The Ultimate Guide to Common Interview Questions & Answers
When it comes to giving a winning job interview, there are 3 steps that you’ll need to prepare.
1- Know the common interview questions to expect, and understand the intention behind each
2- Strategically craft a great answer for each question
3- Practice interviewing until you’re as strong as possible
That’s it. Once you follow those three steps successfully, you’ll start to see the job offers coming your way. Of course, each individual step is itself an art and a science.
On the Big Interview blog, some of our most popular articles have been our step-by-step guides on each common interview question. These posts walk you through those first two steps, outlining the strategy behind each question, sharing the Big Interview approach or formula to answer them, and giving sample answers that work well (and even some to avoid). Many posts even contain video lessons excerpted from the full Big Interview training system.
We’ve linked them all here as one convenient hub for interview questions and answers. From there, all that’s left is to practice.
The best job candidates are not lucky. They spend a ton of time both on preparation and practice because they know how important that 30-60 minute interview can be to their entire career. To truly excel as an interviewee, you’ll want to consider investing in an interview training program (like Big Interview) that will provide you with the intensive training you’ll need to do well in the interview, or even in a personal interview coach (like Pamela Skillings).
10 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers
Before you get started with a coach or program like Big Interview, this free resource page is designed to get you up and running with the basics for acing your next interview (in ten easy lessons on the most common interview questions).
1. How to Answer: “Tell Me About Yourself”
Often asked at the very start of an interview, this is your opportunity to deliver an elevator pitch that gives the interviewer a quick idea of who your are. Used wisely, this elevator pitch could make the interviewer very interested in your next answer. Used incorrectly, the interviewer could stop paying attention before you even have a chance to answer a second question.
2. How to Answer: “Describe Your Current (or Most Recent) Position”
One of the easier interview questions to answer – but you’ll still need to use it to highlight your job-relevant greatness. Check out our guide to answering and winning examples in this article.
3. How to Answer: “Why are you looking for a new opportunity now?”
The question that can either put your interviewer at ease or raise serious red flags. This question is a prime example of why it’s important to understand the reason an interviewer asks each question, and why crafting winning answers requires strategic thinking.
4. How to Answer: “What are your strengths?”
Your chance to toot your own horn – but make sure to do it artfully. Being able to do 20 pull-ups does not count as a strength. Make sure your answer is specific, personalized, and truly impressive- this article will walk you through doing just that.
5. How to Answer: “What is your greatest weakness?”
By far one of the most commonly searched-for interview questions, the “weakness” question is difficult to properly tackle. This one could sink you unless you’re careful. Obviously, “I work too hard” is not the answer (although you’ll find plenty of bad advice elsewhere online that would advocate saying that).
6. How to Answer: “Why do you want to work here?”
Repeat after me: Don’t say “for the money” — Don’t say “for the money” — Don’t say “for the money”. Got it? You’re already off to a better start than some candidates.
7. How to Answer: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Possibly one of the silliest questions – but it too requires an artful and diplomatic answer. Another common variation on this interview question is “What are your goals?”.
8. How to Answer: “Why should we hire you?”
The money question. “Why” indeed. This is where you need to spend a ton of time thinking about the role, the competencies, and how you’re the perfect fit. Our article on the question will help you craft a concise summary of all your “selling points”.
9. How to Answer: “Do you have any questions for me?”
Your questions here can either leave a strong, lasting impression on the interviewer, or make you come across as clueless. Our (very popular) post on questions to ask at the end of the interview will suggest 12 winning questions, and explain how each can help you gather important information about the job.
Before a face-to-face, you typically have a phone screen you need to get through. This can be a challenging “gate check” to get past, and we often hear from Big Interview users that it was their biggest sticking point before using our full training system. Here are some tips for conquering that phone interview and getting through to the next round.
Follow these commandments and they may lead you to the promised land – or promised cubicle (same thing).
Once you’ve covered all of the common interview questions and crafted great answers, it’s time to practice. That’s why we developed the Big Interview training system, which combines a full lesson curriculum (you’ve seen some of the videos in the above posts!) with an interactive practice tool that covers hundreds of industries at every difficulty level. You can read more about our system, proven with thousands of job seekers before you, on this page.
About the Author: Pamela Skillings is one of the nation’s top interview coaches. She is the co-founder of Big Interview and President of Skillful Communications.