12 Common Job Interview Questions you need to prepare for

Job interview questions

Most people don’t like job interviews. A job interview can make you like you are being interrogated. Fortunately you can prepare yourself for a job interview. Most recruiters ask the same type of questions during a job interview. Which is understandable because the reason for asking these questions is the same: They want to find out whether you are the right person for the job. Preparing for these questions cannot only improve your answers, it can also make you feel more comfortable going into the job interview.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

This is often one of the first questions during a job interview. The question is a good opportunity to immediately set a solid base for your job interview. You don’t have to give a full autobiography of your life. Give them a pitch of the most important points that summarize your personal life and your career. Focus on the information that is relevant for the job interview.

Why do you want to work for us?

Recruiters want to hire people that are passionate about their job. They want to hire a candidate that will stay with the company, not a candidate that will leave again within a couple of months. To answer this question you have to do research about the company. What products or services do you like, does the company brand make you want to work for them? What is it that you like about the company culture, what do you like about the specific role within the company?

Why did you leave your last job or why do you want to leave your current job?

It is important to answer this question in a positive way. Don’t talk negative about former employer or former managers and colleagues. Talking negative about your former employer is a no-go for most recruiters. It is seen as a sign of blaming others instead of being positive and looking forward to new opportunities.  Talk about being eager for new opportunities and you wanting to challenge yourself in a new setting. If the reason is that you are let down, don’t beat around the bush, just them the truth and stay positive about your future.

What is your biggest weakness?

This one is a very common question and it can be a bit of a trap. Therefore it is very important to prepare for this one. Don’t give an answer that is actually not a weakness (I am too dedicated, I am too friendly etc.) Neither can you say that you have no weaknesses. The purpose of this questions is, besides spotting obvious red flags, to check your honesty and your self-awareness. You need to be honest without harming your chances of getting hired. Talk about a weakness that you are working on to improve and tell them how you have improved this weakness. This will not only show your honesty and your self-awareness, it will also show that you are pro-actively working on improving yourself. Just like about your weaknesses you should also prepare to answer questions about your strengths.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

When a recruiter asks you this questions he wants to find out what your ambitions are and whether your ambitions are realistic. Take the position that you’re applying to as a starting point when you prepare an answer to this questions. Where could this position realistically take you within the next five years? Be honest about your ambitions but be careful not to overdo it by naming ambitions that are not realistic and will not fit the position you are applying to.

Tell us about a challenge you had to overcome?

During a job interview you will always get some questions that will invite you to tell about how you dealt with tough situations in the past. Take some time to rethink your career and personal life. Pick a couple of events or situations that are relevant to talk about during a job interview. This can be a challenge you had to overcome, but it can also be a big failure, a big success, a difficult situation etc. Prepare a couple of these stories for an interview. Make sure to always conclude your story in a positive way, focus on what you have learned and how it improved your skills or personality.

Why do you consider yourself a team player?

Being a team player is important for most jobs. Answer this question by telling them how you feel about working in a team. Try to add examples of when you successfully worked in a team or when you were part of an extraordinary achievement that was accomplished due to good team work. This question is another one that needs preparation. If you don’t prepare it can be hard to find a good answer on the spot.

What achievement are you most proud of?

This is another question that is basically an invitation to tell a story. This is your chance to tell about something great you did. This doesn’t have to be an achievement at work, it can also be an achievement in your personal life. As long as the story exposes a positive personality trait like resilience, ingenuity, creativity, leadership or good team work. But keep it relevant for the job interview, don’t choose eating 10 hotdogs in under two minutes as your biggest achievement.

Why should we hire you?

Maybe a bit a bold question, but it is a question that is often asked during a job interview. Instead of finding it out by asking lots of questions, the recruiter just asks you directly to give the answer. This is actually a very good opportunity to sell yourself. You are basically invited to pitch yourself. Prepare a short pitch. Use the job posting to find out exactly what they are looking for and include the most important aspects in your pitch.

Why is there a gap on your CV?

If you have a significant gap on your resume you should prepare for questions about this gap. It is best to give a direct and honest answer about it. Try to stay positive, focus on what you have learned during this period in between jobs. Don’t dwell on this gap too much in the interview, try to bring the conversation back on you can be an asset for the company. If you have other irregularities on your CV that will raise questions, you should prepare to answer questions about those too. For example a career change or an unfinished education.

How many skittles will fit into a Porsche 911?

Okay, small chance you will get this exact question. But there are some recruiters out there that love to ask this type of questions during their job interview. Questions like these are nearly impossible to know exact correct answer to. Keep in mind that this type of questions is not about giving the correct answer at all. By asking you this question they want to find out how you deal with sudden difficult and maybe uncomfortable tasks. It is about how you try to get to the correct answer. They want to know the steps and assumptions you take when trying to figure out the answer. So don’t black out when you get a question like this, start your answer with the first step or assumption and take it from there.

And the final job interview question: Do you have any questions for us?

Expect this question at the end of the job interview. Even though most candidates can’t wait to get the interview over with and would like to answer this questions with a solid NO, it is important to prepare a couple of questions to ask on forehand. You can ask questions about the company itself or about the team and your role within the team. You can ask about their expectations for this position during the first 90 days. Keep in mind was has be discussed already during the interview, there is no need to ask a question that has already been answered during the interview. That’s why it is best to prepare a couple of questions, you will always have question ready and you don’t have to end the interview abruptly by not having any question to ask.

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