Congrats! If you are reading this, you have most likely received a phone call for an interview.
That’s half the battle.
In this article, we are going to provide you with the 50 top job interview questions and answers to prepare for your big interview.
We have reviewed more than 100 interview questions and answers to bring you the 50 most important interview questions divided into six categories.
Click on any of the interview questions below to find tips, examples, and more.
Basic Interview Questions
- Tell me about yourself
- Why do you want to work here
- What interests you most about this position
- Why should we hire you
- What are your strengths
- What are your weaknesses
- What is your greatest accomplishment
- Describe a time you dealt with a conflict at work
- Why are you leaving your job
- What is your dream job
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years
- Are you interviewing with any other companies
- How would your friends describe you
- What are 3 positive things your last boss would say about you
- What kind of things do you like to do outside of work
- Do you have any questions for me
Behavioral Interview Questions
- What was the last project you led and what was its outcome
- Can you describe a time you demonstrated leadership
- Describe a time when your work was criticized
- What would you do if you disagree with a manager
- Describe a time you disagreed with a coworker
- Give me an example of a time you did something wrong
- Tell me about a time you had to give someone difficult feedback
- Have you been on a team where someone is not pulling their weight
- Tell me about a time that you went above and beyond expectations at work
- Have you ever had trouble working with a manager
- How would you handle a difficult customer
- What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it
- Tell me about a time you faced a difficult situation with a colleague
Educational Interview Questions
- Tell me about your educational background
- What academic courses did you like the most/least
- Do you plan to further your education
- Why did you choose your major
Professional Interview Questions
- Why do you have gaps in your job history
- Why have you changed jobs so frequently
- Why should we hire you over the other candidates
- If selected, can you describe your strategy for the first 30-60-90 days
- What do you know about this industry
- Are you willing to relocate
Salary Interview Questions
Personal Interview Questions
- What do you think about your previous boss
- Who was your favorite manager and why
- Have you ever been convicted of a felony
- What kind of company culture are you most comfortable with
- What is your ideal work environment
- How would you describe your work style
- What are your long-term career goals
- What negative comment would your boss or professor say about you
- Describe yourself in 5 words
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Basic Interview Questions
There are about a million and one questions that you could be asked in an interview.
You can't learn them all, but you can take the time to practice the ones that are most likely to come up.
All interview questions are not used equally, but the 16 interview questions below are some of the most common interview questions and answers in America.
The first question that you are most likely to get asked in an interview is: "Tell me about yourself."
This question is going to set the tone for the remainder of the interview.
Here is a sample answer from someone who has previous experience in management:
“Well, I come from a management background, having worked at The Sales Guys for over five years. While at TSG, I managed our sales team of roughly eight sales reps.
My team was constantly exceeding quota every quarter due to the great work environment that we had created. I am currently looking for a new challenge and the opportunity to manage a larger team.
I have a passion for renewable energy, cars, and sales so I can’t think of a better place to be interviewing then right here at Tesla. I would love nothing more than to bring my sales management expertise into the growing and amazing team here at Tesla.”
Quick Tip: Don't talk about your personal life, hobbies, etc.
Learn more about the interview question "Tell me about yourself."
Don’t let the recruiter catch you off guard with the question.
Every company wants to feel special and it's important that you make them feel that way.
Here's a sample answer to the question "Why do you want to work here?":
“After following your company on LinkedIn for years and doing a little personal research on your website, I have realized that you guys are revolutionizing the way vehicles are produced.
I was very impressed with your company’s vision and plans for the upcoming years as well as the background of your founder and CEO.
I would be honored to work for a company like yours and I am confident that my background, experience, and skills can be put to use while contributing to the company's mission.”
Quick Tip: Do a search on the company you are interviewing at by typing in their name followed by "culture". i.e. "Google culture".
Learn more about the interview question "Why do you want to work here?"
Have you ever been asked the question, “What interests you most about this position?”
You are being asked this question so that your future employer can understand what you know about the role, and how excited you are about it.
Here is an example of an acceptable answer:
"What interests me most about this position is the opportunity for me to work hands-on with the sales team.
Many other companies I have interviewed with for sales manager positions are too hands-off. They seem more focused on monitoring activity and pipeline than the actual development of the sales reps.
Training others and passing on my SaaS knowledge has always been a passion of mine, and I feel that ABC Company shares similar values.
I am confident that allowing me to train and mentor these sales reps will result in a huge increase in productivity and overall revenue gained."
Quick Tip: This question provides a great opportunity to sell yourself. Make it clear that you understand the position, and enjoy the work.
Learn more tips to answer "What interests you most about this position?"
If you don't know why they should hire you, how can you expect them to know?
Here's a sample answer to the question, "Why should we hire you?":
"I believe you should hire me because I am a very fast learner and I know how to get the job done.
I graduated with a four-year college degree in just over three years.
In addition, I worked all throughout college, giving me years of experience.
