MockQuestions

Common Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your next job interview, here are 30 common interview questions and answer examples.

Common was written by and updated on January 8th, 2022. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

Where do you see yourself in five years?

The Goal

The interviewer wants assurance that you're a fit for the company now and in the future. They also want evidence that your career goals match what the company can offer you. The goal of your response is to show the interviewer that you are clear about your career goals and that you believe their company can provide you with the career challenges and growth needed to remain happy five years from now.

Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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List of 30 Common Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1.

    Where do you see yourself in five years?

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants assurance that you're a fit for the company now and in the future. They also want evidence that your career goals match what the company can offer you. The goal of your response is to show the interviewer that you are clear about your career goals and that you believe their company can provide you with the career challenges and growth needed to remain happy five years from now.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid answers like, 'In five years, I plan to work here, maybe even in your job!' (insert awkward laughter). The interviewer will quickly see that you have not done your research on the opportunity, and you're trying to mask that fact by telling a joke.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      Conduct some LinkedIn research on the company and its team members. Gain a better understanding of the typical career trajectory of the people who held this role before you. For instance, your LinkedIn research may show that the previous general manager was promoted to regional manager after five years and then promoted to area director after three years. This research would give you a strong sense of what is reasonable for career growth in the organization. If you have stable tenure with jobs in the past (the length of time you've been there), be sure to highlight this positive factor.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Start by understanding your career goals in the present and five years into the future. Take a look at the career growth options with the company. If any of these stand out to you, it's a great idea to mention them to the interviewer and clearly outline why these growth options are a match for the career trajectory you envision for yourself. Your expressed interest in specific internal growth opportunities will solidify that you are, indeed, seeking a long-term fit with the hiring company.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I am looking for a long-term career opportunity. As you can see, I have had solid and consistent career growth. I would love to see the same pattern of success and tenure with your company. As an international organization, I understand that this company has global leadership opportunities that arise from time to time. If I could work my way into a leadership role here or in another country, I would be thrilled."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Admin Example

      "Five years from now, I would like to be an executive assistant supporting one of your corporate executives. I have built a great deal of experience as an administrator and feel that the next step to EA is reasonable in that time frame. To meet this goal, I plan to learn more about employee recognition software and begin to build more tech prowess with systems such as Hootsuite and Salesforce."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Manager Example

      "The next natural step in my career is to be granted the role of general manager with your production team. In five years, I would like to grow into a regional management position. I researched career path opportunities in your organization and see that you spend a great deal of time preparing your employees for promotions, which I was happy to see. I believe that to make a jump in five years from general manager to regional manager, I should focus on strengthening my exposure to inter-departmental communication and remote employee management."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Sales Example

      "In five years, I would like to be seen as a sales leader in the SaaS industry. I plan to be well-connected and trusted regarding the work and results that I bring to your organization. To achieve this goal, I plan to take on every continued education opportunity presented to me with full enthusiasm. I plan to learn everything that I can from my leaders and have already begun to seek a mentor."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Retail Example

      "I am interested in running a franchise location of my own. I have researched your organization's requirements for franchise owners and have already started saving money to purchase a location. I believe in the brand story and plan to be fully invested now and in the years to come."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Teacher Example

      "I value stability and longevity. In five years, I plan to be at your school, perhaps as the learning leader of the math or science department. To reach this goal, I will seek out opportunities to mentor others. I will volunteer to be a coach of a sports team within your school to make stronger connections with the student body. Also, I will continue to grow professionally through ongoing education opportunities. Down the road, I plan to get my master's degree in leadership, another valuable asset to the school that I will call home."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Marketing Example

      "In five years, I would like to be leading the digital marketing team and working towards a directorship position. I have seen examples of this career progression in your organization and want this same career trajectory for myself. To achieve this goal, I will dedicate myself to continued learning and will become a mentor to others while also seeking an internal leader to act as my professional mentor."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Community Answer

      "Although it is hard to see what job title I would acquire in 5 years, I would see myself moving up the ladder to managing a team of creatives based on my performance level. I am eager to help the company in any way I can."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Brilliant response!

  • 2.

    How would you describe your work ethic?

      The Goal

      Work ethic describes the moral principles that you apply to your work. The interviewer wants a clear idea of what drives you to do the right thing in the workplace. The goal of your response is to show the interviewer that your moral principles and ethics relate to the work you will be doing and match the principles of the hiring company.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid giving a general response like, 'I'd describe my work ethic as consistent and reliable.' The interviewer wants a specific description of how you approach your work, allowing them to understand how well you fit with their workplace environment.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      When the interviewer asks about your work ethic, they are looking for specific wording to which they can relate. When you read the hiring company's job posting or job description, check for the mention of particular principles and values. When you respond, clearly outline how those principles align with your work values.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      After outlining your work ethic for the interviewer, share an example of when you demonstrated those characteristics and traits in the workplace. Storytelling impacts the interviewer because it provides evidence of your ethics and personal character. If you want to tell a longer-form story, you can reply using the STAR framework (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I am a very dedicated and loyal employee. I saw on the company website that the organization values those who are honest, transparent, and go the extra mile for clients. My work ethic is the same. I am honest, flexible, and ready to work hard for my employer every day. For instance, in my current role, I am often the last to leave because I am committed to returning every clients' voicemail and email before I leave for the day."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Admin Example

      "I am very proud of my reputation as a reliable Executive Assistant. I base my work ethic on being reliable, honest, and consistent. Last week, I found a discrepancy in my pay, and I alerted our payroll department right away. I know that this instance would have gone unnoticed; however, it would never sit well with me to act in a way that hurt my employer, no matter how small."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Manager Example

      "I am a motivating person who brings a lot of enthusiasm to the workplace. I am sure that any of my coworkers would agree! As a Manager, I take opportunities to huddle with my team, review our greatest wins for the week, and I make the time to encourage others when I see their efforts making a difference."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Sales Example

      "I'd describe myself as driven and goal-oriented. I am driven by the competition that comes with working in a sales environment. That said, I am also a dedicated team player. I never want to disappoint my employer or co-workers. I will always go the extra mile to reach my personal goals and the goals of my team."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Retail Example

