26 most common interview questions and answers (with free PDF download)•
If you’ve come to read this article, either you’re just curious and like to learn about job interview tips OR (what’s more likely) you’re in the process of preparing yourself for an upcoming job interview and are in search of the most common interview questions with tips on how to answer to them. Am I right? Well regardless of the reason, below is where you’re going to get exactly that – a useful list of the common interview questions that you’ll likely hear in a job interview, along with some example answers that you can use to help shape your response when it’s your time.
But first, remember every interview is different
Before we jump into the most common interview questions and answers, it’d be wrong not to remind you of a few realities about the job interview:
You might get the same common interview questions whether you’re having a phone interview or an in-person interview, but with an in-person interview you’ll likely get more questions and from different interviewers.
Each interviewer is their own person with their own perspective, so there’s no telling whether they’ll use these most common interview questions or instead come up with their own different wording for them, or even ask you a whole set a different questions. Your best bet is to therefore prepare for a variety of interview questions that cover a large range of themes and topics that might come up.
Every interview situation is different too, so depending on your role and /or industry you might end up getting more questions that are technical, behavioral, or otherwise specific to the job. It’d be hard to cover every single possible unique interview question for those instances (maybe one day we will!….), but at the very least, you’ll have this hefty list of common general interview questions to get you prepared and confident for your next interview.
Most common interview questions and answers
You might find similar lists of common interview questions like this around the web, but the big bonus of this one is that towards the bottom of this post there’s a free downloadable PDF of all of these common interview questions and answers that you can save / download / print as you need. Now here are the questions and answers you’ve been looking for:
1. Tell me a little about yourself.
Example answer: “I am a [positive adjectives] [x] professional with [x] years of experience. I’m excited to find a role where I can [accomplish this goal] and expand on my current skillset while also learning, growing and contributing to a great organization that aligns with my values.”
2. What are your biggest strengths?
Example answer: “I’m very proud of my strengths in [learning new concepts and tools quickly / communicating clearly with others / focusing on goals and outcomes] and even though these are strengths I’m always trying to build on them.“
3. What are your biggest weaknesses?
Example answer: “I’m very self-aware of the things that I can improve on, which some would call “weaknesses” and those would be [proficiency with X tool or program / giving feedback to colleagues or manager(s) / multi-tasking under pressure]. I’m actively working on this, though, and am always getting better.”
4. Why should we hire you?
Example answer: “Because I have all of the skills you’re looking for in this role and the enthusiasm about the company that will help me thrive here. I also believe I can contribute positively to the company culture by [X]….”
*The key is to be specific to THIS role and THIS company, and what you can offer them rather than just what you can get out of the role.
5. Why do you want this job? (similar question also asked: “Why are you interested in this company?”)
Example answer: “I want this job because the role matches what I am looking for the next step in my career growth and also because I am very drawn to the mission and values that this company stands for [such as X, Y, Z]. I feel like I can provide a lot of value to the company but also grow with it.”
6. What motivates you?
Example answer: “What motivates me is [making customers happy / creating campaigns from scratch, from strategy to execution / tackling different problems and coming up with meaningful solutions to them]. I believe that I’d be able to do that here.”
7. How do you think you will fit in this role?
Example answer: “I think I would fit really great into this role. From what I’ve learned so far about the role and the company, I think there is a natural fit when it comes to needs on both sides and it makes me excited to think about getting to know the team and all the things I can learn and can contribute.”
8. What do you know about our company? (similar question also asked: “How did you learn about us / the opening?”)
Example answer: “I know that this company is known for [X] and is in the [X] industry. The company is based in [X] and has about [X] total employees. I also know that it’s an attractive place to work for people like me who want [X].”
*You have to have actually done research on the company to answer this well!
Additional questions related to the ones above:
9. Describe your ideal role.
10. What type of environment are you looking to step into?
11. What are you looking for now?
12. What about this role / company attracts you?
13. Why do you want to leave your current job? (similar question also asked: “Why are you looking?”)
Example answer: “There are a couple of main reasons I’m looking to move on from my current job and that includes [wanting to gain X new skill or grow current skill in X / more career growth in the direction I’m interested in].
*The key is to focus on positives and be future-focused, rather than focusing on negative things about the present or past at your current role.
14. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Example answer: “In five years I’d like to be an established team member of a company like this where I [will have mastered skills that I’m just learning now / will take on new responsibilities and learn the next level of skills I’d need to continue my career path / will have taken on a leadership role where I am helping manage and grow others]”
15. How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?
Example answer: “I deal with pressure or stressful situations by [reminding myself that things are temporary / making sure I stay grounded and understand what I can and cannot change / knowing when and how to ask for help from my team members or manager] and taking things one step at a time.”
*This is a chance to demonstrate your ability to stay calm and work through any tough situation, and also your emotional intelligence.
Additional questions related to the ones above:
16. Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work and how you dealt with it.
17. Tell me about a time you disagreed with a decision. What did you do?
18. What would your last boss / colleagues say about you?
Even more common interview questions:
19. What would your previous boss or colleagues say you excelled most at / needed most improvement in?
20. Describe a time you exercised leadership?
21. Can you give an example of how you worked on a team?
22. How familiar are you with working with X (tool, language, etc.)?
23. What other companies are you interviewing with?
24. What do you like to do outside of work?
25. Why was there a gap in your employment between these dates?
26. Can you explain why you’ve bounced around to many different types of roles (in unrelated areas)?
And there you have it! As promised, you can have this list of most common interview questions and answers as a PDF so that you can use it or share it as you like.
Really Awkward Interview Questions
Sometimes an interviewer will throw you for a loop with an oddball question that you probably would have never expected to hear. Here are some examples of the odd/weird/unusual interview questions that have actually been asked during an interview, some of which literally made us go WTF?