If you are looking to hire a recent grad, I can assure you that I am a motivated candidate who puts my all into every opportunity.”
Quick Tip: Try to find a balance between being too modest, and being too cocky.
Learn more tips to answer "Why should we hire you?"
Believe it or not, this is one of the best questions that someone could ask you in an interview.
This is your chance to talk about your strong points without any judgment of sounding cocky.
Here's an example of how you could answer, "What are your strengths?" in an interview:
"One of my strengths is that I am extremely ambitious. I love being social and meeting new people.
My mother always told me that I should become a sales person because I do not understand the word ‘no.’
I would love the opportunity to bring my competitive spirit and can-do attitude to the amazing sales team here at ABC Company."
Quick Tip: Don't just list keywords like sales, marketing, and finance. Tell a story that solidifies your strengths.
Learn more tips to answer "What are your strengths?"
This is by far one of the most dreaded interview questions of all time.
Do I tell them real flaws? Do I provide phony weaknesses that don't sound too bad?
Here is an example answer to the question, "What are your weaknesses?":
"I am not the best speech giver; however, I have been taking communications courses at my university in order to practice. I have given multiple speeches in front of the classroom and I am working to turn this weakness into a strength.”
Quick Tip: Provide a real weakness that would not affect the job you are applying for. If you are an accountant, the above weakness is ok.
Learn more tips to answer "What are your weaknesses?"
Isn't this question a perfect set up for a great story?
Whenever this question is asked, make sure you have a huge win to share.
Here's a real example of an interviewees greatest accomplishment:
"Last December, my company was struggling to meet their end of year revenue.
We had about eight days left till the New Year and we were short just over $1.5 million dollars.
As the sales manager, it was my responsibility to get my team pumped up and make sure that we met our goal.
Keep in mind; our average monthly revenue was around $1 million dollars so achieving $1.5 million in 8 days was a huge task to take on.
For the remaining days, I organized brief team meetings; call blocks and cash prizes for the reps that closed the most deals.
The end result was $1.9 million dollars in eight days. We not only saved the quarter but also greatly exceeded everyone's expectations."
Quick Tip: It may be better to share your second greatest accomplishment if it was more recent and relevant to the job you are applying for.
Learn more tips to answer "What is your greatest accomplishment?"
Have you had to deal with a conflict at work?
For some people who really haven't had to deal with a ton of conflict, this can be a tough question.
Here's how we would answer this common interview question:
“At ABC Company I was assigned a task by a member of the engineering team. She needed help from myself and a peer on the marketing team to finish a web page design.
Unfortunately, her deadline expectations were unrealistic for us. I had never met this individual since our departments were on separate floors, so I asked to get together with her for lunch.
I kindly asked her to walk me through her peer's expectations for my role in this project. After she laid out her expectations, I walked her through the steps that we were taking to ensure the project was done correctly.
Once we had the chance to learn about each other’s processes, we had a much better understanding of the timeframes that were realistic.
We agreed on a doable timeframe that would help us both meet our goals and the conflict was resolved before it could escalate.”
Quick Tip: Nobody enjoys dealing with conflict. But the hiring manager needs to know that if it arises, you can act maturely.
Learn more tips to answer how you dealt with a conflict at work.
This question can be kind of awkward depending on your answer.
Believe it or not, in this situation the truth is not always the best solution (we didn't tell you this).
Here's how you could answer why you are leaving your job:
"I am no longer being challenged. I've requested more responsibility but my day-to-day has become repetitive with very little room for growth.
Your company is constantly adapting and the employees seem to be learning something new every day. I would love to work for a revolutionary company such as yours."
Quick Tip: Blaming your boss, employees, peers, or company could reflect negatively on you. Refrain from blaming.
Get more tips to answer "Why are you leaving your job?"
While this question may sound cliche, many employers fear they will hire a "job hopper".
If you aren't doing what you love, there's a good chance you will leave your job to find something new.
Here's how you can properly answer the interview question, "What is your dream job?":
Vet tech position: "From birth, I have always been an animal lover. I like to make animals happy and find valid solutions to any problems that they are having.
I thrive in environments that give me the opportunity to work using my problem-solving skills to provide them with the care they need.
My dream job would be in a workplace where I was able to do this and work with animals as much as possible."
Quick Tip: Most employers want to hear you say something that is highly related to the job you are applying for.
Learn more about how to answer "What is your dream job?"
While most people don't have a 5-year plan, it's important to display how practical you are with your answer.
Make sure to stay focused on your career, not personal life.
Here is a sample answer for, "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?":
“My goal is to be the best at what I do and work somewhere where I’ll have opportunities to learn and develop my skills, work on exciting new projects, and be a part of an amazing team who can coach me and help me grow.
I believe that some of the most innovative creators work here and that’s a big reason why I would love to start my future at XYZ Company.”
Quick Tip: Most employers want to hear that you see yourself at their company, in a similar but senior role to the one you are applying for.
Learn more tips to answer "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"
This answer seems straightforward enough, right?
