Neal Kaplan I'm a director of technical communications working for a data analysis startup in Redwood City. I started as a technical writer, and since then I've also been learning about information architecture, training, content strategy, and even something about customer support. I'm also passionate about cross-team collaboration and user communities.

What are the 10 most common interview questions and answers?

14 min read

  • Tell me who you are.
  • What is your strength?
  • Which is your greatest weakness?
  • Why would we hire you?
  • Is there anything positive your boss would say about you?
  • What are your expectations for your salary?
  • Why are you leaving your job?

I branched out from copywriting and became more passionate about social media. I developed most of my paid ad and social copywriting experience through live training events. Before an interview, study the job description and make sure you talk about the skills you need in order to get the job.

My passion and dedication to the industry has led me to understand and resolve employee issues at a deeper level. In my data entry work, I double check everything so that I don’t submit anything that is incorrect.

It might be a good idea to back off on the answer “Because I really need a job.” The sales pitch should explain why you are the right person for the job. To build confidence in the interviewer’s decision to hire you, tell them what makes you unique.

What are the 10 most common interview questions and answers 2021?

  • Tell me how you are.
  • Why hire you?
  • Do you have your greatest strength?
  • Is your greatest weakness?
  • Why are you interested in working for us?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment?

I want to give you a quick and easy way to prepare for your job interview, and of course, that begins with learning how to answer the most common job interview questions for 2021.

We went out of our way to make sure that we were sharing the latest and greatest techniques for answering each question. Some of these questions may seem tired and cliche, but I guarantee you they are still being asked in interview rooms and remotely via Zoom around the world in 2021.

We will cover those in the future. BONUS PDF CHEAT SHEET: Download our “Job Interview Questions and Answers PDF Cheat Sheet” that gives you word-for-word sample answers to the interview questions in this article. One of the most common interview questions is the opening one, and it seems to trip up a lot of job seekers every year.

If you know what strengths and qualities the company is looking for, you can show the hiring manager your strengths and qualities in the job description or website. Jeff’s tip is to ask the hiring manager a question at the end of your answer that shows you understand what issues the company is looking for you to solve. This is one of the most common questions and it gives you a chance to stand out from the crowd and show the hiring manager how you can help the company.

Show the hiring manager that you are the right person to fill the position. If you have researched the firm and are prepared, you should be able to show you know some important details about the company.

Don’t get discouraged if the hiring manager mentions that they have lots of very well qualified candidates. We have prepared a Job Questions and Answers PDF Cheat Sheet that will give you perfect sample answers to Why Should We Hire You as well as other questions on this page.

We wrote an in depth post about our strengths and weaknesses. If you pick a weakness that isn’t a key competency for the job and show you have taken steps to work on it, you will be fine.

We have prepared a Job Questions and Answers PDF Cheat Sheet that will give you perfect sample answers to What’s Your Greatest Weakness as well as the other questions on this page. Show how your strengths fit in with the company culture. Don’t say “cause I need the money.” You would be surprised how many people think this is cute.

Bring up something specific that you’ve found during your company research phase and tie it in with your answer. The event can be an example of why you admire the company and want to work for them. If you were let go from your last job, you will have to show what you learned from the experience and what steps you have taken to address the reasons you were let go.

You should reference a specific characteristic of the company you are interviewing for if it was the reason you left. Explain what you learned from the experience, because the interviewer knows you’re human, you make mistakes, and just wants to see that you were able to do something about it.

Don’t say “It’s time for a career switch and I would like to try my hand at the job you are offering” or “I’m tired of doing the same old thing.” Give a positive reason for why you want to head off in a new direction.

Sample answers to Why Did You Leave Your Last Job and other questions can be found in the Job Questions and Answers PDF Cheat Sheet. You want to pick an accomplishment that shows you have the qualities the company values and that are desirable for the position you are interviewing for. Discuss how you will be a perfect fit for the company and the position you are interviewing for. The “greatest accomplishment story” should highlight skills that would be useful in the job you’re interviewing for.

You could finish your answer with something like: “which is why I’m so excited for the possibility of working in this type of team environment.” I think I thrive in collaborative situations and I’d love to bring that to the company. It’s important to pick a success story that shows you are a good fit for the job and company you are interviewing for.

