The 10 Most Commonly asked Interview Questions
How fabulous would it be if you could give the perfect answer to an interview question?! Unfortunately, there isn't a one size fits all answer but I can give you the next best thing - tips on how to answer the 10 most commonly asked interview questions!
Hiring managers and Recruiters (I am the latter by trade!) are really looking to see if you have what it takes to fit into the job and the company.
1. Can you briefly take me through your CV?
Note the 'briefly'. This question seems so easy but yet so many people fail to prepare for it but it's crucial. Don't give your complete employment or life history here. All that's needed is for you to be able to demonstrate that the words on the CV actually reflect what you have done. Be brief, 5 minutes is enough and add in a few highlights or achievements for good measure. You're interviewer may want to explore those achievements when you bring them up or park them for discussion later in the interview.
2. How did you hear about the position?
Another seemingly easy interview question, this is actually a perfect opportunity to stand out and show your passion and motivation for the role. For example, if you found out about the job through a friend or professional contact, name drop that person, then share why you were so excited about it. If you discovered the company through an event or article, share that. Even if you found the listing through a random job board, share what, specifically, caught your eye about the role.
DO NOT say: I just thought it looked ok and I could give it a bash. Total recruiter mojo killer.
3. What do you know about the company?
Any candidate can read and regurgitate the company’s “About” page. So, when interviewers ask this, they aren't necessarily trying to gauge whether you understand the vision, they want to know whether you care about it. Start with one line that shows you understand the company's goals, using a couple key words and phrases from the website, but then go on to make it personal. Say, “I’m personally drawn to this company because…” or “I really believe in these values because…”
DO NOT say: I don't know/I didn't have time to research/I was hoping you would tell me/it's a big company... watch as you instantly lose the interest of the person interviewing you.
4. Why do you want this job?
Again, companies want to hire people who are passionate about the job, so you should have a great answer about why you want the position. (And if you don't - why did you apply!?) First, identify a couple of key factors that make the role a great fit for you (next step in your career, research has shown that they invest in their employees etc) then share why think you would would be a great fit for the company.
5. Why should we hire you?
This interview question seems forward (not to mention intimidating!), but if you're asked it, you're in luck: This is your time to shine, the floor is yours and there's no better setup for you to sell yourself and your skills to the hiring manager. Your job here is to have an answer that covers three things: that you can not only do the work, you can deliver great results; that you'll really fit in with the team and culture; and that you'd be a better hire than any of the other candidates.
6. What are your greatest strengths?
When answering this question, be accurate and share your true strengths, not those you think the interviewer wants to hear. Talk about relevant and specific skills then follow up with an example of how you've demonstrated these traits in a professional setting.
7. What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
What your interviewer is really trying to do with this question—beyond identifying any major red flags—is to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. So, “I can't meet a deadline to save my life” is not an option—but neither is “Nothing! I'm perfect!” Strike a balance by thinking of something that you struggle with but that you’re working to improve. For example, maybe you’ve never been strong at public speaking, but you've recently volunteered to run meetings to help you be more comfortable when addressing an audience.
8. What is your greatest professional achievement?
Nothing says “hire me” better than a track record of achieving amazing results in past jobs, so don't be shy when answering this interview question! A great way to do so is by using the S-T-A-R method: Set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context but spend the bulk of your time describing what you actually did (the action) and what you achieved (the result).
DO NOT say: I don't know, I just do my job. Where's your pride?!
9. Do you have any questions for us?
You probably already know that an interview isn't just a chance for a hiring manager to grill you—it's your opportunity to sniff out whether a job is the right fit for you. What do you want to know about the position? The company? The department? The team?
You'll cover a lot of this in the actual interview, so have a few less-common questions ready to go. We especially like questions targeted to the interviewer: “What's your favorite part about working here?" or the company's growth: “What can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth?" Having questions for the interviewers shows that you are interested.
10. Tell me about a time where.....
Any question that starts with this is a Competency Based question. It's a specific style where the interviewer is looking for a specific example of when you have completed a certain task or demonstrated a certain competency that they feel is relevant to the role. They don't want a hypothetical answer and they also want to know what YOUR part in the task was. Not Bob's job - what did YOU do. If you genuinely don't have an answer for this type of question, be honest and say that - then offer to detail what you would do.
Good luck!!!! :)
Dee is a Career Success Coach for women and the founder of The Female Mogul. With 14+ years HR and Recruitment experience working for Global Multi-National Companies, she has a wealth of experience in Talent Management and her career has taken her around the world. Dee launched The Female Mogul due to her deep passion for empowering women to take control of their careers and her belief that women can achieve their professional goals.
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