The most popular interview questions every candidate should know

  • For those who have recently left or lost their jobs, getting back to the rhythm of interviews is more vital than ever.
  • A survey of more than 500 professionals shows the interview questions most frequently asked by companies.
  • Here is the best way to answer the five most popular questions.

One thing is clear: workers are quitting their jobs and looking for new ones.

There were 10.9 million job openings at the end of July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite that record number – the most openings in 20 years – a study by management software company Qualtrics predicts that openings will continue to skyrocket. More than half of executives and 44% of all employees said they plan to look for a new job next year, according to a recent Qualtrics poll.

As the market abounds with competitive talent, the number of job seekers vying for the highest paying and most attractive positions will increase – meaning that for those who have recently left or lost their jobs, it is more vital than never to pick up the pace of job interviews. before. Especially with COVID-19 moving many hiring processes to a new online format.

Zety’s online resume service surveyed more than 500 U.S. professionals to learn more about the interview questions most frequently asked by businesses. Insider spoke to Jacques Buffett, a career expert at Zety, about the best way to answer the five most popular questions.

Tell me about you

The most frequently asked interview question in the survey was the open-ended “Tell me about yourself” question.

This question leaves all the power in the hands of the interviewee. So the real question is: what do you do with it?

“It’s not an open opportunity to talk about your personal hobbies, all the irrelevant stuff,” Buffett said. “Use it as an important interview strategy.”

Buffett told Insider that this question gives employers the opportunity to find out what’s important to applicants. Respondents should use this question to briefly mention their professional background and tell stories of past accomplishments.

Tell me about a challenge or conflict you faced at work, and how did you deal with it?

This question can provide an interviewer with a lot of information about a candidate’s self-awareness and ability to develop.

“The worst thing you can do is say you’ve never had a challenge or conflict at work because we all have them, and it’s okay to admit you made mistakes,” said Buffett.

While Buffett advised applicants against memorizing their response, he said job seekers should definitely have a scenario in mind before entering the meeting and applicants should think about situations that have a “positive resolution. “. Applicants should be detailed about what went wrong, why it went wrong and how the conflict was resolved.

What are your greatest strengths?

Candidates should be attentive to how they answer any question, even those singing their praises, Buffett said.

Job seekers can use the situation, task, action, outcome, or the STAR method, which is used to frame experiences. Using this method, candidates should discuss a past task by presenting the situation and then describing their role in creating a positive outcome, Buffett said.

For a simple question like this, applicants should give a quick and thoughtful answer. But if the interviewer asks more questions, then the candidate can consider their answer.

“The more complex the question, don’t be afraid to ask for time, to give an answer,” Buffett said.

how did you hear about this position?

Buffett told Insider that throughout the interview, applicants should show that they are invested in the specific company and role they are applying for.

So it’s probably not a good idea to say that you’ve Google searched for “jobs near me”.

What are your biggest weaknesses?

While Buffett has said this is one of the most feared interview questions for job applicants, there are some easy ways to prepare.

“Don’t say you’re perfect or that your weakness is perfectionism,” Buffett said.

When selecting which weaknesses to discuss, choose applicable skills but not those which are decisive qualities for the job, he said.

Buffett told Insider that a good example would be saying that you have trouble speaking in public. While a skill like this is applicable in the workplace and in meetings, it is something that will not completely hinder your ability to do your job and one that you can work on to improve yourself.

Be ready for the joker

Among the common interview questions are questions that could throw any candidate into a loop.

Some really weird ones like, “Does your chewing gum lose flavor on the bedpost overnight?” To work-related questions like, “If on day one I told you to do some research and present something meaningful to me, what would you do?” ”

Employers don’t care how your gum tastes, but instead want to see how you can think on your feet.

These questions can give you useful insight into a workplace, Buffett said. Interviewers who ask really weird questions tend to be more narcissistic, he added.

“If you’re asked really weird interview questions, it’s actually a sign that this might not be the best company to work for,” he said.

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