of the stock, served customers whilst others took their break and also dealt with a fire alarm actuation. In order to achieve each task I both prioritised my workload and delegated roles that could be carried out by someone else to another employee. I maintain a calm and composed attitude throughout the day and always focused on the task in hand. I am often required to perform under pressure and thrive in such conditions. I always adapt well to situations like these and ensure that I still maintain a high level of professionalism at all times.”

Now use the template on the following page to create your own unique response to this question.

Some roles will require you to communicate messages to groups of people. Sometimes that message might be bad news or have a negative impact on someone’s day. Try to think of an occasion where you have had to communicate an important message where you were under pressure. Take a look at the following sample response which will help you to create your own. Once you have read the provided example, use a blank sheet of paper to construct your own response based on your own experiences.


Please provide an example of how you have taken responsibility to communicate an important message.

“Whilst working in my current position as a sales person I was the duty manager for the day as my manager had gone sick. It was the week before Christmas and the shop was very busy. During the day the fire alarm went off and I started to ask everybody to evacuate the shop, which is our company policy. The alarm has gone off in the past but the normal manager usually lets people stay in the shop whilst he finds out if it’s a false alarm. This was a difficult situation because the shop was very busy, nobody wanted to leave, and my shop assistants were disagreeing with me in my decision to evacuate the shop. Some of the customers were becoming irate as they were in the changing rooms at the time. Both the customers and my shop assistants were disagreeing with me. The customers were saying that it was appalling that they had to evacuate the shop and that they would complain to the head office about it. My sales staff were trying to persuade me to keep everybody inside the shop and that it was most probably a false alarm, like it usually is. I was determined to evacuate everybody from the shop for safety reasons and would not allow anybody to deter me from my aim. The safety of my staff and customers was at the forefront of my mind, even though it wasn’t at theirs. I persisted with my actions and eventually got everybody to leave the shop. When the Fire Service arrived they informed me that there had been a small fire at the rear of the shop and that the actions I had taken were the right ones. Everybody was safe and nobody was hurt as a result of the incident.”

And here’s another example of where somebody had to deliver a difficult message:

“Whilst working as a mechanic in my current job I was faced with a situation where a customer, following a routine service, did not want to have an important piece of safety critical work carried out on her car. My task was to explain to her the dangers that she faced by not having the work carried out, and influence her to proceed with the work. I started out by explaining in simple terms the reason for the fault and the fact that she had been driving around with this dangerous problem for some time. I also explained the consequences of not having the work carried out as a matter of urgency and reassured her that the problem was genuine. After careful communication and a detailed explanation of the problem and the dangers she faced, she finally agreed to have the work carried out there and then. I fully understood how she must have been feeling and was sensitive in my communication approach. The result was that the lady would now have a safe car to drive and therefore herself and her family would not be exposed to any unnecessary dangers.”

People who work in sales generally have to deal with customer complaints. Therefore, if you are applying for a job of this nature you may have to respond to this type of question on your application form. Make sure you provide an example of where you went out of your way to resolve the issue. Take a look at the following sample response.


Give an example of where you have dealt effectively with a customer complaint

“Whilst working as a sales representative for my current employer, I received a telephone call from an unhappy customer. It was my task to resolve the situation to his satisfaction whilst operating in accordance with company guidelines. I started out by listening verify carefully and attentively to his concerns and taking detailed notes about his complaint. I informed him that I fully understood his concerns and I reassured him that I would do everything possible to help him and to resolve the issue. The complaint centered on an order which he had placed online. His parcel had not yet arrived and it was now 2 weeks since the order was placed. I immediately dispatched another order priority delivery whilst on the phone to him, making sure that the order would be delivered that same day. I also informed him that I would call him later that day to make sure he was happy with the new order. To make sure that he was fully satisfied with my actions I provided him with a unique racking number for his new order. Later that day, I telephoned the gentleman to check that everything was to his satisfaction. The sound in his voice was very rewarding and I realised that with just a little help I had made such a difference to his day, making him feel like a valued customer. The result of the situation was that an initially unhappy customer was now happy with the service he had received and the company had maintained its positive image.”

Now use the template that follows to create your own response.

Give an example of where you have dealt effectively with a customer complaint.

