Are you ready to ace your upcoming job interview? One of the most important parts of interview preparation is being ready to respond effectively to the questions that employers typically ask.
Since these interview questions are so common, hiring managers will expect you to be able to answer them smoothly and without hesitation.
Here are the top 10 interview questions employers are likely to ask, plus 100+ more common job interview questions, example answers, tips for giving the best response, and advice on how to ace the interview.
- You don’t need to memorize your answers, but you should think about what you’re going to say so you’re not put on the spot.
Top 10 Interview Questions and Best Answers
Review these most frequently asked interview questions and sample answers, and then prepare your responses based on your experience, skills, and interests. Remember that it’s less about providing the “right” answers and more about demonstrating that you’re the best candidate for the job.
1. 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 you’re an ideal candidate for the position. The interviewer wants to know why you’re 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 don’t relate directly to work, such as a favorite hobby or a brief account of where you grew up, your education, and what motivates you.
- You can even share some fun facts and showcase your personality to make the interview a little more interesting.
2. Why Are You the Best Person for the Job?
Are you the best candidate for the job? The hiring manager wants to know whether you have all the required qualifications. Be prepared to explain why you’re the applicant who should be hired.
Make your response a confident, concise, focused sales pitch that explains what you have to offer and why you should get the job. This is a good time to review the qualifications and the requirements in the job listing, so you can craft a response that aligns with what the interviewer is looking for.
3. Why Do You Want This Job?
Why are you a good fit for the position? What would you accomplish if you were hired? This interview question gives you an opportunity to show the interviewer what you know about the job and the company, so take time beforehand to thoroughly research the company, its products, services, culture, and mission.
Be specific about what makes you a good fit for this role, and mention aspects of the company and position that appeal to you most.
4. How Has Your Experience Prepared You for This Role?
Hiring managers use this question to learn how your previous work experience and educational background fit the job. To prepare to respond, make a list of the most relevant qualifications you have and match them to the requirements listed in the job description.
It’s important to explain how your experience will help the employer if you were to be hired. You can use the STAR interview method to prepare examples to share with the interviewer. You don’t need to memorize your answers, but do be ready to share what you’ve accomplished in your previous roles.
5. Why Are You Leaving (or Have Left) Your Job?
Be prepared with a response to this question. You’ll need to give an answer that’s honest and reflects your specific circumstances but keeps it positive. Even if you quit under challenging circumstances, now isn’t the best time to share what could be construed as too much information with the interviewer.
The interviewer wants to know why you left your job and why you want to work for their company. When asked about why you are moving on from your current position, stick with the facts, be direct, and focus your answer on the future, especially if your departure wasn’t under the best circumstances.
6. What Is Your Greatest Strength?
This is one of the questions that employers almost always ask to determine how well you are qualified for the position. When you are asked about your greatest strengths, it’s important to discuss the attributes that qualify you for that specific job, and that will set you apart from other candidates.
When you’re answering this question, remember to “show” rather than “tell.” For example, rather than stating that you are an excellent problem solver, instead tell a story that demonstrates this, ideally drawing on an anecdote from your professional experience.
7. What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
Another typical question that interviewers will ask is about your weaknesses. Do your best to frame your answers around positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee, turning seeming “weaknesses” into strengths.
This question is an opportunity to show the hiring manager that you’re well qualified for the job. In addition to learning whether you’ve got the right credentials, the hiring manager wants to know whether you can take on challenges and learn new tasks.
- You can share examples of skills you have improved, providing specific instances of how you have recognized a weakness and taken steps to correct it.
8. How Do You Handle Stress and Pressure?
What do you do when things don’t go smoothly at work? How do you deal with difficult situations? The employer wants to know how you handle workplace stress.
Do you work well in high-stress situations? Do you thrive on pressure, or would you prefer a more low-key job? What do you do when something goes wrong?
- The best way to respond to this question is to share an example of how you have successfully handled stress in a previous position.
Avoid claiming that you never, or rarely, experience stress. Rather, formulate your answer in a way that acknowledges workplace stress and explains how you’ve overcome it, or even used it to your advantage.
9. What Are Your Salary Expectations?
What are you looking for in terms of salary? Questions about money are always tricky to answer. You don’t 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.
10. What Are Goals for the Future?
Are you a job hopper? Or do you plan on staying with the company, at least for a while? Where do you envision your career going? Do your plans for the future match the career path for someone typically hired for this position?
This question is designed to find out if you’re going to stick around or move on as soon as you find a better opportunity. Keep your answer focused on the job and the company, and reiterate to the interviewer that the position aligns with your long-term goals.
How To Prepare for a Job Interview
The more time you spend preparing for a job interview, the better your chances will be of acing it. You’ll feel more comfortable speaking with the hiring manager if you’re familiar with the company’s products and services.
Research the company. Before your interview, take the time to learn as much as possible about the job and your prospective employer. There are many different resources you can use to find information and news about the organization, its mission, and its plans.
Tap your connections for insider information. Who you know at a company can help you get hired.
- Check LinkedIn to see if you have connections who work at the company. Ask them if they can give you any advice that will help with the interview process.
If you’re a college graduate, check with your career office for alumni who may be able to help.
Make a match. Take the time before the interview to make matches between your qualifications and the requirements as stated in the job announcement. This way, you will have examples at hand to demonstrate your suitability for the job.
Practice your responses. Write out your answer in advance for each question and then read it aloud to ensure it sounds natural. Try to keep it short and sweet. You don’t want to come across as the type of person who endlessly drones on about themselves.
Be prepared to show and tell. It can be helpful to remember the tip “show, don’t tell.” For example, rather than stating that you are an excellent problem solver, instead give an example that demonstrates this, ideally drawing on an anecdote from your professional experience.
How To Make the Best Impression
The first impression you make at a job interview, is going to be the most important one. Hiring managers can decide whether you’re a good candidate, or not, within a few minutes of meeting you. These tips will help you make a terrific first impression.
Dress for success. What you wear to the interview is important because you don’t want to be underdressed or overdressed. A three-piece suit can be as out of place as shorts and a t-shirt. Carefully choose appropriate attire, and don’t be afraid to ask the person who scheduled the interview if you’re not sure what to wear.
Be on time or a little early. You definitely don’t want to keep your interviewer waiting, so be on time or a few minutes early for your appointment. If you’re not sure where you’re going, do a trial run ahead of time so you know how long it will take you to get there.
- If your interview is virtual, check to make sure that you’re comfortable with the technology ahead of time.
Keep it positive. Always try to put a positive slant on your responses to questions. It’s better to give the impression that you’re more motivated by the possibility of new opportunities than by trying to escape a bad situation. In addition, it’s important to avoid bashing your current organization, colleagues, or supervisor. An employer is not likely to want to bring on someone who talks negatively about a company.
Follow up after the interview. After every job interview, take the time to send a thank-you note or email message sharing your appreciation for the time the interviewer spent with you, and reiterating your interest in the job. If there was something you wish you had said during the interview, but didn’t get a chance to, this is a good opportunity to mention it.