Sample Job Interview Questions

Every successful job candidate knows that the key to landing the best among open job positions is being prepared.  From your initial phone screening to the in-person interview, research, practice, and even a cold rehearsal are all vital elements to appearing cool, calm, collected and knowledgeable for the real deal.

One of the most important areas to pre-game is the potential questions you’ll be asked by the prospective employer.  While we don’t have a magical crystal ball at the ready, we do have loads of experience in the types and even specific questions interviewers are likely to ask.  Read on as we spill the beans on the most common sample job interview questions that will help you prep for the big day.

The Basics

The first category of question you’ll need to get the inside scoop on is the basic, foundational queries.  These questions will often serve as ice-breakers, setting the tone for the interview to come.  While the exact phrasing may vary, questions you can expect may include:

  • Tell me about yourself – A great opportunity to provide a bit of background and context to your candidacy.  Focus on your professional exploits more than hobbies and interests.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? – Set yourself up for sucess by pointing out the things that make you shine and those traits that you recognize need a bit of work.
  • What interests you about this position? – Frame your answer to this question around the job listing or position description and always try to draw the interviewer back to the professional strengths that have you excited about the new role.
  • What are your long-term career goals? – Retiring to a warm beach with a frosty beverage isn’t what the interviewer is after here.  Consider their interest in your long-term success and the areas in which you’re looking forward to helping the company or business grow.
  • Why are you leaving your current position? – Definitely, a question for which you should have a solid answer prepared.  Remember not to bad mouth your current or previous employers and instead focus on major challenges, hurdles or obstacles to long-term growth.
  • Do you have any questions? – While this one may sneak its way into the end of the interview, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s any less important of a query.  Use this opportunity to ask about company culture, expectations of the position or any unclear details from the job listing.  Show the interviewer you’ve performed your due diligence on the company for bonus points towards landing that job offer.

Behavioral and Situational Questions

While inquiries in this category have fallen out of favor with interviewers in recent years, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared to answer should they pop up in your next interview.  While the format and subject may vary, these types of questions will generally take the form of a hypothetical “what would you do” scenario.  Common questions to watch for in this category include:

  • How would you handle a difficult customer service situation?
  • How would you approach an instance of unethical behavior in your manager or supervisor?
  • Describe a difficult choice you’ve had to make in a prior position.
  • How would you manage a disagreement with a co-worker?
  • Describe a difficult decision you’ve had to make in your prior position and how you made that decision.

While these may seem straightforward, there are a few key points to remember about questions in this category.  First, the interviewer is attempting to gain a deeper insight into your personality or how you perform under pressure.  Recognizing that will help you respond in relevant terms.  Next, be careful not to divulge any confidential or sensitive information when answering with examples from your past.  Loose lips sink ships and your new employer needs to trust your confidentiality.  With that being said, the last thing to remember is to try to work in personal situations or actual scenarios you’ve faced, whenever possible.  Giving real-life examples can help the interviewer envision you in the role.

The Personality Test

The final category of questions you may face is geared towards flushing out your personality.  Employers will often use these types of questions to identify soft skills such as the ability to use sound judgment or work in a team.  While there are a variety of personal questions an employer shouldn’t ask for employment law and discrimination reasons, below are a few perfectly acceptable and common queries you should be prepared for:

  • What are some of your hobbies?
  • How would your friends or coworkers describe you?
  • What are your life goals?
  • What has been your favorite position or boss and why?
  • What is the ideal work environment?

While these types of questions may seem topical, remember your interviewer is looking for clues that you’re just the right fit for the job at hand.  Review the position listing for specific character traits or strengths and use your answers to bring those to light in yourself.  

Whether personal, professional or behavioral questions, your best approach is always to be prepared for whatever the hiring manager or other interviewers may have to throw at you.  Practice answering the tough questions in advance for an extra boost of confidence and a composed appearance on interview day.

Article Updated from the Original on October 24, 2017