- Make or Break Interview Questions
- “Getting to Know” Interview Questions
- 6. What Interests You the Most About This Position?
- 7. What Skill-Sets Do You Offer Over Other Candidates?
- 8. What Is Your Ideal Job and Environment? What Do You Value in Your Job?
- 9. What Are You Trying to Avoid in Your Next Job?
- 10. What’s the Ideal Manager Like?
- 11. What Are You Most Proud Of?
- 12. What Do You Like to Do?
- “Stress Test” Interview Questions
- 13. Tell Me About a Situation Where You Disagreed With Your Boss and How Did You Handle It?
- 14. Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake.
- 15. What Were Some Positive and Negative Experiences With Your Previous Employer?
- 16. In Past Performance Reviews, What Are Some Areas Your Manager Felt You Could Improve On?
- 17. How Do You Prioritize?
- 18. If a Coworker Is Not Doing Their Fair Share of the Work, How Do You Address It?
- 19. What Would You Do if There Is Office Gossip? Even if It Was a Fact and You Agreed With It?
- 20. Tell Me About a Difficult Situation and What You Did to Solve It.
- “If Hired” Interview Questions
- “Final” Interview Questions
- 25. Why Should We Hire You?
- 26. Do You Have Any Disabilities We Should Be Aware of in Order to Accommodate You?
- 27. Do You Have Any Concerns About This Position That We Should Be Aware Of?
- 28. Are You Willing to Relocate?
- 29. What Salary Are You Looking For?
- 30. What Are Some Interview Questions You Have for Us?
Not all of us are great at interviews. While your resume may be impressive, your speaking skills may not be up to par. Luckily, not all jobs require customer relations, but all jobs do require an interview. Unfortunately, we cannot go to your interviews for you (though if that was a job, sign me up) but we can walk you through common and interview questions and answers. After all, the key to victory is knowing your opponent. Or something like that.
Don’t be taken by surprise. Here are 30 common interview questions and answers in 2022.
Make or Break Interview Questions
1. So, Tell Me About Yourself.
Welcome to the most basic of interview questions. It’s broad. It’s up to interpretation. But it is also the most crucial of them all.
This question is asked to see if the candidate will stay on topic or go on tangents. Staying on topic means the candidate describes what experience they bring to the team and their work skills. Candidates often make mistakes by going off on tangents discussing personal problems. This indicates that the candidate may be a toxic employee. No one wants to hire a toxic employee.
The key here, like any part of an interview, is to be confident. What do you bring to the table? Be brief, but make sure to look good. State your overall skills and what you add to the team. Basically, what do you think the job is looking for in a candidate?
Example Answer: I'm a hardworking individual. I work well others. I have prior experience in the field (add specific details about what you've done that relates to the job). Overall, I'm striving to achieve my goals in the field and want to be a part of your team. I am eager to learn and willing to put in the effort to become great.
2. What’s Your Working Style?
This question is used as a follow-up to asking the candidate to describe themselves. In a way, it implies that the answer to the first question did not involve enough information about the candidate’s work ethic.
Have no fear. This does not mean that things are already off to a rough start. Depending on the job, the hiring manager may need more information about exactly how a candidate works. While describing yourself is a bit more broad and open for interpretation, describing your working style is more direct.
How do you work? Are you a leader and take initiative? Are you great at following orders and being part of a team? As long as you’re confident and saying positive things about yourself, there’s a lot of wiggle room for your answer.
As stated, think of the job at hand. What type of worker would they be looking for?
Example Answer: My working style really depends on the job at hand. I can take the initiative and be a leader, or I can be a team player and help where needed. Overall, I work hard and want to do any job well. I am flexible and can fill any role on a team.
3. Why Did You Leave Your Last Position?
Now we get to the tough stuff.
When an employer asks a candidate about their former resignations, they are gauging what their future may look like with the candidate. They are trying to dictate if the candidate leaves on good terms, strives to further their career and is honest.
The candidate’s answer to this question says a lot about them. Not only does it unveil red flags if they lost their last job, but it displays honesty and drive.
