33 Common Job Interview Questions And Answers (For 2023 With Samples) was originally published on careercrawlers.com/
Preparation is KEY to a successful interview process, and I’m sure many of you would agree. How awesome would it be to know EXACTLY what questions the hiring manager will ask during the interview? Knowing these questions will allow you to prepare and perfect your answer to stand out compared to every other candidate interviewing for the same position. However, here’s the thing,
There is no such thing as a perfect interview because job requirements are unique, and for you to match every single qualification on the job description is tough. But even the hiring manager is NOT expecting you to be the perfect candidate. They are just looking for someone with the right KEY skills and experiences to excel in the job. Now, how can you highlight these KEY skills and experiences? Through preparation and practice…it’s that simple! And to help you through your journey, we will provide 33 of the MOST common interview questions and answers you can expect to be asked during your interview. With that said,
We recommend not creating automated responses to each question because that does not show your authentic self. We recommend studying each question and preparing an answer showcasing what assets you can bring to the job. Ask yourself this question: How can you prepare an answer which will outshine every other candidate interviewing for the same position? To help you, we have also provided you with “Related Content” with sample answers and more.
General Interview Questions and Answers
These general interview questions are asked to learn more about the candidate and the skills they will bring to the job. Unlike behavioural-type interview questions, which focus on how candidates will react or handle various situations in the workplace, general interview questions want to understand more about the candidate’s experience. Why are these common interview questions important during the hiring process? Because they focus specifically on a candidate’s character, skills, and experience. Once the hiring manager has this information, they match it with the KEY requirements of the job role. The better the match, the stronger the candidate…it’s that simple!
1) Tell Me About Yourself
This question, “Tell Me About Yourself,” is the most common job interview question you will be asked. At this point in the interview process, the hiring manager wants to learn more about your personality and character. As you continue answering this question, the hiring manager will make notes thinking about what other follow-up questions they want to ask you. So, how do you answer this interview question? First, keep your answer short and concise because the ideal length (in seconds) should be approx. 90 seconds. You will start by introducing yourself again, then talking about the MOST relevant job experience you have as it relates to the job you are interviewing for. It doesn’t matter if you have worked eight (8) jobs in the past. It would be best if you focused on those jobs that give the interviewer a glimpse into the skills and experience you will bring to this job role. With that said,
You can also mention your educational background if it adds value to the job, for example, “I have a Master’s in…” or, “I completed an apprenticeship at….”. Finally, if you have any time left over from the allocated 90 seconds, mention some achievements that would “wow” the hiring manager.
2) What Are Your Greatest Strengths? Or What Is Your Greatest Strength?
When the hiring manager asks you this interview question, they want to know what “relevant” strengths you will bring to this job role. The key word here is “relevant” because you may have many strengths, but which ones will be an asset in this job? So, there are several ways to answer this question effectively. Still, it is recommended to skim through the job description and highlight the requirements of this job role. Why? The job description will explain what strengths you should mention in your answer. For example, suppose you are interviewing for a nursing job, and the job description is looking for a candidate with the following KEY skills flexible, adaptable, and who can work under pressure. It is recommended to include some of these same strengths in your answer. With that said,
The key is to keep things relevant by only mentioning those strengths which would be an asset in the job. Remember, the hiring manager seeks a candidate they believe would best fit the position. So impress them by matching your skills with those highlighted in the job description.
3) What Are Your Weaknesses? Or What Is Your Greatest Strength?
This question is where things get tricky because no one wants to discredit themselves from a potential job opportunity by shedding light on their weaknesses. However, there is a strategy you can use right now to answer this question effectively. First, the hiring manager asks you about your “greatest weakness” to understand if your weakness (s) would be detrimental to the job. For example, if the job requires someone flexible and analytical, but you say your greatest weakness is your inability to analyze reports or read numbers, then this would eliminate you as a candidate for this specific job…right? So,
First and foremost, it’s recommended to understand the requirements of the job role, which can be found in the description. Next, highlight the requirements so you know which KEY skills you should NOT mention as your weakness. In other words, choose a weakness that is NOT this job’s primary requirement. We answer this question in detail with samples in the following article –
4) Why Should We Hire You?
This question is another very common interview question, and for you to answer it, you have to understand why the hiring manager asks you this question. First, the hiring manager wants to know if you are confident in your abilities to perform the job. In other words, they want to hear from “you” that you have the KEY skills required to excel at this job. Second, the hiring manager asks this question because it’s an excellent way for them to determine that you have researched the job requirements and know what is expected of you if you are hired. Finally, the hiring managers can quickly determine what sets you apart from other candidates by asking this question. For example, what makes you unique, and why will you perform this job better than someone else? So, when answering this interview question: Why Should We Hire You?
