The interview is often seen as the last chance to prove yourself to a potential employer, and that fact alone isn’t likely to calm your nerves. However, if you prepare your answers in advance, wear the right attire, act respectfully, and stay positive, you can stand out for all the right reasons.
How to Answer the Most Common Interview Questions
Although the job market has changed drastically in the past decade, most recruiters will ask the exact same questions.
That makes it easier for you to prepare what you’ll say to the following.
1. Tell Me About Yourself
The majority of job interview questions are open-ended, leaving few wrong answers. Interviewers are more interested in how you answer. They aren’t interested in your life story. Instead, they want you to explain how you got where you are today and what skills you learned along the way.
When it comes to the length, JobSage’s team recommends keeping it short. For example:
“I went to the University of Florida and landed an internship at the Miami Herald as a junior copywriter. That’s when I realised I had a passion for social media and video-based marketing.”
2. Why Are You Leaving (or Why Did You Quit) Your Last Position?
This is a behavioural interview question that checks if you’re still on good terms with your previous employer and/or if you’ll speak ill of your prior/current boss/managers, workplace, or coworkers.
Always frame your departure positively, even if you’re leaving on bad terms. For example:
“I grew and changed a lot during my time at (company), but I’ve decided to look for a company that aligns with my current values. I also want to utilise my skills in a way that challenges me.”
3. What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
This question is often asked after the “what is your greatest strength” question. Whereas the “greatest strength” question is testing your confidence and suitability, the “greatest weakness” question is checking if you’re open to criticism and whether you have a desire to improve.
The best thing to do is focus on your professional traits, not your personal traits. For example:
“I can be too direct, outspoken, and blunt when I’m discussing project details. I sometimes blurt out the first thing that comes to my mind, but I’m learning to slow down and think before I speak.”
4. Describe a Difficult Work Situation. How Did You Overcome It?
With this question, your employer is trying to understand how you handle a challenge. They want to know if you have decent problem-solving, communication, leadership, and listening skills.
Share how you handled the tough situation and give details on how you fixed it. For example:
“My flight was canceled last minute due to an unexpected storm. I still made the event with 30 minutes to spare because I changed my hotel check-in time and taxi departure time. I also negotiated with the airline I was flying with and managed to make the last flight out of Miami.”
5. Why Should We Hire You?
You and the employer both know you’re getting this job because you need the money, but you shouldn’t express that openly. That’s because the interviewer is trying to see what sets you apart from other candidates. They want you to sell yourself and speak confidently about your skills.
For this answer, create a short but detailed sales pitch of why you deserve the job. For example:
“I have 5 years of experience as a marketer and 7 years total experience as a customer service agent. My background in advertising will help me understand your customer’s pain points.”
6. What Are Your Future Goals?
Similar to the “why should we hire you” question, this interview question is checking if you’re a great long-term fit. They’re seeing if your goals align with theirs and whether you’ll stick around.
Research the company’s long-term or short-term goals and align them with yours. For example:
“Although I enjoy working as a content creator, I want to eventually move into a senior content marketing position. I want to continue to improve in my role, so I can start overseeing projects.”
7. What Are Your Salary Expectations?
Job interviewers typically ask this because they don’t want to pay you more than they have to. If you lowball yourself, you may get the job, but you may also leave a lot of money on the table. It’s an awkward question, but there’s a way to answer it without asking for too much or too little.
There are two right answers you can use: give a salary range or flip the question. For example:
“Given my experience and relevant skills, I was hoping to make $50,000 to $60,000 a year.” or “That’s a great question. It would be helpful if you could share your salary range for this role.”