Chapter 1 The Purpose of an Application Form

Chapter 2 The Use Of Keywords In Your Responses

Chapter 3 Sample Questions and Responses

Chapter 4 Final Tips For Completing A Successful Application


Other Products

examples of job application questions and answers

Ultimate Guide To Building A CV

examples of job application questions and answers

The Ultimate Guide to Completing an Application Form

examples of job application questions and answers

Professional CV Writing Service

examples of job application questions and answers

Police Scotland Application Form Questions and Answers

examples of job application questions and answers

Pass Your A-Levels With A*s

examples of job application questions and answers

One to One Video Masterclass Training

examples of job application questions and answers

Interview Training

examples of job application questions and answers

Interview Skills

examples of job application questions and answers

How To Write What You Want To Say

examples of job application questions and answers

How to Write a CV

examples of job application questions and answers

How to Study: Ace Your Grades

examples of job application questions and answers

How to Get a First at University

examples of job application questions and answers

Free Online Interview Training Course

examples of job application questions and answers

Eleven Plus (11+) A Complete Guide

examples of job application questions and answers

Complete Job Application Forms

examples of job application questions and answers

[Online] Psychometric Tests Training Course

examples of job application questions and answers

[Online] How to Pass In Tray Exercises

examples of job application questions and answers

[Online] Cognitive Ability Tests

examples of job application questions and answers

[Online] Aptitude Tests Training Course

How 2 Become

This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience possible. Cookie information is stored in your browser and performs functions such as recognising you when you return to our website and helping our team to understand which sections of the website you find most interesting and useful.

Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.

If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.

Answers to 10 Most Common Job Interview Questions

Too many job seekers stumble through interviews as if the questions asked are coming out of left field. But many interview questions are to be expected. Need some job interview tips? Monster has you covered. Study this list of popular and frequently asked interview questions and answers ahead of time so you'll be ready to answer them with confidence.

1. What Are Your Weaknesses?

"What are your weaknesses" is one of the most popular questions interviewers ask. It is also the most dreaded question of all. Handle it by minimizing your weakness and emphasizing your strengths . Stay away from personal qualities and concentrate on professional traits: "I am always working on improving my communication skills to be a more effective presenter. I recently joined Toastmasters, which I find very helpful."

2. Why Should We Hire You?

Answer " Why should we hire you ?" by summarizing your experiences: "With five years' experience working in the financial industry and my proven record of saving the company money, I could make a big difference in your company. I'm confident I would be a great addition to your team."

3. Why Do You Want to Work Here?

Many interview questions and answers seek to evaluate whether or not a job is a good fit for a candidate. By asking you, " Why do you want to work here? " the interviewer is listening for an answer that indicates you've given this some thought and are not sending out resumes just because there is an opening. For example, "I've selected key companies whose mission statements are in line with my values , where I know I could be excited about what the company does, and this company is very high on my list of desirable choices."

4. What Are Your Goals?

When you're asked, " What are your goals? " sometimes it's best to talk about short-term and intermediate goals rather than locking yourself into the distant future. For example, "My immediate goal is to get a job in a growth-oriented company. My long-term goal will depend on where the company goes. I hope to eventually grow into a position of responsibility."

5. Why Did You Leave (or Why Are You Leaving) Your Job?

One of the most critical job interview tips: Don't badmouth a former employer. So if an interviewer asks, " Why did you leave (or why are you leaving) your job? " and you're unemployed, state your reason for leaving in a positive context: "I managed to survive two rounds of corporate downsizing, but the third round was a 20% reduction in the workforce, which included me."

If you are employed, focus on what you want in your next job: "After two years, I made the decision to look for a company that is team-focused, where I can add my experience."

6. When Were You Most Satisfied in Your Job?

The interviewer who asks, "When were you most satisfied in your job?" wants to know what motivates you . If you can relate an example of a job or project when you were excited, the interviewer will get an idea of your preferences. "I was very satisfied in my last job, because I worked directly with the customers and their problems; that is an important part of the job for me."

7. What Can You Do for Us That Other Candidates Can't?

Emphasize what makes you unique when you're asked, " What can you do for us that other candidates can't? " This will take an assessment of your experiences, skills and traits. Summarize concisely: "I have a unique combination of strong technical skills, and the ability to build strong customer relationships. This allows me to use my knowledge and break down information to be more user-friendly."

8. What Are Three Positive Things Your Last Boss Would Say About You?

It's time to pull out your old performance appraisals and boss's quotes to answer the question, "What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?". This is a great way to brag about yourself through someone else's words : "My boss has told me that I am the best designer he has ever had. He knows he can rely on me, and he likes my sense of humor."

