How to Answer the 10 Most Common Mock Interview Questions

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During a job interview, hiring teams usually ask at least some of the most common interview questions. The smart strategy is to prepare answers for these questions before you go into an interview. You’ll probably be nervous during the interview, and being prepared is the best confidence booster. And since you know yourself better than anyone, an honest, sincere approach is the best approach.

You can prepare for your interview ahead of time with audiovisual tools and with trusted friends or family. You can also conduct a mock interview with the job success pros, among other career resources. Here are 10 mock interview questions so you can start practicing your responses.

1. Why did you leave your previous position?

If you’re still employed, this question could also be framed as, “Why do you want to leave your current position?” Give a positive viewpoint of the company, but add something like, “We were growing in different directions, and I saw little room for advancement.” If you were let go for financial reasons, be honest and explain the circumstances. If you were fired for performance reasons, be honest, but talk about lessons learned and add something like, “I do feel like I’m a better person because of the experience.”

2. Why are you seeking a position with our company?

If applicable, your previous response about personal growth could be expanded upon here. You can talk about seeking new opportunities and challenges in your field that your previous employer didn’t offer. Make sure you’ve done your research on your prospective company. Learn as much as you can about their history, mission, and culture so you can talk with some authority and make a connection between the company and what you can offer them. If you share some of the same values, they should begin to see that you’re a good match.

3. What are your greatest strengths?

Don’t say, “I have so many strengths I’ve lost count!” During the mock interview, practice by being specific with two or three of your best attributes. You could say, “I’m always learning something new in my field through online courses or continuing education classes.” If the job involves a lot of person-to-person interaction, you could say, “I’ve always been keenly interested in human relations.” In both of these cases, you’ll go further by citing examples, such as particular classes you’ve taken.

4. What do you consider your biggest weakness?

There’s no perfect way to answer this question. Your reply should reflect something you honestly see as a weakness or shortcoming, but you’ve been working hard to improve. For example, if the position requires a strong knowledge of Microsoft Office and you’re a little weak on one or two of the applications, you could say, “I haven’t had to opportunity to use Excel that much, but I have started an online course, and I’m starting to feel more comfortable with it.” Also, when this mock interview question is asked, don’t twist it by answering, “I’m too much of a perfectionist.” We all have weaknesses, so it’s best to own up to them.

5. We have several candidates for this position; why should we select you?

If you’ve done your research on the company, you should have some insight into what they are seeking. Think about your skills and experience. How do they fit the company and set you apart from other candidates? Your reply might be something like, “I’ve heard you’re expanding your St. Paul branch. I think my experience as a materials coordinator would be a great asset for that effort.”

6. How do you handle mistakes on the job?

The point of this mock interview question is to discover whether you are accountable and know the process for fixing problems. If you’ve gone a year on the job without making a mistake, then you’re not working very hard at your job. Of course, we mean honest mistakes. Take this response for example: “I was in a hurry once and inadvertently ordered 2,000 reams of paper instead of 200. We discovered the error when the order arrived. I was able to talk our vendor into taking the extra reams back. It cost us a bit in shipping, but I learned to take greater care when ordering online.”

7. Do you prefer working as a team or by yourself?

Loners generally don’t make effective employees, so frame your reply to this mock interview question carefully. For example, “I take great care in making sure there’s good communication among all team members and that everyone has the same objectives. That goes a long way when I have to work on part of a project by myself because I always have the final goal in mind.”

8. What are your career goals?

Make sure your reply reflects who you are and what you are seeking in a career. For example: “My career path includes a good working knowledge of marketing, which I can utilize for my goal of going into management when I feel the time is right.”

9. How do you handle difficult coworkers?

This is one of the trickier mock interview questions. You don’t want to appear meek, but you don’t want to come off as combative either. Be well prepared for a question like this. One response could be, “I first try to discover why a coworker is being difficult. I’ve found from experience that there’s often an underlying reason, such as a personal problem. People are more apt to respond positively when you show a sincere interest in their life.”

10. Are you willing to work overtime?

This mock interview question tests your potential loyalty to the job and company, so frame your response carefully. You might give an open-ended reply: “If there are times when the workload demands it, I don’t see a problem with working extra hours to make sure tasks are completed.”

We hope these mock interview questions help you land your next great job. Do you want more help preparing for job interviews? Get a mock interview and constructive feedback, in addition to professional resume writing and more.

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