      "I am driven, dependable, and loyal. I always focus on winning, and I know what I want to achieve. I am ready to take action whenever someone needs me. I stick with a company for the long term and love to grow with one organization. I am confident that my managers would describe me as loyal and dependable, as well."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Teacher Example

      "I count myself among the most dedicated teachers, not only to my students but also to my school. I am hardworking, humble, kind, and passionate. I wake up every day happy to go to work, excited about my job, and ready to impact my students and the school community. I want my passion and drive to light up a room."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Marketing Example

      "I describe myself as excited to learn, driven by growth opportunities, and someone who executes. For example, I am constantly listening to audiobooks and podcasts geared to growing my knowledge of digital marketing and content creation. I quickly take these lessons and apply them to ensure that I put my new knowledge to work. I am certain my previous bosses and clients would concur, and I'd happily provide them as references."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Community Answer

      "I am honest, dependable, and hard-working. I am sure that any of my coworkers would agree. As a manager, these are the qualities that I expect from my team in return."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Lauren McCabe

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Lauren McCabe Reviewed the Above Answer

      I really like your personal and mutual accountability.

      "My work ethic is honest, dependable, and hard-working. I believe in mutual respect and accountability. I never expect anything from coworkers that I am not willing to do myself. I take a lot of pride in my work, and I think my coworkers would agree."

  • 3.

    What type of manager brings out the best in you?

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants to see that you are self-aware and understand the management style that brings out your best performance. They also want assurance that your personality and approach to work align with those of their company. The goal of your response is to discuss how the company's management/leadership style is a mutual match.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid stating that you prefer only one kind of management style. Understanding that there are numerous management approaches, you should avoid pigeon-hold yourself into being productive and successful under only one type of management style.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      Offer a range of management styles to show some flexibility. Eight primary management styles are often discussed in the corporate world. Some of these management styles are better than others:

      - Transformational: The leader pushes employees past their comfort zone and continually works toward improving team performance.
      - Visionary: The leader shares their vision, the employees buy into the idea, and they all get to work to reach the teams' goals.
      - Democratic: The leader often asks employees to participate in decision-making and help shape/influence company decisions.
      - Coaching: The leader is a passionate teacher who values professional development and gaining new knowledge.
      - Servant: The leader values connection, support, and encouragement over tasks. There are few consequences and a lot of bonding.
      - Laissez-faire: The leader is hands-off, available for support yet allows employees to have most of the authority and decision-making.
      - Transactional: The leader uses incentives and reward systems to elicit performance and employee success.
      - Autocratic: The leader is a micromanager who creates a top-down work environment where hierarchy is highly valued.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Some individuals prefer a close working relationship with a lot of accountability, while others prefer space and autonomy. Be honest when describing the management style you prefer. A strong match means you will be more productive in the workplace and enjoy smoother communication with the individuals leading you. If you are unsure of the company's management style, consider asking the interviewer to describe their approach.

      Solidify your response by talking about managers from the past who had a leadership style that aligned well with your needs. Talk about those individuals' approaches and describe why you appreciated their management style.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "I have worked with a wide range of personalities and management styles with great success. If I could express a preference, I feel that I am best with a manager who allows me autonomy while still investing time in me through active mentorship and continued training. Can you describe the management style here?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Admin Example

      "I work best with managers who are highly communicative and approachable. I have stayed away from hierarchy-based environments as I find they lack room for new ideas and creative thinking. How would you describe your management style?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Manager Example

      "I prefer working for an executive team that outlines the goals and lets me get to work, trusting that I have the management skills to align my team and get the job done right. I much prefer collaborative environments where trust is present."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Sales Example

      "I find the most success when given some latitude to make the sales pitch and process my own. I value coaching and mentorship and am accountable to my manager, my goals, and the company's sales targets. With a bit of freedom to work, I am the most successful."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Retail Example

      "I prefer a manager who is interested in nurturing their team members. I like it when my manager takes an interest in me and encourages my growth and development. A great manager would encourage me by offering to be a knowledge resource and by introducing me to their favorite professional growth resources."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Teacher Example

      "I thrive in a collaborative, team-focused environment. I work well in a team environment when all of the teachers work together to build great content, lesson plans and develop new means for optimum student development. When the department head is supportive of my goals and helps me to think creatively, I can continue to grow as a teacher."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Marketing Example

      "I work best with a manager who sees themselves as a teacher or mentor to me. They can dictate daily tasks while painting the big picture and including me in the company goals and vision. Could you share with me how your management team embodies these qualities?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Community Answer

      "I have come across diverse forms of leadership styles during my education and professional career. While there is no single gold standard of leadership style as each has its strengths and weakness, my ideal manager is the one who exhibits a combination of leadership styles as required in the modern workplace. A manager provides room for autonomy, empowerment, gives constructive feedback while ensuring that accountability is maintained and while recognizing areas for improvement. Acknowledges whenever good work is carried out."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your answer is very specific, and well worded. Great job!

  • 4.

    Why are you the best candidate for us?

      The Goal

      Essentially, the interviewer is asking why they should hire you over anyone else. When it comes to hiring decisions, a company will choose the person they believe will help them solve a problem or a pain point. For this reason, the goal of your response is to clearly outline how you will address and help solve the hiring company's most significant needs and pain points.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid a response like, 'I am the best candidate because this is my dream job.' An answer like this is all about you, the job seeker, and not about the hiring company or how hiring you will benefit them.

      Another common mistake is to respond by giving a general overview of your resume or work history. Your response should spotlight the reasons why your achievements, skills, and characteristics are a match for the hiring company's most pressing needs.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      This question is an opportunity to pitch yourself. The hiring company needs to understand how saying 'yes' to you will benefit them. You can also imagine that the interviewer is asking, 'What's in it for us if we hire you.' Consider telling a story along with your response. Studies show that when we provide an anecdote or a story, we become immensely more memorable.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Carefully look at the job description and dissect what the hiring company is genuinely looking for in a candidate. Try to uncover what problem the company is trying to solve by filling this role. Be prepared to discuss a few of your hard skills and soft skills that you know will help you succeed in the job. Hard skills are specific knowledge gained through training and education. Soft skills are traits you possess, like emotional intelligence and sociability.

      Also, be prepared to talk about the present and the future. Rather than thinking only in the now, help the interviewer imagine you in the role for years to come.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 5.

    Why do you want to work for our company?

