4 of the Most Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

By Robert Half on March 23, 2015 at 1:00pm

Prepping for a job interview? Here are four common interview questions you should be ready to answer.

A prospective employer calls and wants to meet with you. Congrats! That means you’ve gotten your foot in the proverbial door. But once the excitement about the prospect of a new job starts to fade, you may find it replaced with a tinge of anxiety.

It’s no wonder. Job interviews can be incredibly stressful. What do you wear? What if you get caught in traffic and arrive late? But the question that looms over all the others in your mind is probably, “What will the interviewer ask me?”

The stress of wondering what questions you’ll be asked during an interview is enough to make you reach for the antacids. But before you pop the cap to that bottle of chalky pastel tablets, read on. In order to help you ace your interview, we’ve listed four of the most common interview questions and the answers that hiring managers are looking for when they ask them.

1. Why are you interested in working for our company?

This query tops the list of most common interview questions. Interviewers ask this question to see not only what you feel you’ll gain from working at their organization, but to gauge whether or not you’ve done your homework. Make sure you read up on the company before you walk through the front door.

2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Hiring managers wield a double-edged sword when asking this question. They are really evaluating your capabilities. But they also want to see if you’re aware of areas in which you could improve, and how you’re planning to do so. The key to answering this question is to focus on professional qualities, and to use positive phrasing. For example, “I could definitely grow my professional network. I’ve recently taken steps to do so by updating my LinkedIn profile and organizing a monthly meeting where business contacts share their ideas and experiences.”

3. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Interviewers are evaluating your drive and dedication to your career. They want to discern whether you have solid career goals and aspirations, or if you’re just drifting along until you stumble into a position.

4. Can you give me an example of a time when you overcame a professional challenge?

Not only is this one of the most common interview questions, it’s also one that interviewees like least. Prepare for this query by having an anecdote ready to go. Yes, hiring managers are looking for examples of your critical thinking and analytical skills. But they’re also focusing on your behavior in handling the challenge you describe. Did you initially panic? Or did you calmly assess the situation and proceed with the best possible solution?

Take the time to prepare for these common interview questions. Doing so will show hiring managers that you’re serious about the opportunity.

This post has been updated to reflect more current information.

Learn how Robert Half can help you get results in your job search.


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