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Most Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

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By: Caroline Forrest
Mar 9, 2020 • 10 min read

The Most Common Interview Questions, and How To Answer Them

Get ready for your next interview by preparing to answer these questions!

We know that an interview can be a stressful life event, but it doesn’t have to be if you are fully prepared! We have analyzed the most common interview questions and helped create a formula for each so that you can answer them perfectly. Don’t know how to answer some common interview questions? Read on.

TIP: Scroll down for a list of ALL of our most common interview questions, and how to answer them!

interview

Tell me about yourself.

This is one of the most common questions to kick off an interview! It is an excellent opportunity for you to share a little bit about who you are and why you are interviewing today.

If you’ve ever found yourself stumped or stalled by this relatively routine job interview question, you’re not alone. In fact, you’d be surprised by the number of interviewees who stumble and mumble their way through a response to this seemingly simple prompt. But it’s not your fault! “Tell me about yourself” is an incredibly vague thing to ask somebody. Where are you supposed to begin? What exactly do they want to know? We’ll help you navigate those questions, but first, you should know that “tell me about yourself” is, at its core, a conversation starter.

Employers don’t typically want to hear about your family, or your dog, or what you ate for breakfast. Instead, follow the guide below to craft your perfect response!

Instruction:

  • Talk about your education – whatever it is. Mention a positive educational experience that you have had.
    • Do you have certifications or a degree? Are you working towards something right now? Mention it!
  • Talk about a few recent positions that you’ve had – make sure not to talk about too many, just one or two is great. Most importantly, mention something you learned at that job.
  • Finally, this is a great opportunity to tell the interviewer why you are here today. What brought you to the interview?

Example:

  • I graduated a few years ago with my GED, and it was a great opportunity for me to learn independently.
  • I recently worked at Stop & Shop as a Cashier, it was a great way for me to perfect my customer service skills. Also, I worked at Starbucks and learned a lot about the foodservice industry working there.
  • I enjoyed working in food service so much that I decided that I wanted to work in a restaurant, which is why I’m here today interviewing for this position!

Why do you think you’re a good fit for this job? 

Sometimes you might hear a similar question such as “Why do you want to work here?” What the interviewer is looking for is why they should feel comfortable hiring you. Your response to this question will likely cover some of the things you have already mentioned, such as your education, your previous work history, and why you applied for the job. It’s okay to go back and expand upon those responses. In fact, repeating things to the interviewer will help them remember everything about you!

Instruction:

  • Mention why you want a job like this – what made you get into this industry? It could be a heart-warming story or something that inspired you to start working in the industry.
  • Talk about your concrete skills. Not skills you think you have, but skills that other people would verify, like a degree, certification, or something a previous employer would say about you.
  •  Demonstrate how your work history has prepared you for this job. Think back to the job description, and mention some of those key phrases.

Example:

  • I grew up with a neighbor that taught me to cook, and I have loved it ever since. Because of this, I knew I wanted to work in a restaurant since I was very young.
  • I have my ServSafe certification and gained my Food Art certification from an organization in Boston. Gaining these taught me so much about what it means to work in foodservice.
  • I know you are looking for a hard-worker, someone who has experience and is willing to put in the work to succeed. I believe that I am that person and would be an asset to this company.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? 

This question is tough – but important. To be the most prepared and confident applicant, sometimes, you must be ready to face difficult questions that revolve around self-reflection. It is important to be real and honest with yourself in identifying your strengths and weaknesses and then presenting them in your interview in a professional way. A great resource for you to check out this website, Truity that can help you uncover your personal traits!

Instruction:

  • Reflect on your skills – this should happen before the interview. Really think about what YOU think your strengths and weaknesses are. Then, think about what other people may have said in the past. Focus on the positives, of course!
  • Be genuine and honest. You aren’t at the job interview to pretend to be another person – so be yourself! An employer would much rather hire someone they know well, the good and the bad, than hire someone they think is great and then turns out to be not so great.
  • Provide clear examples – you can tell someone that you have great customer service skills – but they will be able to believe you if you can demonstrate it with a clear example.
  • Remember the job description. Think about the skills and strengths they are looking for in an employee, and talk about how you compare.

Example:

  •  (I know that I can sometimes be late to work, which is not good. But I also have great communication and listening skills, so I’ll be sure to highlight those.)
  • I know that I sometimes struggle with time management, but I have developed some skills that really help me with that. However, I have been told that I have great communication and listening skills, which is something that I am very proud of.
  •  My customer service skills are solid, as well. I recently had to solve a problem at work because of a mistake, and afterward, my manager mentioned that he couldn’t have handled it better himself!
  • I know you are looking for someone who can work independently, without instruction, and I pride myself on being able to solve problems at work on my own, so those are a few of my strengths and weaknesses.

Interview Question Vault:

How to Answer Introduction Interview Questions: 

Tell me about yourself.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

What do you know about our company?

Tell me about the last book you read. 

What made you choose this career path?

Can you describe yourself in three words?

What are your pet peeves?

How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions:

Tell me about a time you made a mistake.

How would you describe your work style?

Tell me about your last job. 

How did you get along with your last boss? 

What makes you a good team player?

What do you know about this job?

What questions do you have for me? 

Tell me about a time you handled a stressful situation.

How do you handle working with people who annoy you?

Are you competitive?

How To Answer Career/Competency Based Interview Questions:

Is there a colleague that has impacted your life?

How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?

What salary expectations do you have?

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

Tell me about your education.

Why are you applying for a job outside of your current industry?

 

Good luck with your interview! With this guide, you are on your way to nailing your interview. For more tips, check out the rest of our blog, filled with career advice, and more.

Do you have interview questions that you need an answer to? Let us know! We’ll help you craft the perfect response.

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