9 common job interview questions and how to answer them

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Job interviews are often stressful and it doesn’t help that the questions you are asked in an interview can seem so unwelcoming. While you can’t be sure what questions the other person might ask you, you can prepare for the most common ones.

Here is a list of the nine most common interview questions and how to answer them.

1. Tell us about yourself

This is probably the first question the interviewer will ask you. Make sure your answer is relevant to the position you are applying for. Don’t bring up things like your parents, religion, marital status, or whatever. Instead, talk about your background, skills, education, accomplishments, goals, hobbies, etc.

Example:

I have been a digital marketer for over five years now, currently working at XYZ Ltd and handling some of our bigger clients such as A, B and C. I am proficient in SEO, SEM, SMM etc. in business management and marketing, I learned to manage people, time, events and money, which allowed me to help our company to win a project of $ 120,000 per year last.

Related: Unique Ways To Stand Out In A Job Interview

2. Why do you want to work for us?

With this question, the interviewer wants to see if you’ve taken the time to learn a few things about the company, or if you’re here just to find a job. The latter is an innocent reason, but saying it out loud isn’t going to help. They want to know why you think this business is right for you.

Example:

There are many reasons, but the strongest is certainly your values. I recently came across a Linkedin post about how your team did incredible social work last September to help locals after the floods. It really inspired me and I wanted to work with people who share the same virtues as mine.

3. Why should we hire you?


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This question is a test to see how well you can sell yourself. What makes you more suitable for this job than other candidates? What’s your selling point? You can answer this question by highlighting your accomplishments, personality traits, qualities, or vision.

Example:

I think I am a great candidate for this position because of its nature. Being a marketing manager requires a complex mix of technical and social skills to balance analysis and human emotions. It is a difficult challenge that I feel capable of meeting. In fact, last Christmas I was named Employee of the Month for leading one of the most successful marketing campaigns our company has ever launched.

Related: Free Project Plan Templates To Simplify Complex Tasks

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4. Where do you see yourself in five years?

This question aims to test if you have a growth mindset and an entrepreneurial spirit; it has nothing to do with your actual career plan. The interviewer tries to find out if your performance as an employee will stagnate over time, or if you will be able to take on additional responsibilities later.

Example:

I see myself in a senior management position overlooking key business operations. I feel like I can do a lot more if given the resources and the power. I want to create and deliver more value, something that improves people’s lives. And that is only possible if I can contribute to company wide decision making and strategy making.

Related: Management Skills For Resumes: How To Show You Are A Good Team Leader

5. How do you deal with conflict at work?


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Before answering this question, ask the other person what type of conflict they are talking about. Is this a conflict of interest? Conflict based on tasks? Leadership conflict? Creative conflict? Discrimination? Ask them to clarify their question. Different conflicts require different responses. Suppose this is a creative conflict.

Example:

If my colleague and I don’t agree on a specific strategy, I don’t see it as a bad thing. After all, you need different perspectives to come up with new ideas. I would talk to them and try to find a solution. I can even ask an elderly person to help us make a decision. Either way, my way of dealing with conflict is through patience and understanding.

Related: Problems You Will Face In Your First Job And How To Fix Them

6. Why are you leaving your current job?

This is a little tricky question because what is appropriate may not always be honest. Don’t say things like your boss made you work overtime for free, your coworker didn’t listen to you, or your manager took all the credit for your work. It may be true, but this is no place to complain and blame.

Example:

I like working in my current job, but I feel that there are not enough opportunities available for me to grow within the company. I have reached my performance cap. I’m looking for a company that can offer me these opportunities and that can leverage my growth by giving me additional responsibilities.

Related: Job vs. Self-Employment: What’s the Best Career Choice?

7. What is your current salary?


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This question is the starting point for salary negotiations. Just revealing your current salary out loud is rarely the right way to answer this question. Instead, it might be best to defer this question until later when you have more information about the company and what is expected of you.

Example:

Like I said, I’m looking for more responsibility so I don’t think it would be fair to weigh my current position as a benchmark for this one. I should look at the whole package you come up with for this role to make sure we’re comparing apples to apples.

8. What are your salary expectations?

Before you answer this question, make sure you know your market value and have a clear range in mind. You can try to delay this question like the previous one, but if they insist, prepare an issue. Either way, find out about their salary structure and the benefits they offer.

Example:

We’ll get to that, but for now I’m more interested in getting a full picture of my relationship with the company. I need to know how you rate your salary structure, the benefits you offer and how my work will contribute to the success of the company. Could you help me with these things?

Related: How to Ask Your Boss for a Pay Raise

9. Do you have any questions for me?


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This is usually the last question the interviewer will ask you. Never answer this question with a no. You might feel like you’ve got it all covered, but there’s still a lot to ask for. Also, answering no to this answer may give the impression that you are not interested in this position.

Example:

I do. Given our conversation so far, do you have any concerns about my eligibility for this position? What problems is the company currently facing? What metrics are used to measure performance? What are some of the biggest challenges the business has overcome and the biggest milestones you are aiming for in the long term?

Be clear about what you are offering

It should be a little nervous during an interview, but don’t let that distract you. Remember, in an interview, it’s not about you, it’s about what the company you’re applying for wants in you.

Know your value and be clear on what you can offer. Use the examples above to practice your communication and negotiation skills.


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