- 20 Most common job-interview questions
20 Most common job-interview questions
20 Most common job-interview questions!
Here are the top 20 interview questions (in no particular order):
1) Can you describe yourself?
This is probably the MOST common first question asked. It sets the stage for the whole interview. Be careful. Keep it short. The interviewer doesn’t want to hear your whole life story. Mention education, personality traits and interests which are job-relevant.
2) Why are you applying for this job?
Be careful, this question could trip you up. Try to avoid mentioning money at this point. Even if you have been retrenched or are struggling – try to remain positive at all times. Try to avoid sounding desperate. If you were fired, you need to think about your answer and have a good explanation. Give this some thought before the interview and really think about the reasons for wanting the job. A good reason could be that the position will allow you to grow and get experience.
3) What do you know about this company and why do you want to work here?
Do some homework and research the company. Find out all kinds of facts. For example: Has the company been in the news lately? If yes, make sure it’s a positive news story or don’t bring it up.
Once you have researched the company you can then work out how your own goals and career plans would benefit from this position. Think before answering.
4) What relevant experience do you have?
If you have lots of relevant* experience mention all of it. If you are changing careers then you need to think creatively, but honestly, how your experience could benefit the company.
5) Have you done anything to further your experience?
If it’s relevant – it’s worth mentioning. This could include night classes, hobbies or volunteering positions, etc. If you have gained any experience through these fields – it’s experience!
6) Where else have you applied for a job?
This is a good point to hint you’re in demand. Try to avoid being too arrogant. Be honest and mention the companies, but try to avoid going into details.
7) How do you deal with pressure/stress?
Try to keep your answer positive. You may love the pressure and the pace of the job. Try to avoid saying you’ll crumble. If the job demands stress and you cannot deal with stress, maybe the job is not for you.
8) What motivates you to do a good job?
Money is NOT the answer! Try to avoid saying this even if it’s true. You may want to consider that getting recognition for a job well done is what motivates you.
9) What’s your greatest strength?
This is your time to shine! It’s the one time you can let the interviewer know why you’re perfect for the job. Remain positive at all times. For example: you’re a good motivator or … a team player … or you’re dedicated and reliable … or you thrive under pressure, etc.
10) What’s your biggest weakness?
If you say you haven’t got one – you’re lying. We all have weaknesses. This is a horrible question but one that needs asking. If you get asked this question, think of a small work-related weakness … then say you’re trying to work on improving it.
11) What are you expecting to earn?
This is a difficult question to answer. Try to avoid saying a number right away. In the work place - you want as much as possible and the company wants to pay as little as possible. So you need to be careful how you approach this question.
You may want to research the market place to find out what the average pay is for this kind of job.
You may say that, with your background and experience you are worth between R? and R? per month. Or, you could just say that you’re more interested in what this position could do for your career.
12) Are you a team player and what would co-workers say about you?
If you’re a team player and you’re applying for a job in a large company/organisation – then the answer will always be YES! You cannot survive otherwise. You may also let the interviewer know what kind of role you’d like to play in a team, for example: team leader, organiser, or follower. However, if you’re not a team player, maybe the job is not suited to you.
If you’ve had negative personal relationships with fellow co-workers try avoid mentioning them. Try thinking of positives comments some of your co-workers would say.
13) Has a suggestion of yours ever been implemented (used)? If so, describe it.
Understand the word ‘implemented’. This means your idea was put into action. If you have many ideas and they only live in your head, they are no use to anyone. Try thinking of an idea of yours that has a positive ending. Keep your story short and sweet.
14) Has anything or anyone irritated you at work?
Obviously things irritate you at work, but try to avoid saying it. Rather say you prefer to focus on the job.
15) Have you had any issues with your previous boss?
This is a test! Be careful. Avoid falling for this one. The interviewer is testing to see if you would speak badly about your previous boss or company.
16) Would you rather work for money or job satisfaction, be feared or liked?
It's fine to say money is important, but remember that NOTHING is more important to you than the job. It really is an unfair question but sometimes it’s asked.
‘Feared or Liked?’ - Believe it or not, this question is often asked. The clever answer is: neither, I’d rather be respected. Fear does not motivate people - being liked, may not get the job done because others are taking advantage of you.
17) Are you prepared to put the company before your own interests?
Answering YES or NO could be dangerous. If you say YES, it means you don’t respect yourself and your family and if you say NO, it might mean you’re not dedicated to the company. Be careful how you answer this question. Finding a balance between the two is important.
18) Why should I hire you?
‘Because I’m great!’ or ‘I really need a job’ are not the answers the interviewer is looking for. This is a good time to give the interviewer a list of all your relevant, positive attributes: for example: your education, work experience, personality traits, etc that would make you the ideal candidate for the job. Try to avoid any negative feedback.
19) Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
This is a common and tricky question to answer. No-one can really predict the future. Think carefully before answering - it could either show you’re focused, ambitious and a hard worker or it could imply that you’re directionless or unmotivated if you answer: I don’t know.
Most companies are looking for employees who will stay and grow with the company. An answer that reflects this is advantageous.
Think about the job and how the experience and/or training will help your career. Will it help you move forward and upward? Do you have goals you’re working towards? Are you willing to learn?
20) Do you have any questions for me?
This is probably the most common final question in an interview. While doing research on the company – some questions may come to mind. Write them down. Having questions prepared shows the interviewer that you’re interested and motivated.
Other questions you may consider (if relevant):
- What is the job description?
- Who will I report to?
- When can I start?
- Does the company provide further training?
- Would I be required to work overtime?
Now that you have a list of the most common questions which may be asked at an interview – you can prepare yourself for your next one.
Remember: Stay calm. Be honest. Be polite. Be positive.
All good things come to those who persevere.
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'Besides getting several paper cuts in the same day or receiving the news that someone in your family has betrayed you to your enemies, one of the most unpleasant experiences in life is a job interview.' - Lemony Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival
‘You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.’ - Albert Einstein
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Other articles to refer to:
- Job Interviews – Get ready!
- Job Interview – How to do it right!
- Staying safe at a job interview!
- How to make yourself more employable!
*relevant: = appropriate / applicable/ compatible / related / fitting / suitable / ideal etc
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