50 Job Interview Questions & Answers You Need To Know To Get Hired For Jobs
There’s no need for interview preparation to feel vague, ambiguous, or intimidating: Just like
studying for a test or rehearsing for a play yields the best results, the surest way to ace your next job
interview is to research and memorize a comprehensive list of interview questions and answers.
How To Answer Interview Questions
Before you begin reviewing the list of job interview questions and answers contained in this
guide, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on how, exactly, you ought to prepare and practice your
peronalized answers. While it may feel safest to script a series of polite and professional “canned”
responses to the questions below and memorize them ad verbatim, this is not recommended; if your
responses sound formulaic and robotic, your interviewer is sure to lose interest. Instead, write down a
few different possible answers to each question, read them over, then set them aside while having a
friend act as a mock-interviewer. During the mock interview, respond in a conversational style; repeat
this process until your answers sound natural but not overly “rehearsed” and the facts needed to
respond confidently and competently are clear in your mind.
The 50 Most Common Interview Questions And Answers:
- Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
This is the most frequently-used interview “opener.” To answer it, you should prepare a short statement
that summarizes your professional life rather than your personal life. Don’t just repeat what is on your
Resume, however; make sure your answer is given in “story format,” starting with what drew you to your field and covering your journey toward where you are now in your career.
- Why did you leave your last job?
If you left your last job due to a problem with management, a boss or supervisor, a co-worker, or the
organization itself, tactfully omit the details. Remember, if there is one absolute rule for how to ace a
job interview, it’s “Never speak ill of your former employer.” An answer such as “I was let go due to
company downsizing,” or, “I decided to change directions with my career and look for new growth
opportunities elsewhere,” should be perfectly sufficient.
- What experience do you have in this field (or industry)?
Answering this will be fairly straightforward for most candidates, but it’s important to note that if you
lack specific experience, you absolutely should not attempt to “skip” this question by simply
answering, “I don’t have any experience yet.” Instead, prepare an answer that relates experience from
outside your chosen field to the position you’re applying for. For example, if the job you’re applying for
lists organization skills as being of paramount importance, you can describe how time spent
volunteering at an animal shelter caring for a number of animals’ needs helped you to learn to manage
multiple commitments effectively.
- Would you rate yourself as being professionally successful?
There’s only one good answer to this question: “Yes,” followed by an explanation of why you feel this
way. Describe professional goals you have already met and those you are in the process of achieving,
then mention any awards or accolades you have received.
- What would your co-workers say about you?
Prepare for this question by asking a coworker for a direct quote on what makes you excellent to work
with; repeat this quote during the interview. Just like positive online reviews are the best way to “sell” a
business, glowing referrals from your colleagues provide the perfect way to market yourself without
- What do you know about our company?
Before walking into any job interview, you should be able to list the organization’s recent
accomplishments, be able to talk confidently about its history, understand its current goals, and be able
to name its major players.
- How have you improved your knowledge or skills in the last year?
Mention new skills you learned at work (for example, while filling in for another employee who was
away), any training you received (on the job or otherwise), and/or material that you have studied on
your own time in order to further your professional knowledge.
- Are you applying for other jobs?
Stick to a simple “yes” or “no” answer and then change the subject by focusing the conversation on the
organization you’re interviewing with. It’s best not to discuss which other positions and firms you’re
- Why do you want to work for us?
Use your knowledge of the company’s current endeavors and recent achievements to explain how you
feel the organization’s goals and your goals align perfectly. Be specific and be sincere while also
emphasizing the fact that you wish to grow with the company over the long-term.
- Do you know any of our current employees?
This question can be tricky to answer; if you have a relative working in the organization, be aware of
the company’s policy on hiring relatives before you answer. If you have a friend in the organization,
make sure they are well thought of before you name them.
- What kind of salary do you expect?
This is another tough question, and it’s one that you’re probably better off not giving a direct answer to.
Instead, state that money is not your primary motivation for seeking the position or turn the question
around and ask the employer to tell you about the range they offer for the position (then agree to it so
long as it’s fair). Always research the salary range for a position before your job interview.
- Are you a team player?
This is another “yes only” type of question and answer, but that doesn’t mean you need to lie about
your unique working style if it’s more solitary. Instead, say that you are indeed a team player, but then
give examples of how, exactly, you have acted in your team’s best interest before. If that entails
listening to team members’ concerns and then working on your own to solve problems they present to
you, that should be perfectly satisfactory.
- How long do you see yourself staying with us if hired?
Unless you’re applying for a temporary position, you can rest assured that the company is looking for
an employee who will stay on board for as long as possible—it costs a great deal of money to
interview, hire, and train new employees, after all. Say something like, “I’d like to stay with the
organization and grow my skills for as long as possible.”
