top 16 interview questions and answers

Preparing

9 Tell me about yourself

At the beginning of the conversation, your interviewer will likely start out by asking you about yourself. They are seeking to understand your qualifications, what led you to the job and generally why you think youd be a good fit. The key here is making your answer concise and direct, including only professional information relevant to the job. Your answer should be structured as follows:

1. Start by describing your background with a summary of your most impressive responsibilities: “Ive been a hostess at XYZ Restaurant for just over two years where I greet and seat customers, assess wait times, fulfill to-go orders and answer the phones. I love the lively and busy environment—we often have Friday and Saturday wait times of one hour or more…”

2. Next, briefly summarize your previous experience with key achievements: “…Before working at XYZ Restaurant, I worked in retail as a floor associate for five years. Working in retail developed the customer service skills that make me a great hostess, offering a top-tier dining experience from the moment customers walk in the door. It also equipped me with the ability to work quickly under pressure…”

3. Lastly, express how you found the new job and why its a good fit for you and your goals: “…Ive enjoyed and grown in my current role, but wish to expand and utilize my customer service expertise in an elite restaurant environment. I am interested in your restaurant because of its reputation for delivering first-in-class service to your patrons in a lively, dynamic environment.”

Questions about you

Here are several common interview questions to prepare for your next interview, including best practices and examples for answering each:

12 What is your dream job?

Employers typically ask this question because they want to ensure that your interests and passion align with their job. A good answer will describe a role that matches the one you’re interviewing for. Consider using this formula for your response:

1. Mention the skills you want to use: “I enjoy guiding other team members on projects and making sure everything goes smoothly…”

2. Describe a job in general: “…My dream job would be a leadership position where the other team members are active participants and communication happens daily…”

3. Discuss your values: “…I love seeing a project through to the end and celebrating everyone’s hard work…”

4. Tailor to the job for which you are interviewing: “…For instance, if you’re applying for a leadership position, you might discuss how your dream job would include supervisory responsibilities.”

Tell Me About Yourself.

This is one of the first questions you are likely to be asked. Be prepared to talk about yourself, and why youre an ideal candidate for the position. The interviewer wants to know why youre an excellent fit for the job.

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 dont relate directly to work, such as a favorite hobby or a brief account of where you grew up, your education, and what motivates you.

Read More: Examples of the Best Answers

You can even share some fun facts and showcase your personality to make the interview a little more interesting.

What the Interviewer Shouldn’t Ask

There are some questions that hiring managers should not ask during a job interview for legal reasons. Here are questions that shouldnt be asked, with advice on how to respond diplomatically.

What Are Your Salary Expectations?

What are you looking for in terms of salary? Questions about money are always tricky to answer. You dont 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.

Read More: Examples of the Best Answers

1 What are your salary requirements?

What They Want to Know: Questions about salary can be tricky, especially if you dont know what the job pays. One approach to answering this question is to say youre flexible, based upon the entire compensation package including benefits.

Example Answer

I average around $39K annually, and I know from online salary calculators that the approximate salary here for professionals with my experience ranges from $38K to $40K. But I’m open to negotiation, depending upon your benefits package.

More Answers: Salary Negotiation Tips (How to Get a Better Offer)

1 Why are you leaving or have left your job?

What They Want to Know: There are many different reasons for leaving a job. You could be moving on because you want more opportunities for growth, you may be looking for a salary increase, perhaps youre relocating, or you have another reason youre leaving your job. Be consistent in your answer when meeting with representatives of a prospective employer, because they may compare notes.

Example Answer

Our business was sold and, although I was invited to transition to the acquiring company, I decided that this was the perfect opportunity for me to explore new career opportunities.

More Answers: Interview Question: Why Are You Looking For a New Job?

1 What are you passionate about?

What They Want to Know: Whats most important to you? What do you love doing? The answers to this question dont have to be all about work. The company is looking to determine if youre a well-rounded person, and what you enjoy doing outside of work can give them insight into the type of employee youd be if you were hired.

Example Answer

I am passionate about folk music, and love to attend festivals during the summer. I also play fiddle with a local band on the weekends.

More Answers: Interview Question: “What Are You Passionate About?”

50+ most common job interview questions

This question seems simple, so many people fail to prepare for it, but it’s crucial. Heres the deal: Don’t give your complete employment (or personal) history. Instead, give a pitch—one that’s concise and compelling and that shows exactly why you’re the right fit for the job. Muse writer and MIT career counselor Lily Zhang recommends using a present, past, future formula. Talk a little bit about your current role (including the scope and perhaps one big accomplishment), then give some background as to how you got there and experience you have that’s relevant. Finally, segue into why you want—and would be perfect for—this role.

The Best Interview Questions and Answers

Interviewers will probably start with questions about you and your history to get to know you. The interviewer will ask you about your current situation or your activities. Next, they will ask about your qualifications for the job. It is acceptable to share some personal information, such as your pets, hobbies, and family, if you wish. This will help you to be more personable and memorable for the interviewer.

Example: “Currently, my role is that of an assistant to the CEO and three of the five members of the executive team. During my time with the company, I was recognized for my time management skills, writing ability, and dedication to excellence.

My 12 years of experience working as an executive assistant have taught me how to spot potential roadblocks and develop effective alternatives. I can work independently and free up my time to help executives focus on the business. This is my greatest asset.

You are clearly looking for someone who can manage the busy schedule of a CEO and can address issues. I am a detail-oriented person who thrives on organizing and making sure that every day is well planned and communicated.

FAQ

What are the 10 most common interview questions with answers?

10 Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them
  • Could you tell me about yourself and describe your background in brief? …
  • How did you hear about this position? …
  • What type of work environment do you prefer? …
  • How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations? …
  • Do you prefer working independently or on a team?

What are the top 15 interview questions?

Top 20 Common Job Interview Questions With Answers
  • 20 Most Common Interview Questions and Best Answers. …
  • Tell me about yourself. …
  • What were your responsibilities? …
  • What did you like or dislike about your previous job? …
  • What were your starting and final levels of compensation? …
  • What major challenges and problems did you face?

What are the 10 most common interview questions and answers fresh graduate?

15 Interview Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer
  • Tell me about yourself? …
  • Why do you want to work for [insert company name]? …
  • How did you hear about this job? …
  • Tell me about something on your resume. …
  • Why are you looking for a job? …
  • Why should we hire you? …
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

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