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants to know that you have put effort into understanding the role and researching their company before the interview. The goal of the response is to clearly express specific reasoning as to why you believe this opportunity is a suitable match.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      There are two common mistakes to avoid when answering this question. First, avoid misunderstanding the question. For instance, 'Why do you want to work here?' is often confused with, 'Why should we hire you?'

      Second, avoid giving a cliche response. One example of a cliche response is, 'I want to work here because this is my dream job.' The issue with a typical response like this is, although it's enthusiastic, it is also very vague. This answer is all about you, the candidate, and shows no real value to the company. What's missing is the 'why' behind your excitement, and details surrounding how you'll contribute to the company.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      Recruiters and hiring managers often receive hundreds of applications per job. If you are lucky enough to land an interview, you must show significant effort and research the opportunity. While your passion and excitement for the job are essential, it's always good to have some hard facts about why you want the job opportunity.

      Prepare for this question by:
      - Researching the company
      - Highlighting a unique talking point
      - Showing enthusiasm for the company's growth or recent efforts
      - Discussing the company's efforts and success and how they tie into your career goals
      - Mentioning specific details of how you will contribute once hired

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      When you craft your response, keep in mind that the interviewer wants to see evidence of a few factors:

      - You have enthusiasm and interest in the role and company
      - You believe in the company's mission and values
      - You are ready to make a specific contribution
      - You see a strong match between the job and your career goals

      While your passion and excitement for the job are essential, it's always good to prepare some hard facts. For instance saying, 'I have heard great things about your company, and I know I would be an excellent fit for this job' is not very specific. Instead, try to find recent news or releases related to the company's accomplishments. Mention specifically how those accomplishments made an impression on you. Be sure to close your statement with an expression of pure enthusiasm.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 6.

    How do you handle conflict in the workplace?

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants to see that you will take accountability for conflict while maintaining poise and professionalism in the workplace. The goal of your response is to show the interviewer that you are a professional who can face conflict in the workplace and maintain a high level of professionalism.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      This question is not an opportunity to start venting about your current workplace or a co-worker. Instead, show the interviewer that you are the type of person to find a solution without worsening or ignoring the situation. Also, avoid examples where you were the one that caused the conflict.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      If you are unsure of the best ways to handle conflict in the workplace, here are some practical and professional methods:

      - Talk openly with the person/people directly involved in the conflict.
      - Build a constructive conversation by focusing on the actual event rather than the feelings.
      - Listen to the other person/people when they express how the conflict impacted them or their work.
      - Find the core point of disagreement and work toward a solution.
      - Work with the other person/people to create a plan to overcome the conflict and prevent the situation from happening again.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      This question asks about your behavior in the face of conflict. For this reason, consider telling a story that demonstrates your approach to conflict in the workplace. You can achieve this by telling a story using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result.

      Focus the bulk of your response on how you approached a solution vs. dwelling on the problem. Assure the interviewer that you are a well-equipped professional capable of handling conflict promptly and effectively. Show that you handle workplace conflict tactfully and with grace.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 7.

    Why do you want this job?

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants evidence that you have enthusiasm and interest in the role and company. The goal of your response is to highlight the fact that you believe in the company's mission and values, you are ready to make a specific contribution, and you see a strong match between their job opportunity and your career goals.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      While your passion and excitement for the job are essential, it's always good to have some hard facts to back it up. For instance, a vague response like, 'I have heard great things about the company, and I know I would be a great fit for this job,' is not very specific and should be avoided.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      The interviewer might ask this question in a variety of ways, including:

      - Why do you want to work here
      - Why do you want to join our team
      - What interests you most about our company
      - Why did you apply to this role

      Be prepared to answer this question in various forms.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Prepare for this question by researching the company, highlighting a unique talking point, and showing enthusiasm for the company's growth or recent efforts. Talk about the company's actions and stand-out successes and how these accomplishments tie into your values and career goals. You can also mention specific details of how you will contribute to the company's goals once hired.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 8.

    What are your strengths?

      The Goal

      When an interviewer asks about your most significant strengths, they want to identify if you have the skills required to do the job successfully. For this reason, you must be ready to communicate the connection between your skills and what the company needs to find in their next hire. The goal of your response is to highlight your belief that the company's needs and your skills are a match. You also want to showcase your readiness to make a specific contribution to the company.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid overused generic responses such as, 'I am an excellent communicator,' or 'I am a hard worker.' The interviewer wants to see how you stand out from other candidates. Your strengths can be skills or qualities that help you overcome difficult circumstances or accomplish challenging tasks.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      The interviewer might ask this question in various ways, including:
      - What is the most vital asset you will bring to our company
      - What are your top skills, and how will they benefit us if we hire you
      - What stand-out skills do you have that the other candidates may not

      Be prepared to answer this question in various forms.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Speak specifically about the strengths you possess that will make you good at this job. When deciding which strengths to mention, it's essential to carefully review the job posting to uncover the hiring company's greatest needs. Then, you can talk about which strengths you possess that align with the company's needs. Choose unique strengths and offer a range of variety when you respond. Your greatest assets could include:

      - Hard skills such as technical expertise or project management skills
      - Soft skills such as time management and critical thinking
      - Personality traits such as being adaptable, kind, and self-sufficient
      - Knowledge-based skills such as speaking multiple languages

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 9.

    How do you get along with others at work?

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants to gauge if you can maintain healthy relationships in the workplace. They want to know more about the team dynamics you've encountered and how you approach communicating with your co-workers. The goal of your response is to highlight that your approach to getting along with others aligns with the hiring company's workplace culture.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid exaggerated and/or generic responses like, 'I get along well with everyone at all times because I show them respect.' Rarely do we get along with everyone all of the time, so a response like that could indicate to the interviewer that you are being untruthful or you are passive and avoid conflict at all costs. Generic statements like, 'I show them respect' fail to provide a complete picture of your approach. Instead, describe the specific ways that you show respect to others.

      It's also essential to avoid turning this question into an opportunity to speak poorly of others or comment judgmentally about other people's work styles.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      Some of the ways you can get along with your co-workers include:

      - Making an effort to develop personal connections with them right away
      - Asking them about themselves and their lives more often than you talk about yourself
      - Being a positive communicator rather than someone who is negative or likes to gossip
      - Acting as a helpful and approachable resource

      Be prepared to discuss actions you have taken in the workplace to develop healthy and respectful co-worker relationships.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Think about the co-worker relationships that you've enjoyed the most and found the most fulfilling. Then, consider the actions you took to contribute to those positive relationships. Look for common themes that show you are a good team player who respects others.