Start by reading over the job description so you have a complete understanding of the requirements. Why? Only then can you start to prepare a well-thought-out, relevant answer. Next, mention the skills that align with the job and always provide examples of when you used these skills. For example, you can provide an example from your previous job or elsewhere. This shows you have experience and are confident using these skills when performing in this job. Now, to stand out compared to other candidates, shed light on some of your most outstanding achievements. For example, you can highlight professional awards you have won or certifications you have completed, which again will be an asset in this job.
We encourage you to read the following article, where we answer this question in detail with samples in the following article –
5) Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job?
The hiring manager will always ask you this question to understand why you are pursuing another job. Remember, the reason you left your previous job tells the hiring manager a lot about your character. For example, if you were fired from your last job, this would raise “red flags,” which would cause the hiring manager to think twice about hiring you for this job. But on the other hand, leaving for a valid reason is understandable, and there would be no reason for the hiring manager to be concerned. So, to be clear, there are three (3) reasons the hiring manager will ask you the following interview question: Why did you leave your last job?
First, did you leave this position voluntarily, or were you fired or laid off? Second, are you on good terms with your previous employer, which can be helpful if you are asked to provide references…right? Finally, is the reason for quitting or leaving valid or understandable? With that said,
The key is honesty because the hiring manager can easily find out why you left your previous job by calling your employer. We encourage you to read the following article, where we answer this question in detail –
6) Can You Walk Me Through Your Resume?
Here’s the thing,
When hiring managers ask the following common interview question: Walk me through your resume. They want to learn more about your work experience and how well you can communicate your KEY skills (even tell them a story). You see, before interviewers invite someone for an interview, they quickly skim through your resume to see if you would be a good match for the job. However, they still don’t know “in detail” what you did during your previous years working at these jobs. Remember, your resume is your “experience” and “qualifications” in point form, not in-depth. In other words, by asking you the following interview question: Walk me through your resume. The hiring manager is asking you to bring your resume to life.! With that said,
When answering this question, it’s essential to connect all of your work experience so it relates perfectly to the job you are interviewing for. Use your work history to make yourself stand out compared to all the other candidates interviewing for the same position. When answering this question, a quick tip is to discuss your relevant job experiences and why you decided to enter this field. Also, don’t forget to structure your answer, laying out all your qualifications grouped by what job gave you those qualifications.
Please read the following content, where we answer this interview question in more detail –
7) What Can You Bring or Contribute to The Company?
The hiring manager will often ask you this interview question for two reasons. First, to find out how you can contribute and add value to the company and second, how your value makes you stand out compared to other candidates interviewing for this position. So, when the interviewer asks you: What can you bring to the company? Explain to the hiring manager what you can accomplish in the company and the position if you are hired.
Here are a few things to focus on:
Talk about some of the achievements in your life. You can also describe some of your proudest achievements in your previous job roles. The key is to relate your achievements and your accomplishments to the future. How? You can explain to the hiring manager how your accomplishments have prepared you for this job. When explaining your accomplishments, it’s essential to format your answer using the STAR method. Suppose you are unaware of the STAR method. In that case, it stands for – Situation (describe what happened), Task (what you decided to do), Action (how you completed the task), and Result (the outcome of the situation).
Finally, always research the company and job role before your interview to help you understand the company’s specific needs. Then align your experience, skills, and achievements with the company’s needs and how each will help you fulfill those needs.
8) How Did You Hear About This Position?
Yes! Hiring managers will ask you the following interview question: How did you hear about this job role? You see, hiring managers want to find out if you know anyone in the company or have any internal connections. If you do, they might chat with them about your character, experience, or just the type of person you are. The hiring manager can learn more about your motivations for applying to their company and this job by asking this question. Finally, employers like to hear how people are finding their job listings.
For example, if you are applying for a nursing position at a local hospital, you can mention how you heard about this job through your College job board or even the local newspaper. You can also say how your good friend is an “er nurse” at this hospital, so recommend that you apply. With that said,
When answering this interview question, show your excitement for the position and be specific. Also, name-dropping is good because this can give you an edge over the competition, mainly if the person referring you works for the same company.
9) What Motivates You?
Some interview questions will catch you off guard, especially when they are broad and can have multiple answers. One example is the interview question: What motivates You? When the hiring manager asks you this question, they want to know what drives you to achieve things in life and motivates you to complete workplace goals. So, how can you structure and answer your answer so it hits all the KEY points the hiring manager wants to hear?
