Common Interview Questions

1. Related to your experience

Can you summarize your job Experience? – This is the most common and probably most important question in an interview. It usually comes first as an ice breaker, a good answer will provide a good first impression, boost your confidence and ensure the conversation starts flowing. Prepare yourself to tell the whole story since your first job, until the present day. This should include start and finish dates, motivations to move, main job roles, promotions and achievements, job titles and salaries. Our advice is to prepare yourself, by re-reading your CV and practicing your speech, so you give a smooth and clear answer.

What are/were your responsibilities? – When describing your current or past responsibilities, be specific, detailed and sound positive. It is important to connect your responsibilties as much as possible to the job you are interviewing for.

What were the major challenges and problems encountered? How did you manage them? – Be ready to give examples. Describe how you approached the problem and how you contributed to solving it. Prepare one or two examples before the interview, preferably related and applicable to the vacancy applied.

What is your biggest achievement? – Mention an achievement that relates strongly to the job applied for. Review your CV and the Job Advertisement or ask your recruitment consultant for help in choosing the most relevant achievement for the applied positin.

What was your biggest failure in this position? – If there is no failure say so, but it might look suspicious. Give an example of a minor failure or mistake, but also explain how much you learned from it, turning something negative into positive.

Why do you want to leave your job? – First of all do not criticize your company, or job or boss, it will make you look bad and cast doubt over your professionalism. Instead, you are looking for professional growth and development, or more challenge, family or personal reasons such as company area, or to change your career direction.


2. About yourself

What is your Greatest Strenght? – This is a perfect opportunity to sell yourself. Be sure to mention strengths that directly will help you to perform on the job. Prepare at least 3 strenghts before your interview, including examples demonstrating those strenghts.

What is your Greatest Weakness? – Everyone has a weakness, so be ready to answer this. The best is to mention weaknesses that are not important for the job, or how your weakness make you improve your skills and you end up turning it into a positive thing.

Can you describe yourself? – Always keep in mind the Job you are applying for, the company culture, the work environment, so that your personality traits don’t conflict with any of those elements. Research the company well and a long time before the interview.

Do you work well with others? – The answer is always yes. Either you will have to work in group or interact with other members of the company. Put emphasis on your people and communication skills and give examples about how you relate to people in the workplace, either clients, suppliers, colleagues, subordinates or managers.

Do you take work home? – This is a difficult question. The answer should be that you can take work home when needed, but usually you try and are able to finish all your work in the workplace.

How do you react to stress and pressure? – Everyone is subject to stress and pressure. The best way is to know how to deal with it, use stress to become more productive and work harder, or mention that you handle it by focusing on the job and addressing the cause of the stress. You can mention that you have anti stress routines such as exercise or meditation.

What motivates you? – There is no right or wrong answer, but there are better answers than others. Try to mention something that motivates you and that is aligned with the position objectives or company culture. Example, making other people satisfied for a customer service position. Never say money.

What do people mostly criticize about you? –Mention something that is not relavant for the job or not really serious. Most of all show that you react well to criticism, and use it to improve.

What will you do if you know your boss is wrong about a decision? – This is a very difficult situation. You need to confront your boss, however, you need to explain that your approach will depend on his personality and the situation. You should address the issue in private, do not publicly criticize him and do not mention you will escalate the situation to higher levels, instead of first discussing with your direct supervisor.


3. Regarding the New Job and the Company

What interests you in this job? – You should connect the skills and responsibilities that you will need to handle in this job, with your passion and your past experience, describe how you have handled a similar job in the past, and you not only enjoyed it but were also successful doing it.

Why do you want this job? – This is your chance to compliment the company. Do some research about the company, what is special and remarkable about them, mention how you would like to be part of that environment. Show to the interviewer that it will be very beneficial for you to be part of their company.

Why should we hire you instead of another candidate? – The key for this is to prepare before. Take a look at the company and the job brief, and prepare your “Sales Pitch” with time before the interview. You want to highlight your skills that are most relevant and finish your pitch with one example of a related achievement. The key is to study the job and company, prepare in advance your pitch, keep it short and simple, focus on your unique skills and achievements and give an useful example.

How long do you expect to remain employed with this company? – Explain why it is attractive for you to work in their company, and that you would like to work there a long time as long as you are benefiting and learning from the experience. Also, in the sequence, be prepared to face questions about periods in your career when you moved often between employers.  

What do you expect from your management? – Before you answer, think about the job you will have to do, and what kind of supervision you will need. Ask for more or less supervision depending on the job type and emphasize your adaptability. Mention you expect good qualities from your management that are also beneficial for the organization. Don’t ever criticize past or current managers, as it will portray you as a complicated employee.

Do you have any questions about this job or this company? –You must always have at least 3 questions prepared for this. It shows the interviewer that you know the company and the job, and that you are not just lookin for a job, you are also deciding if this is a good option for  yourself.


4. About the Future

What is important to you in your next job? – Your answer will tell the interviewer if your goals are in line with the company culture and with the job demands. While you should not lie under the cost of doing a job that demands what you can’t give, you should also not put emphasis on your demands that will conflict with the job.

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? – To prepare for this question you need to research the company and the position career paths. Talk with the company employees or network in the industry to know more. Your plan should be compatible with the evolution of the position you are applying for. Mention that you are interested in this position to develop your career and skills in the next 5 years.

Where else are you interviewing? – The recruiter wants to know if you interested in this job because you are focused in developing your career, or if you are just looking for any job. The recruiter might also be anticipating any competition for hiring you. The best answer is always to say that you are or have been interviewing in the same industry or similar positions to the position applied. Avoid saying you are not interviewing anywhere else because it will make you look not interesting, unless you have been approached directly by a Head Hunter for the position.


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