Top 10 Interview Questions

What's the best way to answer the top 10 interview questions? You may think the questions are so over-used that they don't even deserve a second look.

Top 10 Interview Questions

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself This is not a question to be answered in a chronological fashion, starting with early childhood. What the interviewers really want you to tell them is how your education and experience apply to the job at hand.

2. Why did you leave your last job? Were you fired? Were you laid off? Whatever the circumstances, be positive and self confident about it. Look at it this way. When you’re fired, it’s usually a question of fit (or lack of it), when you are laid of, it’s a question of money (or lack of it).

If you quit in an outburst of pride or frustration, let them know that you've learned to control your emotions a bit better by now. If this comes up at all, discuss it as a mistake from the past, and that you've learned your lesson.

3. What's your greatest strength? This is not the time to be too humble or too boastful. Aim for a perfect balance between pride and humbleness. Practice this answer by being matter of fact about your qualities. Instead of praising yourself left and right, Identify a past example that showed your strengths. Recounting past actions is a better way to highligh your qualities.

4. What is your major weakness? We all know you are not going to tell them about a weakness that is going to kill your chances of getting hired.

Instead, you’re going to tell them of a quality that in excess becomes a weakness and how you manage to keep it in check.

As an example, if you tend to be a perfectionist, you would say: I tend to be a perfectionist, I like to deliver product of outstanding quality. I've found that perfectionism can slow me down if I let it. So I schedule periodic checks on myself to make sure I'm balancing speed and quality of results.

This question comes up often, it's definitely one of the top 10 interview questions you need to have an answer for.

5. What’s your understanding of the job? This is your opportunity to shine and outperform your competition. When you prepare for the interview, learn as much as you can about the company and the department where the job opening exists. If possible, learn about the person that would be your supervisor.

What you need to know is the pain points or workload that the position is expected to deal with. If you can’t find enough information about it, then don’t make it up, just tell them briefly what you know and ask for additional clarification.

6. Why should we hire you? What the interviewers want to know is how your experience prepared you for the job. Let's say you already researched the company (to prepare for question #5), now you turn to your skills inventory looking for a match. You need to be absolutely clear about how your skills could be useful to the company and the position that you’re interviewing for.

7. Why do you want to work for us? When you are preparing for the interview, part of the homework is to research the company, the industry, trends that may affect the company, and a bit about their competition.

You need to be able to list a couple of reasons why you think highly of the company and why it’s a good fit for your personal goals and values. If you can’t find the fit, I suggest you look harder and actually question yourself. It may be that this company is not a good place for you to work at.

8. What are your career goals? To prepare in advance for this question, list your where you want to be in 3 years, in 5 years and in 10 years. That way, during the interview you'll more easily describe your goals for any timeframe the interviewers may be asking you about.

9. Describe your most challenging assignment Either this question or a variant of it is usually included in the top 10 interview questions. The interviewers want to find out the degree of difficult challenges you have faced, perhaps the job at hand comes packaged with some difficult challenges and they want to make sure you'll be up to it.

10. What do you look for in a job? To prepare for this question, you need to do some introspection and determine what will make you happy in a job.

For some people, the opportunity to innovate is critical, for others, the prestige of a given organization, for others, the opportunity for advancement. You need to be clear about your own priorities and then voice them to the interviewers.

Let them know that you're flexible (if you are) and tend to find satisfaction in the job itself wherever you go (if this is true). Don't make things up just to get the job. Remember the importance of good fit.

Beyond the top 10 interview questions there are many other questions that you need to prepare answers for. Here is a brief list of other possible questions you may encounter depending on the job you're seeking.

Additional Interview Questions - For Management Positions

What are the trend in our industry and how do they affect this job you're applying for?

What’s your management style?

Have you ever had to fire someone?

What's the most difficult Personnel issue you've confronted and how did you handle it?

Have you worked in a union environment?

How do you motivate employees?

How do you delegate?

What's your greatest achievement?

What's your greatest failure?

Additional Interview Questions - For a First Job

What courses did you enjoy the most?

How did school prepare you for this position?

Did you participate in extracurricular activities during school?

If your professors were here, what would they say about you?

How do you expect to come up to speed with the job requirements?

Top 10 Interview Questions to Ask the Interviewer

1. What are you looking for in a candidate for this position?

2. What are the pluses and minuses of working in this company?

3. Why is this position open?

4. Why did the person in this position leave?

5. Who does this position report to?

6. What are the first projects you expect the new person in this position to handle?

7. What are the most important problems confronting the company or department right now?

8. Do you have any internal candidates applying for the position?

9. What is the company's policy regarding employee development?

10. What is the next step after you conclude your interviews?

You may not be able to ask all 10 questions, ask whatever is most important to you.

Notice that queries about salary are absent. The interview is not the time to discuss salary; for that you have to wait until the company has expressed an interest in hiring you. Let them want you first.

There you have it, the top 10 interview questions interviewers may ask, the top 10 interview questions that you need to ask, plus some additional questions that may come your way while being interviewed.

Other articles that may be of interest to you:

Many times, a phone interview precedes the in-person interview. If this is your case, you may want to read these Phone Interview Tips

A useful tool during preparation for an interview is the Mock Job Interview

If you'd like to better read people's body language during an interview, check out this article: Job Interview Body Language


Where do you want to go next?

Go to Job Interview Advice

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