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Common Interview Questions and Tips

When it comes to the interview process, study and preparation may frequently determine whether or not you advance to the next round. Practising your replies to the most frequent interview questions is one of the greatest methods to prepare for a virtual job interview.

So, if you have a job interview coming up, rehearse in front of a mirror or have a friend or family member listen to your responses to the following questions so you can put your best foot forward.

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  1. What are your strengths?
  2. What are your weaknesses?
  3. Why are you interested in working for [insert company name here]?
  4. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
  5. Why do you want to leave your current company?
  6. Why was there a gap in your employment between [insert date] and [insert date]?
  7. What can you offer us that someone else can not?
  8. What are three things your former manager would like you to improve on?
  9. Are you willing to relocate?
  10. Are you willing to travel? *(Post COVID-19)
  11. Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
  12. Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
  13. What is your dream job?
  14. How did you hear about this position?
  15. What would you look to accomplish in the first 30 days/60 days/90 days on the job?
  16. Discuss your resume.
  17. Discuss your educational background.
  18. Describe yourself.
  19. Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
  20. Why should we hire you?
  21. Why are you looking for a new job?
  22. Would you work holidays/weekends?
  23. How would you deal with an angry or irate customer?
  24. What are your salary requirements? (Hint: if you’re not sure what constitutes a fair salary range and compensation package, research the job title and/or company on Glassdoor.)
  25. Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.
  26. Who are our competitors?
  27. What was your biggest failure?
  28. What motivates you?
  29. What’s your availability?
  30. Who’s your mentor?
  31. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
  32. How do you handle pressure?
  33. What is the name of our CEO?
  34. What are your career goals?
  35. What gets you up in the morning?
  36. What would your direct reports say about you?
  37. What were your bosses’ strengths/weaknesses?
  38. If I called your boss right now and asked him/her what is an area that you could improve on, what would he/she say?
  39. Are you a leader or a follower?
  40. What was the last book you’ve read for fun?
  41. What are your co-worker pet peeves?
  42. What are your hobbies?
  43. What is your favorite website?
  44. What makes you uncomfortable?
  45. What are some of your leadership experiences / What is your leadership style?
  46. How would you fire someone?
  47. What do you like the most and least about working in this industry?
  48. Would you work 40+ hours a week?
  49. What questions haven’t I asked you?
  50. What questions do you have for me?

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1. Tell me about yourself.

Many individuals fail to prepare for this question since it appears to be simple, yet it is critical. Here’s how it works: Don’t reveal your whole work (or personal) past. Instead, make a pitch—one that is succinct and appealing, and that clearly demonstrates why you are the best candidate for the position. Lily Zhang, a Muse writer, and MIT career counsellor suggests adopting the present, past, and future approaches. Give a brief description of your present position (including the scope and potentially one major accomplishment), then include some history on how you got there and any relevant experience you have. Finally, explain why you desire — and are ideal for — this position.

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2. How did you find out about this opportunity?

Another seemingly benign interview question is actually an excellent opportunity to stand out and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the organization. If you learned about the position from a friend or professional acquaintance, for example, mention that individual and explain why you were so enthusiastic about it. Share how you learned about the firm through an event or publication. Even if you spotted the job posting on a random employment board, mention something about the position that piqued your interest.

3. Why are you interested in working for this company?

Be wary of generic responses! You’re wasting an opportunity to stand out if what you say can be applied to a variety of different firms, or if your response makes you seem to like every other applicant. Zhang suggests one of four approaches: Do your research and mention something about the company that appeals to you; talk about how you’ve seen it grow and change since you first heard of it; focus on the organization’s future growth opportunities and how you can contribute to it, or share what has gotten you excited from your interactions with employees thus far. Make careful to be specific, regardless of the path you take. 

4. Why are you interested in this position?

Companies prefer to recruit people who are enthusiastic about their jobs, so you should have a compelling reason for applying. (And if you don’t, what are you going to do? You should probably apply somewhere else.) First, identify a few key factors that make the role a good fit for you (e.g., “I love customer support because I enjoy the constant human interaction and the satisfaction that comes from helping someone solve a problem”), and then explain why you like the company (e.g., “I’ve always been passionate about education, and I think you’re doing great things, so I want to be a part of it”).

5. What makes you the best candidate for the job?

This interview question may appear straightforward (and perhaps daunting! ), but if you get it, you’re in luck: There’s no better way to promote yourself and your abilities to a hiring manager than this. Your task is to come up with an answer that demonstrates three things: that you can not only perform the work but also provide excellent outcomes; that you’ll be a good fit for the team and culture; and that you’d be a better hire than any of the other applicants.

Always try to put a positive slant on your responses to questions. It’s better to give the impression that you’re more motivated by the possibility of new opportunities than by trying to escape a bad situation. In addition, it’s important to avoid bashing your current organization, colleagues, or supervisor. An employer is not likely to want to bring on someone who talks negatively about a company.

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