How to Answer Job Interview Questions

One of the foundations of preparing for an interview is to study the most common questions. It is essential to prepare the answer in the form of small notes in advance, and then it is worth honing these answers alone or with a professional. Our team, which specializes in resume writing and career coaching, decided to tell you how to answer the most common interview questions.

What Questions Are Asked In a Job Interview

Tell me about yourself

It's the most typical and hated question for candidates. It seems to be so simple. What could be easier than talking about yourself? However, the answer to the job interview question should be the most polished and ready. Do not dump out the entire biography about yourself to the interviewer. However, it would be best if you still said a few words about your path, which made you who you are. Tell us about the difficulties waiting for you on the way to the desired profession. But this story should be as short as possible.

Besides, it is essential to talk about your education and skills. It is best to compare the job description and try it on yourself, talking about your achievements.

Sometimes interviewers immediately want to know about your past work. Do not speak badly about the past company! Talk about it as a positive experience that could give you a lot. Tell them what skills you were able to hone during this period.

How did you hear about this position?

Another pitfall on your way. The answer "I just found your vacancy and decided to try my luck" will immediately throw you back because the company does not need uninterested candidates.

Interviewers want to know what drew you to the job. It is where your knowledge of the company will come in handy. Maybe you have been following the company on social media for a long time? Or was a friend recommended this position to you? Perhaps the conditions are perfect for you? Why?

Tell even those details that were just casually mentioned in the job description. Recruiters will be interested in such a story.

The related typical interview question, "Why did you choose this company?" must show its unique response. You have decided to choose this particular company, among many others, and interviewers are obliged to find out why you liked it.

Do not retell the entire biography of the company and all its achievements. Choose what you think is the most valuable to you.

"Why do you want this job?" or "Why should we hire you?"

It's time to promote yourself a little. Now it's time to evaluate yourself objectively. What exactly makes you so unique compared to other candidates?

It is likely one of those interview prep questions that will require balancing bragging rights and professionalism. Pick your biggest strengths and skills the company needs and talk about as much as possible.

But in no case do not compare yourself with candidates openly. It makes you arrogant and unfriendly in the eyes of the recruiter.

What are your greatest strengths?

Interviewers scrutinize you from every angle. The important thing while preparing for common interview questions and answers is not to sound pompous. Talk about your skills from a professional point of view. Say facts about your accomplishments. If you mention a particular skill, the same typical "ability to smooth out conflicts," you need to give a specific example of a similar situation.

What are your weaknesses?

No one is perfect, and the candidate must be able to recognize their weaknesses. Choose an aspect that you are working on or trying to improve constantly. For example, if you find it challenging to work in a stressful environment or have some gap in your skills.

It will be fine if you casually mention how exactly you want to deal with this shortcoming.

How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?

Stressful situations are one thing that no one can avoid at work. However, the candidate needs to be mentally prepared.

Sometimes the interviewer may bring up a situation that would make everyone very uncomfortable. During intense pressure, you need to be able to remain calm. It will not undermine the morale of others; besides, you will be able to continue making the right decisions with a cool head.

The best way to answer these interview questions is to set an example of the situations in your previous job. A conflict between colleagues can act as a stress factor, and the ability to resolve them will clearly show you on your good side in front of recruiters.

Tell me about a time you made a mistake

Sometimes the interview seems to go very smoothly. Until this question is asked. The interviewer is interested in three things:

  • Cause of error
  • The mistake itself
  • And how did you try to fix it / how did you endure it

Your ability to go on no matter what will show your character's stamina to your superiors.

We recommend choosing a significant mistake that could show you from different angles. Show how a serious misstep helped you learn something.

Why are you leaving your current job?

The interviewer thinks that if you want to leave your job, then you are unhappy with something. The best answer will be if you say that the company does not have opportunities for your further development.

In case of any problems with the team or tasks, it is worth mentioning it. But the key phrase here is "lack of strong negative emotions." 

Say that the team did not quite suit your style of work. Or that you would like to develop more leadership skills with a responsible team.

If you were fired and the interviewer asked about it, you should not be silent either.

If the company has changed and your position is simply eliminated, there is nothing wrong with saying it directly.

However, if you were fired due to a severe mistake, it is better to be honest with recruiters. The truth may come out much later and significantly affect your work if you lie.

You can explain why you were fired when asked about your major mistake.

What is your current salary?

Many states have banned this question for privacy reasons. But so, perhaps the interviewers want to know your value.

You need to politely dismiss this question, moving the topic to what it's worth, for example, discussing more details about the position so that you can agree on fair pay.

How would your boss or your colleagues describe you?

This question is worth preparing in advance. Moreover, try to remember a time when your colleagues or boss spoke of you this way. You can talk about your strengths as if a colleague was talking about them.

If you want to embellish your story, make sure it is true. Do you have this skill or character? Interviewers can quickly figure out if you're lying.

