No matter how many interviews you carry out, work interviews will still be anxious. You put on your prettiest clothes, print out your resume, and remember to smile really big – and just as you think it’s all going well, the interviewer hits you with a curveball question that you’re not prepared for.
Luckily, you won’t let that happen again and you’re planning ahead to ace the interview this month. The only way to do the homework in advance is for anything – which is why we’re here to help.
If you’re preparing for a major interview during COVID-19, getting these 15 interview questions planned beforehand will help you get closer to the dream work.
1. Tell me about yourself?
Most interviews start with this question and you will get your first impression of how you answer it. If you stumble over the answer and are not quite sure what to say – you’re showing a lack of self-confidence. If you start listing all of your greatest achievements and talking too much, your ego can look a little too high. You need to find a good balance, but not pretentious, between being confident.
Preparing an elevator pitch on who you are is the best way to prepare for the question. Skip your personal history and send about 2-3 sentences about your career experience and how you ended up applying for this job in this interview. You don’t have to be too thorough, there’s a lot more questions coming up. You just want to create excitement enough to get the interview excited to learn more about you in the interview.
2. Why do you want to work for [insert company name]?
When a hiring manager poses this question, they want to know not just why you want to work for them but also what you know about the company. This question tests how well you know what the company is doing and how excited you are about the work they are doing — so make sure you know the company well and can truthfully talk about your motivation to work there.
3. How did you hear about this job?
Do not just say you learned about the work on a website when you asked this during an interview. This is your chance to take a closer look at why you enjoy this business and what motivates you to continue to work there. It would also be a good time to mention their name if you have a personal link at the company!
4. Tell me about something on your resume.
Everybody has something they’re very proud of on their CV. If it’s a talent or accomplishment that you’ve mentioned, or a particular location that you’ve worked with, consider answering this question with the most interesting item on your CV. Plus, don’t just say anything specific to your most recent position – you will be questioned about that already. Instead, think back to one of the older positions listed in your CV and explore how that work helped you to develop into the person you are today.
5. Why are you looking for a job? Or, why are you looking for a different job?
This question may sound harmless, but this is how interviewees weed out candidates who are either a) only looking for a job b) have been fired from their last position or c) may have a high turnover rate, meaning you ‘re not going to stick around too long. Concentrate on the positive, and be precise. Think about why you’re searching for a job: have you just graduated and will this be your first real job? You turn career paths? Will you quit this one for a new job?
If you are working anywhere at the moment, you should also be prepared to respond, “Why do you want to leave your current job for this one?
6. Why should we hire you?
When you ask this question bear in mind that the recruiter is looking to learn what expertise you have to bring to the team. Don’t offer a vague response like, “I’m nice and a good worker.” Instead, be precise, describe your job background and accomplishments and use numbers where appropriate.
For example , tell how many years of experience you have at your last company or list some of the achievements you’ve made. The more detailed you can be about what your skills are and how important you are to an employee, the more the interviewer can imagine you working there.
7. Where do you see yourself in five years?
During an interview, this may seem like a hard question, particularly when you haven’t prepared for it beforehand. Bear in mind that you’re in an interview environment – so you don’t have to go through all the specifics of what your personal life aspirations are over the next five years. Concentrate on your career objectives, and be practical.
If you’re planning to work for five years at this company, make sure you understand who will work above you and what possible career growth there is. The hiring manager asks this question to find out whether you are setting reasonable goals, if you are optimistic, and to ensure that the role you are interviewing for aligns with those goals and development.
If this position isn’t exactly a work with lots of potential prospects, you can simply respond by mentioning that you’re not sure what your future would look like, but that you assume this position can help you move in the right direction.
8. Tell me about a conflict you faced at work and how you dealt with it.
This topic is important to ace, as it makes an interviewer understand how you manage conflicts. It also helps to assess how well you think on your feet – so if you practice for a particular example in advance, you can avoid the uncomfortable moment of silence when trying to think of an example.
Simply clarify what happened, how you addressed the problem in a constructive way, until you have an example in mind, and aim to conclude the story with a positive note of how you found a resolution or agreement with your colleague.
9. What is your dream job?
Similar to the question “where do you see yourself in five years,” the interviewer wants to understand how practical you are in setting goals, how optimistic you are, and whether or not the work and business would be a good place to develop.
Again, strive to set aside your personal aspirations (don’t say your dream work is payable to take pictures from Instagram) and concentrate on your career goals. Consider how this job will set you up for the future and get you closer to your dream career. Just don’t be the person saying, “to be this company’s CEO.”
10. What do you expect out of your team/co-workers?
This question is meant to explain how you are working on a team, and whether you are going to be the best cultural fit for the business. Be sure to study the company ahead of time to prepare for this response. By scrolling at their social media accounts or reading their reviews on Glassdoor you can still say a little bit about what a company’s culture is like.
11. What do you expect from your manager?
Again, the hiring manager wants to understand what type of employee you ‘d be and if you’d be a good match for adding to their team. Your future boss may interview you in any of the interviews. Answer this question as frankly as possible and use your current boss to pull examples if you can see how they positively make you perform better.
12. How do you deal with stress?
Answering this query will help hiring managers recognize any red flags that you might have. You want to prove that you can deal with stress in a professional and constructive way that will help you continue to work or will not stop you from achieving your goals. In addition, be concise and clarify what you are currently doing to relieve stress – like taking a 15-minute break to take a stroll outdoors, or checking things off on a to-do list, etc.
13. What would the first 30 days in this position look like for you?
This question lets a organization understand what you’re going to do in the first month, to be in the role for three months – and how you’re going to answer it would show whether you’re the right person for the job or not. Start by considering what details you ‘d need to get started and what’s going to help you move into the new job. Then think on your best qualities and how you can instantly adapt those to this role.
14. What are your salary requirements?
Some interviewers inquire, some don’t. It’s always best to be prepared, particularly when you want to make sure you get paid a reasonable salary for the value you’ll bring. That’s why we’ve built our Know Your Worth tool — to help you find out what to pay for.
Note: While employers can ask what your pay requirements are, in some countries it is illegal for them to ask what your earlier pay was.
15. Do you have any questions?
The last question you will often be asked during an interview is whether the interviewer has any questions or not. This is your chance to really stand out — so don’t ruin it by pretending you don’t, because you’ve already answered your questions. Even if you don’t have any questions – at the end of an interview, there’s always a question to ask.
Have a list of at least three to five questions in the back of your mind so there are at least two questions to ask at the end of the interview, no matter what. Recruiters say that at the end of an interview they really like having to answer any questions – they just listened to you talking about themselves, so ask for a change about them. When that part is done, you can comfortably relax and walk out of the interview feeling that you have behaved!