Common Interview Questions

Beyond researching the company and the hiring manager, preparing answers to common interview questions is the best thing you can do before an interview. It can help you be more confident and comfortable in interviews—and ultimately help you land the job.

Below we’ve considered every type of interview question from the most common to those awkward, behavioral ones with suggestions on how to best answer them. Prepping your answers to the questions below will help you be ready for anything that arises in your interview.

Prepare with These 49 Interview Questions and Prompts

It’s not likely every question below will make an appearance at your interview, but preparing for them will help you better understand how to articulate your story.

  • Walk me through your resume.
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • How did you hear about this position?
  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • What are your career goals?
  • What would you like to accomplish in the first three months?
  • What is you management style?
  • How do you like to be managed?
  • What can you bring to the company that is unique?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • Have you ever been fired?
  • Tell me about a time you failed.
  • Tell me about your biggest challenge.
  • How would your direct reports describe you?
  • How would your managers describe you?
  • Tell me about the achievement your most proud of.
  • What’s your dream job?
  • Describe a situation where you disagreed with a supervisor.
  • Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work.
  • Describe a project or idea that was implemented primarily because of your efforts.
  • Tell me about a time when you worked well under pressure.
  • Tell me about a time when had to delegate tasks.
  • Tell me about a time when you were a team player.
  • How do you motivate others?
  • What motivates you?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • When would you be available to start?
  • Why is there a gap on your resume?
  • How would you describe your leadership style?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Tell me about your hobbies.
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What did you like about your last position?
  • What did you dislike about your last position?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Is there anything you think our company needs to do to improve?
  • What do you know about our industry?
  • Describe a time your work was criticized. How did you handle that?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or on a team?
  • How would your friends and family describe you?
  • Do you know anything about our company culture?
  • What do you know about our competitors?
  • Are you willing to travel?
  • Are you willing to work weekends or overtime?
  • Why are you the right person for this job?
  • How do you feel about taking on tasks outside of your job description?
  • Do you have any concerns about the role?
  • What else would you like to tell me?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

The Most Common Interview Questions

Every interview is different, but there are some questions that hiring managers are very likely to ask.

  • Walk me through your resume.
  • What are your strengths?
  • Why do you want to work for our company?
  • What are you weaknesses?
  • How did you find out about this position?
  • Why are you leaving your current company?
  • Tell me about the accomplishment you’re most proud of.
  • What would you like to accomplish here in the first month/quarter/year?
  • What would your direct reports say your strengths and weaknesses are?
  • What would your managers say your strengths and weaknesses are?
  • Are you willing to travel/work weekends/work overtime?
  • What questions do you have for me?

10 Behavioral Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Many recruiters believe that the best way to gain insight into how you’d handle certain situations is to ask you to tell a story about how you handled a similar situation in the past.

No matter how experienced you are, it can be tough to come up with a detailed story in the middle of an interview, so it’s important to prepare ahead of time. With that in mind, here are 10 sample behavioral interview questions and suggestions for answering them successfully.

Describe a situation where you disagreed with a supervisor.

  • What they’re looking for: Communication skills, ability to formulate an argument, ability to compromise, and willingness to take direction.
  • What to say: Don’t talk about an argument you had – especially an ongoing argument. Instead, describe a situation where you presented your perspective calmly and carefully listened to your manager’s position. The specific resolution isn’t as important as the process. If applicable, talk about how the disagreement ended up strengthening your relationship.

Tell me about a time when you had a conflict at work.

  • What they’re looking for: Emotional intelligence and conflict-resolution skills.
  • What to say: Try to avoid personal conflicts. Instead, choose a situation that allows you to talk about a professional disagreement. Talk about how you communicated your position, how you listened to learn more about your colleague’s position, how you resolved the problem, and, if appropriate, how the disagreement impacted the relationship. Be careful not to demonstrate bitterness or resentment, especially if the resolution didn’t go your way.

Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem.

  • What they’re looking for: Critical-thinking skills, creativity, persistence, and people skills.
  • How to answer: Choose an example that you remember clearly enough to describe your thought processes as well as the specific steps you took. Your interviewer doesn’t just want to hear what you did; he wants to hear why you did it.

Describe a project or idea that was implemented primarily because of your efforts.

  • What they’re looking for: Accountability, persistence, thoroughness, and resourcefulness.
  • How to answer: If possible, choose a situation that you saw through from beginning to end. And you’ll probably get bonus points if you can include something about how you worked with other people to get it done.

Tell me about a time when you worked well under pressure.

  • What they’re looking for: Mental and emotional toughness.
  • How to answer: This is one of the trickier questions. If you set the bar too low, the interviewer is likely to think, “You call that pressure?”  On the other hand, it’s important to choose a situation you handled exceptionally well. Your best bet is to go with the most stressful example you have where you still performed well.

Tell me about a time when you had to delegate tasks during a project.

  • What they’re looking for: Emotional intelligence, critical thinking, management style, follow-up.
  • How to answer: Start by describing the situation and why/how you decided to delegate. Next, explain how you decided whom to delegate to and – if they didn’t report to you – how you enlisted their help. But don’t forget to include something about what happened after you delegated. How involved were you? How did you follow up? If things weren’t moving along as they should, how did you resolve that problem?

Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

  • What they’re looking for: Emotional intelligence, empathy, and adaptability.
  • How to answer: What you were trying to motivate people to do and exactly how you did it are less important than how you figured out what would motivate each person in the story. Focus on the process: How did you change your style for each person you were working with?

Give me an example of a time when you demonstrated initiative and took the lead.

  • What they’re looking for: Accountability and a sense of ownership.
  • How to answer: Think of a situation where the easy way would have been to just do what you were told and not worry about whether that was the right thing to do. Describe why you decided to take the initiative, how you went about it, and the outcome.

Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem.

  • What they’re looking for: Critical thinking, willingness to admit error, ability to learn from mistakes.
  • How to answer: If possible, talk about a situation where you had a plausible excuse for missing an obvious solution. But don’t phrase it as an excuse – just include that little tidbit when you set the stage. Then talk about how you discovered your mistake, how you reacted, and what you did to resolve the situation.

Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment.

  • What they’re looking for: Insight into your values.
  • How to answer: Don’t make it all about yourself. It’s best to talk about something that you accomplished by leading a team. And, while it’s important to include facts and figures when you talk about the results, it’s equally important to talk about any positive impact on the people involved.

Understanding your value proposition and your professional narrative will help you prepare for any interview question you face. Prepping responses to the 49 questions listed above is a surefire way to be ready for anything.

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