9. What Salary Are You Seeking?

When you're asked, " What salary are you seeking? " it is to your advantage if the employer tells you the range first. Prepare by knowing the going rate in your area, and your bottom line or walk-away point. One possible answer would be: "I am sure when the time comes, we can agree on a reasonable amount. In what range do you typically pay someone with my background?"

10. If You Were an Animal, Which One Would You Want to Be?

Don't be alarmed if you're asked weird interview questions . Interviewers use this type of psychological question to see if you can think quickly. If you answer "a bunny," you will make a soft, passive impression. If you answer "a lion," you will be seen as aggressive. What type of personality would it take to get the job done? What impression do you want to make?

Go Beyond the Common Interview Questions

Yes, the job search is intimidating, but reviewing interview questions and answers in advance is one way to calm your nerves and boost your confidence. Are you looking for more ways to stand apart from the competition? Set up a free profile with Monster and we can send you career advice, workplace insights, and more job interview tips directly to your inbox. It's a quick and easy way to stay one step ahead.

Most Helpful In Interviewing


Sample Leadership Interview Questions and Answers

By Kathleen Walder, Monster Contributor

11 Sample Angular Interview Questions and Answers

By Dillon Price, Monster Contributor

10 Sample Python Interview Questions and Answers

12 sample java interview questions and answers, 10 sample javascript interview questions and answers.

Top 10 Job Interview Questions and Best Answers

How to answer the most common interview questions.

Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.

examples of job application questions and answers

Top 10 Interview Questions and Best Answers

Behavioral Interview Questions

Questions to ask the interviewer.

How To Prepare for a Job Interview

How to make the best impression.

Are you ready to ace your upcoming job interview? One of the most important parts of interview preparation is being ready to respond effectively to the questions that employers typically ask.

Since these interview questions are so common, hiring managers will expect you to be able to answer them smoothly and without hesitation.

Here are the top 10 interview questions employers are likely to ask, plus 100+ more common job interview questions, example answers, tips for giving the best response, and advice on how to ace the interview.

You don't need to memorize your answers, but you should think about what you're going to say so you're not put on the spot.

Review these most frequently asked interview questions and sample answers, and then prepare your responses based on your experience, skills, and interests. Remember that it’s less about providing the “right” answers and more about demonstrating that you’re the best candidate for the job. 

1. Tell Me About Yourself.

This is one of the first questions you are likely to be asked. Be prepared to talk about yourself, and why you're an ideal candidate for the position. The interviewer wants to know why you're an excellent fit for the job .

Try to answer questions about yourself without giving too much, or too little, personal information. You can start by sharing some of your personal interests and experiences that don't relate directly to work, such as a favorite hobby or a brief account of where you grew up, your education, and what motivates you.

Read More: Examples of the Best Answers

You can even share some fun facts and showcase your personality to make the interview a little more interesting.

2. Why Are You the Best Person for the Job?

Are you the best candidate for the job? The hiring manager wants to know whether you have all the required qualifications. Be prepared to explain why you're the applicant who should be hired. 

Make your response a confident, concise, focused sales pitch that explains what you have to offer and why you should get the job. This is a good time to review the qualifications and the requirements in the job listing, so you can craft a response that aligns with what the interviewer is looking for. 

3. Why Do You Want This Job?

Why are you a good fit for the position? What would you accomplish if you were hired? This interview question gives you an opportunity to show the interviewer what you know about the job and the company, so take time beforehand to thoroughly research the company , its products, services, culture, and mission.

Be specific about what makes you a good fit for this role, and mention aspects of the company and position that appeal to you most.

4. How Has Your Experience Prepared You for This Role?

Hiring managers use this question to learn how your previous work experience and educational background fit the job. To prepare to respond, make a list of the most relevant qualifications you have and match them to the requirements listed in the job description.

It's important to explain how your experience will help the employer if you were to be hired. You can use the  STAR interview method  to prepare examples to share with the interviewer. You don't need to memorize your answers, but do be ready to share what you've accomplished in your previous roles.

5. Why Are You Leaving (or Have Left) Your Job?

Be prepared with a response to this question. You'll need to give an answer that’s honest and reflects your specific circumstances but keeps it positive. Even if you quit under challenging circumstances, now isn't the best time to share what could be construed as too much information with the interviewer.

The interviewer wants to know why you left your job and why you want to work for their company. When asked about why you are moving on from your current position, stick with the facts, be direct, and focus your answer on the future, especially if your departure wasn't under the best circumstances . 

6. What Is Your Greatest Strength?

This is one of the questions that employers almost always ask to determine how well you are qualified for the position. When you are asked about your greatest strengths, it's important to discuss the attributes that qualify you for that specific job, and that will set you apart from other candidates.

