Do you have a job interview coming up? Are you prepared? The best way to get ready for an interview is to take the time to review the most common interview questions you will most likely be asked, along with examples of the best answers. Knowing what you’re going to say can eliminate a lot of interview stress.
We can’t read minds, unfortunately, but we’ll give you the next best thing: a list of the most commonly asked interview questions, along with tips for answering them all.
White List of the Common Interview Questions
- Tell me about yourself
- How would you describe yourself?
- What makes you unique?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What interests you about this role?
- What motivates you?
- What are you passionate about?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- What are your greatest strengths?
- What are your greatest weaknesses?
1. Tell me about yourself
Your interviewers will likely start out with a question about yourself and your background to get to know you.
Start out by giving them an overview of your current position or activities, then provide the most important and relevant highlights from your background that make you most qualified for the role.
Describe your background with responsibilities: I’ve been a hostess at ABC Restaurant for just over two years where I greet and seat customers, assess wait times, fulfill to-go orders and answer the phones.
Describe your previous experience with achievement: Before working at ABC Restaurant, I worked in retail as a floor associate for six 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.
2. How would you describe yourself?
When an interviewer asks you to talk about yourself, they’re looking for information about how your qualities and characteristics align with the skills they believe are required to succeed in the role.
If possible, include quantifiable results to demonstrate how you use your best attributes to drive success.
I thrive in a goal-oriented environment where I can constantly challenge myself personally and professionally. I am always looking for an opportunity to do better and grow. These characteristics have helped me achieve success in my career.
3. What makes you unique?
Employers often ask this question to identify why you might be more qualified than other candidates they’re interviewing.
To answer, focus on why hiring you would benefit the employer.
Since you don’t know the other applicants, it can be challenging to think about your answer in relation to them.
Addressing why your background makes you a good fit will let employers know why your traits and qualifications make you well prepared.
- I am a very good communicator and find it’s easy for me to relate to other people.
- I really enjoy learning new things and am constantly seeking out new learning opportunities.
- I’m not afraid of failure. In fact, I think it is an essential part of the experimental process that gets you to success.
4. Why do you want to work here?
Interviewers often ask this question as a way to determine whether or not you took the time to research the company and to learn why you see yourself as a good fit.
The best way to prepare for this question is to do your homework and learn about the products, services, mission, history, and culture of this workplace.
In your answer, mention the aspects of the company that appeals to you and aligns with your career goals. Explain why you’re looking for these things in an employer.
The company’s mission to help college grads pay off their student loan debt resonates with me.
I’ve been in student loan debt myself and would love the opportunity to work with a company that’s making a difference.
Finding a company with a positive work environment and values that align with my own has remained a priority throughout my job search and this company ranks at the top of the list.
5. What interests you about this role?
Like the previous question, hiring managers often include this question to make sure you understand the role and give you an opportunity to highlight your relevant skills.
In addition to thoroughly reading the job description, it can be helpful to compare the role requirements against your skills and experience.
Choose a few things you particularly enjoy or excel at and focus on those in your answer.
I’m extremely interested in the Human Resources Manager job.
As you mentioned in the job listing, I’d be responsible for recruiting, orientation, and training.
I was responsible for all three of these functions in my most recent position.
As Human Resources Assistant Manager at ABC Company, I recruited over 100 employees and led training for all new staff members in a department of 45 people.
I’m interested in this job because it would allow me to use my previous experience while continuing to develop my expertise in new areas of responsibility.
6. What motivates you?
Employers ask this question to gauge your level of self-awareness and ensure your sources of motivation align with the role.
To answer, be as specific as possible, provide real-life examples and tie your answer back to the job role.
I’m really driven by results. I like it when I have a concrete goal to meet and enough time to figure out a strong strategy for accomplishing it.
At my last job, our yearly goals were very aggressive, but I worked with my manager and the rest of my team to figure out a month-by-month strategy for meeting the year-end numbers.
It was a real thrill to accomplish that.
7. What are you passionate about?
Much like the previous question about motivation, employers might ask what you are passionate about to better understand what drives you and what you care most deeply about.
This can both help them understand whether you are a good fit for the role and if it fits into your larger goals.
To answer, select something you are genuinely passionate about, explain why you’re passionate about it, give examples of how you’ve pursued this passion, and relate it back to the job.
I have a few interests, but lately, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time volunteering with the Humane Society.
I love their mission and I love working with animals, so it’s been the perfect opportunity for me.
While volunteering, I’ve honed my organizational skills in keeping the animals on a set daily routine, and have worked in compliance with the Humane Society safety procedures.
8. Why are you leaving your current job?
There are many reasons for leaving a job.
Prepare a thoughtful answer that will give your interviewer confidence that you’re being deliberate about this job change.
Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of your current or previous role, focus on the future and what you hope to gain in your next position.
I’m ready for the next challenge in my career.
I loved the people I worked with and the projects I worked on, but at some point, I realized I wasn’t being challenged the way I used to be.
Rather than let myself get too comfortable, I decided to pursue a position where I can continue to grow.
9. What are your greatest strengths?
This question gives you an opportunity to talk about both your technical and soft skills.
To answer, share qualities and personal attributes and then relate them back to the role for which you’re interviewing.
I have a solid work ethic. When I’m working on a project, I don’t just want to meet deadlines.
Rather, I prefer to complete the project well ahead of schedule.
Last year, I even earned a bonus for completing my three most recent reports one week ahead of time.
10. What are your greatest weaknesses?
It can feel awkward to discuss your weaknesses in an environment where you’re expected to focus on your accomplishments.
However, when answered correctly, sharing your weaknesses can show that you are self-aware and want to continuously get better at your job—traits that are extremely attractive to many employers.
Remember to start with the weakness and then discuss the measures you’ve taken to improve. This way, you’re finishing your answer on a positive note.
I don’t have much patience when working with a team — I am incredibly self-sufficient, so it’s difficult when I need to rely on others to complete my work. That’s why I’ve pursued roles that require someone to work independently. However, I’ve also worked to improve this weakness by enrolling in team-building workshops. While I typically work independently, it’s nonetheless important I learn how to trust my coworkers and ask for outside help when necessary.
While there are as many different possible interview questions as there are interviewers, it always helps to be ready for anything. This is why we’ve taken the time to prepare this list of 10 potential interview questions. By preparing answers for these common interview questions, you can develop compelling talking points to make a great impression during your next job interview.
You can also keep a list of at least 4-5 questions in the back of your mind so that no matter what, there are at least two questions you have to ask at the end of the interview. If you are not sure about what to ask, you can see Questions to Ask in an Interview to learn about the questions which will impress the recruiters.
Every interviewer is different and their exact questions may vary. While there’s no way to know for sure what topics will be covered, there are several types of popular interview questions you can expect to be asked and, therefore, be prepared to discuss.
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.