Sample Job Interview Questions And Answers
You've perfected your resume, contacted many potential employers, and finally landed the job interview at the company of your dreams - great! You're still not out of the woods, and the job interview is what can really make or break your acceptance into your dream job.
We've compiled a list of common job interview questions, along with some potential answers and know-how in understanding what your interviewer is looking for in your answers. In order to show that you are not only a qualified candidate, but an exceptional one, we suggest you come prepared with answers to some of the most common job interview questions.
Job interview questions about work history
- Q. How long have you been looking for a job?
A. Your interviewer is wondering if there is perhaps something wrong with you or your work history that other employers have picked up on.
The best answer is to not divulge specifics, but rather explain that you have been searching for "a few weeks". Reasons for long job search times could include "assessing career goals", and explaining that the company and job offered are in line with those goals.
- Q. Tell me about a time when you had to plan and coordinate a project from start to finish.
A. The interviewer is seeking an example of your behavior and leadership skills. They are interested in knowing if you are a "team player", and how you manage to convey this to the rest of your team. Is collaboration important to you? Do you seek the advice of your co-workers? Of course, if the project was a success, you had a big hand in it. If not, circumstances were beyond your control.
- Q. Why did you leave your last job?
A. Regardless of circumstances, your answer should be positive and up-beat. Never bad-mouth supervisors, co-workers, or the organization. Keep it light, and explain your leaving in a positive light, with focus on bettering yourself and your future. For example, cite an opportunity, a need to grow in your field, a need to better yourself, and of course align this with the job you are interviewing for.
- Q. What major challenges and problems did you face in your previous job? How did you handle them?
A. The interviewer is looking for specific work-related experience that you have accumulated, and here is an opportunity to show off the projects/skills that you are particularly proud of. Discuss how you researched the problem, tackled it from all angles, and how you resolved it successfully, to your organization's satisfaction. Try to explain how you saved the organization money, or how you brought in new money, or clients.
Job interview questions about you
- Q. When have you been most satisfied in your career?
A. The interviewer is interested to know what motivates/de-motivates you, what is important to you in your work environment, and if your expectations are in-line with the organization's. Talk about success as a great motivator, and explain about a time when you were especially successful in a previous job. Another great motivator is the learning experience that you received in previous jobs, and there is ample room here to explain what you have learnt/know from previous jobs.
- Q. What is your greatest weakness?
A. When asked what your greatest weakness is, try to turn a negative into a positive. Try not to use the word "weakness" in your answer, and try to paint your answer in a positive light.
You can also take a weakness that you used to have, and explain in the same breath how you turned it around into a strength.
"I sometimes get stressed when project deadlines loom, and tend to complete them before the deadline."
"I used to wait until the last minute to set appointments for the coming week, but I realized that scheduling in advance makes much more sense."
- Q. How many hours do you work?
A. The interviewer is trying to get a feel for your work ethic here. Are you a slacker, a workaholic? Will you fit the organization's culture?
Unless you did some research about the company before the interview, and know a bit about the culture and expectations, you should try not to mention specific hours, but rather explain that you work as many hours as needed to get the job done.
- Q. Tell me about yourself.
This is an open-ended question that allows you to take the interview in whichever direction you see fit. It put the oars directly in your hands, and you should use this given power to paint yourself in the best possible light.
This question is not an invitation to start rambling about your hobbies, likes or dislikes, or personal opinions. Although it seems informal, you should not drop your guard. Attempt to give a razor-sharp answer here, detailing your unique selling point (why you are fit for the organization), past successes, etc.
For example, you could answer "I'm a seasoned Retail Manager strong in developing training programs and loss prevention techniques that have resulted in revenue savings of over $2.3Million for (employer's name) during the past 11 years."
Now, isn't that better then explaining how you enjoy playing the guitar?
Job interview questions about the new job and the future
- Q. Why do you want this job?
A. This question allows you to focus on your strengths as they pertain directly to the organization and position that you are interviewing for. A good reason for wanting to work there should include the opportunity for your professional growth, utilization of specific skills that you have that are required by the organization, etc.
This job is tailor-made for my skills as a sales person. My cold-call skills are excellent, and enabled me to increase sales by 30% is my previous company. I would like to do the same here, if given the opportunity.
- Q. What do you know about this organization?
A. The interviewer is interested in knowing how important this job is for you, by seeing how much research you have done about the company and position prior to the interview. Research the company in advance by going to its website, viewing the "about us" section, and any information you can find about the job position. Summarize the information in bullet-form, focusing on company products/services, and why you think it would be such a great place to work.
- Q. What are your goals for the future?
A. Focus on goals that directly pertain to the job position and the company, and steer clear of personal and/or educational goals. The interviewer is interested in knowing if you will still be with them in five/ten years time, or if your goals will keep you at the company only for the short term.
My long-term goals involve growing with a company where I can continue to learn, take on additional responsibilities, and contribute as much of value as I can.