First, when answering this interview question, focus on the factors that have motivated you to pursue this job role or company. Start by researching the company and the job description. Your answer should always align with the company’s vision and what they expect from you in this position. For example, if the job requires a lot of problem-solving or working 1-on-1 with clients to solve their issues, you can say your motivation is to hear a client say you did a job well done. Or your motivations come from finding new ways to make things work more efficiently. Another fantastic approach is if the company’s vision is to provide environmentally friendly products within five (5) years from now, you can mention your love for the environment and working on a team who shares your vision!
10) Why Do You Want to Work at This Company? Or Why Do You Want This Job?
So, hiring managers will ask you this interview question to determine a few key things. First, they want to determine if you will be a good fit for the company. For example, does this job align with what you are looking for, and does it also align with your future career goals? Secondly, the hiring manager wants to hear, in your answer, what attracted you to the company. Does the company have the same vision as you? For example, if you are passionate about giving back to the community, are you interested in working for this company because they share your passion?
When answering this question, you should thoroughly understand the job role and research the company. By doing this, you can mention specific areas of the job and the company that motivated you to apply for this position with them. For example, does this job give you an opportunity to build your problem-solving skills or analytical skills? Or, you can mention how this company will allow you to transition into other progressive roles in the future. A great way to prepare for this interview question is to head to the company’s LinkedIn page and visit the following tabs – news, events, people, insights, and current job openings.
11) Why Were You Fired from Your Last Job?
No one likes answering this interview question, especially when it may shed light on your character negatively. But this does not mean there isn’t a strategic way to answer this interview question where you leave a positive impression on the hiring manager. So, when recruiters ask you the following interview question: Why were you fired from your last job? They want to make sure you haven’t been fired for egregious misbehavior like stealing, fraud, abuse, etc. If none of these apply to you, you can answer this question confidently. You see, hiring managers understand sometimes employers and employees may not align properly, so parting ways may be the BEST option for both of you. With that said,
When the hiring manager asks you this question, you must stick to the game plan. First, always be honest because hiring managers will (can) do a reference check to find out the truth. If they do and find out you lied about why you were fired, you can be blocked from ever applying to them again for a job. Not only that, but recruiters hang out in the same circles, and word can get around about your character and how you cannot be trusted 100%. Secondly, the KEY is to never go into detail about why you were let go (fired) because you may say something that can hurt you. The strategy is to describe what happened vaguely and then quickly shift to what you learned after being fired. For example, you decided to upgrade your skills and return to school to get certified. The key is to describe what you learned from this experience to the hiring manager.
12) What Is Your Greatest Achievement?
When answering this interview question, don’t be afraid to shine and describe your proudest moments. But first, hiring managers will ask you the following question because they want to know your definition of success and how you relate it to your work. For example, did your GREATEST achievement make a difference in your personal and/or professional life, and is this why you consider it one of your proudest moments? Next, interviewers pay close attention to the achievement you label the “GREATEST” because this gives them insight into your core values. So,
When choosing an achievement for your answer, ensure it’s related to the job you are interviewing for. Then, utilize the STAR method when answering this question: Situation (describe what happened), Task (what you decided to do), Action (how you completed the task), and Result (the outcome of the situation).
Finally, highlight the results you achieved. For example, “My greatest achievement was when I worked on a team to implement software to streamline how fast orders were processed. This change led to a 15% increase in how fast customers received their orders. That year we also had a 5% increase in return customers.”
13) Tell Me About a Time When You Showed Leadership? Or, When You Took on a Leadership Role?
Hiring managers will ask you about a time you show leadership because they want to know more about your previous leadership experience and your abilities. In addition, hiring managers know when a job will require you to step in for management from time to time, so having leadership experience would be an asset (for this job). It’s another way for them to understand more about your experience! Finally, hiring managers want candidates who can motivate their team when it gets tough. So, how do you structure your answer? Well,
Again, use the STAR method to help you organize your answer from top to bottom. Next, if you have leadership experience, discuss an experience closely related to this job. By choosing an example closely related to this job, you can show the hiring manager you have skills that match what they are looking for in a candidate. However,
If you don’t have any previous leadership experience, choose a time outside of work when you showed your leadership abilities. For example, this can be during school, volunteering, on a sports team, etc. The goal is to show your ability to step in to motivate your team, your ability to work under pressure, your time management skills, your ability to meet deadlines, and others.
BONUS: Always read the job description to understand the requirements of the job so you can choose KEY skills and experiences as closely related to the role.
14) Describe a Time You Failed and How You Handled It?
Now, this question can be tricky, but if you understand the recruiter’s expectations, it will be a breeze to answer. So, when the hiring manager asks you about a time you failed at work, they are “really” interested in knowing what you define as a failure. For example, when given a project, do you know the complete expectation and the difference between success and failure concerning the task? Anyways,
When answering this question, use the STAR method to describe a time when things didn’t entirely work out the way they should have at work. But the key is to avoid describing a scenario detrimental to the employer. Instead, choose a scenario that can be common in any workplace. For example, When did something not go as planned? When was a strategy ineffective? When did an approach miss the actual target? Next, structure the answer correctly, describing what happened, what was done to resolve it and, most significantly, what you learned from the entire experience!
