As soon as you sit down with an employer you can expect the interview questions to start rolling in.
An interviewer will start off with general interview questions as to why you are looking for a job and gradually work towards more difficult questions.
When answering job interview questions, you need to be prepared for the easy ones as well as the unexpected. You’ll get some momentum going once you are comfortable answering the general interview questions and that will making answering the difficult questions much easier.
On this page, you’ll find a wide variety of real-world interview questions and answers.
Interviews questions are designed to make you feel uncomfortable. Your answers demonstrate how well you work under pressure and handle stress. You will often be asked questions that seem straightforward to answer.
But, the trick is that a simple “yes” or “no” is not good enough. Here is a list of common interview questions and what the interviewer is looking for by asking them.
1. Why do you want to leave your job?
This question can be answered in several ways but do your best to keep your answer short. Avoid being dishonest with this question, for what ever reason, your interviewer may spot it and believe there is something you are not saying.
There are usually only a few reasons someone really wants to leave their job and, surprisingly, money does not rank at the top of the list.
There is no right answer to this question, only wrong ones. You don’t need to make book out of this answer, just something short and positive is best. After all, it really does not matter to the interviewer, as long as you don’t say something foolish.
The point here is to convey to the interviewer that you are not leaving because you are mad, tired, bored, overworked, underpaid, or job hopping, just that you are leaving your job on because.
“After working there for three years, I have learned a great deal about the company and the ways we conduct business. As much as I enjoy the relationships I have, it is time for me to move to a more progressive organization with more opportunities and new challenges.”
2. Can you work under pressure?
This is an easy question to answer even if it makes you nervous. This question is asked in a way that it requires a “yes or no” answer, but don’t just say “yes.” You should describe situations where you have worked under pressure at your job and had to meet deadlines that you had no control over.
“Yes, I actually enjoy working under pressure, though I believe that proper planning and good time management will greatly reduce any alarming deadlines.”
3. Do you work well under pressure?
This is more of a follow-up from the previous question and I doubt both questions will be directly asked to you, but both have slightly different answers. Saying no to this question may be an honest answer, but it is also a negative one.
If you are a doctor, lawyer or in another demanding profession, answering no to this question will surely disqualify for the position. The interviewer will probably ask for an example, so be prepared with a situation or academic scenario from a previous interview.
“I like it when the pressure is on. Things really get clicking and that’s when great ideas start coming to me. If it’s too slow, I just feel stagnant.”
4. What can you do for us that no one else can?
This is a pretty open ended question and may or may not get asked directly, but some variation of it may come up. There is no right or wrong answer. The interviewer wants to see what you believe are your best strengths and that you can differentiate yourself from everyone else.
Tripping up on this question, it does not mean the end of the interview, but if you trip up on a few of these types of questions, you can probably expect that you won’t go any further in the interview process.
This is a time to talk about your job skills, training, and project experiences that make you better than everyone else. Describe your role and how you have contributed to the company and projects on past jobs.
“I believe that my unique blend of experience, problem solving skills and people skills differentiates me from most other candidates. I am motivated, disciplined and focused and am willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
5. Tell me about yourself?
The way you answer this question will set the tone for the rest of the interview. This can be a challenging question to answer if you are not prepared for it, but it’s really asked as an icebreaker. Again, this is an open ended question, but really what the interviewer wants to hear is about your recent work experience.
Your answer tells the interviewer where your mind is. If you start telling him that you are a Cleveland Browns fan, then you are way off base with what he wants to hear and you have just made your first mistake.
Focus on your answer and talk about your accomplishments from your current or most recent job and lightly touch on your daily duties. These are the things an interviewer really wants to hear.
“I have been in the customer service industry for several years and most of my experience has been dealing with calls from our customers. I truly enjoy working with the people in this business as well as the challenges. In my last job, the good relationships I formed with my customers resulted in me holding the highest customer retention rate of everyone else in my department.”
6. Why do you want to work here?
This is a great question and is sure to come up during your interview and probably when you least expect it. Lack of preparation for this question could very well cost you the job. One of the most important things is to be honest, otherwise it will show.
Ask yourself the question first, why do you want to work there? If your answer is that you just need a job and paycheck, then dig little deeper.
Make sure you have a clear understanding of why you want to work for them and that it’s more than “just a job” to you. Do you admire this company? Do you like their products? The key here is what is important to you about this company.
When answering interview questions like this, your answer should demonstrate your familiarity with the company and its products and by doing this the interviewer will recognize you as a serious candidate.
Interviewers like to hear praise about their company because it further solidifies the company’s reputation in their own mind, but don’t overdo it because it will come out sounding fake and cheap.
“I have always wanted to work for Sterling, Inc. because I have always admired what they do and it always has been my dream job.” This only answer works if you are interviewing with a very high end company with a very prestigious reputation.
7. Why should I hire you?
This is often the last question you will be asked in an interview. Prepare for it. This is your chance to restate the skills you possess that are most relevant to the position and to summarize your other qualities that make you the perfect person for the job.
Outline your answer before you go in, so that you can answer clearly, concisely, and with confidence.
Your answer should be short and to the point. It should reflect your professional background as it relates to current needs and problems of the position. Review the job description and tell how you are the right person for the job by matching up your skill set with each bullet point of the job description.
Be enthusiastic about the opportunity to work for this company and/or within a certain team. Be sure that the interviewer is clear about the fact that you want this job.
“I have the qualifications you are looking for (briefly list them). I’m a team player, I take direction, and I have the desire to be successful.”
8. What were some of the things you did not like about your last job?
This is a fair question and is sure to come up in almost every interview. A short answer is all that is expected. Don’t speak of being underpaid or that you did not like your coworkers or manager. One option is to tell the interviewer that in your current position, training and advancement opportunities are limited.
Don’t mention that you were singled out from training opportunities, just that the company did make them readily available. By asking this question all they are doing is fishing for incompatibilities.
Be careful of how you answer this question. We all have something we did not like about our last job; it could be the people, culture, your boss, internal politics, the drive, etc. Don’t start by rattling off any of these negatives.
Be sure to keep your answer short and positive; no need to prattle on here because you are interviewing for a new job and are not here to spend time focusing on what you did not like about your last job.
If you work for a small company and are interviewing with a large corporation you could explain that: “working for a small company lacked the necessary financial resources to provide new learning opportunities for me.”
You have just read a small fraction of interview questions and answers from The Complete Interview Answer Guide. Each of these questions is answered in even greater detail in my guide with many more questions and answers.
More styles of Interview Questions: