Getting invited to a job interview is perhaps one of the most exciting parts of the job search process. However, it can easily become a sort of interrogation if you aren’t well prepared for the common job interview questions and their answers.
It is agreed that preparation is necessary but often what to prepare on is the question. Therefore, we have curated some of the most common questions you can be asked in an interview. They are often basic questions but require a predetermined response to get all the points.
How Should You Approach All Questions?
The interview questions will be different hence require different answers. However, the primary reason for the interview is to ascertain whether you are fit for the job and how well you match up against the other candidates.
Another reason for the interview is to assess how well you fit the company profile in terms of culture, beliefs and how well you understand their mission.
It is, therefore, a good strategy to approach each question from this angle without telling them explicitly that “I am a good fit”. Instead, use the questions they ask to provide answers that show them that you are a good fit for the company and the role.
10 Job Interview Questions And Answers
1. Tell Me About Yourself
Introductions aside, this is probably the first question you will be asked when you go into the interview room. As the question implies, the interviewer wants to know more about you. But what exactly do they want to know about you?
While you may be tempted to spit out all your worthy achievements and prove you are well fit for the job, this isn’t the time. In most cases, you go through CV submission and other processes before being invited for the interview. That means they consider you worthy of the job in terms of skills, qualifications and experience.
What they are looking for is a little bit of who you are beyond your work experience. You might start with some interests, hobbies, highlight some activities you pursue such as volunteering. You can throw in a little bit about your current/previous role and highlight what makes it interesting to you.
This approach to answering the questions allows you to give off personal information without going too deep but also highlighting past experiences and what fascinates you about them. Make sure to add your motivation; It helps separate you from the rest.
2. What Is Your Greatest Strength
You may be asked what your greatest strength is. On the surface, this question is easy until you start to think about it. The question often posed to understand your level of self-awareness. It helps to not be too modest but not also sound arrogant.
To have a good balance, start by stating your strength, explain why it is your greatest strength and narrate a scenario where you excelled due to this strength.
3. How Would You Describe Yourself?
“How would you describe yourself” may seem the same as the first question, “Tell me about yourself”. But they aren’t exactly the same. They require slightly different answers.
When asked to describe yourself, what you should focus on is summing your personality in a few adjectives. And again, these adjectives must be relevant to the role and company.
You can check the job description and use the skills required that also fit your personality as your answers. For instance, the role requires attention to detail. You can state that you are thorough and pay attention to details. State why you believe this sums up your personality and narrate a scenario to support your claims. You have a great answer if you are able to add any awards or recognitions you received in relation to it.
Make sure to leave no doubts when you answer a question.
4. Why Do You Want To Work Here?
In all questions you would be asked, you need to understand the motive behind the question to be able to use the right approach to answer the question. In this particular question, recruiters are often looking for which aspects of the role attract you and if those match their company objectives.
You may be passionate about a certain aspect which isn’t the main focus of the requirements of the role. Basing your answer on such a passion will render you not very fit for the role.
To answer this question well, make sure you do your homework by researching the company, studying the job description and if possible why they are recruiting for that role at that particular time. Is it due to a strategic move or someone is leaving the company? These little details will give you insights to align your values to that of the company’s.
Done correctly, you will have made a sure good impression.
5. How Do You Handle Stress?
Immediately you hear this question, you may be tempted to say you don’t experience stress. But that would be a wrong move because that would make them perceive you as dishonest, unrealistic or not serious with your work. Whatever they end up assuming, it is most likely not going to be good.
A better approach would be to state a scenario that could potentially be stressful, or better a stressful situation. Then provide how you managed the stress. Make mention of skills relevant in managing stress such as good time management practices, exercise, and any activities you do to help you manage stress and stay calm and healthy.
6. Are You Able To Work Without Supervision?
In most cases, what the interviewer wants to know is what style of management you prefer. The approach here is to state that you can work without supervision. But not when you aren’t because it will show.