      When expressing how you get along with others at work, consider telling a story highlighting these traits and qualities in action. Then, make a connection between your approach to building workplace relationships and how it aligns with the hiring company's workplace/team environment.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 10.

    How would your most recent manager describe you?

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants evidence that you have a history of building positive relationships with previous leaders and employers. The goal of your response is to show that your character is strong, that you have built healthy relationships in your previous role, and that your character aligns with the hiring company.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid guessing what your most recent manager thinks of you. If you respond in a way that sounds unsure, the interviewer may not feel confident in your employer/employee relationships. For instance, rather than saying, 'I think maybe my manager would describe me as dedicated to my work,' try saying, 'My manager would describe me as dedicated to my work because I deliver on deadlines and often make myself available after hours when my clients need me.'

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      Hopefully, your current leader is communicative with you and regularly expresses what they enjoy and appreciate about your work ethic. If possible, form your response around takeaways from your last performance review or a piece of feedback you have recently received from your leader. You can further solidify your response by referring to reliable references, such as any LinkedIn recommendations on your profile.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Offer 1-3 traits when you respond. Then, support those traits with an example of when you emulated those behaviors. You can also provide details of a measurable accomplishment. For instance, if you received a 100% customer satisfaction survey result, tell the interviewer about this achievement as supporting evidence. For example, you could say, 'My most recent manager would say that I am customer-focused. In fact, I recently received a 100% customer satisfaction rating in our company's latest customer happiness survey.'

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 11.

    Tell me about an idea you implemented at your last job.

      The Goal

      The interviewer is asking this initiative-based question because they want to know if you are the type of employee who will be proactive if you notice an opportunity for improvement. The goal of your response is to show the interviewer that when you see room for improvement or new implementation, you take action rather than sit back and wait for change to happen.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid giving a general response like, 'I am always looking for ways to implement more effective systems.' The interviewer wants you to recall a specific instance when you implemented an idea. Choose a time when your implementation positively impacted the workplace, such as generating cost or time savings.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      When answering a 'Tell me about...' question, it's best to outline a specific story using the STAR interview method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. First, describe the situation or the problem that you faced. Then, outline your task or responsibility in this situation. Then, give details of your actions in response to the situation/problem. Lastly, summarize the positive results of your actions. In this instance, discuss the positive impact your idea/implementation had on your work, team, and employer.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Think of the ways you have made a positive impact at work. Then, provide a story-based example that shows you have the confidence and employee engagement level required to recommend or implement change. Choose an example that highlights your efficiency as an employee. Express to the interviewer that you value making recommendations that benefit your company.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 12.

    What are your weaknesses?

      The Goal

      When an interviewer asks about your most significant weaknesses, they are looking for evidence that you are aware of your shortcomings. They also want to know that you embrace opportunities to grow and improve. The goal of your response is to show the interviewer that you are self-aware, reflective, and can readily identify areas for improvement.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid talking about weaknesses that are a red flag or potentially point to a more significant issue. For instance, if time management is a weakness, the interviewer might wonder if you can meet your deadlines or if you are frequently late to work. For this reason, it's best to choose weaknesses that will not impact your ability to succeed in the role.

      It's also important to give a thoughtful response. Avoid cliche or overused statements like:

      - I work too hard
      - I am a perfectionist
      - I am a workaholic
      - My flaws are also my strengths
      - My greatest weakness is chocolate (insert uncomfortable chuckle)

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      Some interviewers ask this question in singular form (What is your greatest weakness), and some will ask this question in plural form (What are your greatest weaknesses). While these are the most straightforward ways to ask this common question, your interviewer might also phrase the question as:

      - What professional skills do you want to improve on this year
      - If we offered training in any area, what would you choose to learn
      - Which skills mentioned in our job description do you need to refine

      Be prepared to answer questions about your shortcomings in a variety of ways.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants you to be honest about your weaknesses and, at the same time, they want to see that you are proactive when it comes to improving yourself. Choose a weakness that is not a core skill for the position. For instance, if you are interviewing for an administrator role, your greatest weakness should not be your Excel skills.

      Perhaps you are watching YouTube tutorials to gain skills in a particular area. Maybe you are reading the latest-and-greatest books on the skills you wish to improve, or perhaps you are taking an online workshop to bridge a skills gap.

      When discussing your most significant weaknesses, you must display your interest in professional growth. Be sure to maintain a positive tone, show confidence in your ability to improve, and demonstrate a desire for improvement.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 13.

    What do you know about our organization?

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants to know that you have a genuine interest in the company and the opportunity. The goal of your response is to show that you have a passion for the company and that you've taken the time to properly research the position and organization before attending your interview.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid giving a generic answer such as, 'I know your organization values diversity and inclusion and treats its employees well.' Recruiters and hiring managers often receive hundreds of applications per job. If you are lucky enough to land an interview, you must put in the effort to research the opportunity and go to your interview well-prepared with a highly-specific response. If you can apply your answer to any company, it's too generic.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      You don't need to be an expert on the company history, but you should be knowledgeable about the company mission, goals, and job mandate. Start by searching the company website and take particular note of any recent news articles, events, or contributions they have made to the community. Identify their mission and values, then make a connection between the company's values and your own.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      The depth in which you answer this question will show the interviewer your level of enthusiasm for the role, and it will highlight your diligence as an employee. First, do your research on the company and highlight some stand-out factors that set the organization apart from its competitors. Focus your response on the positive aspects that have attracted you to the company. Put a spotlight on those factors and then connect them to why you are a good fit for the role and organization.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 14.

    Why are you looking for a new job?