All in all, the key here is to be honest. There are various reasons for leaving a job and not all of them are scarlet letters. If, for some reason, your last split was negative, explain to them why. But, don’t go off on a tangent about why you were right in the situation (tangents are always red flags). If you messed up, you messed up. Tell them what you’ve learned and how you expect to grow from the experience.
Remember, it’s possible that if you listed your former employer as a reference, the interviewer already knows why you split. Nothing comes from lying. Keep things brief and try to stay as positive about yourself as possible. Try not to spiral into giving excuses for yourself.
Example Answer: I left my last job because, unfortunately, I had reached my maximum potential at the company and wanted to continue to grow my career. Or, if things ended negatively: I left my last job because the manager and I didn't see eye-to-eye. It was a learning experience for me. I realized that I needed to take criticism and be more open with my concerns. I have grown as a worker since then. I will continue to grow through every experience.
4. Ask Follow-up Questions.
At this point, the employer may go on to ask other, more specific questions. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predicate everything that goes into an interview.
Just remember to be confident. Nonetheless, you are attempting to sell yourself to the interviewer. What makes you great? What can you add to the company? Keep these things in mind.
Be honest. Be concise. Be braggadocios when applicable. Be a superstar.
5. Do You Have Any Concerns With a Background Check?
Background checks are necessary to land any job. This is another test of sorts. If a candidate is to move on to the next stage, the background check will commence regardless. The employer is looking to see if the candidate is honest about their history.
A credible background check should include the following:
- Criminal background, including nationwide criminal convictions.
- Social security number validation/verification.
- National Terrorist Watchlist and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
- Credit history, including bankruptcy filings.
- Address history.
From our experience, the candidates that are honest about their blemishes perform tremendously well because a “chance” to them is invaluable. They value the opportunity and are 100% committed in the long term.
However, if the organization has a strict policy against any blemishes on a background, then at this point, they will likely conclude the interview.
Once again, the key here is to be honest with the employer. If something will come up on your background check, tell them. Let them know about the situation quickly and unbiasedly. You don’t need to get into specifics. They will ask further questions if they feel the need to. Answer those honestly, too.
Example Answer: I do not have any concerns with a background check. Unfortunately, (whatever the problem is) will come up. I just wanted to let you know ahead of time and can answer any questions you have about the situation.
“Getting to Know” Interview Questions
If the candidate makes it through the make-or-break section, now it’s time to get to know the candidates. These questions are designed to understand who the candidate is and how well they will fit the team.
Deep breath. Stay focused and relaxed. Maintain eye-contact. Here we go.
6. What Interests You the Most About This Position?
This is the perfect opportunity to understand why the candidate applied for the position. Did they do their homework and research the company? Do they have the required skillset and are confident about it?
Make sure you do your research before the interview. When an interview is officially scheduled, take the time to look up the company and/or hiring manager. What values do they have? What work have they done in the past?
Once again, you are attempting to sell yourself to them. If you can sneak in a tidbit that you learned about the company to show you did your research, great. This shows that you are dedicated and want the job.
Also, don’t mention salary. In fact, never mention salary until the negotiation process. Sure, the only reason you may be applying for the job is the stellar benefits, but the company doesn’t need to know that.
Example Answer: I am interested in this position because I think it is a great place to grow in my career. I believe that I can be an important member of the team and that our values align (be specific about their values if you can recognize them in your research). I have seen the work you did on (specific example). I want to be a part of a company like yours that is intuitive and cares about the community.
7. What Skill-Sets Do You Offer Over Other Candidates?
At this point, the employer is looking for the candidate to explain their level of experience. All in all, this is time for the candidate to exude confidence.
Let’s be honest. There are fewer negatives about being overconfident than there are about being meek. What makes you special? Sell yourself and be cocky. It can’t hurt. The hiring manager wants you to be sure of yourself and your abilities. There’s nothing wrong with bragging.
If you have applicable experience outside of the specific job, mention how that helps, too.
Example Answer: On top of being a great worker, I am willing and ready to learn. I have experience in this role, want to be a part of the team and am confident in what I bring to the table. With my past experience, I know the ins and outs of the role. Though this is not a customer service job, I have years of customer service experience. That has taught me to be extremely communicative and level-headed.
8. What Is Your Ideal Job and Environment? What Do You Value in Your Job?
Simply put, employers ask candidates this question to see if they will be a fit with the current culture of the company.
