Top Twenty Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)
When preparing for your next interview, there are some common questions that most employers ask. These questions help them figure out if you have the right skills, background, and personality for the job they have open. By having answers to common interview questions, you can show that you are a qualified and well-prepared candidate and increase your chances of getting a job offer. This article gives you the top 20 interview questions that hiring managers ask, as well as tips and examples to help you answer many of them.
Why is it important to know the answers to the 20 most common interview questions?
A big part of making a good impression is being ready for the top 20 questions that hiring managers ask. By having answers ready for these common interview questions, you can show that you are a confident and qualified candidate. If you give thoughtful answers to questions and show off your relevant skills and experiences, hiring managers may remember your interview. The point of an interview is to get to know the person you’re meeting with and show them that you’re the right person for the job.
Top 10 interview questions
Here are the answers to 10 of the top 20 interview questions to help you prepare for your own:
1. Why are you interested in working for us?
Hiring managers ask this question to see if you have done any research to prepare for the interview. You should tell them a few things you like about their company when you answer this question. Before you go to your interview, check out the company’s website and social media pages. You might even be able to find reviews or news articles online that can help you learn more.
Example: “Your company is new and different, which is why I’d like to work for it. I just heard that your engineering team is working with the government to find a more environmentally friendly way to recycle plastic. I care a lot about the environment, so I’d love to work on a team that comes up with ways to do things that are better for the environment.”
2. Could you tell me about yourself?
This question helps the person who might hire you find out more about you. Talk about some of the things you like to do when you’re not at work, and give them an overview of your career. Talk about some of the things you like to do to show that you are a well-rounded person.
Example: “Of course. I grew up on a horse farm in Montana with my family, where I helped take care of more than 20 horses at once. I wanted to be a vet tech because I grew up surrounded by animals. I’ve worked here for five years. Most of the time, I work with cats and dogs, but I’ve treated other animals before. When I’m not taking care of animals, I like to play hockey with some of the people I used to play with. We play together at a gym near us once a week. I also like to go hiking, mountain biking, and take pictures of animals.”
3. Why did you decide to work in this field?
If a hiring manager wants to learn more about you, they might ask you this question. By asking a candidate why they went into their field, hiring managers can learn more about their personality and interests. In your answer, briefly describe what got you interested in your job. Try to remember some good things that happened when you were just starting out.
Example: “Since I was a child, I’ve been interested in science. My dad used to buy me chemistry kits to play with because I wasn’t interested in most toys. As I got older in high school, I took advanced chemistry and biology classes. When I got to college, it was easy for me to choose chemistry as my major. As I learned more about the field, I realized that I should be doing research.”
4. What do you do well?
When a hiring manager knows your strengths, they can see how valuable you could be to their team. Read the job description to learn what skills the company is looking for. This will help you decide what your best qualities are. By making your answer fit the job, you can stand out from other applicants.
Example: “I’m good at talking to people, which is one of my strengths. I’m good at expressing my own ideas, and I’m also a good listener. By adding to the conversation, I show that I’m interested in what other people have to say. One of my strengths is that I can keep things in order. I’m good at keeping track of all my tasks, and I like coming up with simple ways to organize my work.”
5. What do you do badly?
A hiring manager might ask you this question to find out what skills you need to work on. If you’re going to talk about a weakness, pick a skill or trait that won’t get in the way of your job. Show the people who will hire you that you already have a plan to improve your weaknesses.
Example: “One of my weaknesses is that I can’t find a good balance between work and life. I’m the kind of person who keeps work notifications on after work so that I can be reached even when I’m not at work. My goal is to make clear boundaries between my personal life and my work life so that I can feel more refreshed when I go to work each day. Another weakness is taking on too much work. Before I offer to help my coworkers, I want to make sure I’ve finished my most important tasks.”
6. Tell me about a problem at your last job that you had to solve.
The person who is hiring you wants to know how well you can solve problems. Use the STAR method to tell a story about a time you solved a problem. This means you have to explain what happened, what you had to do, what you did, and what happened as a result.
Example: “One of my engineering interns had trouble getting all of his work done on time when I was the team leader. My boss told me that I needed to help my intern do a better job. I gave my intern a performance review and helped him figure out what he did well and what he could do better. We told him what his goals were and how to reach them. He was doing what he should have been doing after two weeks.”
7. Have you ever had to run something?
If you are applying for a job as a manager or supervisor, the person in charge of hiring may ask you this question. Tell us about the best things you’ve done as a leader in your answer. You can talk about times when you were in charge even if you haven’t been in charge of anything.
Example: “Yes. At my last job, it was up to me to train all the new interns. I had to plan their training and make materials to help them understand what they were supposed to do. I made a mentorship program because it was a big part of my job to make them feel welcome. This gave the interns a chance to meet and learn from people who worked there full-time.”
8. How do you keep things in order?
This question tells the person who is hiring you what you do or what tools you use to stay organized. In your answer, tell them how you organize your work in general. Use a digital planner or post-it notes to show how your process works.
Example: “I stay on top of things with the help of my electronic planner. I look at my planner every morning and make changes based on what is most important to me that day. It has a lot of helpful features, like event reminders and color-coding. I can also connect it to my work calendars, which helps me stay on top of things no matter where I am.”
How do you stay up to date on what’s happening in your field?
It’s important for many jobs to know what’s going on in the field. People in charge of hiring want to know that you will help their company stay on top of the market. Talk about what trade magazines or forums you read in your answer.
Example: “Every morning, I read Marketing Buzz to find out what’s happening in my field. I like to see what other companies do and what tools they use. I also read a few marketing forums to see what people in the field are talking about. I recently heard, for instance, that more brands are using guerilla marketing to reach their target audience.”
Why is it important to be able to talk to people well?
In a lot of jobs, you have to talk to clients or team members. This interview question is a chance for you to show how well you can talk to people. Explain that communication is a key part of working as a team or with other people.
Example: “Communication is important because it helps teams work together better. Everyone can know what is expected of them and what their part is in a project if they can talk about it. By talking to each other often, the team can make sure they are on task and can finish on time.”
Additional interview questions
Here are the rest of the top 20 questions that hiring managers may ask during an interview:
- Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult person.
- How do you keep yourself going?
- What skills do you want to get better at?
- Why do you want to work somewhere else?
- What do you do to deal with stress?
- Where do you want to be in five years?
- What are a few of your current goals?
- What do you have to offer to our group?
- How would you describe yourself in three words?
- How well do you get along with others?
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