      The Goal

      As much as a hiring authority understands the desire to seek new work, the question around your personal or professional motivation remains. The interviewer wants to understand the circumstances that sparked the desire to leave your current or most recent position. The goal of your response is to assure the interviewer that this role, and the company, will meet your needs in the long term rather than be a band-aid for any dissatisfaction you feel around your current job.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid being too vague by responding like, 'My current position is no longer a fit.' You'll also want to avoid all negative talk such as, 'My current company has a toxic work environment, and my boss is awful.' Another important approach to avoid is the typical answer that most candidates give, such as, 'I am looking for a new job because I need to feel more challenged.' Be honest about your current situation, but be careful not to overshare or speak negatively about your current position. It is best to focus primarily on your future wish list versus dwell on what is going wrong in your current job.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      If you aren't sure how to approach this question, consider that some of the most common reasons for leaving a job include:

      - Misalignment of values
      - Company restructuring, merger, or acquisition
      - Lack of growth opportunities or little engagement from leadership
      - Underutilization of your top skills
      - Relocation of your family or the company's office
      - Desire to explore a new industry

      Be honest about your current situation, but be careful not to overshare or speak negatively about your current employer. It is best to focus primarily on your future wishes vs. dwelling on what is going wrong or what went awry.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Clearly outline how this new opportunity aligns with your professional goals. Make a connection between your desires and how the hiring company will benefit from hiring you.

      If you are employed and looking for a new opportunity, the hiring authority will want to know how their job differs from the one you are looking to exit.

      - First, set up the situation and mention the challenges you faced/currently face.
      - Then, outline the positive actions you took/have taken to overcome these challenges.
      - Next, highlight the transferable skills you have developed despite the situation.
      - Last, Discuss the benefits of these transferable skills and provide measurable examples of how these skills will ensure your success in this new role.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 15.

    Describe your leadership skills.

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants to know which skills make you a stand-out leader. They also want to see that you bring a passion for leadership. The goal of your response is to highlight the skills that showcase your ability and desire to be a positive person of influence in the workplace.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid overlooking the importance of possessing leadership skills. Even if you are not applying for a formal leadership position, it's still an expectation that you act like a leader in the workplace. Regardless of your job title, be prepared to discuss the skills that showcase your ability to be a role model for others.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      Author and speaker Simon Sinek says: 'Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune, or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you--not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.'

      With this definition of leadership in mind, take some time to think about how you influence others because you want to, not because you have to. Perhaps you are skilled at motivating and encouraging others, or maybe you are a person with a lot of creativity whom others want to learn from. Maybe your leadership superpower is empathy or even decisiveness.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Go to your interview prepared with examples of when you have been a proactive leader. If this is an entry-level role without a leadership component, the interviewer will still want to see that you can take the initiative when there is an opportunity.

      If you're having a hard time thinking of which leadership skills you possess, consider this list of skills and qualities:

      - Accountability
      - Active Listening
      - Creativity
      - Critical Thinking
      - Decisiveness
      - Delegation
      - Emotional Intelligence
      - Empathy
      - Integrity
      - Motivational
      - Patient
      - Positivity

      Choose 2-3 leadership skills that describe you best, and be prepared to give an example of these qualities in action.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 16.

    Would you be willing to work over 40 hours a week?

      The Goal

      It's common for hiring companies to ask about your preferred work hours. The interviewer wants to know what kind of commitment they can gain from you if hired to join their team. The goal of your response is to express that you are a reliable and dedicated individual. You also want to show that you can finish your tasks in a reasonable amount of time.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid giving a closed-ended answer like, 'No, I cannot work more than 40 hours per week.' If it turns out the hiring company's schedule expectations won't work for you, think about what you CAN offer and see if you can come to a compromise. Also, avoid sounding like a workaholic. Responsible employers do not want to hear that you work 12 hours, seven days a week since they know this can be a quick route to burnout.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      Before answering scheduling questions, it's essential to be clear on the interviewer's expectations. In many states, provinces, and regions, an employer cannot demand that an employee work more than 44 hours per week. Be sure to know your rights as an employee before answering questions about hours and scheduling commitments.

      Also, be clear about what kind of commitment you can give your new employer. If the company needs you physically in your office by 7:30 am until 6:00 pm Monday to Friday, and your personal life doesn't allow for that, it's much better to discuss these factors in detail before committing to a schedule that won't work for you.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      When you respond, express that you are a reliable and hard worker. Show the interviewer that you are capable of proper time management, ensuring you complete your tasks every week within an appropriate amount of time. You can then express that you have the flexibility for situations that require your time over and above the typical work week.

      If you haven't had a chance to clarify the hiring company's scheduling needs, now would be the perfect time to ask. Consider asking what the scheduling expectations are for the position. If the employer expects you to work 12 hour days, it would be vital to know that before you respond with, 'Absolutely! No problem!' You want to be sure that you can meet their expectations.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 17.

    Tell me about your education.

      The Goal

      Hiring companies commonly ask this question of recent graduates. The interviewer wants to know how your education or training has prepared you to succeed in the job. The goal of your response is to highlight your education and training. Then, make a connection between the knowledge you gained and how you will apply that knowledge to succeed in the role.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      There are many ways to gain education, so avoid underestimating the training you've received by stating that you don't have any education to discuss. Whether it be formal (college, university courses, or career training modules) or informal education (self-learning, self-guided courses), the hiring company wants assurance that you have the training or knowledge required to do the job successfully.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      If you do not have a formal post-secondary education, that is okay! Self-learning is education, too. Perhaps you recently gained skills through an online course or masterclass that will help you perform very well in this new role. If that's the case, be proud of your accomplishment and be prepared to talk about how this training will ensure your competency and success.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Whether or not the hiring company requires a certain education level, it's essential to show the interviewer that you have the necessary knowledge to do the job correctly. When outlining your training, be sure to discuss the learning opportunities and experiences most relevant to the position. You will also want to highlight any particular involvement, awards, or accolades you received along the way.

      If you attended post-secondary studies, you likely learned core skills transferable to any career path. For instance, if you worked on group projects in school, you could share how your education improved your ability to collaborate in challenging environments. In addition to the core knowledge gained from your diploma, certificate, or degree, think about the soft skills that you have earned:

      - Time Management
      - Creative Thinking
      - Proposal Writing
      - Public Speaking
      - Presentation Building
      - Independent Learning
      - Academic Research
      - Self-Motivation

      Confidently discuss what you learned and highlight how you will apply the knowledge to benefit the hiring company.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 18.

    Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants to know more about how you handle conflict between yourself and someone you report to. The goal of your response is to highlight your strong communication abilities in the face of conflict. Show the interviewer that you can face a challenging situation such as disagreeing with your boss, and handle the situation with respectful professionalism.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid giving a general response like, 'If I disagree with my boss, I'll have a one-on-one conversation with them to sort out the issue.' Although this shows your willingness to address the disagreement, a vague answer like this fails to showcase your behavior, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills. Instead, be prepared to give an actual story example of when you faced this type of situation.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      When asked a 'Tell me about a time when...' question, it's important to remember that the interviewer is looking for a specific story-based example that highlights your behavior in challenging situations. Using the STAR interview method (an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result), you can more easily form a story-based response.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Finding common ground with your boss, despite disagreeing with them, shows the interviewer that your desire to collaborate is stronger than your need to be correct. Overcoming disagreements with your boss also highlights your ability to problem-solve while facing a difference of opinion.

      Even though you may have a great relationship with your employer, there may be times where you don't see eye to eye. Think of a conflict or disagreement you had with your boss where you responded well and resolved the dispute.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 19.

    What is your greatest achievement so far?

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants to know which career-related accomplishment you are most proud of so far. The goal of your response is to talk about your proudest career moment while describing the skills, qualities, characteristics, and action steps that helped you to achieve that goal. Your answer should clearly show how your recent achievements indicate your future success with the hiring company.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid giving a not career-related response such as, 'My greatest achievement so far has been marrying the woman of my dreams.' Although it may sound heartwarming, this type of personal response tells the interviewer very little about your work ethic and career goals. Instead, speak about an achievement that connects to your career success and tells the interviewer more about why they should hire you.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      Before your interview, make a comprehensive list of your most recent career achievements, preferably within the last couple of years. Perhaps you recently received an award or accolade for your stand-out performance. Maybe your research was published, you just earned a raving performance review, or you exceeded a sales goal last month by 500%.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Whether the interviewer asks for a professional example or not, choose to discuss one work-related victory that has positively impacted you, your team, and your employer. Whatever achievement you choose to highlight, be sure to express the actions you took to earn the win. The interviewer should connect your most significant accomplishment to the successes you might bring to their organization should they hire you.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 20.

    Tell me about yourself.

      The Goal

      Hiring authorities commonly use this question as an icebreaker to start the interview. The way you answer this question can help determine the flow of your discussion or even the direction your interviewer takes with subsequent interview questions. The goal of your response is to give the interviewer a glimpse into who you are as it relates to the job opportunity. You also want to spotlight the factors that make you the best candidate for the role.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid giving overly personal statements. When you respond, you can add a splash of personal information; however, choose something like, 'I love to read science fiction books,' vs. 'I was recently diagnosed with...'

      Also, avoid discussing factors unrelated to your career, like where you were born or your relationship status. Instead, keep your answer as work-relevant as possible. You can discuss competitive sports, educational achievements, or volunteer work if you are new to your career.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      An interviewer may not always ask, 'Tell me about yourself' using this exact wording. Other ways your interviewer may ask this question:

      - Tell me about your career journey.
      - Talk to me about your career.
      - Walk me through your professional background.

      Be prepared to encounter multiple variations of this common interview question.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Many interviews begin with the question, 'Tell me about yourself.' This question can turn any well-prepared candidate inside out because it's open-ended. You might wonder where to begin and where to end! The 'Past, Present, Future' framework is beneficial for forming an answer to this common interview question.

      1) Past: Provide a brief overview of your career journey.
      2) Present: Discuss your current career situation as it relates to the job opportunity.
      3) Future: Talk about your career aspirations and how this future opportunity fits.

      When you frame your response using the Past, Present, Future method, it helps you keep your thoughts on track, allowing you to deliver a well-organized answer with impact. If it feels more natural, you can also frame your answer as Present, Past, Future.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 21.

    Are you willing to travel for work?

      The Goal

      Depending on the role you're interviewing for, the hiring company may require you to travel for work. The interviewer wants to know your thoughts on work-related travel and how much travel you are comfortable performing. The goal of your response is to express that you understand any travel requirements for the role and that you can be relied on to meet these needs.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid giving a basic yes or no response. Saying, 'Yes, I am willing to travel for work,' is too vague to help the interviewer accomplish their goal of gauging your availability and flexibility. Saying 'No, I cannot travel for work' sounds inflexible and will quickly close the conversation between you and the interviewer.

      - Instead of giving a flat yes, try offering a measurable answer such as, 'Yes, I am willing to travel for work up to 15% of the time.'
      Instead of giving a flat no, try saying something like, 'My overnight travel availability is limited; however, I am happy to be as flexible as possible with some notice.'

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      If you aren't entirely clear on the travel expectations for the role, it is okay to ask questions. The number of expected overnights and the overall travel schedule are essential factors for you to know before accepting a job offer. Most jobs that include overnight travel require 50% or less time away from home. If the position in question requires more than 50% travel time, be sure to consider if this expectation works with your personal life.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      If overnight travel is an expectation in your current role, answer by expressing the amount of travel you currently perform and the amount of travel you are comfortable performing in your next opportunity. When you respond, consider providing a percentage or number of days. For instance, 'I currently travel 30% of the time and am comfortable with this level of travel in my next opportunity.' Or, 'I am comfortable with overnight travel up to 10 business days per month.'

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 22.

    How did you hear about this position?

      The Goal

      Interviewers often ask this question to job applicants in a pre-screen phone or video interview. They want to know which talent attraction strategies are delivering the best results. They also want to see if you have a genuine interest in pursuing the role rather than simply applying because the job posting came up. The goal of your response is to tell the interviewer how you became aware of the open position while expressing your enthusiasm for the opportunity.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid sounding cavalier about the opportunity. For instance, saying, 'I've put in so many online job applications lately I can't even remember where I heard about this position!' will likely result in a job rejection.

      Instead, you could say, 'I have been actively searching for suitable roles online using Indeed and LinkedIn. I believe it was Indeed that sent me the posting via email as a recommended job. I read the description, researched the company, and felt compelled to apply. I'm happy I did!'