15) What Do You Like Least About Your Job? Or What Did You Like Least About Your Previous Job?
Ok, here’s where things get tricky because I’m sure you are leaving or did leave your previous job because something didn’t align with your expectations. But the key is to NOT ramble on about your dislikes because this will make you seem like an employee that’s hard to please or someone who may get bored quickly. Also, talking too long may lead you into unchartered territory. For example, you may accidentally say how much you hate your co-workers or manager. So, here’s the recommended way to answer the following interview question: What did you like least about your job?…
Start by mentioning the positive aspects of your current or previous employer. You can mention how lucky you were to work with them and everything you learned. Then, focus on what growth opportunities this job provides you that your other job isn’t. You can say something like, “When I started working for (company name), I wanted to gain more experience in paid marketing. But now, with five years of experience working in this role, I want to pursue an opportunity with a company specializing in Google AdWords and Analytics only. I feel 80%-90% of businesses focus on Google paid ads, and your company will allow me to enhance my Google marketing experience and gain experience while working with a reputable portfolio of clients. Unfortunately, my previous (or current) company did not provide me with these opportunities.
16) How Do You Prioritize Your Work?
Recruiters will ask you the following interview question: How do you prioritize your work? Because they want to get a better understanding of your time management skills. By asking this question, they also understand more about your ability to communicate and exercise judgment between urgent and non-urgent tasks. Answer this question by breaking it down into the following:
Describe how you decide what tasks must be done first. For example, do you base it on deadline and/or difficulty, etc.? You can also talk about what time during the day you choose to work on the MOST urgent work assignments. For example, are you the type of person who is most productive in the morning? If you are, do you complete the MOST urgent tasks then? Or do you do your best work at night? The key is to illustrate to the hiring manager what factors determine when you should prioritize that project over another and how you ensure it gets done right!
17) Why Have You Decided to Change Career Paths?
It’s important to remember that every question the hiring manager asks during the interview process is planned beforehand. With each interview question, they get closer to determining if you are the right person for this job. By asking this question, hiring managers can understand more about your character. For example, are you someone who keeps changing careers and will do the same if you get this job too? Companies invest time and money into their employees, so they want to hire someone committed to the organization long-term. They want to hire someone who will grow with the company and transition into another job with them. However, it’s completely understandable if you decided to change careers at mid-point because you wanted to try something new, which later became your passion. Or sometimes, it is a life-changing event which pushes you to change course in your professional life. So, how do you structure your answer to the following interview question: Why have you decided to change career paths?…
Always be honest about why you have decided to change careers. For example, was it the job outlook or life event, or were you lucky enough to gain experience in this field and want to continue growing in it? So, the key is always to be honest! Next, steer the conversion in a positive direction by emphasizing what you learned through your previous work experience and how some of the KEY skills can be an asset to this job. Next, discuss why you have applied for this job and this company and how it aligns with your future career goals. A great way to do this is to research the company before your interview and discuss how you value its vision and culture. Also, in your answer, mention some other jobs you want to pursue with them in the future. Finally, don’t forget to mention what other aspects of the company resonate with you.
PLEASE NOTE: If you were fired, it’s important to plan and prepare an answer explaining your career change because of being fired. There are ways to explain that you’re being fired as a positive experience, but you must be prepared.
18) Are You Willing to Relocate?
The hiring manager will ask this common job interview question if you are interviewing for an opportunity requiring you to travel or if there is a possibility of relocation. Hiring managers want to ensure the person they hire will not have a problem travelling or relocating if required. In addition, they will probably invest enormous resources into you as an employee once you are hired and want someone who will continue to grow with them long-term. Now, here’s the good news…
First, you will have a heads-up if relocation is a requirement for the job because it will be listed in the job description. If it’s listed, you can prepare an answer focused on your ability to be flexible and adaptable for the job and company. Second, having prior knowledge of “relocation” being a requirement for the job will give you an upper edge in negotiating a package. This relocation package includes moving costs, food, accommodation, and more.
19) Where Do You See Yourself 5 Years from Now?
The hiring manager asks this interview question to understand your long-term goals. For example, how well do your career goals align with the job you are interviewing for? You see, the last thing recruiters want to do is hire someone who plans on completely changing career paths a year from now. So, when interviewers ask the following question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? They want to know if you are passionate about your career choice. They want to understand your goals within the company; for example, will you transition into other progressive roles, maybe moving from a managerial role to a director or VP role within the same company?
