The 20 Most Common Interview Questions, and Their Answers

No matter what job industry you’re applying for, recruiters always ask the same set of questions. Here are 20 of the most common interview questions and how to answer them.

1. Tell me about yourself.

Don’t talk about your total employment or personal history. List 2-3 of your biggest accomplishments.

2. What do you know about the company?

It’s critical to research the company beforehand. Talk about the company’s mission and what it means to you. This is bound to impress them!

3. How did you hear about the position?

Show your connection to the company and your passion for working there. List professional contacts or networks you have that connect you with them. Talk about what caught your eye about the job listing.

4. Why should we hire you?

It may seem straightforward – and it is. Talk about how you can not only perform the work, but you can give quality results. Convince them that they will benefit greatly from hiring you.

5. Why do you want this job?

If you do really want this job, this answer should come easy to you. Why do you want to perform the role? Why this company in particular?

6. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Be as accurate as possible. Choose strengths that are actually relevant to the job you’re applying for. Never say you “have no weaknesses”. Talk about something you might be struggling with, but let them know you are taking opportunities to improve.

7. Tell me about a conflict you faced at a past job, and how you dealt with it.

To answer this question, use the STAR method:

  • Situation: Give details for your example.
  • Task: What was your responsibility in this example?
  • Action: What were the steps you took to address the situation?
  • Result: Describe the outcome you achieved due to your actions.

8. Why are you leaving your current job? OR Why were you fired?

It’s important to be honest about why you’re leaving (or why you were let go). Tell them you are using it as an opportunity for growth because you want to excel in a certain career.

9. Can you explain your employment gaps?

If your resume has some gaps between times of employment, explain your activities during this time. Maybe you were volunteering or tending to family matters. But now you’re ready to get back into the groove of things.

10. How do you deal with pressure and stress?

Some jobs are demanding on time and energy. Talk about your favorite stress-reducing techniques.

11. What are your salary requirements?

Some recruiters like to talk money right out of the gate. Look up the company’s pay rates on Glassdoor to get a good idea of their salary range. But know your own worth too, and don’t settle for less.

12. Why did you change career paths?

Remember to be honest. Connect past work experience to this current interview, even if it may not seem relevant.

13. How would your coworkers describe you?

This is your chance to do an honest assessment of yourself without letting your head get too inflated.

14. Have you ever disagreed with a work decision?

Everyone has disagreements every now and then. But a hiring manager wants to know how you handle disagreements in a professional manner. Always talk about how productive you were.

15. What’s your ideal work environment?

Ideally, you want to talk about an environment similar to the one you’re interviewing for. You can be more specific, though.

16. What other companies are you interviewing with?

This isn’t a trick question. They just want to make sure you’re serious about this job industry. Talk about how you’re seeking a number of options and you are looking to enhance the skills that will be used during this particular job.

17. What would your job look like in 30 days?

If you got accepted into the position, what would your daily job be like? Talk about what exciting aspects you’d be involved with and where you think you’ll start out.

18. What are some of your hobbies?

This is your chance to get a little more personal. Talk about what you do outside of work. You might fit in nicely with the general culture of the office.

19. What can we do better or differently?

This is an especially common question with a startup company. It’s okay to give honest feedback, but you obviously don’t want to criticize them.

20. Do you have any questions for us?

Always answer this with a “yes”! Prepare ahead of time by coming up with productive questions you can ask the company. You deserve to see if the job is a right fit for you as well.