15 Common Job Interview Questions

15 Common Job Interview Questions

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1. Tell Me About Yourself

Uhh, what do you want to know? Definitely not everything. At first glance, this question can seem easy to answer (and it can be), but you need to have your compass pointed to true North to pull it off. The interviewer doesn’t want to know that you love flea markets or that you named your Cocker Spaniel “Chickpea” because you lead a locally sourced, 

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1. Tell Me About Yourself

plant-based life. They want to know how your personality and experience relate to the job.  To prepare, start by thinking of three to five strong and relevant adjectives that describe you and your values. Tell the interviewer what they are, then give real examples of how you embody the adjectives. Certainly, you can mention hobbies or 

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1. Tell Me About Yourself

interests in your explanation, but keep them relatable to the job.

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2. Why Should We Hire You?

"Because I need a paycheck..."Even if that's the truth, that's not going to get you the job. This is your opportunity to show off all the interview prep you did about the company, product/client/etc, and use that to tailor your answer. For example, if you're a huge TV fan and you're interviewing at Hulu, you might want to 

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2. Why Should We Hire You?

weave in your love for one of their recent Originals—while you share how your skills would bring value to the company. Another good place for inspiration for this answer is on CNBC's Shark Tank. Many times the investors will ask the person, "Why should we invest in you?" and the best answers are when the business owner shares the things that are 

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2. Why Should We Hire You?

most interesting to an investor—their revenues, their patents, how big the market is, etc. You will do the same—what do you have that your potential boss would value? Follow this formula when you give your answer: – Specific skills you have that show you can do the job – Impressive results you've achieved

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2. Why Should We Hire You?

– How you're a fit for the company and the team culture

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3. What's Your Greatest Weakness?

Many of us tend to dislike this question, but we actually think it's one of the more fun questions you can be asked. It’s an opportunity to showcase how well you really know yourself, which is more critical to employers than many applicants realize. People often get stuck on how to spin a weakness into a positive asset because,

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3. What's Your Greatest Weakness?

admittedly, you shouldn’t be telling a potential employer that you have bad habits. Let's say you have a tendency to get distracted. You can tell your interviewer that, but clarify the actions you've taken to remedy it. Mention that you’ve now implemented a schedule where you wake up early, work out, and set aside the hours from

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3. What's Your Greatest Weakness?

7:00 to 9:00 to respond to emails, then don’t check again until right before lunch. Demonstrating your drive to do better yourself is key.

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4. What's Your Greatest Strength?

For starters, this is an opportunity to brag about yourself and sell your skills, which might seem simple—of course, you can brag about yourself, right?—but the reality is that many people stumble most when they are in fact trying to sell themselves and share their best traits. The key here is storytelling! – Brainstorm 10-15 strengths you have.

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4. What's Your Greatest Strength?

– Cross-check them against the job description so you can narrow down the list. – Prepare a few stories where you can share what your strength is and how it was used in real life.

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5. Why Are You Interested in This Job or Industry?

Employers want to hire people who can not only solve their problems with their skills but are also passionate or interested in the job. Pretty much any hiring manager will tell you that they go for passion over proficiency—every time. While you're researching the company and learning more about what they do, what they offer, and who works there, 

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5. Why Are You Interested in This Job or Industry?

start to create a shortlist of why it's a good fit. How does this job align with your own career ideals and skills? For example, if you love helping people figure out their next career move and volunteering at your college's career center taught you a lot of great skills, that might explain why you're interested in becoming a recruiter.

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6. Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

This might feel like a personal question but you bet the recruiter is going to want to know—why didn't you stay at the last job? Remember how we said to keep positivity in mind? Here's your first big test to keep it positive. Even if you hated your boss and every colleague who created the toxic work environment, don't say that. Instead, shift

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6. Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

the focus to why this opportunity appeals so much to you. You might say something like, "I enjoyed my last role and definitely learned a lot, however, when I came across this job I knew I had to apply because of X, Y, and Z." Instead, try to focus on what the company offers like, "I knew I wanted to work for a company in the wellness space that's 

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6. Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

making health more accessible for all people." And if you were fired or laid off you can also simply say that—just be prepared for the hiring manager to ask some follow-up questions are why.

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7. Why Did You Choose Your College or University?

This is a fun question that is usually reserved for candidates early in their careers—think new grads or during intern interviews. Have some fun with this, but keep it professional. You don't want to say, "I choose the college as far away from my parents because I never wanted them to visit." Professional yet fun could be, "I choose UCLA

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7. Why Did You Choose Your College or University?

because I wanted to have access to the best internships—but also enjoy a great football game." or "I choose NYU because they gave me the most scholarship money, which has allowed me the opportunity to start my post-grad life with less debt." The interviewer will probably get nostalgic over their own college days and share something fun with you, too.

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8. Which Books Have Had the Most Influence on You?

This question seems like something out of left field, but it's way more common than you realize. It's asked partly to understand if what you're sharing is true—like when you told me you're obsessed with Brene Brown but have never read one of her books and to see if you'll fit in with the team culture. Feel free to include some details about 

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8. Which Books Have Had the Most Influence on You?

the current novel or memoir you've got on your nightstand—this is a great way of showing some personality, which makes your interviewer more likely to connect with you—but we'd also recommend tying it back to your career.  Mention some blogs you visit regularly that have to do with your industry. Talk about a recent article you read on a 

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8. Which Books Have Had the Most Influence on You?

topic that overlaps well with your professional interests. This shows the interviewer that you're well-read and also passionate about the work you're doing/would like to be doing for them.

