How to Answer Six Common Interview Questions

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Interview questions can be predictable across most industries and for almost every kind of position. Expect to hear a few common interview questions no matter what kind of job you’re interviewing for. Prepare answers to the most common, especially those that answer why and how you are the best candidate for the job.

Who Are You?

  • Life and business coach Anna Ana Antunes Da Silva tells candidates in HCareers that the “tell me about yourself” question is the number one most common inquiry you’ll receive. Good answers include a brief overview that covers:
    • Your education
    • Career background
    • Current situation
    Let your personality come through during this open-ended answer without just repeating your resume. The interviewer is interested in seeing how comfortable you are talking about yourself. It’s also an ice-breaker for further conversation.

What Have You Done?

  • Use this type of question to talk about your past accomplishments. Choose a few career highlights to discuss before the interview so you’ll be prepared. Expound on your attributes, capabilities and passions with rehearsed answers that don’t sound rehearsed. Use figures such as “I increased sales by 25 percent in my first quarter with the company,” or “I reduced waste by 50 percent within 12 months.”

Where Do You Want to Go?

  • Recruiters are interested in your future plans and use a question like this to gauge your ambitions as well as how long they can expect you to stay at the job, according to staffing firm Adecco. Prepare answers that cover where you hope to be in five years and in 10 years. If you really aren’t sure about your next move, tell the recruiter, but add that this position will help determine your goals.

Why You?

  • Here is your chance to make your ultimate sales pitch. According to Forbes magazine, the recruiter wants to hear, in your words, what sets you apart from your competition. Recap a few of the qualities you cited previously and tell the recruiter:
    • About your exceptional abilities
    • Knowledge of the industry
    • Experience with the product or service
    • Respect for the company
    • You share similar values

How Did You?

  • Expect to get a number of open-ended questions. Recruiters are trained to avoid questions that could be answered with a “yes,” or “no.” Instead they will ask you how you handled certain situations. If you’re applying for a management job, for example, prepare an answer to “how will you handle an employee who is habitually late or insubordinate” or “how do you handle conflict?” Answer by saying that you will follow company policies and include an example of how you dealt with the specific issues in the past.

Any Questions?

  • Most interviews end with the recruiter asking if you have any questions. If you don't have any questions, the recruiter may doubt whether you have a true interest in the job and in the company. Prepare for this part of the interview with questions such as:
    • What do like about working here?
    • What did the last person in the position do that was most successful?
    • What are the day-to-day responsibilities of the job?
    • What kind of opportunities are there for advancement?
    • What is the company’s leadership style?
    • What’s the next step in the hiring process?
    • If I get the job, when would I start?

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