The 10 Most Commonly Asked Interview Questions

There you are, in the waiting room. You feel completely prepared; you have read the job description carefully, researched the company thoroughly and you know your documents by heart. You certainly look the part, as you followed all the advice on clothes. However, you heard companies can be notorious with their questions, making you a little nervous. This article is there to help! We will present you with 10 of the most commonly asked questions and how to answer them best. Read along!

Tell us something about yourself

Try starting with interests which are not directly related to the job. For example, sports showcase you interest in health and interactive roles like fundraisers showcase your social abilities. You can then transition to your professional capabilities: "In addition to those interests and passions, my professional life plays a substantial role, so I'd like to talk a bit about some of the strengths I would bring to this job." Be ready to share three or four of the personal qualities, skills and/or areas of expertise in which you excel.

What is your greatest strength?

The best way to tackle this question is to start describing the skills and experience directly correlated with the job you are applying for. When preparing for the interview, make a list of the qualifications mentioned in the job posting and match them to a list of your skills. Narrow your list of skills down to 3 - 5 particularly strong skills. Next to each skill, note a specific example of how you have used that strength in the past (Try looking up the STAR method). Note that this is not a time to be humble, stay focused on a couple of key strengths that relate directly to your match with the position and the company.

What is your greatest weakness?

Answer this question by analyzing the key skills and strengths required for the position you and then come up with an honest shortcoming which is not essential for success in that job. Another option is to discuss skills that you have improved upon during your previous job, to show that you can make improvements when necessary. Also, you can try to turn a negative into a positive by saying for example something like you always wanting to triple check. This will hint that you are particular and aim for perfection.

What motivates you?

This question requires you to think critically about yourself. The interviewer is trying to understand the key to you being successful in the job and whether or not you are aware of what you value in a job and work environment. Before the interview, look at your resume and make a list of the tasks you most enjoyed and felt motivated doing and try to relate those to the job you are applying for. You can do the same for the work environment.

Why should we hire you?

The best way to answer is by giving a concise answer, focusing on your uniqueness and explaining what you believe the employer is looking for, and how you fulfill that need. Think of this as an opportunity to sell yourself. Give concrete examples of why your skills and accomplishments make you the best candidate for the job, make sure these match with the skills mentioned in the job description. Try to make this 'pitch' a little longer than two minutes.

Why do you want this job?

Contrary to the previous question, this question is more focused on a response that shows you've done research on the company. Be specific about what makes you the best fit for this position, and mention aspects of the company and position that appeal to you. Avoid mentioning salary or hours. Instead, focus on the ability to develop and work with your strongest skills and capabilities.

Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it.

These are behavioral interview questions designed to discover how you handled certain situations, which can also be a predictor of future behaviour. Skim through your resume and reflect on some special situations you have dealt with or projects you have worked on. Give one or two concrete difficult situations, then discuss what decisions you had to make to remedy the situations . Note that you want to come across as confident and capable of making important decisions.

How do you handle stress and pressure?

Like the previous question, the best answer is to give an example of how you have handled stress in a previous job. Avoid mentioning a situation when you put yourself in a needlessly stressful situation. Emphasize that the given (multiple) task(s) were difficult and on how you dealt with the stress, rather than how it bothered you.

What are your goals for the future?

Refer your goals to the position and the company and how they will help you grow and further develop your skills. Avoid mentioning goals such as returning to school or having a family. Employers want to be sure that you are dedicated and won't be moving on to another job right away.

Do you have any questions for us?

Yes, of course you do! This is the perfect opportunity to show you are independent and prepared. Therefore, ask a question one could not find on the internet (such as benefits or questions about the team you'll be working in) and try linking it to how you could develop your skills. The best questions are open ended and focus on how things are done or have happened in the past by the company and its management.