Interviewing for jobs can feel overwhelming at times, and it can be hard to determine the “right” way to answer questions during interviews. We get it, and we’re here to help you prepare so your interviews will go as smoothly as possible. Here are some of the most common interview questions you should be ready to answer at your next job interview, along with our best tips for answering them.
1. “Tell me about yourself.”
This is one of the first questions you’ll be asked in most job interviews. Since it’s so broad and open-ended, answering it can be daunting. Remember that a key reason interviewers ask this question is to transition into the bulk of the interview, and it’s also one of the first steps in getting to know you.
As a general rule, you should talk about your current professional role, share some information about your past and what led you to where you are now, and explain what your goals are for the future. Try to make your answer relate back to the role you’re interviewing for as much as possible without making it seem forced.
2. “Why are you leaving your current job?”
Talking about your professional past can feel a little personal and intimidating. Most interviewers who ask this question simply want to know more about your career goals and what motivates you professionally. It’s also a way for the interviewer to gauge how you answer difficult questions and handle complex situations like leaving a job.
The most important thing to remember when answering this question is to stay positive and brief. You don’t want to spend this time talking trash about your previous (or current) employer. Instead, try focusing on what about the new role interests you in comparison to your past or current role in a positive and concise way.
3.“Why do you want to work here?”
Most interviewers use this question as a way to see how much research you’ve done on the role and the organization in addition to gauging your true interest in working at the company. Showing an interest in the organization and the role can really only help your chances of being hired, so it’s important that you’re prepared to answer this question well.
Make sure you spend a decent amount of time researching the company prior to the interview. Pick out a few key highlights you want to mention in the interview when you’re asked why you want to work there. You could talk about a personal connection to the company’s mission, an aspect of the company culture you think you’ll mesh well with, or anything else that shows your genuine interest in working for the company.
4. “Why should we hire you for this role?”
You’re likely not the only applicant the interviewer is speaking with for this role, so you need to do your part to show them why you’re the right person for the job. This is your chance to emphasize what makes you different from the other candidates and how you’ll benefit the company as a whole if you’re hired.
When you’re asked this question during your next job interview, briefly highlight your qualifications again, talk about the results your work produced at your past or current role, and explain how you envision yourself fitting into the company’s culture. Don’t be afraid to bring up things such as relevant interests or volunteer experience that might set you apart from other candidates.
5. “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
If you dread being asked this question in a job interview, you’re not alone. It’s one of the most intimidating and difficult interview questions to answer because it feels so abstract and high-pressure. Don’t worry– no interviewer is looking for you to have your entire life figured out. Instead, they want to learn more about your future goals and how much long-term value you’ll bring to the company if you’re hired.
As with all of your other interview answers, it’s important to connect this answer back to the position you’re applying for. An easy way to do this is to talk a little bit about how the role will help you reach your professional goals. If your answer to this question shows personal drive, enthusiasm for the role in question, and an intention to benefit the company overall, the interviewer should be satisfied.
6. “What are your greatest strengths?”
Talking about your strengths sometimes seems a little awkward because it can feel like you’re bragging or talking yourself up too much. There is definitely such a thing as going over the top, but you also run the risk of not accurately reflecting your skillset or standing out in the interviewer’s mind if you’re too modest.
Try making a list of your relevant skills and the ways you’ve used them to succeed in past roles. Pick one or two of your strongest or most relevant skills and be ready to talk about them. It’s best to choose strengths that directly relate to the job you’re applying for when possible.
7. “What are your greatest weaknesses?”
Talking about your strengths is hard, but talking about your weaknesses can be even harder. The good news is that most interviewers ask this question because they want to see if you have growth potential, if you’re self-aware, and if you’ll be a good fit for the role. They’re not trying to pick you apart or make you feel bad about yourself– trust us.
One of the easiest ways to tackle this question is by again making a list of your relevant skills. This time, choose one or two you think you could improve on but that aren’t necessarily directly related to the role you’re interviewing for. If you’re applying for a copywriting role at a marketing agency, for example, it’s probably okay to say that math isn’t your strongest skill. Don’t forget to follow up with your plan for addressing or working on your weaknesses to show that you’re motivated and proactive.
8. “What are your salary expectations?”
Talking about money can be uncomfortable, especially in a professional setting. It’s important to be realistic and transparent when you’re asked about your desired salary, though. This will help the interviewer determine whether or not they have the budget to hire you, and it will also give you a chance to show that you know your worth and how much value you’ll add to the organization if hired.
You can prepare for this question by using a website like Indeed Salaries or Glassdoor to estimate how much other professionals in your field with your level of experience are getting paid for similar roles in similar locations. Have a salary range in mind when you go into your interview so you’re not stuck pulling a random number out of thin air, and be ready to explain how you decided on the range you’ve chosen.
9. “Do you have any questions?”
The answer is yes! You should always have at least one or two thoughtful, open-ended questions ready to go when you’re asked this at the end of most interviews. It will show the interviewer that you’re interested, engaged, and personable.
The best way to prep for this question is to check out the job description and company website to see if you do have any genuine questions that you’d like to have answered. If you truly can’t think of any questions or if all of your questions have been answered during the interview, here are a few additional ones you can fall back on:
- What does a typical day in this role look like?
- What is your favorite part about working for this company?
- If hired for this role, what will my first 90 days look like?
Ready to make a career move and start interviewing for your next professional role? Contact Stratice today!