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      If an employee of the hiring company referred you to the role, be sure to let the interviewer know. Hiring authorities often give preference to employee referrals since they are statistically a more successful hire.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Start by explaining how you first heard about the job. The most common avenues for job discovery include:

      - Employee referrals
      - Online job boards
      - Emails from job boards pushing out recommended job matches
      - Searching on LinkedIn or other popular social media sites
      - Visiting the company's careers page and browsing open jobs
      - College job boards or alumni support services

      Once you've identified how you heard about the job, briefly describe your enthusiasm for the role and the company.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 23.

    Has a co-worker ever been mad at you?

      The Goal

      The interviewer would like to know more about how you communicate and interact with your co-workers. They also want to know that you can face conflict and resolve disagreements without causing them to escalate. The goal of your response is to show the interviewer that you are a poised professional who understands how to resolve workplace conflict and communicate with team members even if they are displeased with you.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Be honest with the interviewer, but avoid telling an extreme story-based example that raises red flags. For instance, talking about a time when you knowingly caused a conflict with a co-worker could make the interviewer wonder if you are the type of individual to create chaos in the workplace. Instead, talk about a time when you faced an upset co-worker and introduced a resolution by exercising emotional intelligence and strong interpersonal skills.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      It's a good idea to approach situational interview questions like this one by telling a brief story from the recent past. Using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result), try organizing your story to ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a memorable story-based response.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Discuss a time when there was a miscommunication. Talk about how you smoothed the situation out, and be sure to mention if your relationship with that co-worker ended up being harmonious in the end. Focus the bulk of your response on how you approached a solution rather than dwelling on the problem. Assure the interviewer that you are a well-equipped professional to handle conflict and promptly problem solve.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 24.

    Have you ever been terminated from a job?

      The Goal

      Most interviewers will ask questions about your job movement, especially if your resume includes short-lived roles or jumping around between companies. The goal of your response, if you have ever been terminated from a role, is to explain the circumstances around your exit. If you were terminated with cause, show that you took responsibility for your mistakes and describe the lesson you learned from the situation.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid allowing emotion to get in the way of responding to this question diplomatically. Perhaps you were terminated, or your company closed their office and laid you off. Maybe you were blindsided by a wrongful dismissal. Whatever the reasoning, respond in a positive and future-focused tone. Most importantly, do not speak poorly about any employer or organization.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      If you are currently unemployed, a skilled interviewer will have a variety of approaches to discover what happened in your last position. If you have unexplained gaps in your resume, these are some of the questions you can expect to encounter:

      - Why did you leave your most recent job?
      - Tell me why you left Company ABC.
      - Why are you looking for a new job?
      - Why did you leave your latest job without another one secured?
      - Have you ever been terminated from a company?
      - Why have you not provided a reference from your previous employer?
      - Did you leave your most recent employer on good terms?
      - Was your latest job separation voluntary or involuntary?

      Depending on your interviewer's curiosity, you can expect follow-up questions. For this reason, it's always best to be truthful and well prepared to discuss your latest job leave without emotion getting in the way.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Being let go from your position can feel very confusing, emotional, and it's often an event that's out of your control. If you have ever lost your job, be honest about the situation. When you respond, be diplomatic about the events surrounding your termination. Focus on what you learned from the situation and how it helped you grow as an individual.

      If you have never experienced a job termination, you can briefly respond by saying that you have not been released from a job while still showing empathy. For instance, you could say, 'I have never been terminated, however, I understand that job loss is challenging for employees and employers alike.'

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 25.

    Tell me about your dream job.

      The Goal

      The interviewer would like to know how this position fits your career goals and dreams. The goal of your response is to help the interviewer get to know you better while highlighting the alignment between your career dreams and what the hiring company has to offer.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid giving a specific job title in your response. For instance, instead of saying, 'My dream job is to be a photographer,' consider focusing more on the general vibe of what you'd like to do - 'My dream job is one that would allow me to exercise my creativity.'

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      This open-ended question can be tricky to navigate! First, remember that you are not talking to a friend about your hopes and dreams. You are giving a career-related response to a potential employer.

      Maybe you want to be a university professor, but you're applying for a summer swim coach position. In this case, make a connection between what excites you most about teaching university students and the accountabilities of the seasonal swim coach role. Using this example, you could state that your dream job includes teaching and training others, and you look forward to helping your swim students learn new swimming techniques.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      This question is one of the very few interview questions where you can be slightly ambiguous in your response. Consider taking one or more of these approaches:

      - Focus your reply on the skills, abilities, and knowledge you wish to gain in your career, regardless of the job title.
      - Make a connection between your career desires and what the hiring company offers.
      - Talk about what motivates you in your career and how the company's approach aligns with your motivational factors.
      - Consider the company's mission, and values then discuss how they align with your dream organization.
      - Describe the career achievements you want to bring to fruition. Then, define how you can accomplish these achievements with the hiring company.

      Make sure to tailor your response to the job and company you're interviewing with.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 26.

    What is the hardest decision you have had to make recently?

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants to know more about your critical thinking and problem-solving skills in the workplace. They also want to gauge the level of decisions you are responsible for in your current or most recent position. The goal of your response is to show the interviewer that you are a decisive individual capable of choosing the right plan of action for the hiring company when faced with a difficult decision.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid discussing decisions that are not work-related. The interviewer doesn't want to hear that you had to make a tough choice in your personal life and, getting too personal with near-strangers usually makes them feel uncomfortable. Instead, they want to know about your critical-thinking process and decision-making methods when it comes to workplace scenarios.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      The example you use in this answer will help the interviewer determine the level of responsibility you have in your current position. For instance, if your hardest decision is what to have for lunch, you may not leave a fantastic impression on the interviewer. Instead, consider some of the weightier responsibilities and decisions assigned to you in your current or most recent role.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Once you have chosen a work-related decision to discuss, be prepared to tell a brief story around the situation using the STAR framework (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

      Make sure to describe why the decision was difficult. You can achieve this by talking about competing priorities or potential risks you faced. Emphasize the method you used to reach your conclusion or plan of action. Be sure to highlight the critical-thinking skills you deployed while facing this difficult decision.

      At the end of your response, remember to give a qualifying statement that addresses how your decision-making skills will contribute to your success in this new opportunity.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 27.

    What will you deliver to us in your first three months?

