The 10 Most Common Interview Questions

Have an interview coming up?

interviewing.. its difficult on all parts.. what about this crazy question

The best thing that you can do to prepare is to think through the questions you’re likely to be asked and formulate answers ahead of time. Here are the 10 most common interview questions and how to craft a strong answer to each.

Study up to prepare a strong answer for each that highlights your skills and track record.

“Tell me about yourself.”

Focus on the substance of the role and how it interests you. Don’t talk about benefits, salary, the short commute or anything else unrelated to the day-to-day work you’d be doing, or you’ll signal that you’re not particularly enthusiastic about the work itself. Interviewers want to hire people who have carefully considered whether this is a job they’d be glad to do every day, and that means focusing on the work itself – not what the job can do for you.

Charisse: oh so true! Please focus on them and what you can do in skills and attitude!

“Tell me about yourself.”

This means: “Give me a broad overview of who you are, professionally speaking, before we dive into specifics.” You should prepare about a one-minute answer that summarizes where you are in your career and what you’re especially good at, with an emphasis on your most recent job. Keep your personal life out of it; your interviewer isn’t asking to hear about your family, hobbies or where you grew up.

Charisse: please do not add in information about you, your family or negative comments about your present/past employers, this is a biggie!

“What interests you about this job?”

Focus on the substance of the role and how it interests you. Don’t talk about benefits, salary, the short commute or anything else unrelated to the day-to-day work you’d be doing, or you’ll signal that you’re not particularly enthusiastic about the work itself. Interviewers want to hire people who have carefully considered whether this is a job they’d be glad to do every day, and that means focusing on the work itself — not what the job can do for you.

“Why are you thinking about leaving your job?” Or: “Why did you leave your last job?”

Don’t discuss conflicts with your manager or co-workers, complain about your work or badmouth employers. Job seekers are commonly advised to say they’re seeking new challenges, but that only works if you’re specific about those new challenges and how this job will provide them in a way your last job didn’t. It’s also fine to cite things like a recent or planned move, financial instability at your organization or other reasons that are true.

Charisse: now is the time to tell the future employer how you have learned from the past, keep all conversations positive!

“Why would you excel at this job?”

This is your chance to make a case for why you’d shine in the job — and if you don’t know the answer to that, it’s unlikely your interviewer will figure it out either. Since this gets to the crux of the whole interview, you should have a strong answer prepared that points to your skills and track record of experience and ties those to the needs of the job.

“What do you know about our company so far?”

Interviewers don’t want you to simply regurgitate facts about the company; they’re probing to see if you have a general sense of what it’s all about. What makes the company different from its competition? What is it known for? Has it been in the news lately? If it looks like you haven’t done this basic research, your interviewer will likely wonder how interested you really are and whether you even understand what the company does.

Charisse, we provide the overview to you, yet do your own research, learn about them and their successes, research, google, facebook them! They will be doing the same to yoU!!!

“Tell me about a time when …”

Good interviewers will ask about times you had to exercise the skills required for the job. These may be situations when you had to take initiative, deal with a difficult customer or solve a problem for a client. Prepare for these questions so you’re not struggling to think of real examples. Brainstorm the skills you’ll likely need in the job and what challenges you’ll likely face. Then think about examples from past work that show you can meet those needs. When constructing your answer, discuss the challenge you faced, how you responded and the outcome you achieved.

“What would you do in your first 90 days in this position?”

Interviewers are looking for answers that reveal how you set goals and solve problems, and whether you’re ambitious without being unrealistic. You should also acknowledge that you’ll need to take time to get to know the team, what’s working and what can be improved before you make any big decisions — but your answer should still get into specifics to a reasonable extent.

“What’s most important to you in a new position?”

Interviewers want to understand your career goals and whether this job will fulfill them. After all, if you’re looking for a job with lots of public contact and a highly collaborative culture, and this job is mostly solo work, it might not be the right fit for you. It’s in your best interest to be candid and specific when you answer this so you land in a job that aligns with what will make you happiest.

“What salary range are you looking for?”

Job seekers are almost always asked this question, but they often fail to prepare for it and are caught off guard when it comes up. If you wing your answer, you risk lowballing yourself and ending up with a salary offer below what you might have received otherwise. It’s crucial to research the market rate for the job ahead of time.

Charisse: this is so important, I suggest that you ask them… with my skills and education how do I fit into your pay range?


“What questions do you have for me?”

At the end of every job interview, you’ll likely be asked if you have any questions. At this stage, ask open-ended questions about office culture and those that clarify the role. Also ask about next steps in the hiring process and the employer’s timeline for getting back to you. Avoid questions about benefits and pay; hold those for once you have an offer.

No one wants to hire a dummy.

That’s part of what the interview process is for – it’s a chance for your hopefully soon-to-be boss to determine your preparedness for the position, and asking intelligent questions about the company, your boss and the opening you’re applying for is a step in the right direction.

U.S. News asked notable professionals what was the smartest question a job candidate asked them during an interview. Their responses have been edited.

Sara Clemens, chief strategy officer for Pandora Internet Radio

“‘If you were to rank all the people who have done this job in the past, tell me about No. 1 and why you would put them there?’”

Clemens: Why the Question Stood Out

“It demonstrated the individual was critically evaluating the fit between the role and their own capabilities and characteristics.”