- How would you fire someone? (Or, alternately, “Have you fired anyone?”)
Make sure that your answer aligns with the organization’s policies on handling dismissals. Don’t make
light of the situation or try to skip the question; give a comprehensive, competent answer and then
express polite regret at the idea of having to perform the duty.
- What is your professional philosophy?
Though this question may sound highly subjective, there’s no need to invoke the Ancient Greeks or
give a long, flowery speech when you hear it. Keep your answer succinct and focus on the value you
can add to the organization rather than espousing your personal beliefs and ideals.
- If you could retire right now, would you?
Be honest about what you would do in this situation, but if you answer “yes,” make sure to follow it up
by showing a continued interest in your industry. For example, a professional pilot might express a
desire to travel for enjoyment and a copywriter might mention a wish to segue into writing fiction.
- Have you ever been terminated?
If you have been fired at some point in the past, be honest about it—but stay positive and don’t try to
blame your former employer. Explain how you learned from your error or direct the conversation
toward how much you grew as an employee in your next job.
- Explain how you plan to be an asset to this organization.
Take the major skills and experience described on your Resume and relate them to the position being offered, explaining how you will use your unique aptitudes to solve problems, deliver consistent results, and above all else, add value to the organization.
- Why should we hire you?
Don’t give an answer similar to the one described above; while these question may look alike, what
your interviewer is really asking here is what sets you apart from competing candidates. Ask yourself:
What inspires you, what makes you uniquely innovative, and what do you have to offer your industry
that no one else does? Your answer should reflect all of these qualities.
- Tell me about a time you suggested something and it worked.
Don’t give a vague answer like, “I suggested that we step up our marketing efforts at my last place of
work, and my supervisor agreed.” Provide hard facts and real data, e.g., “I spearheaded a marketing
campaign and as a direct result of my strategies, sales rose by 30% in that quarter.”
- What annoys you most in a co-worker?
This question is usually a trap to uncover your own unsavoury qualities, so at all costs, avoid saying
anything negative about people you’ve worked with. Instead, state that you’ve never had any issue
resolving conflicts—you simply communicate openly until all parties involved are satisfied.
- What is your greatest strength?
This question is relatively straightforward, but make sure your answer includes an example of how you
have used your greatest strength to generate real results in the past.
- How would you describe your dream job?
Don’t answer flippantly (i.e., billionaire business mogul) or try to directly claim that the position you’re
applying for is your dream job (this usually doesn’t look credible, even if you feel that way). Pick a few
core skills you hope to build on and explain that your dream job would allow you to do so, making sure
that these skills do in fact align with the position you’re applying for.
- Why do you think you would excel in this position?
Your answer should touch on your relevant experience and skills while also including a mention of why
you’re interested in the position.
- What are you looking for in a job?
Reiterate which skills you wish to grow (as mentioned in the answer to #23) but go into more specific
detail on how, exactly, you want to build on them. Also, mention the type of company culture you wish
to be a part of (while making sure that culture is present in the organization you’re applying to).
- Is there any kind of person you refuse work with?
Don’t go into undesirable personality traits; instead, state that you wouldn’t work with anyone who
violated the law or company policy.
- What do you value more about this position, the money or the work?
You should always value the work primarily (and explain why you value the work so highly—how
does it fulfil you and inspire you?)
- What would your previous boss say your greatest strength is?
Explain that your boss would agree with your own assessment of your greatest strength. Ideally, you
should get a direct quote from him or her affirming your primary skill or aptitude.
- Tell me about a problem you had with a boss or supervisor.
Almost all of us have had a tyrannical or incompetent boss at some point in our lives, but the last thing
you want to do is speak ill of any of your former bosses or supervisors—doing so looks extremely
unprofessional and may make you seem like a “difficult” employee. Give a brief answer that describes
a situation that could have become a problem but that you worked out with your former boss using
excellent communication and cooperation.
- What about your previous job disappointed or dissatisfied you?
Choose a safe, generic answer such as, “I felt there wasn’t enough room for growth.”
- How well do your work under pressure?
Don’t simply claim that you thrive under pressure; give actual examples of how you have handled tight
deadlines in the past or managed problematic projects.
- Do your skills match this job, or is there another job they would match more closely?
Your interviewer may well be “fishing” to see if you are indeed applying for other positions and what
kind of positions they might be. Either answer that you feel this position is the best fit, or if you lack a
great deal of specific experience (as might be the case if you are, for example, trying to shift directions
in your career), state that you feel this position will allow you to build on the skills you want to focus
on in the future.
