Top Essential Interview Questions and Answers

Top Essential Interview Questions and Answers

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1. Tell me about yourself

Do: – Focus on sharing your professional story only – Keep your answer under 2 minutes in length – Walk them through how you got started in your career, key moves you’ve made, and then bring them up to speed on your current situation Don’t: – Share personal details – Talk for more than 2 minutes

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2. What do you know about our company?

Do: – Research the company before the interview (on their website, their LinkedIn page, Google News, and more) – The more creative you can be in your research, the better. Try to go above and beyond a basic scan of the company website if you want to give the best answer possible – Understand what industry they’re in, what they sell and

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2. What do you know about our company?

how they make money – Try to have some sense of their company size. Are they 100 employees? More than 10,000 employees? Etc. – In your answer, explain what caught your interest or excited you about their firm and show that you’re interested in their particular company, and why. The interviewer wants to know why you want their specific job even if they don’t ask directly.

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2. What do you know about our company?

Don’t: – Say you don’t know anything – Say facts that are incorrect or you aren’t sure about (it’s better to know one or two facts that you can say accurately, than five facts you’re not sure of) – Do the bare minimum of research and only cite a couple of basic facts from the company’s website

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3.  How did you hear about the position?

Do: – Be clear, direct, and upfront – Tell the truth unless it’s something very embarrassing (for example, when I was much younger, my mother found me a job to apply for. That does *not* sound great, so I answered by saying that a friend saw the job posting and mentioned it to me. A white lie is okay when needed). – Explain why the job interested 

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3.  How did you hear about the position?

you, if possible (e.g. “I was excited to apply because ___”) Don’t: – Say you don’t remember or don’t know – Sound unsure of yourself

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4. Why did you apply for this position?

Do: – Make them feel like you’re interested in them for a specific reason – Show you’ve done your research and understand what the job involves – Phrase everything as a positive. Don’t badmouth your current situation, just talk about what you hope to gain by coming to work for them (experiences, challenges, opportunities).

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4. Why did you apply for this position?

Don’t: – Say you just need a job in general – Explain that you’re unemployed and just need to find work – Say you just need money or have bills to pay so you need to find work – Badmouth your current boss or company or say anything that will make it look like you’re leaving your current role on bad terms

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4. Why did you apply for this position?

– Sound desperate, or sound like you will take any job you can get and you don’t care what it ends up being – Mention any other personal reasons like “I need to find a shorter commute.”

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5. Why are you looking to leave your current company?

Do: – Sound positive and focus on what you want to gain by making a move – Show gratitude for your current job (e.g. “This job has been great and I’ve learned a lot in the 2 years I’ve been here, but I feel I’m ready for ___ now.”) – Sound like you’re ambitious, motivated, and eager to find the next challenge in your career.

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5. Why are you looking to leave your current company?

Don’t: – Badmouth your current employer in any way – Sound like you’re trying to escape a bad situation, or you’re failing or not fitting in at your current job – Say you’re struggling or failing to perform the work – Say it’s too difficult or stressful – Say you’re not sure

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6. Tell us about a challenge you’ve faced and how you handled it

Do: – Explain the situation, the task you needed to accomplish, and what method you chose (and why) – Share the outcome. What was the result? – Share what you learned from the experience. Did you take away knowledge that has helped you in your career?

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6. Tell us about a challenge you’ve faced and how you handled it

Don’t: – Share any story that involves personal conflicts, arguments, or disagreements at work – Talk about an argument you had – Talk about a challenge that you didn’t overcome, or didn’t find a solution for

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7. How much money are you looking to earn?

Do: – Tell them that you’re focused on finding the best-fitting role, and that you don’t have a specific target salary in mind yet – Repeat this multiple times if needed (if they pressure you or “push back” after your first response) – Share any research that you’ve done into broad salary ranges for your type of role, 

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7. How much money are you looking to earn?

but only provide a broad range (for example, a range of $50K – $75K). Don’t: – Tell them a specific salary you’re targeting – Tell them a narrow range you’re targeting

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8. Why should we hire you?

Do: – Be confident in your skills and abilities – Talk about specific things you can help them do or achieve if they hire you – Do your research before the interview and understand their needs, so you can “tailor” your answers and target the specific things they’ll need if they hire you in this role

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8. Why should we hire you?

Don’t: – Say “I don’t know” – Say “You should hire whoever you want” – Give a generic answer that’d fit any company. You really need to “tailor” this to the specific duties you’ll be performing in THIS specific job. Otherwise your answer will not impress them.

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9. Why do you want to work here?

Do: – Mention specific, work-related reasons why their job and company interest you – Talk about your own career path and goals, and how this job and company fits your future aspirations – Sound excited about the opportunity to work for them – Show you’ve done your research

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9. Why do you want to work here?

Don’t: – Say, “I have bills to pay and need money” – Say, “I just need a job”. – Share any personal details like, “I live 5 minutes away so it would be a very short commute”

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10. Why did you leave your last job?

Do: – Be clear and direct and address the question head-on – If you were fired, own up to it and share what you’ve done to make sure this never happens again – If you chose to resign, focus on the positive things you hoped to gain by moving to the next opportunity, rather than badmouthing or talking about the negatives in your last role

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10. Why did you leave your last job?

Don’t: – Don’t badmouth or complain – Never say you resigned because of a disagreement or argument with a coworker – Don’t make it sound like money is your main priority – Don’t try to hide facts or avoid the question; this will just lead to more questions and suspicion from the interviewer

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11. What is your greatest weakness?

Do: – Name a real weakness – Pick something skill-based, not personality-based. For example, say, “I’m not particularly strong in Microsoft Excel…” rather than, “My weakness is working on a team and following directions.” – Mention what you’ve done to overcome this weakness and improve recently

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11. What is your greatest weakness?

Don’t: – Don’t give a fake weakness like, “I work too hard” – Don’t try to be funny with an answer like, “Kryptonite.” Hiring managers have heard it over and over – Don’t tell them you have no weaknesses – Don’t name a personality-based weakness (like “I have trouble getting along with colleagues”)

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12. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Do: – Show you’ve thought about this topic and question – Sound ambitious and motivated – Be realistic. Don’t say you want to be CEO in five years if you’re entry-level – Make sure your answer is related to this job. They won’t hire you for a job that has nothing to do with your 5-year goal

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12. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Don’t: – Be sarcastic or give a joke answer like, “I plan on having your job” – Say you’re not sure, or say you’d be happy staying in the same role for five years (most companies do not want to hear this)

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13. Tell me about a time you failed

Do: – Admit to a real failure – Describe the situation and what went wrong – Show that you take responsibility (rather than blaming others), and show you learned from it – Ideally, talk about how you used that lesson to get a different outcome next time you were presented with a similar challenge (e.g. how you 

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13. Tell me about a time you failed

turned a past failure into a future success) Don’t: – Say you never fail – Talk about a failure but then blame others and talk about how it wasn’t really your fault – Give a long-winded answer that goes off-track. You really need to be concise and show you can tell a clear story. That’s one more thing employers look for when they ask this interview question.

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