Ted Rubin, social marketing strategist, keynote speaker, brand evangelist and acting chief marketing officer for the firm Brand Innovators

“The smartest question a job candidate ever asked me during an interview was something personal about my career that showed they had done their homework.”

Rubin: Why the Question Stood Out


“It was relevant, in context, and incredibly insightful with respect to me and the job she was looking to win.”

Traci Schweikert, senior director of human resources for NPR

“I was describing the organization I was working with at the time to a job candidate, who asked: ‘You’ve described this as a place that welcomes innovation. Can you tell me about a time when you failed at something, or when someone else in the organization failed at something? How did the organization deal with it?’”

Schweikert: Why the Question Stood Out

“In my role I ask situational questions all the time. The job candidate mentioned to me that she’d had friends who started working for ‘innovative startups’ that had stated they wanted good people, but those good people were thrown away when they didn’t immediately succeed. She wanted to ensure the same thing didn’t happen to her.”

Michelle Herrera Mulligan, editor-in-chief of ‘Cosmopolitan for Latinas’

“There are several questions I loved that people asked me or my team on an interview: ‘What qualities did the person who held this job previously have that you’d like to maintain?’ ‘What are the most important qualities that the person filling this job should have?’ ‘What’s your definition of success?’”

Herrera Mulligan: Why the Questions Stood Out

“I loved [the first] question because it showed she cared about what we were looking for, beyond what the job title asked for. The second is a great question because it goes deeper than the job description. It showed that she cared about whether we would be a good fit as colleagues. The third is an amazing question! It was a subtle way of asking what types of goals I would hope to pursue, and for her to pursue, in the position. I liked her right away and put her on the top of my list after this one.”

Joanne Rencher, chief people officer of Girl Scouts of the USA

“The smartest question, hands down, was a candidate who asked me to describe the skills and characteristics of those considered ‘high potentials’ at our company/organization, meaning, those who are known to have excelled through key results and behaviors. In essence, they wanted to know more about my views on the exemplars of my organization.”

Rencher: Why the Question Stood Out

“The candidate was smart enough to do two things, brilliantly and simultaneously: One, sell themselves for the job after what was carefully done homework on the organization, and two, not be satisfied that the salesmanship was sufficient enough to impress. Asking me to describe those considered high potential gave them a clear window into what I considered the ideal match – not in hypothetical terms, either. The candidate went on to sell themselves, but now with information gleaned straight from the prospective employer.”

How has this position evolved since it was created?

Cheryl Palmer, career coach and founder of the career coaching firm Call to Career, says getting a brief history on the role should clear up whether the position has expanded over the years or has been a dead end for employees.

What have past employees done to succeed in this position?

Knowing how the organization measures achievements will help you understand what the expectations will be and whether you have the skill set to meet them, Palmer says. But don’t undermine your past accomplishments just because your route to success doesn’t match up with the one embraced by the company. “You also don’t want to be too narrowly defined by what other people have done. Because you’re a different person, you may approach things a little differently,” she says.

What have you enjoyed most about working here?

Your prospective boss can relay what he or she values most and what led to his or her personal success with the organization. Then, Palmer says, you can internally ruminate about whether you share the same values and can envision yourself working there.

 What is the top priority for the person in this position over the next three months?

This question is helpful so you know what to focus on if you do get the position, Palmer says. Without a clear expectation, she adds, you won’t know what to accomplish or how to make the right impression during your first days on the job.

What are the qualities of successful ( fill in the blank with your career) in this company?

If you’re interviewing for a managerial position, you’ll want knowledge of the skills and core competencies the company treasures in a leader, says David Lewis, founder and president of Operations Inc, a Connecticut-based human resources outsourcing and consulting firm. If excellent people skills and multitasking top the list, emphasize how you’ve demonstrated those traits throughout your career.

If offered the position, can you give me examples of ways I would collaborate with my manager?

As an entry-level staffer, you may want to work with management as a means to showcase your skills and move up. But there’s a distinction between simply taking orders and actively working with a superior who is grooming you for something better. “[Finding] out how an organization utilizes people at the staff level is key,” Lewis says. “Is it a dictatorial environment or a collaborative one?”

What are some challenges that will face the person filling this position?

You owe it to yourself to know what you’re up against. “It just gives you a reality check,” Palmer says. The drawbacks may differ depending on whether the position is managerial or entry-level. As a manager, you may oversee a department that runs on a shoestring budget. As a lower-level staffer, you may work odd hours or get stuck with assignments that lack substance.

Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?

Asking a question like this lets the interviewer know you’re secure enough to openly discuss your vulnerabilities. It also signals confidence and the ability to be coached, says John Kador, author of “301 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview.” “Coachability is a hugely attractive attribute as far as interviewers are concerned,” he explains.

Charisse: Its been a bit of a read, yet, do your homework! Research the position, the company, google and yelp them to best prepare for your interview. Dress in accordance for your position, and the next step in your career. You can only impress once! Do it well!

Trust that we have your best interest at heart, review the overview that we have presented as well, these are your tools to make you the top candidate in the market.

Now, its up to you. Only you can make this the interview that impresses the boss.


Author: Alison Green, U.S. News
Comments: Charisse Toale, Senior Recruiter








No Comments

Add a comment