Pick an example where you can tackle a problem at the company you are interviewing for. Read our behavioral 101 article for explanation of the method. If you want to stand out, tell a success story that not only shows you handling a problem that could arise in the position you’re interviewing for, but also shows you have other desired qualities the company desires. The question catches a lot of job seekers off guard because it seems simple on the surface, but there are a couple of traps that you could fall into.

Check out our post on where do you see yourself in 5 years. When you answer the question you should show your commitment to the position they are interviewing you for. This job is just a stepping stone for you, don’t show ambition to the point of seeming like this particular job is just a stepping stone for you.

This question will allow you to stand out from the crowd and show your knowledge and passion for the company or organization you are interviewing for. When researching your company, always have a few questions prepared and one based on something you found. Check out our post about the top 14 questions to ask during an interview. Asking questions throughout will make the interviewer see you as part of the team already and it will calm your nerves if you have any.

When answering a job interview question, remember to focus on the needs of the company rather than your own. The next thing you should do is download our free special report that outlines thetailoring method and gives you sample answers to 5 of the questions we went through in this list! PDF Cheat Sheet for Job Interview Questions and Answers! The “Job Interview Questions and Answers PDF Cheat Sheet” gives you word-for-word sample answers to the interview questions in the article.

You can get a job interview questions and answers cheat sheet by clicking here. You can bring up any recent news in the interview if you are up to date on it. In order to answer behavioral questions, not preparing “success stories” was not necessary.

What are the 20 most common interview questions and answers?

  • Tell me what you know about yourself.
  • What responsibilities were you given?
  • Do you like or dislike your previous job?
  • What were the starting and final levels of compensation?
  • What problems did you face?
  • What is your strength?

Employers are more likely to respond to an answer like this because it shows that you are willing to invest time into your own professional development. It is likely that other candidates have the same or similar qualifications as you, so you need to show what makes you different, and what skills you can bring to the role that maybe others can’t.

It is great to mention this if you enjoy reading industry blogs or watching webinars on the weekend. You can show the interviewer that you are committed and driven by putting your ambitions into context. When faced with this question, speak about your current employer in a negative way. This is your chance to show that you have a good understanding of the role and what is required of you, explaining how this job will fit with your personal career goals.

It might be honest, but it can lead your employer to worry about you leaving the company at the first sign of an opportunity with a bigger salary. Do your research into the industry and what other companies pay their employees for the same role to inform your answer before the interview.

Unless you can relate it to work, it is best to avoid talking about your personal life. Explain what the situation was, the challenges you faced, how you dealt with it and the outcome in a concise and confident manner. To invoke a positive response from the interviewer, show enthusiasm and speak proudly about your achievements. Don’t try to present yourself in a better light by criticising your company or colleagues.

This includes the different service areas it offers, who their main clients are, and a good idea about the size of the company. It doesn’t matter if you’re competent and qualified for the job or not, if you don’t know the answer to this question you’ll ruin your chances of getting the job Being positive, hard-working, dependable and easy to get along with are some of the qualities that your future employers would want to see. When it comes to this question, you will need to explain how your previous experience relates to this role and how it will enhance your performance. If you apply for a job which is similar to your existing role, you should be able to answer this fairly easily.

If you have specific examples that you can use in your answer, you can talk about how you learned from previous roles. If you want to progress into a managerial role, you need to show a good understanding of the most important qualities to manage people effectively. Setting realistic goals, giving constructive feedback, and providing support to team members are examples of excellent management qualities. Explaining the measures you put in place to prevent an issue from getting out of hand will be a good way to approach the question.

The interviewer wants to know if you can NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster NationMaster If you have a significant gap in your work history, you need to have an answer prepared, as it is likely that the interviewer will ask you about it. If you were let go from a previous job, or if you took some time out to travel, make sure to speak about it in a positive way. If you lie about gaps in your work history, your potential employer can easily check it out and you will not get away with it. This is a bit of a brazen question, but it will help clarify any reservations they might have about you, as well as reinforce why you are the right person for the role.

Asking about an opportunity for growth shows you want to stay with the company and contribute in a meaningful way. They want someone who is ambitious and who will not rest on their laurels, so make sure you convey this passion and drive the right way. We collaborated with the Careers Editor of The Daily Mirror to give away a free seminar on how to answer tough interview questions. We wanted to know what questions you got in an interview and what advice you needed, so we sent a survey towards the end of last year.