There are two ways to go about answering this question. You can attempt to tailor your answer for the job at hand (using your research. Wink, wink) or be honest. There are really no wrong answers here.
Just remember that businesses want employees that want to grow. Make sure to note that you’re looking to better your position.
Example Answer: My ideal job is one where I can continue to grow. I want to consistently improve and have the room to take on bigger challenges. I value a workplace that is inclusive, has room to grow and has goals that we can reach.
9. What Are You Trying to Avoid in Your Next Job?
The goal here is for the interviewer to figure out how the candidate handles tough situations. A great candidate will respond by listing a few concerns while also providing examples of how they professionally deal with them.
As the interviewer, think of an example from a former job that you were unhappy about. How did you manage to resolve the situation? How did you learn from it?
As always, never be too negative. Complaining or bagging on your previous employer is never the way to go.
Example Answer: Overall, I'm trying to avoid a lack of communication amongst the staff and supervisors. At my last job, things sometimes got messy if everyone wasn't on the same page. I had to learn that being outright with concerns and problems can be useful in creating a safe and productive workplace (include a brief-but-specific example if you have one).
10. What’s the Ideal Manager Like?
Oh boy. Let’s try to make this less awkward than it needs to be.
Look, it’s okay for the hiring manager to ask a candidate what they look for in a manager. It may help them learn about things they need to improve on. There’s nothing wrong with trying to gain some feedback.
While these interview questions may be rare, they do come up occasionally. Luckily, you probably do not know enough about the manager to insult them. Nothing you can say here is going to come off as a personal attack. If, for some reason, you do know the manager, avoid negativity. This is the person you’re going to work for, after all.
Be honest, but be gentle. Once again, do not bag on your former employer. Leave specifics out.
Example Answer: My ideal manager is someone that's willing to listen to their employees. They understand the roles they are managing and allow for feedback. They critique, but also compliment you when you're doing something correctly. We're all in this together as a team, so the manager should be supportive.
11. What Are You Most Proud Of?
At this point, the interviewer is looking for specific examples of a candidate’s past. On top of that, they are attempting to figure out what is important to the worker. What are their values? What makes them satisfied as an employee?
There are a lot of subtle things a good interviewer can pick up from your answer. A super helpful tip is to include a work situation that involves teamwork. Give credit to your former coworkers. That always does the trick. You want to look like a team player and a leader (contradicting, but possible).
Once again, this is your time to brag. Just try to include other people in your thank-you speech.
Example Answer: I am extremely proud of the work my coworkers and I did on (specific project). The odds were against us and we were on a time crunch, but we worked together and crunched it out. I learned I could handle stressful situations and organize teamwork efficiently.
12. What Do You Like to Do?
This may be seen as a strange question, but it makes sense in some ways. Ultimately, the employer is trying to get a better feel for what you are like as a person. Do you have hobbies that you are constantly improving at? Do you focus too much on work? How do you fit in with the company’s culture?
This may seem like a trick question, and it kind of is. All in all, be honest. Tell them hobbies you do that involve improvement or focus. If you find yourself stumped, you can always say you like to research and learn new things. That’s an easy blanket that covers your work ethic and personality.
If you volunteer, that’s always a plus.
Example Answer: Outside of work I like to learn and push myself in other ways. I'm an avid golfer. So I love to study and get better at that. I also like to read. Basically, I always like to expand my knowledge and stay physically active where I can.
“Stress Test” Interview Questions
If the candidate has made it this far, the employer is seriously thinking about hiring them. Now things get really tough. Here come some personal interview questions.
13. Tell Me About a Situation Where You Disagreed With Your Boss and How Did You Handle It?
Now it’s time to really test the candidate. The hiring manager is now trying to figure out how exactly the interviewee handles stressful situations. Ironically, these questions are also stressful to answer. Fun, right?
Answering this question is a culmination of the previous questions. You want to display maturity and communication, while also avoiding completely insulting your former boss. Show that you handled the situation well and that you learned from it.
As always, be brief and kind.
Example Answer: Once, my manager and I disagreed on the deadline of a project. They wanted it done faster than I believed to be possible. I took my time to collect my thoughts and approached them respectfully. I told them that I didn't believe we'd create the best product in that timeframe and asked how we could handle the situation together.
14. Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake.
Everyone makes mistakes, it’s what they do to resolve it and make sure it doesn’t happen again that defines them.
This answer should be similar to the previous one. Specify an example and explain how you handled it. While you should be honest, do not be too hard on yourself. Make sure to include how you grew from the experience.
Example Answer: I once messed up a customer's order (specific example). In all honesty, it was a lapse of judgement on my behalf. I spoke with them and apologized. I offered to fix the problem and handled it respectfully. I learned to always pay attention when dealing with a customer. It's not the time for other thoughts.
15. What Were Some Positive and Negative Experiences With Your Previous Employer?
This may seem obvious but, the employer wants to hear the candidate express more positive experiences than negative.
As we’ve addressed so far, try to pinpoint examples that show personal growth, teamwork and responsibility. If you feel the need to bring up something negative, explain what you learned from it. There has to be a valid reason to express negativity. How did it change you for the better?
16. In Past Performance Reviews, What Are Some Areas Your Manager Felt You Could Improve On?
In other words, how does a candidate handle criticism?
You may have noticed a trend here. It’s pivotal to show a willingness to grow and accept mistakes. An employer does not want to hire someone that won’t admit that they’re wrong and doesn’t want to improve. Show that you do these things well. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but don’t claim you’re perfect. There had to be something negative on your last performance review.
Example Answer: My last manager told me that I needed to improve on my overall time management. I have the tendency to hyper focus on a task. Since then, I've worked on figuring out how I can multitask better.
17. How Do You Prioritize?
Employees are often bombarded with multiple tasks at once. By asking this question, the employer can see how the candidate will rank each task.
Does the candidate handle each task in the order they come in or do they rank the tasks based on importance?
There’s really no wrong answer here. This is just a question of subjectivity. If you can sneak in an example about your multitasking skills, great. If not, just answer the question honestly. Don’t overthink it.
18. If a Coworker Is Not Doing Their Fair Share of the Work, How Do You Address It?
This tests out the candidate’s ability to handle conflict in the workplace. Would they approach the co-worker in a professional manner and discuss it? Would they go directly to the manager?
The ideal candidate would professionally and genuinely bring it up with a co-worker. Perhaps the co-worker doesn’t fully understand the task. The ideal candidate shows how they professionally mitigate problems. The last resort is to bring it up with the manager.
Express how you would deal with the issue head-on. Remember to express that you would maintain a level of respect and level-headedness.
Example Answer: The important thing is to be communicative. No one wants a passive-aggressive workspace. I would talk to the person privately and let them know what I thought and ask their opinion. If the problem continued, then I would have to bring it up to the manager.
19. What Would You Do if There Is Office Gossip? Even if It Was a Fact and You Agreed With It?
This is a bit of a trick question.
The key here is even if the gossip was factual and the candidate agreed with it. In a professional setting, there should be no place for gossip. By hiring candidates who have a strong ethical stand against gossip, companies can better their work environment and overall reputation.
Your answer here should be similar to the last question. You address the problem head-on with respect and communication. You try to hash it out first before resorting to a manager.
Example Answer: First of all, I do not believe there is any room for gossip in the workplace. If, for some reason, it was occurring, I would speak to the person directly. I would ask them why they were gossiping and how we could solve the root problem. If things get too toxic, then I would report it to a manager.
20. Tell Me About a Difficult Situation and What You Did to Solve It.
This is very similar to the question about your previous mistakes. The difference is that this answer may involve your coworkers or manager.
Once again, specify an example. Explained how you handled it and what you learned from it. As always, avoid insulting yourself or former coworkers.
“If Hired” Interview Questions
21. How Do You Feel About SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) And Documentation?
Standard Operating Procedures are crucial for some. Some need to work with a strong and strict schedule. Some are better working loosely.
The ideal answer is to state that you can do both. Yes, you can follow SOPs efficiently and correctly. But, if emergencies strike, you can handle things on the fly. Cover both bases here.
Example Answer: I can work with SOPs and documentation with no problem. I have no issues with following orders and executing processes correctly. I can also work without them, too. I want to know enough about my role that I can handle any situation.
