Career Tips

Standard Interview Questions And Answers To Ace Your Next Interviews

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Common Interview questions with example answers

Here are several standard interview questions to prepare for your next interview, including best practices and examples for answering each:

1. Tell me about yourself

You’re being interviewed for a job, and the hiring manager asking you about yourself is simply trying to understand your experience in line with your qualifications.

Learn how to write a professional CV and Cover letter with this ultimate guide to crafting a good CV/Resume.

Don’t ramble on with unrelated stories or anecdotes. Instead, be concise and provide answers to the questions.

Tell me about yourself answer structure

  • Describing your background.
  • Summarize your previous experience mentioning key achievements.
  • Talk about the new job and why you think it’s a good fit for you, and your career goals

Sample response to “Tell me about yourself” type of question

I’ve been a customer representative at XYZ company for just over two years, where I greet and seat customers, assess wait times, fulfill to-go orders and answer the phones. Before joining the XYZ company, I worked for five years in the retail business. During that time, I developed the customer service skills that make me a great employee for XYZ offering a top-notch experience from the moment customers walk in the door. It also equipped me with the ability to work quickly under pressure.

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I love my current role, but I wish to expand and utilize my customer service experience in an elite restaurant environment. I am interested in your restaurant because, from my little research, your reputation for delivering first-in-class service to your patrons in a lively, dynamic environment is something I can’t wait to experience.

2. What makes you unique?

Hiring managers often ask this question, and the goal is to identify how you are more qualified than other candidates they’re interviewing. To answer this question, briefly explain how your background makes you a good fit. And how your experience and qualifications make you a strong candidate.

To help you prepare this answer, consider the following:

  • Assets the employers find valuable.
  • Ways you’ve been successful in previous roles
  • Traits or skills you’ve been praised for

Example answer to what makes you unique

My manager consistently praised my ability to meet and exceed deadlines in my previous role for completing my projects efficiently with a high level of quality. This allowed me to take on additional responsibilities and eventually led to a promotion.”

3. Why do you want to work here?

This question is why candidates are advised to research the company, its products and services, and even the employees before the interview. Because of the time employers ask this “why do you want to work here” to determine whether or not you took the time to research the company and think critically about whether you’re a good fit. Find out about the products, services, mission, history, and culture of their work so that if questions like this come up, you can tell the aspects of the company that appeals to you and aligns with your values and career goals.

Example answer: “The company’s mission to help college grads pay off their student loan debt resonates with me. I’ve been in student loan debt myself and would love the opportunity to work with a company that’s making a difference. Finding a company with a positive work environment and values that align with my own has remained a priority throughout my job search, and this company ranks at the top of the list.”

4. What interests you about this role?

This question is about the role, which makes it a little bit different from the previous question.

To ensure you understand the role and highlight your relevant skills, the hiring manager will ask you to mention the exact thing that interests you about the position.

Example answer: “While I highly valued my time at my previous company, there are no longer opportunities for growth that align with my career goals. This position fits perfectly with my skill set and how I’m looking to grow in my career. I’m also looking for a position at a company like yours that supports underserved communities, which is a personal passion of mine.”

5. What motivates you?

This question is about your self-awareness and ensuring your sources of motivation align with the role and company. When answering the “what motivates you” type of question, be specific as possible. For example, give recruiters real-life examples but make sure you tie this real-life experience with the job role and the company’s mission.

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why do I apply for this role?
  • Why did I even choose this profession in the first place? 

Sure, something must have motivated you to choose that carry.

Example answer: “Making a true difference in the lives of my patients and their families motivates me to strive for excellence in everything I do. I look forward to seeing my patient’s reactions when we get a positive outcome that will change their lives forever. That’s why I became a nurse and why I’m pursuing a position in pediatrics.”

6. Tell us why you are leaving your current job?

This question is not to frighten you. Of course, no one is expecting you not to leave your current job one day. The employers only want to know whether you’re deliberate about the job change. 