Wrong. You may be heading towards a trap. If you aren't interviewing, they may wonder why other companies don't want you. If you are interviewing, you want to make sure you are interviewing for similar positions.
Here's how you could answer if you are interviewing with any other companies:
"Yes. I've been interviewing at a few other SaaS companies in the area. However, so far from what I've seen here, I'd have to say that this would be my #1 company to work at."
Quick Tip: Candidates who are interviewing elsewhere are typically moved along in the interview process faster than those who are not.
Here are more tips to answer "Are you interviewing with any other companies?"
Yikes! It's time to get real with yourself. But be careful not to get too real.
Your friends might describe you as a pro beer chugger, but that's probably not the best thing to say in an interview.
Here's how to answer how your friends describe you in an interview:
“My friends would describe me as outgoing and energetic. They'd also say I am determined and never give up.
One time, we were all rock climbing. About halfway up everybody wanted to turn around and go back down the mountain.
I turned our climb into a competition and proposed a $100 prize for whoever was first to climb the mountain. That quickly changed their minds and we decided to keep climbing.
Side note, I won the $100!”
Quick Tip: Telling a story is much better than simply saying "Outgoing, energetic, and determined."
Get more tips to answer "How would your friends describe you?"
This is a great opportunity to show off a little bit and sell some of your skills and attributes.
Check out this sample answer to the interview question, "What are 3 positive things your last boss would say about you?":
“During my last job, I was very well-known for being a knowledgeable employee. I had memorized all of the content, statistics, and case studies for our company so everyone in the office would use me as their personal content encyclopedia.
My boss also commented on how punctual I was - I never missed a deadline or was late to work for the 3 years I worked there.
Finally, I would have to say that my boss would also bring up my team spirit. I was known for bringing in treats to the entire team after every successful event that took place. Everyone in the office looked forward to cookies or donuts after a huge sale, new product launch, or new milestone.”
Quick Tip: Be unique. Be modest. Be humble. Don't exaggerate.
Learn more tips about how to talk about 3 positive things your last boss would say about you.
Your interviewer may want to understand what kind of things you like to do outside of work.
After all, you are interviewing for a position where you will be spending at least 40 hours a week together.
Check out this sample to answer what kind of things you like to do outside of work:
“Thanks for asking! I love playing the piano. I am actually in a classical music band called the Classicools and we perform all around town at various venues. We meet up and practice every Saturday at my house.”
Quick Tip: Try to relate to something that may have been said during the interview. If you like to play soccer and heard that your hiring manager likes soccer, mention that!
Learn more information to answer "What kind of things do you like to do outside work?"
This is one of those guaranteed interview questions that can be very tricky to perfect.
You may have had all of your questions answered, but the last thing you want to do is say "no."
Here's a sample answer to "Do you have any questions for me?":
"What do you love most about this company?
What kind of a career roadmap can I expect in this position?
What's the biggest struggle amongst members of this team?
What's the most rewarding part of your day?
What would you expect of me in terms of performance on a day-to-day basis?"
Quick Tip: Try not to rely on pre-prepared questions. The best questions are related to the interview that just took place.
Learn more tips to answer "Do you have any questions for me?"
Behavioral Interview Questions
Behavioral interview questions are the type of questions that challenge your character.
They are situational questions that usually start with “Tell me about a time..."
These common interview questions are meant to understand how you react in certain situations.
- Can you handle criticism positively?
- Are you motivated and a go-getter?
- Are you easy to get along with?
So, let's jump right in!
For more senior-level executives, this is a common interview question that you can expect.
Since this question is asking specifically about the “last” project you led, be sure you're not bringing up a project from several years ago.
Here's a sample answer:
"My last project involved a goal to reduce our employee turnover rate at XYZ Health Industries. I designed a unique hiring process and training, which began to show positive results by the following quarter.
Simultaneously, my team crunched the numbers and reworked the employee compensation plans.
I also led a team of experienced trainers and coaches as we established a learning and development program.
Together, these steps reduced the employee turnover rate from 32% to 14%, cutting it into less than half.
The development program was even rated #1 by Training Magazine last year."
Quick Tip: If the last project you led was a disaster, move on to a different one.
Get more tips to answer "What was the last project you led, and what was its outcome?"
A common misconception made by job seekers is that leadership questions will only be asked for management positions.
When answering behavioral questions, it's important to use the "STAR" method.
Here's the first part (1/3) of our sample answer using the STAR method:
"When I was at ABC Company, we went through company-wide layoffs, which greatly affected our department.
The team of five that remained in the department had to absorb the duties of the two who had left. As a result, people were overworked and morale suffered.
More mistakes were being made because attention was so scattered. As the manager, it was my job to get performance back on track."
Quick Tip: Answering in the STAR format (Situation - Task - Action - Result) will come a long way.
See the complete answer to the question "Can you describe a time you demonstrated leadership?"
At some point or another, we've all had our work criticized.
This may have been a drawing in pre-school or a multimillion-dollar project.