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9. What's Your Dream Job?

This is somewhat of a tricky question. On one hand, they want to know if this job and company is a long-term fit for you but also they want to see if you're realistic that, at the end of the day, work is...still work. Not every day, project, boss, client, etc. will be your favorite—that's ok as long as you don't use the interview to complain about a nightmare boss you used to work with

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9. What's Your Dream Job?

When it comes to fit, they are curious if the team culture, workflow, and projects align with what you not only enjoy but where you want to spend your time and build your career. For example, if your dream is to run your own social media agency and you're interviewing to work in finance, it's obvious this job doesn't fit into your long-term goals. You can 

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9. What's Your Dream Job?

avoid being too "extra" about the job and also not being excited enough about the job by getting clear on three things that really excite you about the role or company. Another idea is to spin your answer. For example, "I think dream jobs are a great concept but what's better to me is doing great work and producing incredible results I'm proud 

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9. What's Your Dream Job?

of—that's my dream." Now you don't look like you're brown-nosing or lying about your longer-term career aspirations.

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10. What Can You Do For Us That Someone Else Can't?

A danger zone between self-assured and cocky, this essentially amounts to "What makes you so special?" and "Why do I need you?" Answer this question through a problem-solving lens. Through your research and even the current interview, you should have a pretty good grasp of what the company is struggling with. Your answer should 

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10. What Can You Do For Us That Someone Else Can't?

focus on how you're uniquely qualified to help them tackle those issues head-on. Keep the focus on why you're the best for the role.

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11. Why Do You Want To Work for Our Company?

Love this question because it's another opportunity to show off all of your interview preparation—without showing them the pages and pages of notes you took. You can also show how you fit in with the company culture by using some of their exact language in the job description and on their "Careers" page.

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11. Why Do You Want To Work for Our Company?

The best way to do this is while you're researching the company create a list of five things that really stand out to you. Steer away from generic information since the more unique and specific, the more it will show that you went deep with your research.

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12. What Are Your Salary Expectations?

This is probably the most uncomfortable question in an interview but it WILL be asked—so be prepared. If you're really nervous, practice your answers beforehand so you don't make a difficult situation even worse. The recruiter is trying to make sure you two are not so far apart on salary expectations and budget that it's doesn't 

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12. What Are Your Salary Expectations?

make sense to continue the interview, but you also don't want to share too low of a number before you know what the job really entails. Our best advice is to defer giving an exact number. However, if they are really adamant, provide a salary range that is backed up with research or flip the question around with something like, 

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12. What Are Your Salary Expectations?

"I'm really interested in learning more about the job before we discuss compensation."

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13. Why Are You Qualified for This Job?

Why are you qualified seems like a more polite way of asking...what do you actually do? Not only does the interviewer want more clarity around what you do at your current job, but they also want to know what you do that makes you qualified for this future role.  Can your skills fit into the existing work they need help with?

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13. Why Are You Qualified for This Job?

Think of it this way. They don't want to hire someone who knows nothing about the job and then they have to train them from scratch. That seems like a lot of work.  They would rather have the interviewee explain to them—through their qualifications—what they already know and can start doing for the company right away.

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13. Why Are You Qualified for This Job?

Consider your hard skills, soft skills, and knowledge that can be applied, and share those specifics in your answer. Read the job description carefully and pay attention to the information you learn about the role throughout your interview process. You might say, "Earlier you mentioned that there was a real challenge with getting your

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13. Why Are You Qualified for This Job?

marketing acquisition cost down. I manage this at my current job by doing X, Y, and Z."  Pro Tip: If you noticed a gap in your skillset while reading the job description, address it. Tell the interviewer how you're currently working on your public speaking by enrolling in a course.

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14. Tell Me About a Time...

Tell me about a time...are the behavioral interview questions we all dread because it can be hard to think of a story on the spot. But interviewers love them because they provide context around how you work. That's why we recommend learning about story circles and remembering the STAR acronym, which stands for situations, task, action, and result.

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14. Tell Me About a Time...

Start by thinking about a few memorable situations at work—like a time when you made a mistake, a time when you disagreed with someone, a time when the project didn't go your way, etc. Interviewers usually want to know about failures, interpersonal relationships, and your wins. After you've written a few of these situations, use the STAR 

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14. Tell Me About a Time...

acronym to share your story. What of the best parts about following STAR to answer these questions is that it keeps your answer from going or and on and onnnn.

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15. What Are You Looking For In Your Next Job?

It's tempting to answer this question with, "everything this job is offering!" but let us suggest another angle. Connect your motivation, long-term career goals, and what you know about the job and company. For example, you might say, "I'm looking to expand my marketing knowledge and really hone in on my analytical skills.

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15. What Are You Looking For In Your Next Job?

I'd also like the opportunity to use my finding to edit the creative materials produced so I'm involved in every part of a campaign. But most importantly, I want to work for a company that is redefining the e-commerce space and will allow me to carve out expertise in this industry." With an answer like this, you're opening up the door for the 

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15. What Are You Looking For In Your Next Job?

interviewer to sell you on the role and what you'll be responsible for.

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