40 Interview Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer

19. How do you handle stress or pressure?

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You did it! You secured an interview at a company you’ve been wanting to work at. But now, you not only have to study the brand but also the kinds of interview questions they might ask. But how do you know what they’re going to ask? The simple answer is you won’t—but are there a few (40 to be exact) common interview questions you can practice answering to get ahead.

To know which interview questions are the most common and how to answer them, we connected with a few career experts. See what they had to say below.

The most common interview questions:

1. Can you tell me about yourself?

“It’s very likely the first question you’ll receive in any job interview,” Julia Pollack, a labor economist at Zip Recruiter, tells HelloGiggles. “Be sure you’re prepared to answer it confidently and with a smile. Don’t look like a deer in headlights or get flustered.

Pollack explains that interviewers already know a bit about you—you did send them your resume, after all. “What they really want is for you to connect the dots between your past experience, the role for which you are applying now, and your long-term career goals,” says Pollack. “A winning answer might include a line like this one: ‘I’m so excited to be here because getting this role would allow me to combine my data analysis skills with my interest in consumer marketing, and to achieve my goal of becoming a market researcher in an exciting and rapidly growing company that I see as a major force for good in the world.'”  

The reason this question always pops up is, well, it’s a darn good way to start an interview.

“First off, it’s a nice way to settle into a conversation with someone new, by transitioning from small talk and pleasantries to a more detailed discussion about what you can bring to the table,” Pollack says. “It is also a way to see how well you communicate your ideas, and what kind of chemistry you have with the interviewer, who will likely be your manager or teammate. The question can give you the ability to steer the rest of the conversation towards the topics, experience, and skills that highlight why you are the best fit for the job.”

2. What are your strengths?

3. What are your weaknesses?

These pair of questions are great to prepare for because you can put yourself in the interviewer’s mindset to give the best possible response. By answering these questions and preparing a thoughtful response you can change the subject to something more positive instead of discussing your addiction to true crime documentaries or your obsession with all things Dua Lipa.

4. Why are you leaving your current job?

5. What are you looking for in a new position?

6. Where do you want to be in 5 years, 10 years, and beyond? How will this job help you get there?

7. What are your short-term and long-term professional goals?

These are a very important questions, because they show where your interests and your potential time at the company dovetails. Before you go to the interview, think about your career goals, then you can make a plan to get to where you want to be. Make sure to research the company to tie your goals and the company’s values together if they align to give yourself extra brownie points.

common interview questions

8. What are your salary requirements?

Don’t freak out about conversations surrounding money. Women, especially, tend to undervalue their worth—with most not realizing you can negotiate salary terms. The best way to throw the ball back in their court? Respond with a simple ‘what’s the range?'” This way, you don’t undersell yourself. 

9. What do you know about this company/industry/position?

10. What do you know about our company and its products/services?

Avoid vague, general statements and try to keep them focused. By focusing on the company and its values, you can demonstrate your preparedness to step into the job.

11. What are your skills and experience that pertain to this position?

12. Why do you want to work for us? 

13. How did you learn about the opening?

The way to stand out here, according to Inc, is to. “Show that you heard about the job through a colleague, a current employer, by following the company—show that you know about the job because you want to work there.”

14. What is your greatest achievement to date?

15. What can you offer me that other candidates cannot?

When you’re interviewing for a job, it’s important, to be honest about what you bring to the table and don’t force yourself to fit into the mold of the perfect candidate. Instead, after it’s established what the company is looking for, take the opportunity to tell them exactly what they’re getting. Tell the story of your successes and your values, rather than a list of your achievements. The goal isn’t to knock your interviewer off their feet, but it’s to showcase your most positive qualities and match the company’s hiring needs.

16. Why should we hire you over another candidate who may be more qualified than you are for this position or who has more experience?

17. Tell me about a project that went beyond your scope of work?

This great question comes courtesy of Amazon, Business Insider reports. The great thing about this question? You can share how quickly you can pivot while still meeting deadlines.

18. How would you describe yourself, in three words?

This behavioral question strives to learn more about your personality. The bonus is that you can showcase that you’re a well-rounded individual who isn’t just a set of skills on a PDF. Being authentic is an important part of this response. Companies often evaluate applicants’ sincerity when they ask questions meant to determine their character.

19. How do you handle stress or pressure?

20. What are three things that interest you outside of work?

21. What motivates you?

22. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.

23. What was the last book you read and enjoyed? 

24. How well do you work under pressure and tight deadlines?

Companies want candidates who can do the job and send up a flare if there are roadblocks (and there are always roadblocks). To answer this question well, demonstrate that you’re both a hard worker and a good communicator. 

25. How would your boss and co-workers describe you?

common interview questions

26. What is your greatest achievement outside of work?

27. Give me an example of a time when you had to compromise in order to meet deadlines or overcome a difficult situation at work.

28. How would you describe your work-life and your personality to others?

29. Which aspects of the job impacted your decision to join our company?

30. Tell me about a time you failed.

This last question is less about failure, but more about what you’ve learned from this experience. Don’t stress too much about the failure aspect—discuss instead how quickly you recovered, and what you’ll do differently the next time around.

31. Why is there a gap on your resume?

“Anyone who has been unemployed, taken a break from the workplace, or has faced a gap in employment since the start of the pandemic, it won’t be necessary to explain the “why” but employers will want to know how a professional has been able to stay current in their industry,” Randi Weitzman, an executive director for staffing company Robert Half tells Hello Giggles.

32. How would you describe your ideal work environment?

This question has an easy answer: research the hiring company’s work culture, and tailor your response thusly.

33. What is the most difficult problem you’ve faced and how did you resolve it?

34. What would you do if you were faced with an ethical dilemma at work?

35. What have you been doing to stay current since your last role?

“You’ll want to be able to share with a potential employer any courses you’ve taken, webinars or industry events you’ve attended, or anything that’s kept you current in your industry,” says Weitzman. Be sure to highlight how you used your time, even if you weren’t part of the workforce, in order to stay up-to-date and ready for re-entry.”

36. Are you applying for other jobs within our company?

37. Have you ever been fired?

Luckily, in some states, this is an illegal question to ask. So if an employer asks this question, it’s a red flag that you may need to move on from the interviewing process.

38. Have you worked on a remote team before?

39. How do you feel about starting a new role where your team is dispersed?

“Many companies are just figuring out and establishing their ‘back to office’ plans, and for many, this will include an updated policy around how much time employees will need to be in the office. In the beginning of the pandemic, hybrid or remote working was being looked at as a temporary solution rather than a permanent situation, but now that it’s shifting to a permanent circumstance, employers want to know that their new hires are equipped to handle working this way,” Weitzman says.

40. Are you willing to travel occasionally to the office?

Be 100% honest. If you have no interest in flying to Toronto once a year for a strategy session, say so.