If you have a job interview coming up, it is likely that you’re worried about being well-prepared. While part of preparing for an upcoming job interview involves crafting the perfect CV or resume (which you can do easily by registering for free on BuzzCV), knowing how to answer interview questions is just as crucial. If you really want to ace your upcoming job interview and make a great first impression, you need to know about one of the most important aspects of interview preparation: being ready to respond effectively to the most common job interview questions that employers might ask.
Seeing as the most common job interview questions that an employer may ask are in fact so common, hiring managers will expect you to be able to answer them without hesitation. For this reason, you need to be prepared for them. If you aren’t, you’ll fall flat and this will make you seem unprofessional and unable to perform under pressure.
Put simply, your responses to the most common interview questions will be stronger if you know what to expect ahead of time. That isn’t to say that you necessarily have to memorize your answers, but you should definitely think about what you’re going to say in response so that you aren’t put on the spot.
Today, we will be walking you through some of the most common interview questions as well as the best answers you can give in response. We feel this is an important topic to address as you prepare for your upcoming job interview as knowing that you prepared will not only boost your confidence but will also help you to minimize interview stress, feeling much more at ease. With that, let’s get started!
Top 5 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers
When preparing for your upcoming job interview, it’s crucial that you review some of these most frequently asked questions, as well as sample answers for them. After reviewing the following common interview questions and answers, be sure to prepare your own responses based on your unique skills, experience, and interests.
It is important to remember that when answering these common interview questions, it’s less about providing the “right” answers to the questions and more so about demonstrating that you’re the best candidate for the job. Statistics show that when meeting new people, the factors that help people generate a first impression about us is only 7 percent what we actually say. 38 percent is the quality of our voice and grammar while 55 percent is the way we dress, act, and walk through the door. That means that while it is important to prepare your responses for each of these questions, you’ll also want to put effort into how you present that information.
Let’s take a look at the 5 most common interview questions and answers!
1. Tell Me About Yourself
During the job interview, this is likely to be one of the very first questions that you are asked. You should always be prepared to talk about yourself in detail during a job interview. After all, the entire purpose of the interview is to identify whether or not you’re the right fit for a job role! The hiring manager wants to know why you’re an excellent fit for the job.
When answering this question, it is important to include enough detail without giving too much, or too little, personal information. A good way to start with your answer is by providing a reasonable degree of information about your personal interests and experiences that may not relate directly to work, such as a favorite hobby or a brief explanation of what motivates you in life. To make your answer a bit more interesting, consider including some fun facts that accurately showcase your personality.
Let’s look at an example of how you might answer this all-important job interview question:
As a nurse, I find that the best way for me to relax and kick back when I’m not working is to relax in the great outdoors. I enjoy taking hikes and just being in nature. I’ve always been an avid hiker and have even led a few hiking groups on some of Mt. Rocky’s more difficult trails. It was in this way that I was able to utilize certain skills I learned during my time as a military nurse which has come in handy often.
Currently, my own personal goal is to climb Mt. Rainier sometime next summer. I find that being in the great outdoors never fails to leave me feeling rejuvenated so that I’m able to return to my job as an emergency room nurse feeling well-rested and capable of caring for patients.
As you can see from this sample answer, the interviewee was able to include just enough personal detail that showcased their personality while still relating it to the skills they utilize on a daily basis in their current job role. Not only does this offer the interviewer a glimpse into your personality, but it also showcases your skills in your current job role. This make this a great answer to the question, “tell me about yourself”.
2. Why Should We Hire You?
The next most common interview question, aside from “tell me about yourself” tends to be “why should we hire you?”. This is a common question because, after all, the entire purpose of the interview is to identify whether or not you are the candidate that they are looking for. Are you the best candidate for the job? If so, you should be able to explain to a hiring manager that you possess the required qualifications and that you’re the applicant that should be hired.
Your response to this question should be concise, focused, and above all, confident. View your answer to this question as an opportunity to pitch what you have to offer to the hiring manager. When it comes to this particular question, it is a very good idea to review the qualifications and requirements described in the job listing so that you can expertly craft a response that perfectly aligns with what the interviewer is looking for.
Let’s look at a sample of how best to answer this question:
I‘ll get right to the point. You should hire me because my experience and skillset is perfectly aligned with those highlighted in the job listing. I have over 10 years of experience in the marketing industry, advancing from my initial position as an intern to my current position as head of the social media marketing department at The Marketing Inc. I’m well-versed in utilizing an analytical perspective when driving customer sales.
I also pride myself on my attention to detail and believe that this makes me a valuable asset for the job role you are looking to fill. It is my personal mission to assist small businesses in identifying, reaching, and providing the best service to their target audience and I believe this makes me the best candidate for this position.
This answer exudes confidence while also maintaining a focus on the requirements and qualifications that best suit the job role in question. It is clear and concise and, as the interviewee stated at the beginning of their answer, doesn’t waste time and gets right to the point. This is an answer that is sure to wow the interviewer!