Here's an example of how you can describe a time when your work was criticized:
“I'm only human, so I can definitely admit to receiving criticism of my work in the past. Honestly, the only thing you can do at that point is to thank the person for pointing out the flaw.
It's like when you have to tell a friend they have food on their face. Some people don’t like that, but I see it as a way to protect them from greater embarrassment with someone else.
Last year, I received criticism from a coworker on my report writing.
She did not like how I sent each report in a separate email. Instead, she requested that all emails be sent in one email.
I had no idea this was what she preferred. As soon as she told me, I was easily able to make the change by compiling all documents into one email.
Ever since then, everything has been fantastic between the two of us.”
Quick Tip: Make sure your answer shows your willingness to accept feedback and your ability to process that feedback to make the necessary updates.
Get more tips to describe a time when your work was criticized.
Have you ever been in an awkward situation with a manager where they ask you to do something, but you know it’s not right?
This happens all the time! Just because your manager is your superior does not mean they will always have the best answers.
Here's how you can safely answer this behavioral interview question:
It would depend entirely on what they were asking me to do. If a supervisor told me to do something that contradicts my moral beliefs, I would try my best to explain my feelings and then find a solution we both agreed with.
If it was an issue where I disagreed with the approach my manager took to doing something, I might politely recommend an alternative way and explain its advantages.
Regardless of the situation, I would take a closer look at what is being asked to ensure that I understand the details of the matter.
If needed, I would speak with my manager to find a solution that would achieve the same results without contradicting any opposing values.”
Quick Tip: By answering honestly, you can either prove your integrity or save yourself a terrible experience with a bad manager.
Learn more tips to answer "What would you do if you disagree with a manager?"
While these questions may be uncomfortable, they are better off answered than avoided.
Here's an example answer of how you should describe a time you disagreed with a coworker:
“About a year ago, a coworker and I had a disagreement about whom a specific account belonged to.
I requested to meet with my coworker one-on-one to discuss the situation.
First, I asked her to explain to me why she thought the account belonged to her.
After listening and understanding her side, we both agreed that the best way to resolve the issue would be to work the account together.
Both of us were happy to work on the account and we actually became very close friends after working together so closely.”
Quick Tip: Disagreements happen. It's how you handled the disagreement that matters.
Learn more tips to address a time when you disagreed with a coworker.
Be honest when asked to give an example of a time you did something wrong.
Nobody is perfect and pretending to be in an interview will not get you anywhere.
Here's an example answer for this popular interview question:
"I was a bank teller when a customer came in requesting a sheet of checks. When I went to print them out, another banker printed similar checks for another client.
Without looking, I handed the wrong checks to the client. She then wrote a check to pay her rent and the funds were eventually pulled from the other client’s account.
This was not figured out until the customer called and complained that their funds were missing. The clients actually reconciled this between themselves and were able to laugh afterward.
I then developed a system to make sure that I triple check the name before handing any client a sheet of checks."
Quick Tip: It's best to provide a light-hearted example. Describing the time you accidentally burnt down your last office probably would not be a good idea.
Get more tips about how to talk about a time when you did something wrong.
This question is usually reserved for management level roles. If you are applying for an entry-level role, save some time and move on to another question.
Here's the first part (1/3) of our example answer on describing a time you had to give difficult feedback:
"A couple of years ago, I gave a new staff member the task of compiling and sending out our monthly e-newsletter.
She used images with very high resolution, which affected the newsletter's formatting, making it unreadable for subscribers. We had several people unsubscribe as a result.
Rather than immediately confronting her, I put together a folder of lower-resolution images that she could use for future newsletters."
Quick Tip: Display patience, grace, and understanding in your feedback.
See the complete answer to the question, "Describe a time you had to give someone difficult feedback."
There are very few things more annoying than being on a team where someone is not pulling their weight.
Before bursting in flames at the thought of this question, take a deep breath.
Here is how we would have answered this behavioral interview question:
“Absolutely. Having worked in teams quite frequently in my previous position, it was inevitable that this situation would arise.
Last year, I was assigned to work with the marketing team to create a marketing plan for a large account. Each member of this team was assigned a specific task that was to be completed by our set deadline.
One of the members was way behind and said that he probably could not finish his section of the project in time. I sat down with him to understand why he was unable to finish his portion of the project. After all, this was what we committed to and we all had equal parts.
He explained to me that he had been having internet trouble, and was unable to complete his research at home. For the next couple minutes, we brainstormed different places he could go to use the internet. After addressing this situation, he had agreed to work in Starbucks, in order to complete his portion by the deadline.
Taking the time to understand his situation, and figure out a solution was critical to our project completion. At the end, we were all able to finish our work on time, and the project was completed successfully.”
Quick Tip: Rather than talking negatively about this individual, explain how you stepped up to the plate to strengthen the team.
Learn more tips to explain if you have been on a team where someone is not pulling their weight.
