10 Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

BY Karolina Majcher
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Have you ever been completely surprised by interview questions asked by the hiring manager? If so, you know very well how stressful it can be. Imagine a scenario where you know exactly what questions the interviewer would ask you. Amazing, isn’t it? Unfortunately, we can’t read minds, but we can prepare for “unprepable” in the best way possible.

For this reason, we prepared 10 common job interview questions for you, along with answering techniques that will help you succeed during the interview and, hopefully, secure the desired role.

You are right! The list doesn’t cover the entire spectrum of questions you might be asked during the interview. However, you can use it as a study guide to make yourself comfortable with this type of question and hiring managers’ expectations regarding your potential responses. Use answer advice to understand better what it takes to show that you’re the right person for the job, and craft your responses in line with instructions and your unique personality.

1. Tell me about yourself.

Identify some of your main attributes and memorize them. Next, describe your qualifications, career history, and range of skills, emphasizing those skills relevant to the job. The process is all about selling yourself. If you have taken the time to read about the company, the job description, and the culture of the place, you will be able to give the interviewer the information that is relevant to their needs.

2. What have your achievements been to date?

Select an achievement that is work-related and fairly recent. Use the CAR technique for giving any responses. This is where you define the Context, explain the Action you took and give the Result. It is important to stress that the context should be one sentence, e.g., we were facing budget cuts, and I was charged with saving 50,000 AED before the end of the month. The Action should be the main body of the response, where you describe the specific actions you took. The interviewer is not interested in the efforts of your team. They are only interested in you, so ensure all responses are “I” and not “we.” The result indicates the success of the work. Quantify the success and the impact on your team and organization.

3. How would your manager/best friend describe you?

It is another clever way to understand your strengths and development areas more. Ensure you give a balanced response and that your answers match how you are perceived. If you have an obvious weakness, it is worth being honest about it and selling your strengths. Credibility at this point is key as an interviewer will want to test how aware you are of yourself and how others perceive you.

10 Common Interview Questions
(© Seventyfour – stock.adobe.com)

4. What is the most difficult situation you have faced, and how did you tackle it?

This question aims to determine your definition of difficult and whether you can show a logical approach to problem-solving. To establish yourself in a positive light, select a difficult work situation that was not caused by you and can be quickly explained in a few sentences. Then, explain how you defined the problem, the options, why you selected the one you did, and the outcome of it. Always end on a positive note and do not get emotionally involved with the problem. If you come across as someone absorbed by a problem, it will ring alarm bells in the interviewer’s mind about how rationally you can handle stressful situations.

5. What do you like about your present job?

This is a straightforward question. All you need to do is make sure that your ‘likes’ correspond to the requirements of the job on offer. It will also indicate if the things you like about your current work match the role you are applying to. E.g., if the position you are applying for is a sales team leader, and you talk about team working as one of the main things you like and getting results through people, this will help to show a strong link. Be enthusiastic; describe your job as interesting and diverse but do not overdo it – after all, you are looking to leave.

6. What do you dislike about your present job?

Be cautious with this answer. It is never a good idea to talk badly about your current employer. Always maintain professionalism, and even if you developed a strong rapport with your interviewer, do not give personal details or too many specifics about situations. Do not be too specific, as you may draw attention to weaknesses that will open you to further problems. One approach is choosing a characteristic of your present company, such as its size, slow decision-making processes, etc. Give your answer with the air of someone who takes problems and frustrations in your stride as part of the job. For any job you apply to, there will always be problems, and you need to show that you can handle these and will not be applying for a new job later.

7. What are your strengths?

This is one question you know you will get, so there is no excuse for being unprepared. Concentrate on discussing your main strengths. List three or four proficiencies, e.g., your ability to learn quickly, determination to succeed, positive attitude, your ability to relate to people and achieve a common goal. You may be asked to give examples of the above, so be prepared.

8. What is your greatest weakness?

Do not say you have none – this will lead to further problems. Everyone has weaknesses, and although you are there to sell yourself, part of this process involves maintaining credibility and an awareness of your full skillset. You have two options – use a professed weakness, such as a lack of experience (not ability) in an area that is not vital for the job. The second option is to describe a personal or professional weakness that could also be considered a strength and the steps you have taken to combat it. An example would be, “I am a bit of a perfectionist, and this results in my team getting frustrated with how hard I push them.”

9. Why do you want to leave your current employer?

State how you are looking for a new challenge, more responsibility, experience, and a change of environment. Do not be negative about your reasons for leaving. Also, it is rarely appropriate to cite salary as your primary motivator.

10. Why have you applied for this particular job?

The employer is looking for evidence that the job suits you, fits your general aptitudes, coincides with your long-term goals, and involves doing things you enjoy. Make sure you understand the role and the organization well and describe the organization’s attributes that interest you most.

Do you still need more interview advice? Reach out to our consultants with any questions and struggles. We are happy to help!

READ MORE: How To Stand Out in a Job Interview

Published: 7 December 2022

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