The 9 Most Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

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Got a job interview coming up? Congrats! Landing an interview is never easy, and doing so is just the first step on the road to being hired. (If you still need to get there, maybe your resume is holding you back. Compose a stellar resume that sets you apart with the help of expert resume writers.)

In your interview, you’ll have to field some tricky questions and make yourself shine. We don’t know exactly which questions your interviewer will ask, but a number of common interview questions are likely to pop up, and we’ll show you how to answer them.

1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

The classic, and perhaps the most common interview question—but how do you answer it? The interviewer has already seen your resume and your LinkedIn profile, but you can expand on that information by explaining why you took the jobs you did, why you went to the schools you did, and what particular experiences were meaningful for your career or personal development. Basically, give the interviewer some background on you.

2. Where do you see yourself in five years?

This job interview question is so common it’s a cliché. The key to answering it is to be ambitious but realistic, ensuring your goals align with those of the company. Your answer should strike the right balance between ambition and humility and should be relevant to the position. You can say you’re not sure, but in that case, emphasize the role you expect the position to play in your professional development.

3. Why should we hire you specifically?

Of all the common interview questions, this may be the most direct, which makes it intimidating and hard to answer. However, taking the right approach to this question can help you sell yourself. Highlight the fantastic results you’ll deliver, how well you’ll fit into the company culture, and which skills and qualities set you apart from other applicants. You’ll have to go above and beyond the skills required for the position, since the other candidates will have those, too.

4. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

This job interview question is famously common, and it’s also known for being difficult to answer. In terms of your strengths, name qualities relevant to the position, and be specific. You can elaborate on your answer by describing a situation where your strength helped make a difference.

In terms of your weaknesses, honesty is a must. Don’t cop out by saying you’re a perfectionist or get too absorbed in your work. Instead, name a real weakness that won’t impact your performance in the position too drastically, and give examples of how you’re working to improve yourself.

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

This is a common question because your answer is important for interviewers to know. The key is to remain positive. Don’t badmouth your company, boss, or colleagues, as the interviewer will then expect the same attitude toward your new company. Instead, focus on the opportunities the new position offers and how it can help you grow more than your current job would. Instead of describing your motivation to leave your current company, talk about your motivation for joining the prospective company.

6. Can you explain the gap in your employment?

If there’s a gap in your employment history, chances are high that you’ll have to answer this common interview question. You should be honest, but always try to paint the situation in a positive light. Make sure to highlight all the self-improvement (whether professional or personal) endeavors you undertook, including doing volunteer work, taking classes, or taking up creative projects.

7. What would your boss and colleagues say about you?

This question commonly pops up in job interviews, and it’s always hard to answer questions from other people’s perspectives. Since the hiring manager will be calling your boss and other references anyway if you get the job, you can’t lie. This is a good opportunity for you to highlight strengths and qualities that haven’t surfaced already in the interview, giving examples if needed.

8. If we hire you, what would your first 90 days in the position be like?

This job interview question may not be as common as some, but it’s still frequently asked. So how do you answer it? Start by talking about how you would familiarize yourself with the position, your tasks, and the company culture. Describe whom you would talk with to learn more. Try to come up with meaningful ways you could contribute right off the bat, and explain how you’ll ensure your work is as valuable as possible.

9. Do you have any questions for me?

Virtually every job interview will end with this question, making it undoubtedly one of the most common. There is a right answer—yes. But what questions should you ask?

Don’t ask questions related to work hours, salary, or benefits. Keep your questions focused on the position, the work you’ll be doing, the people you’ll be working with, and the company culture. You can even ask the interviewer personally what they like about working with the company. The point is to demonstrate your interest and engagement in the position.

Doing a job interview is nerve-wracking, and it’s never clear how you should answer the questions, even the common ones. Preparation is key, which is why you may find it helpful to practice with a mock interview session. However, if you haven’t landed an interview yet, you should work on your resume instead. Hire professional resume writers to craft you a superb resume and help you on your way to your dream job.

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