While doing what you are told is great, every employer wants to hire someone who goes above and beyond expectations.
Set yourself apart from the competition by properly answering this interview question. Here's a sample answer:
"While working with my last company as a sales representative, I had a meeting with a potential client.
In earlier discussions, the client had expressed their love for jelly beans. On my way to their office, I picked up a bag of jelly beans and a gift bag and wrote our company name on it.
Because of this, I was able to close the deal without using my normal pitch! My supervisors were very appreciative and as far as I know, the company still serves that client to this day."
Quick Tip: Your answer does not need to be extravagant. Sometimes showing a consistent pattern of little things will be more effective and practical.
Learn more tips to respond to "Tell me about a time you went above and beyond at work."
Be careful, it’s a trap!
When a hiring manager asks, “Have you ever had trouble working with a manager?” they are fishing.
Here's a safe sample answer for this interview question:
"I have been lucky enough to have a string of great employers. Each has pushed me to become a better professional while sharpening my skills in this industry.
I can remember specifically when Mr. XYZ was mentoring me as I was struggling with making cold calls. He didn't let me off the hook and gave me some great tips.
Now I am one of the most efficient people I know with turning cold calls into long-term clients."
Quick Tip: While we don't ever recommend lying in an interview, it's best to avoid mentioning extremely negative relationships you have had with past managers.
Find more tips to answer "Have you ever had trouble working with a manager?"
If you've worked in retail or any customer-facing role, chances are you have dealt with a difficult customer.
How you handle angry customers will play a huge role in whether or not you get a customer-facing job.
Here's a great sample answer to this question:
"The first thing I'd want to do if I was approached by a difficult customer would be to understand their situation.
I'd want to sympathize with the customer and let them know that despite their negative feelings, I want to help them.
I'd patiently work with them to try and resolve any of their problems. Killing them with kindness.
I have a pretty solid track record of turning difficult customers into raving advocates and feel more than capable of doing this for ABC Company."
Quick Tip: Not every difficult customer will be turned into a raving advocate. All you can do is be patient and remain calm. Do not lose your cool!
Get more information about how to answer "How you would handle a difficult customer?"
Nobody enjoys sharing negative stories about themselves. It's a very vulnerable place to be.
Despite feeling uncomfortable, you have to be prepared for questions like this during an interview.
Here is a sample interview answer for the question, "What is your greatest failure?":
"When I was in college, I worked at a solar company as a door-to-door outside sales person. I was constantly thinking of new ways to bring in business, outside of knocking on residential doors.
I developed a PowerPoint presentation and walked around to local businesses sharing a partnership idea.
Although the logistics sounded good, and I even received a few stores who were interested in partnering with me, I did not run the idea past my company first.
Sadly, they shut it down. I quickly learned that even great ideas can be turned down, and there was absolutely nothing that I could do about it.
In the future, I will consult with my company on any new ideas before trying to create a plan of my own."
Quick Tip: Failure is inevitable. It's what you learn from your failure that will define you.
Find more tips to address the question, "What is your greatest failure?"
When various different personality types all spend 8+ hours a day in the same office, personalities are bound to clash.
There's no doubt that some colleagues are more difficult than others. But how do you handle them?
Here's an example answer for handling a difficult situation with a colleague:
"At my previous place of employment, we would have weekly board meetings. It probably goes without saying that tensions would sometimes rise due to different perspectives on matters.
Unfortunately, there were times when people would begin raising their voices and on some occasions, even crying.
I made it a point to check my emotions at the door before these meetings. If voices were raised and it was my turn to talk, I would be sure to speak in a professional manner and at a normal speaking volume.
This usually calmed the room and we were able to get back to a productive meeting atmosphere.
I take pride in my ability, even as a junior employee, to calm the room if necessary. I believe this is one of my strongest traits!"
Quick Tip: Don't display any signs of resentment towards the colleague you are talking about. Keep it fairly general and keep it professional
Get more tips to address a time you faced a difficult situation with a colleague.
Educational Interview Questions
Educational job interview questions are particularly important for recent college graduates.
If you are a recent grad, or soon to be graduating, it would benefit you to read these common job interview questions before your next interview.
In a perfect world, your degree is in the exact same line of work as the job you are applying for.
If that's not the case for you, then try to think of relevant electives or soft skills that you could have developed through an unrelated education.
Here's an example answer for the interview prompt, "Tell me about your educational background.":
"During my time at (School Name), I took many courses that have given me the skill set to be successful in this position.
Being a Finance major, I found a passion for financial accounting.
Although my coursework was mainly based on financial analysis, I chose accounting as one of my upper division electives.
This course pushed me out of my comfort zone as most of my classmates were majoring in accounting.
Since entering the finance industry, I feel I have used a majority of what I learned in that class.
Since I have noticed that your finance department works directly with the staff accountants, I feel this position would be a great mutual fit."
Quick Tip: Rather than focusing on the parties you went to, briefly discuss your degree and how it has equipped you for the role at hand.
