The 10 Most Popular Interview Questions | With Tips on How to Answer Them

Interviews are about as stressful as first dates, except in this case your risking a better job with a better salary, not a guy who will make you fall in love with him until you discover he has a foot fetish and possibly a drinking problem. (Too much?)

Whether this is your first time or your coming out of a long term relationship job, it never hurts to brush up your answers on the most popular interview questions. Be warned, most are trick questions where the person interviewing you doesn't really care to know what your greatest weakness is. And no, working too hard, caring too much and being too invested in your job are not weaknesses. (Please tell me one of you recognizes that reference.)

Before your next interview grab your resume, cover letter and the job posting, and take some real time to answer the questions below. There's a 100% chance you'll get asked at least have of the questions listed, so it's better to mess up your answers in front of your pet, mirror and friends than in the actual interview. Along with the questions I added a straightforward guide on possible ways to answer each question.



Tell me about yourself. 

This is the time to not only reintroduce yourself, but mention where you studied, currently work and something interesting about yourself to set yourself apart and make you memorable. I'm not recommending you share something odd like your Gilmore Girl's DVD collection, but mentioning that you studied abroad or volunteer somewhere is a good alternative. 

What interests you about this job?

You want to sound like you want it, but at the same time not sound too desperate. Talk about how you meet the qualifications while also having certain aspects that you are interested to learn more about. If your degree ties into the job field, mention why you chose that field of study, and if not, discuss what interests you about that career path.

What do you know about the company?

As someone who has worked in the hiring department of a company, I know that this question can make or break an interview, and it's usually one of the first ones asked. Take the time to read the company's website, learn what ongoing projects they have and what their mission statement is. If you don't know much about the field, at least you can learn what the organization believes it is working towards. 

Related Post: The Best 5 Websites to Find Your Next Job Now!

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Don't try to be cute and give some fake ass weakness, it'll just annoy them and most likely lead them to just have to ask you again. Come up with one real weakness along with what you are currently doing to combat it. For your strength, mention something that ties into your last job role or one of the job requirements for the position you are interviewing for. 

Why did you leave your last job?

Never insult your coworkers or the organization you once worked for, because at the end of the interview it reflects poorly on you. Instead mention that the job wasn't a good fit with a brief synopsis of what made you begin to look elsewhere. If your coworkers were the problem, you can translate that into saying you much rather work in a team oriented environment, or whatever sounds best for the job you're applying for.


How do you deal with conflict/stress in the workplace?

If you work in a retail setting, this is one of the most important questions, but in a professional setting, it says more about how you handle uncomfortable situations. Employers tend to prefer answers that illustrate you taking control of a situation instead of running to HR, although there's nothing wrong with needing extra support. As long as you're ready with a strategy of how you plan to combat conflict and stress, there is no real wrong answer.

What's one of your biggest professional accomplishments?

Do not mention anything that doesn't directly apply to the position, this is your chance to mention relevant work skills that make you look like an ideal candidate. Use buzzwords like cooperation, managing multiple priorities and setting benchmarks for your goals. Practice this one until you get it right, because with the right example it can set up apart from all the other candidates. 

Tell us about a time you failed. 

A time you failed professionally! Not personally, just in case you were wondering if your last relationship was worth mentioning. Don't set yourself to look like a failure though, bring up an example where you took steps to never make that mistake again or learn from the experience. It's perfectly fine to say something didn't go as you planned, as long as you can explain what you took from the situation. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I'm a bit different from most people when they answer this, in the sense that I'm brutally honest in telling employers what my five year plans actually are. Currently I work in the administrative end of a law firm, and during my interview I let them know I had no interest in human resources or law, I just needed something to do until I earned my masters. Most people don't do this. You can choose how to answer this, the important thing is to emphasize how you are currently qualified for the job. If you can do the job well now, they shouldn't be too worried about where you plan to be in five years.

Why should we hire you?

This is your chance to brag about yourself, so don't be shy! Mention your work experience, past projects and what your plans are if you do get the position. Employers don't expect a perfect answer, but they don't want to see you advocate for yourself. Feel free to mention specific needs mentioned in the job posting or interests you have in projects they already have going on.



What's the hardest question you've ever been asked in an interview? 

3 comments

  1. Great questions and great advice. I 100% agree with not giving fake ass weaknesses and instead answering with something you're working on. This is a really great roundup. I was interviewing for about 6 months before finding my current job a few months ago and this is definitely spot on based on my experience!

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    1. When I first started interviewing I didn't know what to give as a weakness but didn't want to lie, so I admitted something I needed to work on was talking slower (my squeaky voice and fast talking are not a good combo). People laughed thankfully, and eventually I found a better example lol

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  2. Good Post for job seekers..I guess one of the most common questions asked during an interview is “Tell me something about yourself. It is a simple question,but a tricky one. It is an opportunity to share with the interviewer whatever you think is important in their hiring decision.

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