This question can tell employers about types of work you enjoy, your experience level with certain workplace scenarios and whether or not you would be a good culture add. Avoid saying anything negative about your former employer, managers or colleagues. Don’t mention any aspects of your last role that you’re aware would be part of this role. Make your answer about your career growth and enthusiasm for joining their organization.
Top 10 Job Interview Questions and Best Answers
Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts and has counseled both students and corporations on hiring practices. She has given hundreds of interviews on the topic for outlets including The New York Times, BBC News, and LinkedIn. Alison founded CareerToolBelt.com and has been an expert in the field for more than 20 years.
Here are the top 10 interview questions employers are likely to ask, plus 100+ more common job interview questions, example answers, tips for giving the best response, and advice on how to ace the interview.
Top 10 Interview Questions and Best Answers
Review these most frequently asked interview questions and sample answers, and then prepare your responses based on your experience, skills, and interests. Remember that it’s less about providing the “right” answers and more about demonstrating that you’re the best candidate for the job.
1. Tell Me About Yourself.
Try to answer questions about yourself without giving too much, or too little, personal information. You can start by sharing some of your personal interests and experiences that don’t relate directly to work, such as a favorite hobby or a brief account of where you grew up, your education, and what motivates you.
2. Why Are You the Best Person for the Job?
Make your response a confident, concise, focused sales pitch that explains what you have to offer and why you should get the job. This is a good time to review the qualifications and the requirements in the job listing, so you can craft a response that aligns with what the interviewer is looking for.
3. Why Do You Want This Job?
Why are you a good fit for the position? What would you accomplish if you were hired? This interview question gives you an opportunity to show the interviewer what you know about the job and the company, so take time beforehand to thoroughly research the company, its products, services, culture, and mission.
4. How Has Your Experience Prepared You for This Role?
Hiring managers use this question to learn how your previous work experience and educational background fit the job. To prepare to respond, make a list of the most relevant qualifications you have and match them to the requirements listed in the job description.
It’s important to explain how your experience will help the employer if you were to be hired. You can use the STAR interview method to prepare examples to share with the interviewer. You don’t need to memorize your answers, but do be ready to share what you’ve accomplished in your previous roles.
5. Why Are You Leaving (or Have Left) Your Job?
Be prepared with a response to this question. You’ll need to give an answer that’s honest and reflects your specific circumstances but keeps it positive. Even if you quit under challenging circumstances, now isn’t the best time to share what could be construed as too much information with the interviewer.
The interviewer wants to know why you left your job and why you want to work for their company. When asked about why you are moving on from your current position, stick with the facts, be direct, and focus your answer on the future, especially if your departure wasn’t under the best circumstances.
6. What Is Your Greatest Strength?
This is one of the questions that employers almost always ask to determine how well you are qualified for the position. When you are asked about your greatest strengths, it’s important to discuss the attributes that qualify you for that specific job, and that will set you apart from other candidates.
When you’re answering this question, remember to “show” rather than “tell.” For example, rather than stating that you are an excellent problem solver, instead tell a story that demonstrates this, ideally drawing on an anecdote from your professional experience.
7. What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
Another typical question that interviewers will ask is about your weaknesses. Do your best to frame your answers around positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee, turning seeming “weaknesses” into strengths.
This question is an 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, the hiring manager wants to know whether you can take on challenges and learn new tasks.
8. How Do You Handle Stress and Pressure?
9. What Are Your Salary Expectations?
What are you looking for in terms of salary? Questions about money are always tricky to answer. You don’t want to sell yourself short or price yourself out of a job offer. In some locations, employers are legally prohibited from asking you about salary history—but they can ask how much you expect to get paid.
Do your research before the meeting so that you’ll be prepared to name a salary (or salary range) if you’re asked. There are several free online salary calculators that can provide you with a reasonable range based on your job title, employer, experience, skills, and location.
10. What Are Goals for the Future?
Are you a job hopper? Or do you plan on staying with the company, at least for a while? Where do you envision your career going? Do your plans for the future match the career path for someone typically hired for this position?
This question is designed to find out if you’re going to stick around or move on as soon as you find a better opportunity. Keep your answer focused on the job and the company, and reiterate to the interviewer that the position aligns with your long-term goals.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Answers to this question go one of two basic ways. Candidates try to show their incredible ambition (because that’s what they think you want) by providing an extremely optimistic answer: “I want your job!” Or they try to show their humility (because that’s what they think you want) by providing a meek, self-deprecating answer: “There are so many talented people here. I just want to do a great job and see where my talents take me.”
Since a candidate cannot compare himself with people he doesn’t know, all he can do is describe his incredible passion and desire and commitment and . well, basically beg for the job. (Way too many interviewers ask the question and then sit back, arms folded, as if to say, “Go ahead. I’m listening. Try to convince me.”)
Rarely do candidates come to the end of an interview feeling they’ve done their best. Maybe the conversation went in an unexpected direction. Maybe the interviewer focused on one aspect of their skills and totally ignored other key attributes. Or maybe candidates started the interview nervous and hesitant, and now wish they could go back and better describe their qualifications and experience.
How to prepare for an interview
Use these questions and example answers to prepare for your interview by making them your own and tailoring them to fit your experience, the job and the company you’re interviewing for. It’s important to get comfortable with what you could be asked and understand what a good response might be.
Much like preparing for a test in school, the best way to succeed in your interview is to study and practice. Research the company and the job, and practice your talking points until you feel confident about your answers. The more you prepare, the more likely you are to leave a lasting impression and outperform fellow candidates. Come equipped with examples of work from previous jobs, as well as ideas for the new job. Try and make the interview as conversational as possible by showing genuine interest in the job, company and your interviewer.