Common Interview Questions
There are some common interview questions to expect, and knowing how to answer them is a critical part of your interview preparation. You might encounter different types of interviews during your job search, but chances are the questions you're asked during the interview process will be fairly predictable.
If you're looking for a comprehensive list of interview questions, DerrJones has included over 100 sample job interview questions and answers on our site. We'll get started here. When you're ready for more, just click through the links below. Take our advice on how to answer these common interview questions and you'll be on your way to acing your next interview!
TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF.
Interviewers love this question! It's so open ended that it makes a lot of us uncomfortable. Don't fall into their trap. Answer with a short synopsis of your professional experience - you're not going to start with your "I was born..." speech! Think of this answer as your "elevator speech" at a networking event.
This should be a 2 minute answer that summarizes your background in broad strokes. You can end this summary with a little more detail on your current (or last) position and what you're looking for.
Still not sure how to answer this one? Take a look at this fictional response to this common interview question...
As you can see from my resume, I'm a senior level sales professional with a strong track record of exceeding my numbers everywhere I've been. I was fortunate to get some excellent training in my early career through my tenure at IBM. I think the lessons I learned there really shaped my career. I moved into National Accounts with IBM and then into sales management, where I've been ever since. I've managed sales teams on a national basis, and have had the privilege of working with some very talented reps along the way. I'm a strong coach and mentor and consider people development a key strength.
WHY DO YOU WANT TO WORK FOR OUR ORGANIZATION?
In answering this common interview question, you get to show your interviewer that you've done your homework. A good answer here is a combination of what the job has to offer as well as what the company has to offer. You can speak to the organization's place within their industry, new product development activity that's underway, the corporate culture (if the company's been recognized as a great place to work), people you know within the organization and their experience (be careful here with name dropping). It's essential that you have a compelling reason for wanting to work for this organization -- and secondarily, a compelling interest in the job at hand. Start your answer at the company level, and transition into why this particular position appeals to you.
Be genuine in your answers. If you cite corporate culture and the interviewer asks what you mean by that, you need to be ready with specifics. For example...
I'm interested in joining an organization that's not only a leader in the field, but that values its employees. The corporate values published on your website and in your annual report reinforce what I've heard anecdotally about the company. The employee testimonials also caught my eye. It's clear that people who are working here share a common mission and value system. I'm looking for that kind of environment.
WHAT'S YOUR MOTIVATION FOR LEAVING YOUR PRESENT COMPANY/POSITION?
I'm all for honesty, but your answer to this common interview question needs to be tempered with good judgment. If you work in a terrible place, with a horrible boss, now is not the time to vent. Instead, craft this answer in terms of what you're looking for...better opportunity, bigger challenge. It's OK to tell the interviewer that your current situation is not providing these things to you. Keep this positive. You do not want to give the interviewer the idea that you're running away from something. Instead, you want to be focused on moving toward something that will be better for you.
It's never appropriate to criticize your current company or your current boss. It's also poor form to talk about money in this context. Leaving your current position in order to make more money is not a good answer.
If pushed to reveal negative information, keep it very general. You might need to say something like: Recent management changes have resulted in a change in a) direction b) corporate culture c) strategy...whatever fits. Avoid making value judgments -- these are just changes that have caused you to re-evaluate whether your current company is still the best fit for you. Changes are not good or bad -- they are just changes. Keep your attitude positive and upbeat. Don't let the interviewer drag you down!
You'll find more common interview questions in the following section:
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