Find more tips to respond to "Tell me about your educational background."
When you obtain a degree, you are forced to take a variety of courses that you may not have an interest in.
During an interview, you may have to discuss the academic courses that you like the most and least.
Here's an example of how we would answer this interview question:
"As a business student, I really enjoyed the many management courses I was able to take. I met a lot of great people and learned many skills that I use in my profession.
I specifically found a passion for operations management and have never looked back. Because of this, I feel I would be a great fit for your management team and this company as a whole.
As far as classes I didn’t like, one jumps out immediately. I had a film class that was a night course and three hours long. We watched black-and-white movies during each class. At first, I felt it was a waste of time. I then gave in and paid attention and realized they were all pretty great movies!
By the end of the course, I realized it was one of my favorite classes of the semester. Although film-making has changed exponentially since those days, the course provided a fascinating glimpse into an earlier era."
Quick Tip: Have some fun with this answer. If you are applying for an accountant job, your favorite course does not have to be accounting!
Get more tips to talk about what academic courses you like the most/least.
This educational interview question is not as straightforward as it seems.
Some employers prefer that their staff continues education while others want 100% of their time and attention.
Here's a solid sample answer to the question, "Do you plan to further your education?":
"Yes. While my intentions are not to go back to university to obtain another degree, I believe in continiouous learning.
I am constantly reading, researching, and educating myself on new and improved ways of doing things."
Quick Tip: If the interviewer has an issue with you continuing your education while working, you are better off working elsewhere.
Learn more ideas about how to address if you plan to further your education.
Let's be honest, not everyone knows what kind of a career they want when they originally choose their major.
However, whenever possible, try to relate your answer to the position that you are applying for.
Here's an excellent sample answer to this interview question:
"Since I was a kid, I've had a passion for social justice. My parents encouraged me to believe in the ability of a single person to effect positive change, so it only seemed natural to pursue a degree in social work.
I have always enjoyed interacting with others and as such I excel in interpersonal communications. Majoring in social work enabled me to gain experience and skills along these lines.
A year-long internship with a local rescue mission gave me the opportunity to grow in these abilities.
I am ready to jump into a full-time position working with clients as a human resources coordinator and helping them improve their quality of life."
Quick Tip: Be confident and proud of your major no matter what you chose.
Find more tips to answer, "Why did you choose your major?"
Professional Interview Questions
Typically, professional interview questions will not be asked for a recent grad or inexperienced worker.
Professional interview questions are asked to address serious questions or concerns regarding previous employment and your willingness and ability to perform the job.
There are dozens of legitimate reasons why you might have gaps in your resume.
This interview question does not have a one size fits all answer. The best approach is to be honest and relatable.
Here's a sample answer for why you have gaps in your job history:
The past 6-months I have been taking some time off work to travel, and spend time with my children.
After being laid off in May, I decided to postpone my job search until after my kids returned to school from their summer vacation. We traveled to Mexico and had a great time.
Beginning August, I kicked off my job search and that's what brings me here today.
Quick Tip: Employment gaps can sometimes be hidden by including only the years of employment, and not the months.
Get more tips to address why you have gaps in your job history.
Changing jobs in itself is not a bad thing.
It's the reason that you are changing jobs that can either positively or negatively affect your interview success.
Here's a perfectly suitable answer to explain why you have changed jobs so frequently:
The last 5-years, I have been fortunate to be bombarded with amazing opportunities.
I worked for 3 years at FedEx before being recruited to an amazing management opportunity at Amazon.
After spending 1.5 years at Amazon, my previous manager at FedEx reached out to me for a new opportunity at Uber.
While I never actively looked for a job, I couldn't pass on the opportunity to take on more responsibility in a senior-position.
Quick Tip: If you change jobs frequently, make sure they are upward-moving positions in pay/title.
Learn more ideas to explain why you have changed jobs so frequently.
It’s fair to say that when you are interviewing, the hiring manager is trying to determine if you are a good fit for the position.
Sometimes, rather than making that decision him/herself, they will flat out ask you why they should hire you over other candidates.
Here's a sample answer to that interview question:
"Having spent time considering the job description, I am confident that I have both experience and skills in the areas of expertise that you are seeking.
I believe this production management role would fit perfectly with my background leading similar projects over the past 12 years.
I also noted the need for superior public relations skills. I genuinely enjoy working with people, and have developed positive relationships with employees and managers across every level of the industry.
Finally, having a career in this industry is my passion, and I am highly motivated to perform quality work."
Quick Tip: Confidence is key. Don't speak negatively about other candidates. Only speak positively about yourself.
Get more tips to answer, "Why should we hire you over other candidates?"
You have all the tools to dominate an interview at your disposal, yet most candidates are unprepared when the time comes to prove themselves.
Describing your strategy for the first 30-60-90 days of a new job is possibly the strongest resource you can have while in the interview process.
Here's a sample answer for describing your first 30-60-90 days:
First 30 days: Focus on training, finding mentors, and embracing the company culture as it relates to both your job description and the people around you.