We received some great responses, some very surprising and some common, so we decided to cover them in the following webinar. If you haven’t heard back by the agreed date, then it’s time to call or email. badgering the employer for feedback won’t do you any good if there’s still no word. If you got on famously, don’t be tempted to get in touch before the agreed date or to send your interviewer an invitation via LinkedIn.

What are the top 5 interview questions and answers?

  • Tell me what the best answers are.
  • Why are you the best person for the job?
  • Why do you want to work?
  • What has your experience prepared you for this role?
  • Why did you leave your job?
  • What’s your greatest strength?
  • What is your greatest weakness?

Being prepared to respond effectively to the questions employers ask is one of the most important parts of interview preparation. Since these interview questions are so common, hiring managers expect you to be able to answer them without hesitation. Knowing that you are prepared will boost your confidence and help you feel less stressed.

Prepare your responses based on your experience, skills, and interests after reviewing the most frequently asked interview questions and sample answers. You can start by sharing some of your personal interests and experiences that don’t relate to work, such as a favorite hobby or a brief account of where you grew up. Your sales pitch should explain what you have to offer and why you should get the job.

If you review the qualifications and requirements in the job listing, you can craft a response that is in line with what the interviewer is looking for. Mention aspects of the company and position that appeal to you most in order to make yourself a good fit for this role.

This question is used by hiring managers to learn how your previous work experience and educational background fit the job. You don’t need to memorize your answers, but you should be prepared to share what you’ve accomplished in previous roles. If you quit under difficult circumstances, now is not the best time to give too much information to the interviewer. If your departure wasn’t under the best circumstances, focus on the future and stick with the facts.

When you’re asked about your greatest strengths, it’s important to mention the attributes that will make you stand out in the crowd. Show rather than tell when you answer this question.

Rather than stating that you are an excellent problem-solver, you should tell a story that shows you are an excellent problem-solver. If you can frame your answers around positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee, you will be able to turn seeming weaknesses into strengths. You can provide examples of skills you have improved and how you have taken steps to correct it.

Sharing an example of how you handled stress in a previous position is the best way to respond to the question. Rather, formulate your answer in a way that acknowledges workplace stress and explains how you overcame it, or even used it to your advantage. You can use a salary calculator to find a range based on your job title, employer, experience, skills, and location. Do your plans for the future match the path someone typically takes for this position?

To reiterate to the interviewer that the position meshes with your long-term goals, keep your answer focused on the job and the company. Some of the questions you might be asked during a job interview will require some thought to answer.

Some questions that hiring managers should not ask during a job interview are for legal reasons. If you know the company’s products and services, you’ll be more comfortable speaking with the hiring manager. The job announcement says to take the time before the interview to match your qualifications and requirements. If you want your answer to sound natural, write it out in advance and then read it aloud.

Carefully choose appropriate attire, and don’t be afraid to ask the person who scheduled the interview if you’re not sure what to wear Check to make sure that you’re comfortable with the technology before your interview. It is important to not bash your current organization, colleagues, or supervisor.

What is the most difficult interview question to answer?

  • What is your biggest weakness?
  • Why hire you?
  • What do you not like about your last job?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • How do you handle conflict with a co-worker?
  • There is an answer for you.

Your cover letter was perfect, and you got the big job interview.

“So many articles say that you should make your biggest weakness a positive attribute, which is not something I recommend doing,” said a Denver-based career and leadership coach. Kathy Caprino, a Connecticut-based career consultant, says that you want to be real and honest about an area of development you truly need, but you want to avoid sharing something that is serious and will raise a red flag that you are not a suitable candidate. Make sure to impress the hiring manager with the steps you’re taking to improve. In the past, I have taken on more than I can chew, so I am honing my ability to manage my time better and make sure I understand what is involved in extra tasks I say yes to.

Jenny Foss says the best way to answer this question is to find out what sets you apart from your competitors. Don’t talk about a toxic boss, problems with other people, lousy leadership, too much work, too little time off, or too much pressure. It is better to focus on a circumstance that made success more challenging. One challenge, though, was that timelines, deadlines, and parameters for key projects would change constantly with no notice so successful completion was more difficult than it could have been.