When you're answering this question, remember to “show” rather than “tell.” For example, rather than stating that you are an excellent problem solver, instead tell a story that demonstrates this, ideally drawing on an anecdote from your professional experience.

7. What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

Another typical question that interviewers will ask is about your weaknesses . Do your best to frame your answers around positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee, turning seeming “weaknesses” into strengths.

This question is an opportunity to show the hiring manager that you're well qualified for the job. In addition to learning whether you've got the right credentials, the hiring manager wants to know whether you can take on challenges and learn new tasks.

You can share examples of skills you have improved, providing specific instances of how you have recognized a weakness and taken steps to correct it.

8. How Do You Handle Stress and Pressure?

What do you do when things don’t go smoothly at work? How do you deal with difficult situations? The employer wants to know how you handle workplace stress.

Do you work well in high-stress situations? Do you thrive on pressure, or would you prefer a more low-key job? What do you do when something goes wrong?

The best way to respond to this question is to share an example of how you have successfully handled stress in a previous position.

Avoid claiming that you never, or rarely, experience stress. Rather, formulate your answer in a way that acknowledges workplace stress and explains how you’ve overcome it, or even used it to your advantage.

9. What Are Your Salary Expectations?

What are you looking for in terms of salary? Questions about money are always tricky to answer. You don't want to sell yourself short or price yourself out of a job offer. In some locations, employers are legally prohibited from asking you about salary history—but they can ask how much you expect to get paid.

Do your research before the meeting so that you’ll be prepared to name a salary (or salary range ) if you’re asked. There are several free online salary calculators that can provide you with a reasonable range based on your job title, employer, experience, skills, and location.

10. What Are Goals for the Future?

Are you a job hopper? Or do you plan on staying with the company, at least for a while? Where do you envision your career going? Do your plans for the future match the career path for someone typically hired for this position?

This question is designed to find out if you’re going to stick around or move on as soon as you find a better opportunity. Keep your answer focused on the job and the company, and reiterate to the interviewer that the position aligns with your long-term goals.

100+ More Interview Questions and Answers

Need more help? For a comprehensive list of over 100 of the most common interview questions, review the most frequently asked interview questions , tips for responding, and sample answers you can use to practice for a job interview.

Your responses will be stronger if you know what to expect during the interview and have a sense of what you want to focus on. Knowing that you are prepared will boost your confidence and help you minimize interview stress and feel more at ease.

You can also expect to be asked about how you would respond to a specific work-related situation. Here's a list of examples of these behavioral interview questions you may be asked.

How to Answer 5 Common Interview Questions

At the close of the interview, most interviewers ask whether you have any questions about the job or company.

If you don’t have any questions, this can make it seem like you are apathetic about the opportunity. It's always a good idea to have a  list of questions ready, and to be prepared to discuss them .

What the Interviewer Shouldn't Ask

There are some questions that hiring managers should not ask during a job interview for legal reasons. Here are questions that shouldn't be asked , with advice on how to respond diplomatically.

The more time you spend preparing for a job interview , the better your chances will be of acing it. You’ll feel more comfortable speaking with the hiring manager if you’re familiar with the company’s products and services.

Research the company. Before your interview, take the time to learn as much as possible about the job and your prospective employer. There are many different resources you can use to find information and news about the organization, its mission, and its plans.

Tap your connections for insider information. Who you know at a company can help you get hired.

Check LinkedIn to see if you have connections who work at the company. Ask them if they can give you any advice that will help with the interview process.

If you’re a college graduate, check with your career office for alumni who may be able to help.

Make a match. Take the time before the interview to make matches between your qualifications and the requirements as stated in the job announcement. This way, you will have examples at hand to demonstrate your suitability for the job.

Practice your responses. Write out your answer in advance for each question and then read it aloud to ensure it sounds natural. Try to keep it short and sweet. You don’t want to come across as the type of person who endlessly drones on about themselves.

Be prepared to show and tell. It can be helpful to remember the tip “show, don't tell.” For example, rather than stating that you are an excellent problem solver, instead give an example that demonstrates this , ideally drawing on an anecdote from your professional experience.

The first impression you make at a job interview , is going to be the most important one. Hiring managers can decide whether you’re a good candidate, or not, within a few minutes of meeting you. These tips will help you make a terrific first impression.