Answering this interview question is NOT difficult if you are genuinely invested long-term in this field of work. However, here are some tips to help you answer this question to stand out.
First, be honest about your career goals, but only if it is relevant. For example, don’t say I plan on becoming a marketing manager if the job you are interviewing for is for an accountant. So, keep things as relevant as possible.
Secondly, be confident and show interest in what you are doing with your life and the career path you have chosen. Why? The hiring manager can “read” if you are not interested in this position or are NOT passionate about what they do. Finally, DO NOT say you plan on leaving the company to pursue another job a year from now. Remember, hiring managers want to invest in someone they feel will be with them long-term, growing with the company throughout the years.
20) How Do You Handle Stress and Pressure When on The Job?
The hiring manager does NOT want to hear that you never get stressed because this is NOT an authentic answer. Everyone has been put under pressure, but what differentiates you is how well you handle the stress and persevere through it. So, the hiring manager will ask you the following interview question because they want to know whether you can handle work-related stress or do you fold under pressure. More importantly, the hiring manager wants to know what steps you take to handle these types of situations…it’s that simple! You see, stress is an integral part of some job roles, which is why hiring managers make sure they ask this question during their interviews.
There is NO real secret to answering this question because you are either someone who can handle stress well or someone who can’t. Suppose you are someone who struggles when handling stressful situations. In that case, I recommend avoiding jobs that put you in these types of situations because, sooner or later, your work will be affected. But, if you handle stressful situations well, explain to the hiring manager the steps you take when faced with work-related stress. I think the most important thing when answering this question is to provide a well-structured, organized, and detailed answer illustrating the exact steps you take and what you do to ensure certain situations don’t happen again.
BONUS: When possible, provide examples of when you excelled under pressure. Use the STAR method when answering this question: Situation (describe what happened), Task (what you decided to do), Action (how you completed the task), and Result (the outcome of the situation).
21) When Were You Most Satisfied In Your Job?
Many interview questions may seem similar, but what the hiring manager learns from your answer will allow them to better understand your attitude, work ethic, and if specific jobs fit you better. For example, some have said the opposite of this question is the following: What is your biggest failure? Or when do you feel MOST dissatisfied at work? Anyways, let’s continue…
The hiring manager will ask you the following interview question: When were you most satisfied with your job? To find out how much pride you take in your work and the likelihood of you staying in the job and with the company. For example, if the job you are interviewing for involves solving problems every day and “problem-solving” is a major contributing factor to your overall satisfaction, then this position will be a perfect match for you. So when the hiring manager hears an answer where the job requirements fit perfectly with the candidate’s motivations, this candidate may be the RIGHT person to hire. So, how do you structure your answer:
First, think about a specific situation where you felt extremely satisfied. It’s always a good practice to pinpoint an EXACT scenario. Then, break it down to how you positively impacted the job, the team, and even the managers. What made you feel super satisfied after making this positive impact, and why was it so special? Second, if possible, include how your team or manager contributed to your satisfaction, maybe from the support or feedback they provided during a project. This is important because MOST jobs require you to work closely with a team. Describing how your satisfaction is closely intertwined with them shows the hiring manager you excel when working independently and in a group. Finally, always keep things relevant by choosing an example from your past that is as closely relevant to the job you are interviewing for. Doing this will allow the hiring manager to envision you working for them and how this job can provide the same level of satisfaction as your previous work experiences.
22) What Do You Do On Your Time Off?
The hiring manager will ask the following question to understand your personality. You see, hiring managers want a candidate who will perform the job above expectations and be a great cultural fit within the company. Why? Because this will attract other talented people to pursue jobs at their company, leading to growth. Not only that, but group outings are becoming more popular, and hiring managers want to ensure they maintain a safe and unified company culture. Also, this interview question helps the hiring managers learn more about your motivations, ambitions, and any unique skills you have that were NOT yet mentioned during the interview. So, when answering this question…
First, research the company and learn what kind of things the company is involved in within the community. For example, do they support any foundations, volunteer work within the company, or encourage employees to participate in any activities outside of work? Second, consider what is appropriate to share because NOT everything will be relevant to the company, and some things may NOT highlight your KEY skills. Third, pick those hobbies and activities that HIGHLIGHT your greatest assets, for example, teamwork, time management, organization, etc. Again, read over the job description so you can choose hobbies outside of work that match well with the job you are interviewing for. Finally, connect your hobbies to the company culture and vision while highlighting some of your accomplishments.
23) What Is Your Management Style?
Interviewers may ask you this question because they want to understand more about how you would manage your department or team if it’s required for the job. For example, some managers may need you to take over day-to-day operations. Hence, hiring managers want to ensure you have the experience and KEY skills to keep the highest level of productivity in the workplace. Also, asking a candidate how they manage a team is a great way for recruiters to understand how the candidate likes to be managed too. So what is the best way to answer this interview question: What Is Your Management Style?