3. Why Do You Want This Job?
Why are you a good fit for the position that you will be interviewing for? What do you feel you would be able to accomplish if hired? This particular interview question gives you the opportunity to show that you already have extensive knowledge of not only the job you are applying for but their company itself.
We highly recommend that you take plenty of time beforehand to research the company including its products, services, mission, and culture. With knowledge of these factors, you can answer this question effectively, making a great first impression.
Let’s take a look at an example of how to answer the question, “why do you want this job?” perfectly:
Web design and development is in my blood- both my brother and my father are web developers and they started their own web development agency. From the time that I entered college, I knew that I wanted to study web design and development, following in their footsteps. I knew that I wanted a career that would align with my personal passion for design and that a career in web design and development fit my interests perfectly.
I happen to know that We Design Inc. is the most respected web design and development agency in New York. I’ve admired many of your recent projects and believe that your company’s mission matches my own personal mission when it comes to the clients I have created websites for as a full-time freelance web designer and developer. Working for We Design Inc. would be nothing short of a dream job for me and I would love to harness my talents in the pursuit of your company’s mission.
4. What is Your Greatest Strength?
There are some questions that you should expect a hiring manager to ask during the course of an interview that are used as a way to gauge how qualified you are for the position. This particular question, “what is your greatest strength”, is one such question. When asked about your greatest strengths, it is important that you discuss attributes that specifically qualify you for that specific job role. This will set you apart from other potential candidates.
When answering this particular question, it is important that you remember to “show” rather than just “tell”. As an example, rather than simply stating that you are an excellent problem-solver, tell a detailed story that “shows” that you are an excellent problem-solver. Ideally, you should use this story to draw on an anecdote from your own professional experience.
Let’s look at an example of how to answer the common interview question, “what are your greatest strengths”:
In my position as an IT professional, my greatest strength is my intellectual curiosity. This is because I genuinely enjoy following the latest technology trends and take this knowledge into my job role, ensuring that the critical information technology systems remain uncompromised.
Not only do I do this by reading the latest issues of IT and cybersecurity journals, but I also even persuaded my employer to fund my own participation in quarterly information technology conferences. This has, in turn, allowed me to build somewhat of a network of peer resources (many of whom are leaders in the field) and I call upon them regularly for useful strategies when new threats arise to our systems.
This answer to the question uses specific examples of areas in which the interviewee has used their strength of intellectual curiosity to benefit the company they work for. In giving this answer, you can expect that the interviewee made a great first impression with the hiring manager!
5. What is Your Greatest Weakness?
While most interviewees already anticipate this question when preparing for an upcoming job interview, it is important that you plan what you say carefully. Rather than just sharing a weakness, ensure that you choose a weakness that you’re working to improve. Let’s face it- nobody is perfect and we all have something that we can work on. The key here is to frame your answers around positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee, turning what seems like weaknesses into strengths.
This question is your opportunity to show the hiring manager that you’re well qualified for the job. In addition to learning whether you’ve got the right credentials or not, the hiring manager wants to know whether you can take on challenges and use them as an opportunity to improve and learn. You can also use this opportunity to share examples of your skills in which you have improved, providing examples of how you recognized a weakness and took the necessary steps to improve.
Let’s look at a good example of how to answer this common interview question in your upcoming job interview:
At one time, I would say that my greatest weakness was procrastination. I can’t tell you how many times I had friends who would tease my work style. During my time in college, I was known as the student who would pull all-nighters in order to finish an assignment just before the deadline.
While this may sound irresponsible, it isn’t all that it seems. From the moment a project was assigned to me, I already started thinking about how I would complete the assignment. Most of my first and second drafts would be composed mentally before I finally sat down to write my final draft. Further, because I have great grammar skills, I never had to spend much time proofreading or revising my work before turning it in.
After landing my first job as a copywriter, it became clear that this same process would no longer work for me. While I had never missed a deadline, my work style seemed to make my editor a bit nervous. For this reason, I decided to set “early” deadlines for myself, being set at least 24 hours before the original deadline. Working this way, my assignments are always turned in with plenty of time to spare despite my natural tendency to procrastinate.
As you can see from this answer, the interviewee uses this question as a chance to highlight a certain weakness while also detailing the ways they have overcome this weakness in the past. As it turns out, the interviewee’s tendency to procrastinate has turned into one of their biggest strengths. This resulted in them turning things in ahead of time, staying strict to their important deadlines. This highlights their punctuality and professionalism.
Always Be Prepared for Your Job Interview With BuzzCV!
Now that you know some of the most common interview questions and answers, it’s likely that you are feeling a bit more prepared for your upcoming job interview. By thinking ahead and outlining your responses strategically, you can make a great first impression with the hiring manager, increasing your chances of winning the job!
Don’t forget to stay tuned to BuzzCV where we will be starting a new series of articles dedicated to preparing for a job interview. We’ll be highlighting topics such as steps to prepare for your next job interview, questions you should ask at a job interview, and other useful job interview tips.
As always, don’t forget to use BuzzCV as your most trusted source when creating your CV, cover letter, or resume. We have the templates you need to make a great first impression possible! Good luck!