Being prepared for all the interview questions that may come at you is impossible. However, there are some common interview questions that seem to be a constant recurrence in most interviews. And these can be interviews from a variety of industries. They all seem to have a general theme of asking the same questions. And being a hiring manager myself, there are a set of questions – regardless of job requirement, that I will ask every candidate who is being interviewed.
When walking into an interview, you will undoubtedly not know all the questions that will come at you. In preparation for this, spend some time before the interview to get the answers to these common interview questions. In doing so, you will be much more prepared to focus your thoughts and attention on the other questions that you will be asked.
Note however that while these are common interview questions, hiring managers do not want to hear canned responses. That is worse than not knowing the answer itself. Make sure you are prepared to answer the question, and that you do it authentically. If you have memorized an answer, everyone will see right through you.
Now that you have the foundation down, lets get into the list of most common interview questions and the answers too.
1. Tell Me About Yourself
While this seems like an easy question, you need to tread lightly. This question isn’t asking you what your hobbies are. It is also not asking you what your entire work history was. What it is asking you is to give your audience a high level overview of your career thus far without going into much detail. Take snippets of your past work history and build a story from that to the next position, to your current status. Keep this answer between 1-2 minutes.
2. Why Are You Looking for a New Job?
So this is a very common interview question that most managers and recruiters ask. Whatever the reason, make sure you are communicating the truth but only as much as they need to know. No one needs to know that you were paid well below your worth, and so you are looking for something else. Stick to points such as – I was let go because the project/contract ended. Or, I’ve outgrown my position at the company and I no longer feel challenged. Have a sob story? No need to disclose that. Keep it simple.
Related: How to Dress for an Interview
3. What are Your Salary Expectations?
While most managers will not ask this question in an interview, I’ve been in some that have. And this interview question threw me for a loop. I was not prepared to discuss this directly, since most salary negotiations are done through recruiters these days. In any case, you should be prepared. And while I do not suggest spitting out a number, I suggest deflecting the question. You could let them know that you are working through that and ask if it’s okay to get back to them. Usually managers will not push you past that point.
Also, some managers will ask you about your current salary. It is not a requirement to give that out, so you can navigate away from that. According to Paycor, some states have banned recruiters and hiring managers from asking this invasive question.
Related: How to Negotiate Your Salary
4. What are Your Strengths?
This is such a copout of an interview question. Everyone is always going to exaggerate what they can do, so I don’t think this is an appropriate question these days, but some managers are still asking this. In any case, make sure you have no more than 3 strengths to respond with when this answer comes about.
5. What are Your Weaknesses
Again another copout interview question, but yes, this is still being asked. The most infamous answer I have heard is “I’m a workaholic”. When answering this question, try to keep it to 1 weakness and make sure its something that is a weakness, but that will not directly impact the position or company.
6. What Are Your Career Goals
The reason this is a common interview question is because the manager wants to know if you have a vision for your future. And they want to know if that future involves this company or not. Basically, are going to dip out in 6 months or are you someone who will dig in and stay a while.
7. Do You Have Any Questions?
Never say no to this question. You should have already researched the company and the position beforehand. So use that information to come up with 3 questions about the job, company, and your future at the company. Hiring managers like to see that you’ve done your research and that you are invested in the position. This is also your opportunity to know if this company and position are a good fit for you.
8. What Are You Looking for in Your Next Position?
Trick question. They want to know if the position you are being interviewed for is actually something you want. Make sure you did your homework and researched the position and the company enough to weave the job roles and responsibilities into your question. Not verbatim, of course, but the general idea.
9. What Do You Like and Dislike about Your Current Job?
Aiii. Another trick question for you. Here is an opportunity for you to make sure you highlight the great things about your position and how you love it, but also use this as an opportunity for you to navigate away from the “what did you dislike” portion. You can do this but stating how great it’s been, but that you’ve outgrown the position. This is similar to question 2 above, so make sure your answers line up. I have been that manager that asks both these questions at different times to see if I am going to get a different answer. 🙂
10. Tell us a Time when You Handled a Stressful Situation
Always be prepared for these situational questions. They will ALWAYS be there in any list of interview questions. This is one to remember and practice the story so you have all your facts and timelines in order and can summarize it and how well you dealt with it. It’s not bad to be proud of how you handled a situation.
Well there you have, these are the most common interview questions that are asked today. You will do yourself a huge service if you know and practice the answers to these questions. Since everyone’s situation is different, your story will be yours. Make sure you are telling the truth, but only as much as you need to share. At the end of the day, this is a job interview not a CIA investigation, so you are in control.
I hope some of these questions help you better position yourself for your next interview. Good luck to you, poppet!
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