How you answer this question comes down to your experience and the types of managers you have worked with. I recommend learning from your previous managers and thinking about what made them so effective. Then, think about why you were excited about working on a manager’s team and what qualities they had that made you excel in your job. Finally, define your management style: transformational, visionary, consultative, collaborative, democratic, coaching, and others.
We answer this question in detail with samples in the following article –
24) Would You Rather Be Liked or Respected?
Hiring managers will use different questions to understand more about your personality and the type of employee you would be. This common interview question: Would you rather be liked or respected? Is an excellent example of a question they would use. When interviewers ask this question, they want to know your motivations, priorities and thought process. You see, specific jobs require an employee to have EXACT motivations and understand their priorities no matter what else they have going on in their lives. Anyways,
There is NO universal answer to this question. But you should always understand the job requirements before crafting your answer. The KEY points you emphasize depend on the job role and its expectations. With that said,
Answer “respected” if you apply for a managerial or leadership role. A respected manager can do more in the workplace since employees enthusiastically carry out your directives to earn your respect. However, I recommend choosing “being liked” if your work involves long hours working in a team and collectively. You see, being someone who your team likes may help increase team morale and overall productivity.
You can mention both; if you do, you MUST be prepared to go into details on each, which would be relevant to the job you are interviewing for. In short, your answer depends on your job role and its requirements. For example, if you delegate tasks, “being respected” is the way to go, but use “being liked” if you will be working in a job requiring teamwork.
25) What Are Your Pet Peeves? And Why?
Now, here’s an interview question to catch you off guard! How? When the hiring manager asks the following interview question: What Are You Pet Peeves? They want to understand what bothers you and what you dislike. This interview question is also tricky to answer because how can you describe your dislikes in a way where the hiring manager still has a positive feeling about you and your candidacy? First, why do hiring managers ask you this interview question? You see, this is a behavioural type question to assess your personality and what kind of things will irritate you. Depending on the way you answer, the hiring manager can quickly determine if the job you are interviewing for will play into your dislikes, and if it does, it may not be the right position for you. Interviewers also want to know how well you would fit into the company culture. With that said,
Here are some tips to help you prepare a well-thought-out answer:
First, always research the job and the company so you are clear about the type of candidate the company is looking for. Ask yourself: what KEY skills and experience does this job role require? Are they looking for someone patient with customers? Do they need someone good with numbers and analyzing reports? By collecting this information, you get a sense of the types of “pet peeves” you should avoid in your answer. Secondly, be honest because otherwise, you will come out as unauthentic. Third, always explain why this is your pet peeve. For example, “My biggest pet peeve is work handed to me late because this directly interferes with my productivity,” or “One of my biggest pet peeves is people who are late without a good reason because I think time management is extremely important personally and professionally. I try my hardest to respect other people’s time and would expect the same from my peers.” Fourth, find ways to turn a negative into a positive. For example, if your pet peeve is multi-tasking, you can describe the steps you have (or are taking) to improve on this skill. You can also describe how you have become more efficient in completing work through practice and provide some examples. Finally, keep things short and concise. Limiting your answer to 1-2 minutes allows you to stay focused on the question and decreases the chances of you saying something to negatively impacts your candidacy. In the 1-2 minute time frame, talk less about your “pet peeve” and more about the positive changes it has brought out in you.
26) When Can You Start? Or, How Soon Can You Start?
Employers sometimes need positions filled right away, but sometimes they allocate a few weeks so they can complete the entire round of interviews. Whatever the case, you must be prepared to give a clear, focused answer to the following interview question: When can you start? To keep this short and concise, when you answer this interview question, always think about your availability and how long it will take to smoothly transition into this new role if you are hired for it…of course! For example, if you are currently working, you would have to give two (2) notices. Can you start work within a few days if you are not working? But if the job requires you to relocate, you may require extra time to tie up some loose ends…right? With that said,
When answering this question, it’s important to consider your current situation and how much time you need to transition into this job. But, consider the employer simultaneously because they MOST likely have a deadline (closing) on when this role MUST be filled.
27) What Are Your Salary Expectations?
Hiring managers will ask you about your salary expectations for two (2) main reasons: First, they want to know how much you value yourself, your experience, and your skills. Next, they want to know if they can afford you. You see, each department and/or job role has a salary cap, so they want to know if your salary expectations will fit into this range. However, if hiring managers believe you will bring enormous value to the company and job role, they will meet your salary requirements. So, how do you answer this interview question: What are your salary expectations?