      The Goal

      The interviewer would like to see that you have put thought into your action plan and goals when they choose to hire you. The stronger your 90-day plan, the brighter your enthusiasm for the role will shine. The goal of your response is to show the interviewer that you have taken the time to picture yourself performing successfully in the position.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid underestimating the importance of an action plan and targeted goals, even if you are in an entry-level job or are brand new to your career. Whatever the job function for which you are interviewing, there is always room to make a difference in the workplace. Impress the interviewer by showing them that you have already put some thought into your success with the hiring company.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      Suppose the hiring company has shared specific role expectations or discussed the company's pain points. In that case, this question is an excellent opportunity to address those factors and spotlight exactly how hiring you will help. For instance, if you know that the hiring company faces concerns due to employee turnover after a merger, perhaps one of your 90-day action plan items is to support the company culture re-build.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Here are some ways that you can quickly make an impact in any new job:

      - Getting a head start on your new employee training by self-learning their most frequently used tools, programs, or software.
      - Taking additional coursework that you know will support you and help you excel in your new position.
      - Making a 30, 60, 90-day action plan for yourself, including specific targets and goals, then sharing this plan with your new leaders.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 28.

    What negative things have you heard about our company?

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants to know if you've heard anything about the company that would cause you to hesitate to join the organization. The goal of your response is to show the interviewer that you have researched the company thoroughly and that you have prepared intelligent questions to any potential issues you've uncovered in your research. If the negative factors you've heard are valid, the other goal of your response is to ensure the hiring company is working towards making improvements.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid speaking negatively about the hiring company or expressing concerns in a blaming manner. For instance, saying, 'I heard that Company ABC doesn't offer equitable salaries to women and POC in its organization,' might make the interviewer go on the defensive.

      Instead, you could say, 'A couple of former employees commented on Glassdoor that Company ABC offers inconsistent pay to its minority employees. It's important that Company ABC offers fair and equitable pay, so I am interested in learning more. Could you share with me what Company ABC has done in the past 12 months to ensure equitable treatment for all employees?'

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      The transparency brought by employer review sites can be beneficial for job seekers; however, it's important to note which negative reviews sound constructive and legitimate vs. those published online for pettiness.

      For instance, if a former employee comments on Glassdoor that Company ABC has slow growth opportunities, this could be a legitimate and constructive review. However, if a former employee comments that Company ABC fires people for no reason, this is a comment to take with a grain of salt. It might just be that the former employee was let go with reason, felt upset by the situation, and placed 100% of the blame on the company.

      In short - while researching a company, be sure to value balance in the reviews and forums that you read.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      This question is tricky because you do not want to sound too critical and create an air of negativity in your interview. If you have heard anything negative about the hiring company, and the matter is concerning, you should bring it up and ask questions. Be diplomatic in your approach and ask the interviewer for further information or explanations.

      As a well-researched and informed job seeker, it's essential to approach this question with a genuine interest in learning more rather than pointing a finger. Ask questions, listen to what the company has to say, and then make a judgment call that is best for you.

      Let's say that you did hear a concerning factor about the hiring company, and you chose to ask questions in the interview. If the interviewer gets defensive by saying something like, 'That's not true at all,' this is a red flag. It could be a sign that the company does not have a culture of accepting feedback or working toward improvements.

      However, if the interviewer shows transparency by saying something like, 'I have heard this criticism of Company ABC in the past, and we are doing X, Y, Z to ensure we improve in this area,' it's a great sign that the company is aware of its weaknesses and is working towards improvement.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 29.

    Which other companies are you interviewing with?

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants to know if you are entertaining close competitors or discussing similar roles with other hiring companies. They also want to know if your job search stage will impact their preferred timing for making a hiring decision. The goal of your response is to inform the hiring company of your job search status while further expressing your interest in their particular opportunity.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid giving the impression that you are only counting on this particular opportunity. Think of this interview question as a 'first date' question. If the person you are on a first date with asked for the names of other people you're dating, you wouldn't start listing the names of other people. You also wouldn't say, 'I'm fully committed to only you.' Instead, you want to express your interest while remaining open to other opportunities.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      You are never obligated to disclose the names of the companies you're entertaining. Instead of saying, 'Tomorrow I have a second interview with Company ABC and a third interview booked with Company XYZ at the end of the week...' consider giving an overview of the interviewing company's industry instead. You could say, 'I am actively interviewing with two other companies. One is a healthcare tech company, and the other is a SaaS company focused on education...'

      A more general response protects the companies actively interviewing you. If the interviewer is interested in moving forward with your candidacy, an answer like this should elicit some urgency in putting you through the interview process at an appropriate pace.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Be direct without giving away too much information about your job search and the other companies with which you're interviewing. Let the interviewer know that you are active in your job search. Then, make sure to bring your answer back to the opportunity you're currently discussing by expressing your interest in their role. Talk about what caught your interest and why you see this specific job as an excellent match.

      If you are not interviewing elsewhere, you can express that you are not actively interviewing with other companies; however, you expect to hear back from various recent applications. Again, be sure to bring your answer back to the hiring company and why you are enthusiastic about their opportunity in particular.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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  • 30.

    What do you think we could do better?

      The Goal

      As a candidate, you have a unique advantage because you have gone through the company's hiring process and have performed unbiased research on the organization. For that reason, the interviewer wants to know your insights and observations regarding opportunities for business improvements. The goal of your response is to discuss what you have observed as a candidate or even as a recent customer.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      Avoid approaching this question with a 'savior complex' by insinuating that you can fix all of the company's problems when hiring you. The interviewer doesn't want to hear that you have all of the answers (since nobody does), and they also do not want a long list of improvements you believe the company should make. Instead, show thoughtfulness by mentioning both a positive and a negative factor and then bring your response back to how you can assist.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      Your interviewer might ask this question in other forms, including:

      - What do you think we could do better?
      - How do you think you could improve our company if we hired you?
      - If this were your company, what would you do differently?

      Be prepared to answer the question, 'What do you think we could do better?' in various forms.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Begin your response with a compliment about what you've seen and experienced so far. Then, bring in an observation regarding what you think the hiring company could do better. Whenever possible, loop in another positive statement so that your answer sounds thoughtful and balanced. Your response should focus on what you can do (specific action steps) to help the company improve on its potential weaknesses. Ensure that your answer is not a severe critique. Instead, it's a thoughtful observation on an area where there is room for improvement and you can assist.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 8th, 2022

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