22. What Are Your Career Goals? Short-Term and Long-Term?
Well, what are they? What are your overall goals and how do they fit with the company you’re applying to?
First of all, have goals. If you don’t, that’s another problem for another article. Even if you don’t have goals in mind, getting the job you are interviewing for is an obvious short-term goal (duh).
Try to fit your goal into something that can be done with the company you’re interviewing for. Saying that your long-term goal is to work in a completely different field is valid, but it doesn’t really need to be said.
Example Answer: My short-term goal is to learn everything I can and be efficient in this role. I want to be great at the work that I do. My long-term goal is to move onto (higher job in the company). I want to eventually work with more responsibility.
23. What Would You Do to Fit In With a New Team?
This one is simple. How would you approach building relationships with your coworkers? Would you even attempt?
Example Answer: First thing I would do is introduce myself to each member directly. I would try to get to know a little bit about them off the bat. Just making myself known is a great way to start.
24. If Hired, How Long Do You Plan On Staying in This Role?
A bold question but one that gets to the point. The candidate will either show their commitment to the company or reveal they don’t plan on staying long.
If you know you don’t plan on staying long, should you lie? That’s up for debate. Sure, it might increase your chances of getting the job, but it may burn bridges you could use for future references.
Consequently, honesty is key. Honesty is always key. If you are truthful about not being in the role long and you don’t get the job, you’re not losing much anyway. Luckily, there are temporary and seasonal positions in a lot of companies.
“Final” Interview Questions
25. Why Should We Hire You?
This is the final sales pitch. Much like the beginning questions, this is your time to shine.
Be confident and straightforward.
Example Answer: You should hire me because I am a fantastic worker. I want to grow with the company, and I want to be the best at my position. This role is what I want to do, and I believe I can do it well.
26. Do You Have Any Disabilities We Should Be Aware of in Order to Accommodate You?
This is straightforward. Answer honestly.
If your disability is a deal-breaker for the position or company, you don’t want to work for them anyway.
27. Do You Have Any Concerns About This Position That We Should Be Aware Of?
By asking this open-ended question, employers allow the candidate to reveal potential challenges that they did not catch during the other questions.
A great candidate will answer this question by showing his concerns on how to be successful in this position.
If you do have an actual concern, be humble about it.
28. Are You Willing to Relocate?
Depending on the industry, sometimes relocating is a possibility. Sometimes it is a necessity. If the interviewer asks you this questions, it does not necessarily mean that you are going to be relocated. They are just trying to see if you would be against the idea in the future.
This is another one of those answers that is entirely up to your preferences. Would you be willing to move for work? If this job is your end-goal career, then you are probably willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.
Do not fret, though. It is not wrong to ask if relocation is in the plans or where you would be relocating to. Overall, you can say that you are willing to relocate, if necessary then ask if it’s a possibility in the near future.
If you are willing to move without any concerns, simply say yes.
29. What Salary Are You Looking For?
When a potential employer asks this question, the candidate’s answer is not necessarily a dealbreaker. At this point, the interview has gone well enough to consider the candidate a potential hire. Now it becomes time for negotiation.
Fortunately, this is probably not the time that negotiations go into full swing. That may happen during the job offer at a later date. But, the employer is trying to get a feel for what you are looking for.
As a candidate, you want to have a price range already established in your head. This shows self worth and that you researched the position. You always want to aim high. Do not open with a salary that you would be okay with having. Open with one that would exceed your expectations and go from there. But don’t make it too hopeful.
Basically, it’s a tricky dance. We wrote a whole list of tips about this exact thing here.
30. What Are Some Interview Questions You Have for Us?
A great candidate will ask follow-up questions related to the success of the position, such as:
- What does a successful candidate look like in this position?
- What type of candidate are you trying to avoid in this position?
- If selected, what are the top five things you would want me to work on within the first 30 days?
Some red flag questions would be if the candidate asks about how soon they would expect to be promoted to the next level. Another red flag would be if they ask the manager to explain the details of the benefits package before they are made an offer.
In general, a great candidate asks follow-up questions showing genuine concern on how they can be successful in the position. At the end of the day, the interview questions shouldn’t be just for the candidate.
Speak up! Ask questions if you have them.