The Most Common Interview Questions and Best Answers

By: Joe McDermott | Updated: 30 September, 2018 | Category: Interview Questions And Answers

Revealed in this article are a number of the most common interview questions that you may be asked in any job interview.

Although a few of them will seem direct, to the point, and easily answerable, take heed; regardless of how benign a question seems on the surface, its purpose probably has a deeper intent.

As an example, being asked, “What do you dislike most about your current job?” will likely elicit a very honest and casual response, due to the open nature of the question. However, this may work against you later, as the interviewer is counting on your honesty to reveal or indicate any problems or difficulties you have had, which they are then obligated to explore in greater detail.

The interview answers listed here are in fact based on actual replies from job seekers, which were given during interviews I was involved with.  From this, I was able to identify both a specific type of answer that helped win the open position and another that lost it.

Just to mention, these answers are in the form of a guide with suggestions as to what to include. There are detailed model answers contained in the InterviewGold system however it is best to try to avoid the temptation to repeat them verbatim in a subsequent interview, and instead I suggest reforming the answers in your own voice. This will assure that your delivery is natural and not contrived.

Common Interview Questions and Answers

Here are some frequently asked interview questions with answer guides. Use these to help you when preparing for your interview.

Q1: Why are you interested in this role and what is it that attracted you?

There may be any number of attractive reasons to apply for a position, and they can include:

– The industry or sector the company is in, its prospects for growth and expansion, its product line and its business reputation

– The actual job and the variety of duties and responsibilities associated with the position

– The company’s policy regarding its employees, the overall quality of their personnel, and the advancement opportunities available

In giving your answer, be sure to place emphasis on what you would bring to the company, instead of focusing on what the company might do for you. Also, make a point to discuss the research you have conducted, as this will demonstrate that you have specifically targeted this firm as opposed to simply applying for a job.

Use this portion of the interview to show that your skills match up with the specific requirements of the position. For example, if great communication skills are of paramount importance, talk about how yours can aid you in this type of company or role. And even if the compensation package and salary are appealing, do not give that as one of the reasons you are applying for the job.

Q2: Why do you want to leave your current job?

This is a very common interview question and here we list the following as being acceptable reasons for wanting to change jobs, but there could be additional ones you may want to include in your answer:

Progression – There simply wasn’t enough growth potential to suit your ambition

Opportunity – Your current position was no longer challenging or stimulating enough

Security – The prospects for a long term employment and advancement were lacking in your previous position

Setting – The travel and commuting has become tedious, and you are seeking a position closer to where you live

Most importantly, be sure that reason you want to leave is positive, and refrain from making any negative statements about your last company, or your superiors.

Q3: What are your key strengths?

This interview question offers a great opportunity for you to discuss how your professional skills are perfectly aligned with main competencies of the position. It also serves as a chance to convince the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the job. The key to delivering a great interview answer is in using the analysis of the position requirements combined with any other research you have conducted on the company. Begin by asking yourself, ‘What key qualities must I demonstrate for this role, and what specific skills is the company looking for?” Then deliver a tailor-made response.

Your reply should focus on around three key attributes that are necessary and important to the position. Also, don’t hesitate to provide examples of past instances where you effectively implemented these skills to a successful outcome. In addition, in your answers you may choose to talk about your favourable personality traits such as passion, professionalism, loyalty, and dependability, as interviewers are particularly keen on these in prospective job candidates.

Q4: What do you like/dislike most about your current job?

Another common interview question and worth bearing in mind there is scarcely any job out there that doesn’t contain some unpleasant aspects. However, when answering you shouldn’t mention them during the interview process. When giving an answer to an interview question such as this, we recommend avoiding any negative discussion, and instead talk about the things you like or enjoy, all while relating those duties and responsibilities to the position you are currently applying for.

Should the interviewer insist on an account of your dislikes, focus on the lack of growth potential, stability, and location referred to in Question #2.

Q5: Why should we select you for this job, what will you bring to the role?

Here, the interviewer is in search of an enthusiastic answer that relates to Capability, Commitment and Compatibility. Take this as an opportunity to really demonstrate how your past accomplishments and current skill set make you the perfect candidate to hire. Also, use examples of your prior achievements to make the point that you will fit in seamlessly, and be a valued and committed employee.

When answering be sure to exude confidence, self-assurance and determination, as the fact that you made it to the interview process means they are building a case to hire you, and not disqualify you. Remember to focus on the job description and refer to it when the discussion turns to how your competencies, skills, and abilities fit those particular requirements.

A great answer to this question can set the scene for the whole interview and have a huge impact on the outcome.

During the interview, you will want to place particular emphasis on how you wish to contribute to the company. If you are transitioning between dissimilar sectors or industries, be sure to make liberal use of the phrase ‘transferable skills’ in your answers. These are the abilities and traits that all company’s place great value on, and include great verbal and written communication skills, focus, time management, teamwork, being task-oriented, and accountability.

Q6: What are your long term career plans and where do you see yourself in five years time?

These are really two questions but I have combined them simply because they are effectively asking the same thing. These questions are exploring motivation and intention and the interviewer is trying to find out how long you will stay with this post should you be offered it. In addition they want to see how clearly you have though out your career plan or indeed if you have one. If you have selected this role carefully and see it and the employer as a core part of your future working life then you are more likely to stay with the role and organisation.

So how do you deal with the question? Firstly reassure the interviewer that you see your career in this Sector doing this type of work; after all this is what you excel at. Mention how this employer is top of your list and how you can see yourself settling onto a long term career with then, continuously delivering top quality work, growing with the organisation and enjoying the challenges that come along.

While it’s impossible to predict the future and indeed you might move again in six months, your answer should simply give the interviewer confidence in your intentions. and if you do intend leaving after as short time best not to mention that as you are unlikely to get offered the role.

Q7. Do you have any questions for us?

This is probably the most frequently asked interview question. It comes at the end of pretty much every job interview and gives you an opportunity to find out more about the job. Find out more about the duties and tasks, what the employer wants to do in the first six months, to whom you will be reporting and how many others in the team. You can explore more about the company and its plans or indeed the strength of its balance sheet.

A word of caution; try to avoid asking questions where the information has already been given either during the interview or in the pre-interview documents. Similarly if the answers are very obviously on the company website try not to ask as this shows your research has not been very in depth. Finally don’t ask about salary and benefits; there will be plenty of time for this when you have been offered the job.

Answer Any Interview Question With 100% Confidence

Are you struggling with interviews? Getting tongue tied, going blank and unsure how to answer correctly? Perhaps you are doing ok in the interview room but just not getting jobs? Whatever your situation, preparation is vital and to be more precise the ‘right’ preparation is key.

With the InterviewGold online interview training system your interview preparation is done for you and you have access to a comprehensive database of interview questions with answers.

Best of all, accessing those most relevant to you is easy; just select your job and level and it will show you those most likely to arise in your actual interview. Use these expert answer guides to win the job offer in your very next interview; after all thousands of other job seekers have done just that using the system.

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About the Author |
Joe McDermott is CEO of Anson Reed the UK's leading interview coaching specialists and founder of the successful InterviewGold online interview training system. Since 2006, Joe and his team of top interview coaches have helped over 35,000 people and in this blog they offer their expert advice - all to make sure you get your top job.