What also matters is the role. Some jobs require collaboration and not just a one-man doing everything. So mention that you can work without supervision, narrate a situation where you had to work without supervision and you did a good job.
Do well to also mention your collaboration skills with others especially on projects and other tasks that involve other team members.
7. What Are Your Salary Expectations?
What the recruiter or interviewer is looking for is whether they can afford you and how much value you place on your capabilities. If you are a modest person like me, you may downplay your value. But this isn’t necessarily a good thing since they may think you aren’t that good after all hence the low-value placement.
What you need to do is go on a little research trip. Do a survey. Ask some friends. If you have friends who work there, try to ask them what you should aim for. This will give you a pretty good idea about the accepted pay for similar roles and responsibilities. Use the job description since sometimes the role titles may be the same but come with slightly different roles and responsibilities.
By the end of your research, you should have a standard range of salary for the role.
Now to how exactly to answer this question. There are two ways to answer the question. One involves stating the range you found per your research and the other involves not mentioning any amounts.
In the first instance, tell them you are flexible and you would like to be compensated based on your years of experience, qualifications and skills. And you would be happy to received between X and Y amount. Do let them know that you are open for discussions on that.
The second instance involves simply stating that you are flexible on your terms and would like to be paid based on the value you provide the company. Therefore, if you have a better understanding of the roles and resposibliltes, you can give a specific salary expectation. Also, state that you are open to further deliberations on that.
In most cases, the interview doesn’t conclude and you can then be more specific when it comes to the actual offer and discussions pertaining to salary. For now, your job is to ace the interview as any slight turn off may harm your chances of even getting called for another engagement.
8. What’s Your Work Ethic Like?
When asked what your work ethic is like, you may want to state emphatically that you are a hard worker and you always get the job done. Hold on, tiger.
Going too straight and blunt may seem too generic and cliche. Moreover, what they often want to know is how well you work as a person. Do you get the work done when it is supposed to be done or yo like to live it to chance and blame someone or something? They also want to know how well you work with others. How well do you collaborate with other players on the team?
Start by stating some of your good work ethic skills such as results-oriented, always meets the mark, “Literally stay at the office until the job is done” and so forth. Do well to add a scenario where you exhibited some of these characteristics. If you received praise, an award or any form of recognition for them of them, mention it. It adds more believability to it. If they aren’t so sure, they can simply make contact and confirm. But mention someone to give them a lead.
9. What Drives/Motivates You?
This interview question is one of the self-awareness test questions. They are looking for how well you know yourself.
The second level to this question is that they want to know whether your motivational values match with the company and the role you are applying for. You may have lots of personal and professional motivations.
Take some time to think about it in reference to what they might be looking for and provide an appropriate answer. Knowing what matters to the company will also be of great help in giving a good answer.
It helps to state a passion that drives you daily. State how this has impacted your life and how you hope to use it in their organization. If it is a value or passion that the company shares, the better. Such an alignment, if well-explained screams “I am your guy/lady!”
10. How Does This Role/Job Fit Your Career Goals?
Beyond your fit, qualifications, skills and experiences, they want to know your plans. No HR manager will want a new hire leaving soon. It shows they didn’t do quite a good job. In most cases, they want to know what your plans are, for career advancement and in the organisation. What contribution does your role in the organisation play in your plans? Do you plan to climb the ladder in that organization or you see this as a temporal opportunity? You need to assure them of how this fits in your career plans and that you intend to play the long game to grow with the organization.
A general caveat (disclaimer) here is, the questions will not always be asked using these exact phrases and words. They are likely to be more conversational and natural. So take some time to match them to one of the questions you have prepared for and deliver your prepared answer.
Planning means you are on the right track. Take time to ponder on these questions, align them with your personality and career goals. Writing them down is a good idea and rehearsing is even better.
Getting a job shouldn’t be a hassle. We hope these job interview questions and answers does make this statement true.