What do you like to do outside of work?

In some cases, interviewers may ask you about your hobbies. It is an attempt by recruiters to learn more about your personality. You can talk about what motivates you outside of work. Make yourself shine and be as honest as possible.

Reveal the passion in yourself, but do not drag out this conversation for a long time.

How do you stay organized?

Sometimes recruiters can't wait to see how you discipline yourself. It is essential to show precisely how you adhere to the work schedule. How do you force yourself to do unwanted work? And what makes you keep working and not procrastinate?

Find straightforward ways to organize your day and share it with your interviewers.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

It is the last but quite an essential question. You can't avoid it, and it's better to answer sincerely.

However, remember that the interviewer is interested in three things:

  • What are your plans for this company?
  • Your ambitions
  • And whether your ambitions match the possibilities of your position

To answer the question correctly, you need to know as much as possible about the company. It will be perfect if you find a person in a similar position and find out what bonuses, promotions, and merits are. It allows you to form a rough picture of what you will be able to say in response to a question.

What are you looking for in a new position?

In fact, despite the suddenness of the question, the answer will be pretty simple. Remember the content of the job description and embody everything in your story. Pay special attention to the working conditions that you may like.

Tell interviewers that the position is a perfect opportunity to significantly improve your abilities and understand more topics you were unable to explore in your last job.

Could you walk me through your resume?

Many candidates have a kind of anger: "What? But it's written on my resume. You've already read it."

What interviewers want is confirmation of your information. It is the easiest way to catch a lie. It would be challenging to remember exactly what you lied about. Therefore, your resume must be truthful. There is no need to retell it completely. Focus on a few key areas:

  • Skills
  • An experience
  • A few words about education

What matters is how you tell it. Try to remember all the numbers and dates associated with these blocks. An essential factor is that you must be confident in your knowledge and memory.

Questions about religion, gender, future children, and origins

All of them are illegal. But even so, these questions are still the most popular ones. Often interviewers do not ask them out of evil motives. Perhaps they want to get to know you better and don't quite understand when they cross the line.

Or maybe they would like to see your reaction. Such questions are a kind of artificially created stressful situation for the candidate. Answering them is never easy. But the best thing you can do is to stop such questions. Don't answer anything about your private life.

Gently dismiss questions of this kind and move them to a work topic. You can do this in two ways:

  • Directly say, "Sorry, this is not a very competent question." However, such an answer can confuse interviewers and end the following communication.
  • Reply "I don't work here yet, but I'm very interested in what opportunities the company gives. Could you talk about it?"

What are your career aspirations?

The question is similar to "What is your dream job?" but recruiters require a more realistic answer here. It would be best to discuss what makes you happy in your job.

Your answer may revolve around a particular company, position, or hobby. But the main task is to tie your response to this specific post.

Perhaps there are skills (soft or hard ones) that you want to develop. Focus your answer on those that this particular company will help you with. For example: "I have always been interested in new trends in game development. I am interested in learning and putting it into practice (skill name). And I think your company is perfect for this."

What other companies do you interview for?

Recruiters ask this question to find out the seriousness of your intentions. They want to know what positions you are applying for. If you are applying for several positions of a different nature, it is essential to tell the interviewers why you chose these particular vacancies. Find those skills and opportunities that overlap in various vacancies, and focus on them.

What should I know that's not on your resume?

If you have been asked this question, then you are fortunate! Interviewers are interested in you and want to know a little more.

Although the question is voluminous, you can easily tailor it to yourself by choosing skills and experience that you did not include on your resume. Maybe you were an intern in a specific company, and now you can do a lot? Perhaps you were a volunteer before?

Tell more about these stories, but focus on the results and achievements.

What would your first few months look like in this role?

The question should show the maximum of your initiative. Find out more about this position and know exactly how you will work. Understanding the responsibilities and opportunities will give you an excellent chance to imagine what you will be doing at first. Don't set too high, unrealistic expectations for yourself, but interviewers will be interested to know what you'll do first.

It is also an excellent chance for you to make changes in the company (even if small) that will make them work better and more efficiently.

In this regard, a deep search on this topic will help you. Make as many notes as possible to yourself, and do as the situation calls for.

What are your salary expectations?

You should determine in advance what kind of salary suits you. Study the salary for such a position in different companies using platforms like PayScale. When calculating your desired pay, consider your skills and experience.

When recruiters ask what salary you are hoping for, you can say the salary range. However, in no case does not indicate the actual "minimum" salary. Find a roughly average number, and set it to "minimum." But the maximum wage should be closer to the one you hope for.

Or you can ask the company what salary they can offer you.


Often the problem in answering these questions lies precisely in practice. Often, candidates are not given a chance to prepare for a real-life interview. Only professionals can recreate the atmosphere and all the severity of the interview. Usually, this is precisely why people ask our career coaching service for help.