Let your focus be on the future and what you hope to gain if offered the job position rather than the negative aspects of things you don’t like about the previous or current role.

Prepare your response in line with the following:

1. Focus on your skills

2. Keep it positive – talk about working in a place where you can put your skills to work for the mission you are passionate about.

3. Be polite even if you have to talk about the organization and the people you are currently working with.

4. Relate it back to the job 

5. Provide a recap 

7. What are your greatest strengths?

This is where hiring managers want you to share your most relevant technical and soft skills. 

Although it may feel uncomfortable to talk highly of yourself, it’s an opportunity to tell your interviewers what makes you a great candidate; recruiters love to hear this.

 Use the formula below 

1. Share a few positive about your personality 

2. Back them up with great examples. 

3. Finally, relate them back to the role you’re being interviewed for. 

Example of “What are your greatest strengths?”

I’ve always been a natural and passionate leader. I’ve exceeded my KPIs every quarter and have been promoted twice in the past five years. I’m proud of my ability to get cross-functional groups on the same page and honing my management skills through 360 reviews and candid sessions with my team. I know continuing to build on my leadership skills is something I want from my next role.

8. What are your weaknesses?

Sometimes, candidates feel awkward discussing their weaknesses, knowing well that the expectation should be on the accomplishments. 

But, it makes sense to share your weaknesses. It simply shows that you are self-aware of your position using the maturity model. Everyone in life has weaknesses — including the interviewers — and being aware of those weaknesses is an indication that you are interested in investing in your personal growth and development. These traits are desirable to many employers.

To better answer this question, follow this basic guideline:

1. Pick a weakness (of course, we all have more than one as humans). 

2. Be honest and professional

3. Add context

3. Provide a specific example

4. Explain how you overcame or what you’re doing to overcome it

Here’s an example…

I’m naturally shy, and from high school, my early professional interactions sometimes prevented me from speaking up.

 I joined an improv acting class. It’s fun and has helped me overcome my shyness. In addition, I learned practical skills around leading discussions and sharing diverse perspectives. Now, in group settings, I always start conversations with the quieter folks.

9. What are your goals for the future?

This type of question is for hiring managers to establish whether you will be willing to stay with the company on a long-term basis or not.

Sometimes, they may ask this interview questions about your personal career goal, ambition, expectations, and the ability to plan. 

To answer this question, examine your current career trajectory and how the new role will help you reach your long-term goals if given the opportunity.

Example answer to “What are your goals for the future?”

I want to continue working on improving my software skill over the next few years. Furthermore, I’m interested in working with a fast-growing startup company because it allows me to wear many hats and collaborate with many different departments. I look forward to this experience because it will serve me well in achieving my ultimate goal of someday leading a product engineering department.

10. Where do you see yourself in five years?

This interview question is similar to the one above, but it’s more direct.

Imagine your life in the future and provide the right answer.

You can describe some skills that you want to develop.

Example of “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Interview type of question

“In five years, I’d like to be a software research engineer with authority in the industry. I would also like to gain practical experience working with design and marketing teams on large-scale projects and eventually lead as a product engineer for SaaS-based companies.

11. Can you tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it?

How well you handle office-related tasks under pressure, as well as your problem-solving abilities, is precisely what this question is about.

It’s often asked as a measure of how you’re able to persevere when faced with adversity.

A simple trick to answering this question correctly is the STAR method:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result or learning

Example answer to “can you tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it?”

It was the first day of my boss’s two-week vacation, and our agency’s highest-paying client threatened to leave because he didn’t feel he was getting the personalized service he was promised. So I spent my lunch hour on the phone with him, talking through his concerns. We even brainstormed ideas for his next campaign. He was so grateful for the personal attention that he signed another six-month contract before my boss even returned from her trip.”

