10 "Common" Interview Questions & Answers

Over the next few weeks we are going to share some tips to help you succeed in your next interview. Today we're going to go over common interview questions and how you should prepare to answer them. These are questions that you will typically hear throughout various stages of the interview process. We recommend that you prepare ahead of time for these questions, which will facilitate your ability present the best you in your interview.

Question One: Tell me about yourself?

Your answer should be no more than two to three minutes. Be clear, concise, and logical in your delivery. Pick a specific starting point, and whenever possible, illustrate positives instead of negatives and accomplishments rather than failures. 

Question Two: Why are you leaving your current position?

This is a tough question. You never want to talk in the negative about any aspect of your previous employer, while not coming across as a sales person. Fired? Just say so, and talk about what you learned and will change moving forward. Whatever your answer, be truthful and talk in the positive. 

Question Three: What do you like or dislike most about your current position?

Be careful with your answer, specifically in regards to things you dislike. The interviewer is probing to see if there are potential obstacles with their open position. Instead, utilize this as an opportunity to talk about the positives of your previous position; learned technical skills, challenges and areas of personal growth. The golden rule is not to talk in the negative about previous or current management, and always present a positive image.

Question Four: What are your most significant strengths?

Be prepared with at least three specific strengths. You will want to qualify the strengths with specific examples and quantifiable accomplishments. Discuss strengths that would be applicable, advantageous to the open position and facilitate results in regards to your performance.

Question Five: What are your most significant weaknesses?

Provide areas that you have identified and been working on to improve. You can actually turn it into a positive or strength if you can communicate specific improvement. The goal is to turn the fault into a character quality.

Question Six: What is your most significant career accomplishment?

This is an important answer. Your past performance and accomplishments are the best indicator of future performance! Prepare an answer that goes into who, what, where and why of the accomplishment and relate the results it had on the organization. Talk about the details and your personal involvement if it was a team accomplishment.

Question Seven: How do you work under pressure and stress?

It is important to illustrate your ability to perform in pressure and stressful situations. People who are top performers have the ability to work well under pressure. It is recommended that you provide a specific example of an accomplishment in a stressful situation, why it was stressful and the details of how you overcame the adversity.

Question Eight: Why should we hire you for this position?

Your objective is to summarize the qualities and strengths you bring to the organization, show how your past accomplishments predict your success in the role and most importantly, reveal how you can help them overcome the immediate challenges in the position. You want to let them know that you feel confident about your ability to make a contribution to the team, but not come across as egotistical.

Question Nine: Describe a situation in which you failed.

It is important to recognize that the best people in business fail. You have to be able to communicate the failure, the potential effect on the organization and most critical, how you overcame the failure and succeeded. The interviewer is trying to gauge your ability to recognize your mistakes and how you react when faced with adversity.

Question Ten: What are your career goals?

Where do you see yourself in five years? Be honest and realistic with yourself. Think about where you want to be in five years and communicate that answer to the interviewer. Be careful not to tell them what you think they want to hear because this can get you into trouble. Your answer should incorporate that if given the opportunity you want to still be with the organization in a role allowing you to make an even stronger contribution with greater responsibility.

Before your interview practice these questions. If possible, practice your answers in front of a mirror or another person.  Practicing your answers will give you more confidence in your ability to interview. Do you have an interview question you need help with or advice to give other people with their interviews? Leave it in the comments.