30-60 days: Implement your training and experience into action while working with your supervisor to optimize your performance.
60-90 days: Add your personal touch to the position. Be an effective leader/coworker and build relationships that benefit your position and the company as a whole.
Quick Tip: You don't need to go into crazy detail. Provide a brief, high-level overview if you are asked this question on the spot.
Learn more tips to answer "What is your strategy for the first 30-60-90 days?"
First off, it goes without saying that you should be learning at least a basic amount of information about the industry you are applying for.
So don't get caught off guard when you are asked what you know about the industry.
Here's a general example of how you could answer this question:
"Well, the industry itself has come a long way in the last few years. I’ll admit that at first I thought programs like x might be a departure from our roots, but developments like y and z have proved x more than helpful and has actually pushed us gracefully into the modern world."
Quick Tip: This is not really an answer that can be made up on-the-spot. Do some research before the interview!
Get more tips to address what you know about the industry.
Have you ever applied for a position in a faraway city or even state? If so, you have probably been asked, “Are you willing to relocate?”
Relocating can drastically boost your career by opening yourself up to more opportunities.
Here's how you can answer this relocation interview question:
If the answer is yes: “I have no problem with relocating for this company as I believe I am a great fit and this job would be the perfect opportunity to advance my career!”
If the answer is maybe: “I love the area I live in currently, but I would consider relocating for the right opportunity.”
If the answer is no: “I love the area I live in now and it is important to me that I stay near my family. That may change in the future, and at that point, I would consider relocating for this opportunity.”
Quick Tip: Being willing to relocate is one of the fastest ways to climb the corporate ladder.
Learn more tips to answer the question, "Are you willing to relocate?"
Salary Interview Questions
Many people struggle with salary interview questions.
These types of job interview questions can either be very good or very bad depending on your experience.
A great negotiator will walk out of an interview with a much higher salary than someone who is not able to answer these questions in a knowledgeable manner.
First of all, congratulations. If you are being asked this question, it means that you have made it a long way in the interview process.
When sharing your salary expectations, make sure to do some research and provide a range.
Here's how you can share your salary expectations in an interview:
"From researching this position on Glassdoor.com I found that 80-95K / year is pretty typical. Is that the same for XYZ Company?"
Quick Tip: Don't play games with the recruiter or hiring manager. Provide a range that you are comfortable with and a range that you are excited about.
Find more information about how to answer "What are your salary expectations?"
When asked your salary history, it's important to consider whether this is legal or not. Many states have banned this question from interviews.
If you are asked this question, do your best to defer. If you can't defer any longer, provide a range rather than a whole number.
Here are two different sample options for addressing the salary history question:
Defer: "As this position is not exactly the same as the job I previously held, I would prefer to discuss the expectations for this position. Then we could determine a fair salary for this job."
Range: "Throughout my career, and particularly in the past 5 years, I have made anywhere from $60,000 - $80,000 per year. Depending on the job I accept and the work involved, I'd like to be at or above that range for my next career."
Quick Tip: Salary history is rarely required and often times this is an easy answer to dodge.
Get more tips to respond to "What is your salary history?"
Personal Interview Questions
Personal job interview questions are sometimes the hardest ones to answer.
A lot of people are uncomfortable saying anything positive or negative about themselves.
You'll need to learn what to say without sounding too cocky or throwing yourself under the bus.
These nine job interview questions provide a great foundation.
They can also help you answer any other curveball questions that might get thrown your way.
Now is not the time to talk smack on your previous boss, regardless of how awful they were.
If you loved your boss, this question will be easy for you. Just be honest.
If you have nothing nice to say, stick to the basics and try something like this:
“He had an accute attention to detail and was very involved in the day to day of his team members.”
“She really allowed her employees to use their strengths to accomplish their tasks. She did not micro-manage each position, which helped create a high level of self-confidence for my coworkers and me!”
Quick Tip: While your boss may have been pure evil, the question is asking what you think about them. What you think about them does not also need to be pure evil.
Get more information about how to answer "What do you think about your previous boss?"
Getting asked about your favorite manager is a classic interview question.
The goal is to understand if you would enjoy working with your soon-to-be manager by comparing personality types and management styles.
Here's a sample answer for "Who was your favorite manager and why?":
"While working toward my graduate degree, I took on an administrative position as a graphic designer assistant with ABC Journal.
My supervisor, Jeff Smith, offered not only practical assistance, but also mentorship. He had high expectations, but also took the time to give clear instructions.
I'm grateful that he taught me how to use to use XYZ software, which I noticed your company also uses.
His commitment to excellence has rubbed off on me and I still use many of the techniques he taught me for efficiency in the workplace, such as..."
Quick Tip: Most managers asking this question want to hear you describe someone similar to themselves.
Find more tips to respond to "Who was your favorite manager and why?"
Mistakes happen and sometimes those mistakes can cost us a job.