- What motivates you?
Your interviewer is asking about your professional motivation, rather than your personal motivation.
Keep your answer centred on the value you hope to offer to the organization.
- What is your greatest weakness?
Don’t try to deny that you have weaknesses; be honest, but mention how you’ve successfully worked to
overcome your greatest weakness.
- Are you willing to travel or relocate for this position?
If you say “yes” simply to get the job and then refuse to travel or relocate, it will create a black mark on
your reputation and you will have a hard time securing positive references to show your next potential
employer, so be truthful.
- If you secure this position, how will you know you’re doing a good job?
Create a 30, 60, 90 day employment action plan so that you can discuss your actual plans for how to succeed with your interviewer.
- Do you have any professional blind spots?
This question can be awkward to answer as, of course, we cannot see our blind spots. Say that you
don’t have any that you’re aware of, but if one should become clear to you, you would work to
overcome it. If you have an example of how you overcame a previous blind spot, share it.
- What matters more to you, the interests of the organization or your own?
While this question may sound complicated, what your employer is really asking is whether you plan to
be loyal to the organization or whether you would, for example, simply leave if a higher-paying
position came along. Just say that the interests of the organization matter foremost.
- Describe your management style.
Avoid the use of catchy, hackneyed buzzwords and instead use real-world anecdotes that demonstrate
how you’ve effectively managed employees even in challenging situations. Ultimately, you want to
show your interviewer that you have no one absolute management style; instead, you can adapt your
style to fit the needs of the situation.
- How have you learned from your past mistakes?
Pick an example of a mistake that casts you in as positive a light as possible (for example, that you
once worked ahead of your teammates and disrupted the coordination of a project) and then explain
what you learned from the experience.
- Describe yourself in three words.
Pick three words that reflect traits valuable to the position you’re applying for.
- If you were hiring for this position, what qualities would you look for?
Show that you have researched the position by listing the qualities most relevant to it, rather than just
listing your own positive qualities ad verbatim.
- Do you think you are overqualified for this job?
Even if you are overqualified, it’s best not to say so directly and risk looking conceited. Instead, simply
tell your interviewer that you feel you are fully qualified and believe you can perform excellently.
- How many cars are there in the United States? (Or a similar such “trivia” question.)
It’s becoming increasingly common for interviewers to throw in a trivia question that asks you to
produce a seemingly random fact such as the one above. Don’t worry—your interviewer doesn’t really
expect you to know the exact answer. Instead, he or she wants to see if you will give up, blurt a random
answer, or demonstrate logic and problem-solving skills while trying to figure it out. Obviously, you
want to do the latter.
- What do you look for in a boss?
Unless you have managed to find out the exact qualities of the person you will be working for if hired,
keep your answer general, using “safe” terms like fair, knowledgeable, etc.
- Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a dispute at work.
This should be relatively straightforward to answer; however, make sure that you focus not on the
personal nature of the dispute but on the specifics of how you solved it.
- What position do you prefer when working with a team?
Be honest about which role you prefer; if you get the job, you may well find yourself working in the
role you mention in this answer.
- Describe your work ethic.
Talk about how you achieve results, making sure that your answer aligns with company goals and
- What has been your biggest professional disappointment?
Try to mention an incident that was outside of your control and thus not your fault. Make sure to state
that you have no hard feelings and that you learned a valuable lesson while coping with adversity.
- Tell me about the most fun you’ve ever had while on the job.
Don’t talk about a particularly enjoyable company event (e.g. a picnic or barbeque), keep your answer
professional by highlighting a project or task that you found uniquely engaging.
- Do you have any questions for me?
This is almost always the final question in any job interview. Ask questions that are relevant to your
industry and the organization’s current actions within it. At all costs, avoid asking questions that could
be answered by looking at the company’s website and avoid generic enquires like, “When would I start
working?”. Prepare a list of 10-15 insightful questions that will impress a hiring manager and make you stand out as the best job candidate for the position.
While there’s no single magic formula for how to ace an interview, having well-researched,
engaging, and confident answers to the 50 questions above will stand you in good stead to land your
dream job… Just make sure that you apply the age-old wisdom of “practice makes perfect” when
preparing for your interview.
Robert Moment is The Get Hired Expert and author who specializes in helping ambitious people get hired for jobs and make more money. Visit http://www.howtointerviewtips.com and learn how to ace a job interview. Robert is the author of the following books, How to Ace an Interview : Job Interview Tips You Need to Stand Out and Get Hired for Jobs and How to Write a Resume:Winning Resume Writing Tips and Secrets to Get Hired for Jobs.