I was given the chance to contribute in a lot of different ways and worked with folks in a number of key departments, but my manager was not the individual overseeing my work, offering feedback, or training me, which made it challenging. They want you to know why you applied for the job. How your skills match the position, why you’re enthusiastic about the job, and how you fit into the company’s culture should all be addressed in your answer.

Being able to build my skills and continue to develop in a growing company is important to me, and there seems to be long-term opportunities here. The benefit of having the same values and community interests leads me to want to be here more than anywhere else. “You want to demonstrate that you have strong listening and communication skills, have compassion and empathy to sit in someone else’s shoes and be understanding, can problem solve effectively, and can rebuild bridges and restore strong working relationships with others, which is essential to work success.”

Our production schedule was pushed back on at least three occasions due to my colleague missing deadlines. After I talked to him, we came up with a way to fix the problem in the future.

What are some tricky interview questions?

  • Why were you fired?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone who was difficult to work with.
  • Why did you choose a profession?
  • Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
  • What is wrong with your previous employer?
  • Tell me what the worst manager was.

Hannon has advice for blowing the toughest interview questions out of the water.

She says that it is important to be careful, honest and brief, even if you prepare for it. It’s easy for Hannon to relate to this question because she had a very difficult boss. She counsels, “You might say in your interview, it really taught me to take the time to find out what my boss was going through… and understand why we had this communication issue.”

It’s important to give a full background of why you love what you do in order to be prompt to show your passion and drive for your career. Hannon advises against talking about the type of work environment you would like to work in. She says she envisions herself working alongside smart, positive, enthusiastic people, who will encourage her, and who she’s learning new things from, and that she’s being creative. Hannon says to make it a really collaborative answer about what kind of work environment you hope you’re in and why.

The question is not about throwing your old manager under the bus, but rather reflecting on what you learned from working with them. Hannon says the phrase “my worst boss taught me…” is a good way to frame a difficult experience you had with a manager. Hannon suggests that you answer the question in the context of why you love your career. Explain how you have specifically worked towards being good at the job when you talk about it.

She says that the chance to zoom gives you the chance to show your enthusiasm. The questions you ask can be used to show that you’ve researched the company. Questions that show a deeper level of thinking, like “What is your long-term vision for the company,” or “what are the biggest challenges your team is facing,” should be asked.

How do you answer 10 difficult interview questions?

  • There are some highlights in the story.
  • It’s the perfect time to tell me about yourself.
  • To gauge your performance, always ask for feedback from your colleagues.
  • Give a laundry list of reasons for leaving your last job, don’t badmouth a boss.

CNN.com has a partnership with CareerBuilder.com, which is the exclusive provider of job listings and services to CNN.com. It’s the perfect time for you to not tell your life history because this is usually the opening question in an interview. Discuss your education, work history, career experience and future goals.

Since graduating from University X, I have been working in public relations with an agency where I have generated millions of PR hits for my clients.” While I enjoy working on the agency side, I want to start doing PR for corporate companies like this one.

This is your chance to talk about your experience and career goals, not to badmouth a former boss or give a laundry list of reasons for your exit. The company wasn’t a good fit for my creativity, but I learned that organizations have distinct personalities just like people do.

I would like to get a civil engineering position with a national firm that focuses on retail development. Ideally, I would like to work for a young company, such as this one, so I can get in on the ground floor and take advantage of all the opportunities a growing firm has to offer.

Identifying areas in your work where you can improve and figure out how they can be assets to a future employer is how to respond to this query. I’m sure you’re aware that the economy is tough right now and my company felt the effects of it. Asking for feedback from your colleagues and supervisors is the best way to gauge your performance, as you can answer the question based on their comments.

My former colleagues have said that I’m easy to do business with and that I always hit the ground running. In today’s tough economy, how much a company can afford to pay may be the deciding factor in whether or not you are offered a position. I would be willing to negotiate a lower starting salary if we could revisit the topic in a few months after I’ve proven myself to you.

The information in this article cannot be published, broadcast or distributed without the written authority of the author.

Neal Kaplan I'm a director of technical communications working for a data analysis startup in Redwood City. I started as a technical writer, and since then I've also been learning about information architecture, training, content strategy, and even something about customer support. I'm also passionate about cross-team collaboration and user communities.

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