The important thing is that you stay honest, show remorse, and find an employer who will value you.
Here's an example answer if you have been convicted of a felony:
Yes. About 10 years ago when I was 19 I was convicted of a felony for armed robbery. I've grown a lot since then and believe that if it wasn't for that negative experience, I wouldn't be where I am today.
Quick Tip: If you don't make it clear that you have changed, you are going to have a hard time finding a job.
Learn more tips to answer "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?"
Let's be honest, some people absolutely love to have a ping pong table, full kitchen, sleep pods, and a gym right in their office.
Others find that type of company culture to be unproductive and downright distracting.
Here is a sample answer to this interview question:
My last job was a real eye-opener when it came to company culture. Prior to working at LinkedIn, I had only worked in cubicle offices with no team meetings, no company volunteer days, no diversity, etc.
Working at LinkedIn has shown me exactly the type of company culture I am comfortable with. That is, one that is united as a whole, filled with individuals who are passionately serving one mission. Everyday I was excited to go into work and contribute to an amzing team at an amazing company.
Quick Tip: By referencing previous jobs, you can strengthen your answer to make it clear you know what you are talking about.
Get more tips to address what kind of company culture you are most comfortable with.
Your future manager wants to make sure you will be working in an environment where you will be happy and thrive.
Rather than talking about the physical office layout, talk about the job and management style you thrive under.
Here's a great sample answer for describing your ideal work environment:
"The ideal work environment for me is one in which I feel my talents are being used to the full. I love helping people improve their quality of life and your values-driven healthcare services offer just that.
Quick Tip: If you want the job, make sure the ideal work environment you describe is similar to the work environment at the company you are interviewing with.
Find out more about how to answer "What is your ideal work environment?"
While it's obvious that you should describe your work style as "inefficient and lazy", the best answer may not be so obvious.
It's important to strike a balance between underselling and overselling yourself.
Here is a top example of how to describe your work style:
"Over the years I have learned a few things about my style of working. I have come to realize that there are three main things I possess that make me a great employee and coworker.
First, I am organized. I plan my days efficiently in order to get the most work done possible. However, I am also adaptable and can easily stop what I am doing, if needed, to focus on a higher-priority task.
Second, I genuinely enjoy being a team player. From experience, I've learned we can often accomplish more by working together. I am willing to help my fellow coworkers and eager to learn from my supervisors.
Finally, I'm dedicated to my work. Because I take pride in what I do, I will work long hours and do research on my own time. I will help improve this organization in any way possible.”
Quick Tip: Read the job description and understand your role. If the job is highly hands-on, you should describe how you are hands-on.
Learn more tips to respond to "How would you describe your work style?"
48. What Are Your Long-Term Career Goals
If you haven't already thought about your long-term career goals before the interview, it's probably a good idea to do so.
As far as the interview goes, most employers want to hear that your long-term career goals are somewhat related to the line of work you are interviewing for.
Here's a sample answer to the question, "What are your long-term career goals?":
My entire life I have aspired to become an enterprise level account executive at ABC Company.
I understand that in order to become an account executive I would need to spend years as a sales rep learning about and mastering the product you offer.
The reason I am so passionate about becoming an account executive is because of the lifestyle that it offers. I intend to absolutely crush my sales quotas every month and bring in the big bucks for our company. I also love traveling and have always enjoyed a long sales cycle that involves tons of nurturing and dedication.
Wining and dining potential clients on the company dime sounds pretty sweet to me! Of course, I know that I have to prove myself before I can have the job of my dreams.”
Quick Tip: Long-term could be 5 years or 20 years. You get to decide!
Find more ideas to answer the question, "What are your long-term career goals?"
Whether you were the perfect employee or teacher's pet, everyone has flaws.
The important thing here is that you highlight a flaw that will not affect the job you are applying for.
Here's a sample answer of a negative comment that would not affect the job:
“One of my professors commented to me that I should focus my attention on school, instead of always being so active in extracurricular activities.
This wasn’t because my grades were hurting; I received an A in this class, however, there were times that I would arrive late, rushing from work to class.
After he made his comment, I adjusted my work schedule to make sure I was never late again.”
Quick Tip: Every interview question, even the negative ones, can be spun in a way to make yourself look great!
Get more information to answer "What negative comment would your boss or professor say about you?"
This is one of the most common interview questions and for a good reason.
Self-awareness and emotional intelligence have become increasingly hot topics which is why many interviewers will ask you to describe yourself.
Here's a great answer for one of the five words to describe yourself:
Friendly: I've always enjoyed meeting new people and maintining a lot of relationships. I'm your typical extrovert which has really helped me in my career. My natural networking abilities have allowed me to excel in sales roles such as this one.
Quick Tip: Check out the article below for more samples to describe yourself.
Learn more tips to address the prompt, "Describe yourself in 5 words."
Now that you have access to all the top job interview questions, click on the questions that you need the most help with and begin mastering your pitch today.
We have great insight and examples for each and every question listed above!