Dress for success. What you wear to the interview is important because you don’t want to be underdressed or overdressed. A three-piece suit can be as out of place as shorts and a t-shirt. Carefully choose appropriate attire , and don’t be afraid to ask the person who scheduled the interview if you’re not sure what to wear.

Be on time or a little early. You definitely don’t want to keep your interviewer waiting, so be on time or a few minutes early for your appointment. If you’re not sure where you’re going, do a trial run ahead of time so you know how long it will take you to get there.

If your interview is virtual , check to make sure that you're comfortable with the technology ahead of time.

Keep it positive. Always try to put a positive slant on your responses to questions. It’s better to give the impression that you’re more motivated by the possibility of new opportunities than by trying to escape a bad situation. In addition, it’s important to avoid bashing your current organization, colleagues, or supervisor. An employer is not likely to want to bring on someone who talks negatively about a company.

Follow up after the interview. After every job interview, take the time to send a thank-you note or email message sharing your appreciation for the time the interviewer spent with you, and reiterating your interest in the job. If there was something you wish you had said during the interview, but didn’t get a chance to, this is a good opportunity to mention it.

Key Takeaways

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.


  1. Job application common questions

    examples of job application questions and answers

  2. Job application interview and answers

    examples of job application questions and answers

  3. How To Answer Job Application Questions Online

    examples of job application questions and answers

  4. FREE 8+ Job Questionnaire Forms in PDF

    examples of job application questions and answers

  5. Job application form questions

    examples of job application questions and answers

  6. Job application questions and answers

    examples of job application questions and answers



  2. Fresher Candidate को कौनसा Process follow करना चाहिए जो उन्हे CDM or PV मे Job दिलाएगी।

  3. 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐮𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐕𝐥𝐨𝐠

  4. Interview Topper से जाने Number बटोरने का तरीका

  5. Logistics Coordinator Job Description

  6. Never Do These 2 Mistakes While applying for Jobs as Fresher


  1. 16 of Your Most Common Insurance Questions, Answered

    Insurance can be an expensive thing to purchase, and there are plenty of factors that can make your premiums cost even more than you anticipated. That being said, despite the costs, there are some types of insurance you really should have.

  2. What Are the Basic Job Interview Questions?

    Basic job interview questions include topics such as weaknesses and strengths, why the candidate is leaving or has left a position, and his professional goals. Job candidates are often asked about their salary requirements.

  3. What Are Good Skills to Put on a Job Application?

    When applying for a job, good skills to list on a resume or application include the ability to solve complex problems, employ critical thinking, listen actively, use good judgement and make reasoned, rational decisions accordingly.

  4. 35+ Interview Questions and Answers [Full List]

    Why haven't you gotten your Bachelor's Degree/Master's Degree/Ph.D.? Why have you switched jobs so many times? Why did you change your career

  5. Your 2023 Guide to the Most Common Interview Questions and

    What do you like least about your job? What are you looking for in a new position? What type of work environment do you prefer? What's your work

  6. 10 Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

    10 Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them · 1. Could you tell me about yourself and describe your background in brief? · 2. How did

  7. Top 20 Essential Interview Questions and Answers

    I'm very interested in your products/services, especially the mobile applications you're building recently, so I'd be excited to come here and grow my skills

  8. Example questions and answers

    Example questions and answers · Why do you want to work here? · Why do you think you are suitable for this role? · Briefly outline your relevant skills and

  9. 19 Top Interview Questions in 2023 (With Sample Answers)

    19 interview questions with example answers · 1. Tell me about yourself and your qualifications · 2. What makes you unique? · 3. Why do you want to

  10. 100 Common Interview Questions & Answers

    What Are Your Goals for the Future? What Challenges Will You Face Here? What Do You See Yourself Doing in the First 30 Days? What Do

  11. Sample Application Form Questions & Answers

    “I am applying for this post because I am looking for a new and challenging role. I enjoy working in a customer-focused environment and believe I would make an

  12. Answers to 10 Most Common Job Interview Questions

    Answers to 10 Most Common Job Interview Questions · 1. What Are Your Weaknesses? · 2. Why Should We Hire You? · 3. Why Do You Want to Work Here? · 4. What Are Your

  13. Top 10 Job Interview Questions and Best Answers

    Top 10 Interview Questions and Best Answers · 1. Tell Me About Yourself. · 2. Why Are You the Best Person for the Job? · 3. Why Do You Want This

  14. JOB APPLICATION FORM Questions & Answers! (How ...

    JOB APPLICATION FORM Questions & Answers! (How To SUCCESSFULLY Complete A Job Application Form!)