Common Job Interview Questions

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 weave 

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2. Why Should We Hire You?

in your love for one of their recent Originals—while you share how your skills would bring value to the company.

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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.

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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 

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4. What's Your Greatest Strength?

you have. – 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?

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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."

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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 

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7. Why Did You Choose Your College or University?

UCLA 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.

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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 

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9. What's Your Dream Job?

you used to work with 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.

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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 

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

should 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.

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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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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 

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14. Tell Me About a Time...

situations, task, action, and result.  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.

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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."

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16. What Are Your Long-Term Career Goals?

Having goals is a great thing. And it shows the interviewer that you're thoughtful and ambitious when you're able to articulate the direction you want to take your career and provide a decent reason for why that is. Even better if you can share your goals through storytelling. When you're sharing the story of your future aspirations, you 

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16. What Are Your Long-Term Career Goals?

can weave in information about the past goals you've set and achieved. Not only will you show that you can plan ahead, take initiative, and reach goals, but you'll also show your future boss what it's like to work with you.

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17. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?

When you're job searching while currently employed you have the advantage of current employment—and the paycheck that's coming with it. Recruiters love asking this question because it gives them an idea of how serious you are with your job search. Keep the tone positive even if you're already one foot out the door in your own mind and 

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17. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?

shift the focus to why you're so excited about this future role and company. You don't want the focus to be on why you're unhappy in your current job but you also don't want to appear like you're lukewarm about jumping to a new opportunity. Say something like, "I've been passively looking for my next opportunity for a few months. 

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17. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?

When I read this job description and learned more about the company, I knew I had to apply because of X, Y, and Z."

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18. What's Your Leadership Style?

Тhe best leaders know there's no one-size-fits-all approach you can apply at work. You're working with humans after all—we have emotions, feelings, and lives outside of work! That's why it's best to find a way to describe your leadership style while remaining flexible in your approach. For example, "My leadership style leans toward a mix of democratic

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18. What's Your Leadership Style?

and coaching but I know that every team member is unique so, I also get to know the style works well for them." It's always helpful to provide some examples of times when your leadership style has been particularly valuable—like coaching a team from under-performing to top earners or increase team morale with survey data to back up your claims.

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19. How Would Other People Describe You?

It might seem hard to provide a good answer because you're not exactly sure—or because you don't want to say one thing and your references share another story. Do your best to be honest and direct. Think back to past performance reviews or times when you received positive praise at work. Are you the type of person who is 

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19. How Would Other People Describe You?

well known for something at work like being excellent at negotiating with tough clients? Try to think about the times when you've received positive feedback combined with your strengths and share those.

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20. Tell Us How You Would Spend First 90 Days

Your potentials boss and coworkers want to know what your future goals are and what they can expect if you join the team. Even more, they want to know if you've spent any time considering where you'll start and understand your "why" behind those ideas. By sharing some specifics, you'll not only look genuinely interested in the job but you'll 

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20. Tell Us How You Would Spend First 90 Days

also be showing your eagerness to take initiative if hired. When crafting your answer, carefully consider what information you'll need to familiarize yourself with. Which team members do you want to set up 1:1 meetings with and what other parts of the company/team/project do you need to research further?

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20. Tell Us How You Would Spend First 90 Days

If you want to share some ideas around projects you'd want to start with, we recommend picking one to two to focus on. Take the pressure off yourself to have your first 90 days totally mapped out. Sometimes the best move is to spend the time asking LOTS of questions and really learning the ins and outs from the people who have been working there already.

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