12. What is your salary range expectation?

Of course, your expectations should be better, higher than your current place of work. However, candidates find this Interview question hard as they balance what too low or too high a salary is. 

The truth is every organization is on budget when hiring, and they are aware of the market value of the position they are hiring you for. Therefore, if your answer considers too low, it gives the impression that you don’t know your worth. At the same time, a too high figure can make the hiring manager move on to the next candidate.

How do you answer “what is your salary range expectation?”

Research the role and using the country’s average salary to estimate yours

Indeed Salaries data can give you a range of answers to this question.

Provide a range

For example, you might offer the interviewer a range of $50,000-$60,000 per year and let the hiring manager know if you’re flexible.

Example answer What is your salary range expectation?

My salary expectation is between $XX, XXX and $XX, XXX, which is the average salary for a candidate with my experience level in this city. However, I am flexible and willing to discuss.

13. Why should we hire you?

Employers generally ask this question in addition to why you’re the best candidate type of question. It will help if you emphasize your skills and qualities and the experience you’re bringing to the organization. Don’t forget that your employer wants to know if you can fit into the company’s culture.

Example answer: “My experience accurately managing inventory intake and skills in creating practical, streamlined schedules make me uniquely qualified to succeed in this kitchen manager position. I understand that you require a highly organized candidate with acute attention to detail. I successfully handled schedules for 20 employees in my previous job and reduced food waste by 15%. I’m confident in using my organizational skills to bring efficiency and order to your restaurant.

14.  Do you have any questions?

Of course, you should, even if it’s one. Ask the interviewer questions about their own experiences with the company.

What are the company’s strengths? What were your most outstanding achievements to date, and what might you do in this role that would be similar or surpass those accomplishments?

Do they offer any opportunities for growth with additional responsibilities outside of work hours, such as parental leave policy or tuition assistance programs through education benefits packages (if applicable)?

Other questions to ask:

  • What do you love most about working for this company?
  • What would success look like in this role?
  • What are some of the challenges people typically face in this position?”
  • How important is it that you hire someone with XYZ qualities?
  • Do you have any hesitations about hiring me?

15. What does customer service mean to you?

An employer should ask this question to determine what aspects of customer service are most important. A good answer will align with its values, which you can glean by researching their policy and understanding products/clients.

Your perspective may come from either side, depending on how they phrase it in public vs. private facing jobs.

16. How do you define success?

How do you define success? Employers ask this to help them understand how your definition of success influences goals and measurements. For example, consider what proudest achievements have been for you over a long-term period as well as short-term successes within the past couple of years. In addition, employers need to know what they can do to improve on a weakness or two. Finally, employers also want to see that the candidate takes accountability and responsibility for their own actions instead of just pointing fingers elsewhere.

How to prepare for an interview

First, it’s important to do your research and prepare for the interview. Find out as much information about a company before an encounter by researching them online or talking with coworkers who have interacted recently- this will help you feel more comfortable during questioning! You should also practice what kinds of questions might come up so that their answers flow smoothly from start to finish without forgetting anything along the way.”

How to prepare for an interview

Use these questions and example answers to prepare for your interview by making them your own and tailoring them to fit your experience, the job, and the company you’re interviewing for. It’s important to get comfortable with what you could be asked and understand a good response.

Much like preparing for a school test, studying and practicing is the best way to succeed in your interview. Research the company and the job, and practice your talking points until you feel confident about your answers. The more you prepare, the more likely you will leave a lasting impression and outperform fellow candidates. Come equipped with examples of work from previous jobs, as well as ideas for the new position. Try and do the interview as conversational as possible by showing genuine interest in the job, company, and your interviewer.

Goodluck in your next interviews

Oladoyin Falana

Oladoyin Falana, a graduate of OAU, is an SEO Specialist, and IT business developer. He is the owner and content editor of ngjobalerts.com, a platform that focuses on providing information on career, recruitment updates, exams, and admission updates, including general (How-to) information.

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