First, we recommend you do your research. Find similar roles in your industry and write down what these jobs pay their employees. For example, head to Salary.com and quickly search for “er supervisor nurse,” and you’ll find some helpful information. Second, before your interview, speak to people in the industry, like friends, so that they can provide insight into the salary range. But, we have found the best approach is to speak to recruiters before your interview because they are more than happy to help. With that said,
You have other options when asked about your salary expectations. You can always put a range on the application so the hiring manager knows your expectations. But, again, do your research and, using your own experience, find out on average what people with your skills and experience get paid. However, if you are already working in a similar job, you should have a good idea of your salary expectations. Don’t hesitate to clarify your previous salary and how you feel you should be fairly compensated in this job.
BONUS TIP: If any of the tips above do not relate to you or you are unable to gather the information you need before your interview, you can delay your response by saying the following:
“Right now, I’m more interested in finding the right job where I feel my skills and experience will be an asset to the company. I think this and being part of a company that will allow me to grow professionally are more important than salary. So, I would love to learn more about the job, company, and benefits package before discussing my salary expectations numbers.”
We answer this question in detail with samples in the following article –
28) What Would Your First Few Months Look Like In This Role?
When answering this interview question, it’s crucial to think about the job role and what you will be doing. But, more importantly, what will allow you to perform your job above expectations? So, again start by looking over the job description and what your direct manager will expect from you. Then, when reviewing the job description, consider what resources and tools will help you get to work right away. For example, how can you ensure you will checkmark all the requirements in the job description? Finally, how can you ensure you will be the right fit for this job role? However, before we give you our TOP tips to answer this interview question, it’s essential to know why hiring managers ask you this question. They want to know your game plan and how you prepare before starting a new job. With that said,
We recommend you prepare an answer hitting on these main points:
Organizing your workload and writing the critical deadlines that need to be met.
Building relationships with your team and management to ensure smooth communication
Familiarizing yourself with the software, tools, and applications in your department
Outline your goals
Researching and understanding the company culture and dynamics
Introducing yourself to clients and customers (this applies to you if you are taking over a portfolio of clients from someone previously enrolled in this job)
29) Do You Have Any Questions For Me?
Now here’s another chance for you to impress the hiring manager by showing your ultimate interest in the position. You see, asking the right questions about the job will validate your keen interest in excelling in this position to the hiring manager. Before continuing, this question will be asked at the end of your interview, so be prepared.
Ok, now why do hiring managers ask this interview question? Well, it’s to get a sense of your interest in the position and how well you understand the job too. For example, imagine asking the recruiter unrelated questions about the position. Or, imagine asking them questions that don’t align with the job you have just interviewed for. The recruiter may think you don’t fully grasp the job requirements or what’s expected from you as an employee…right? Also, the interview will allow you to ask questions because they want to help make it easier for you to decide if this position is the right fit for you. So, here’s what I recommend you do when it’s your chance to ask the hiring manager questions about the job…
Start by studying the job role again to understand the requirements better. Doing this will ensure that you have the knowledge you need to steer any questions you are asking back on track if required. Now, keep your questions related to the job; for example, here are some great questions you can ask when it’s your turn:
Can you share your expectations of me in the first month of being in this role? What are you looking to achieve?
Who will I be reporting to? How often will I meet with this person, and what are their expectations?
Do you conduct performance reviews, and when will be my first one?
What are some of the long-term goals? What are some of the short-term goals?
Can you describe the company culture?
BONUS TIP: Build your list of questions by considering what you want to know about the job and company. Ask yourself: What information do you need that will make this the right job for you? What information was not covered in the job description or during the interview? Was something unclear during the interview that you would like the interviewer to elaborate on?
Behavioural Interview Questions And Answers
Hiring managers will often ask behavioural-type interview questions to understand more about the candidate. You see, in the workplace, as an employee, you will encounter different situations, and how you handle them can either improve productivity and team dynamics or disrupt the department’s culture. Why are behavioural interview questions so important? Because it gives interviewers insight into how a candidate approaches their work and makes decisions regarding their daily responsibilities on your team.
1) Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake at Work? How Did You Handle It?
This is another common interview question that may seem tricky to answer because you have to talk about some of the mistakes (errors) you’ve made at your previous job. First, it’s important to understand everyone makes mistakes, and I’m sure the person interviewing has made their fair share too. However, by strategically crafting your answer beforehand, you can not only be honest but can score points with the hiring manager too. So, the hiring manager asks this question: Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake at Work? Because they want to know how you handle challenges in the workplace. For example, are you the type of person to lose focus or your temper? Or do you handle them professionally, learning from your mistakes and evolving into a better employee? When preparing your answer, I recommend following this structure…
First, describe what happened and take accountability. By taking accountability, you prove to the hiring manager that you are someone willing to accept responsibility and work at making things better in the workplace. Next, always focus on a “mistake” in the workplace, and avoid discussing anything personal. Remember, the hiring manager is trying to visualize you as an employee working with them and wants to understand more about your character as it would reflect on their team. Third, choose a scenario (mistake) that occurred at your previous job which was NOT catastrophic to the organization. For example, don’t mention something criminal or against company policy because this would scare the interviewer from hiring you. Finally, always close your answer by explaining what you did to resolve the situation. It’s important to highlight what you learned from the situation and what you did to ensure the same mistake doesn’t happen again.
2) Can You Describe a Time When Your Work Was Criticized? How Did You Handle It?
During your interview, the hiring manager will ask how you handle criticism in the workplace. When you start a new job, it takes some time to become accustomed to how the team completes projects and how they require work to be submitted to upper management. Because of this, you may encounter situations where your work may NOT be up to the quality standards of your department. However, your ability to handle criticism can help you manage these types of situations better and have a positive effect on the overall productivity of your team. Before we get into how to answer this interview question, let’s explore why hiring managers ask you this question.
First, by asking you to describe a time you received criticism, the hiring manager can learn how well you handle challenges. Be advised that the hiring manager isn’t asking you to describe the criticism you received in detail but is interested in how you handled it and the outcome. Another thing the hiring manager wants to learn is how the criticism you received helped you make positive changes in your life and how it improved your performance in the workplace. Because they know a candidate who can learn quickly and improve is someone who will make the team more efficient and is great for the overall morale of the department. So, answering this question requires you to take time out to think…
First, brainstorm and think about a time you made an error at work and the feedback you received from your team or manager. Use a situation where you know you have made improvements afterwards and can illustrate the positive changes. Second, use the STAR method to structure your answer: Situation (describe what happened), Task (what you decided to do), Action (how you completed the task), and Result (the outcome of the situation). Finally, please describe what you learned from this situation and how it improved your performance going forward. I think it’s also a great idea to mention what changes you have made to ensure the same errors do not happen again.
3) How Do You Handle Working with Annoying Co-Workers?
Most jobs do require you to work in a team setting, and you will be interacting with all sorts of different personalities. For this reason, you will run into co-workers who are not a good match for you or don’t have the same thinking as you. But this does not mean you can move them to another team. It’s quite the opposite; you will have to find ways to reach agreements and creatively manage their personalities so your team can operate as efficiently as possible. When hiring managers ask you how you handle working with annoying co-workers? They don’t want to know what annoys you but what steps you take to ensure you don’t let it get in the way of your priorities and your commitment to your team…it’s that simple! So,
When answering this interview question, first reiterate how it’s important that nothing gets in the way of your responsibilities and commitment to your job. You see, the hiring manager is looking for a candidate who will not fold or lose their calm if they run into a co-worker that annoys them on the job. Why? Because an employee who lets things bother them will not perform up to expectations, leading to a decrease in productivity in the workplace. So, in your answer, explain in detail how you remain focused on the task at hand and the methods you use to remain patient when working with an annoying co-worker. You can also describe some proactive steps you take to ensure you don’t get annoyed on the job. For example, if you say,”I get annoyed when a co-worker submits their part of the project late.” You can follow up this answer by saying, “So, to make sure everyone is on schedule, I hold weekly meetings with each team member to ensure everyone is on point with their work so deadlines won’t be missed.”
PLEASE NOTE: If you are asked to provide examples of scenarios where you were annoyed on the job because of a co-worker, focus on situations that affected your productivity. For example, don’t say, “I get annoyed when a co-worker talks to me too much or asks too many questions.” Instead, focus on situations where your performance was affected because this shows the hiring manager you take pride in your work.
4) Explain a Time When You Disagreed with a Decision Made at Work? What Did You Do When This Happened?
First, you will have differences of opinion in the workplace…it’s normal. But how you handle them is what sets one person apart from another. Hiring managers will ask you this interview question to understand more about your communication skills in challenging situations. Next, this interview question will also help hiring managers determine your ability to maintain a level of respect for your managers or supervisor. You see, disagreements are known to lead to conflicts that hurt the company morale, so having an employee on the team who can handle these tricky situations seamlessly is an asset. So,
How do you answer this question? First, describe the situation briefly, mentioning what happened. For example. “While working on a project, my manager and I disagreed on what tasks should be completed or prioritized first.” Second, explain a bit more why you felt the way you did. This is important because it’s a great way to communicate your problem-solving skills or the way you organize projects. Third, discuss your approach to communicate your disagreement; for example, “To resolve our disagreement, I scheduled a meeting with my manager so we could share our ideas.” And, finally, what was the outcome?
BONUS: To structure your answer, you can use the STAR method.