If you have interviews coming up, this article is for you. You’re going to get the top job interview questions and answers examples, plus do’s and don’ts to get you ready to excel at interview.
Prepare for interview by reviewing these questions and by noting what the hiring manager is looking for, the mistakes to avoid, and example answers that will impress the recruiter.
Let’s get started…
10 Interview Questions and Answer Examples
These are the most well used interview questions you should be ready to answer, with word-for-word examples for each answer along with do’s and dont’s.
Practice and get comfortable with these questions and answer examples before your interview and you’ll feel more confident, while giving better answers.
What do you know about our company?
This is one of the most common questions asked and you should certainly prepare an answer to this one. You’re very likely to hear it in the early-stages of the interview and this is a good ice-breaker to find out whether a candidate has done research and knows anything about the company.
In the sample answers below, you’ll see that the goal is to show them you’ve done your research and didn’t apply to their company without knowing anything about them!
If you don’t seem like you know anything about them, you’ll come across as desperate – somebody who will take any job they can find. And that’s going to make you unattractive to any good employers out there.
So when asked, “what do you know about our company?”, your primary goal is to show you’ve done your research or knew about their company before applying. If you do this, you’ll be fine.
Research the company before the interview (on their website, LinkedIn page, and Google)
Understand what industry they are in, what they sell and how they make money
Try to get a sense of the company size. Are they 100 employees or more than 10,000 employees?
In your answer, show you’ve done research and show that you’re excited about interviewing with their particular company
Say you don’t know anything
Say facts that are incorrect or you aren’t sure about (it’s better to know one or two facts that you can say accurately, than five facts you’re not sure of)
Interview answer example 1:
“From what I read, your company is one of the leaders in providing diabetic treatment for diabetics worldwide. I read the list of clients on your website. Do you mostly serve those with diabetes type 1? I saw that you have a non-profit entity and you have founded _________ and ______”.
Interview answer example 2:
“You’re one of the market leaders in food waste resale. Your headquarters is based in Copenhagen, and you have 5,000 employees worldwide based on what I read on your website.”
How did you hear about the position?
When they ask “how did you hear about the position?” The interviewer would like to know if you’ve taken the time to research the company and if you have a genuine reason for wanting to talk with them. Mention a product, a mission statement on the website, a reputation for talented employees, or whatever else seems applicable to that specific company. Don’t make it seem like they’re just one company among many. Or that you’re sending applications out to them for no particular reason other than wanting a job.
This is one of the simplest questions in any interview, but that doesn’t mean it can’t ruin your chances at the job if you answer incorrectly.
Be clear, direct and upfront
Tell the truth
Explain why the job interested you, (e.g. “I was excited to apply because ___”)
Compliment them if possible (e.g. “My colleague said that you are one of the top companies for diversity and inclusion”)
Say you don’t remember or don’t know
Sound unsure of yourself
Good answer examples:
“I found the position while looking for jobs online”
“Your company was recommended to me by somebody I worked with in a previous job and had heard good things about your organisation”
“I saw the job posted on LinkedIn, and the position seemed interesting so I wanted to learn more”
Why did you apply for this position?
When they ask “why did you apply for this position?” pick something specific that interested you. If you say you love their products, tell them why. That’s the key to giving a convincing answer for this question.
Stay away from sounding like you’re desperate, or that you want any job.
You need to sound like you want the RIGHT job and that you’re being picky. Companies want the best performers, and the best performers are picky in their job hunt. Stay away from negatives and complaints too. Don’t bad-mouth your current company or boss. Focus on the positives of the company you’re interviewing with.
Make them feel like you’re interested in them for a specific reason
Show you’ve done your research and understand what the job involves
Phrase everything as a positive. Don’t badmouth your current situation, just talk about what you hope to gain by coming to work for them (experiences, challenges, opportunities).
Say you just need a job in general
Explain that you’re unemployed and just need to find work
Say you just need money or have bills to pay so you need work
Badmouth your current boss or company and sound like you just want to leave there, however you can
Sound desperate, or sound like you will take any job you can get and you don’t care what it ends up being
Mention any other personal reasons like “I need to find a shorter commute.”
Example answer 1:
“Since beginning my career, I’ve wanted to work for an NGO with this specific focus, and I know you’re one of the leaders in this space. I’m very interested in your projects, especially the initiatives supporting children that you are currently working on, so I’d be excited to join the team and to grow my skills with an organisation like yours.”
Example answer 2:
“I’ve heard great things about the work environment here from a few colleagues. And when I saw this job posting, it seemed to match my skills very closely. For example, I saw on the job description that you need somebody who’s an expert in SoMe marketing. This is what I focused on in both of my previous positions, and was even the focus of my academic work before graduating university. I consider myself an expert in SoMe marketing and it’s a skill I hope to continue specialising in.”
Do you have any questions for us?
If you don’t ask questions you are very unlikely to get hired! You can ask about the work, the training, the challenges you’d face or the environment you will be working in. Don’t ask about salary, benefits, time off, or anything that isn’t related to the work. Wait for them to bring it up, or until you know they want to offer you the position.
Be ready to ask questions to every single person you meet with
Ask about the company, the team, and most importantly – the specific job
Ask about things you heard during the interview that you’d like more information about
Ask about the interview process: (e.g. “what are the next steps and when am I likely to hear from you?”)
Say you don’t have any questions
Ask about salary, benefits, work hours, dress-code, or anything else that isn’t related to the actual work you’ll be doing for them. Wait for them to bring this up in a second or third interview
“Yes, I have a couple of questions. The first thing I wanted to ask: is this a newly-created position, or did somebody hold this role in the past? And if so, what did that person go on to do after this position?”
Why are you looking to leave your current position?
Not everyone is job searching while employed, but if you are – this is one of the most important interview questions and answers to know. The most important thing when asked why you are looking to leave your current job is to stay positive and never talk badly about your current employer.
How do you sound positive? Rather than complaining or talking badly about your current situation, say that you’re looking for more of something. Is your current boss impossible to work with? Say that you’re looking for an environment with more leadership you can learn from.
Sound positive and focus on what you want to gain by making a move
Show gratitude for your current job (e.g. “This job has been great and I’ve learned a lot in the 2 years I’ve been here, but I feel I’m ready for ___ now.”)
Sound like you’re ambitious, motivated, and eager to find the next challenge in your career
Badmouth your current employer in any way
Sound like you’re trying to escape a bad situation, or you’re failing or not fitting in at your current job
Say you’re struggling or failing to perform the work
Say it’s too difficult or stressful
Say you’re not sure
Good sample answer:
“I’m looking for more leadership opportunities. I’ve been at my company for two years and have really enjoyed the experience, but I feel in order to take the next step in my career, it’d be helpful to join a larger organisation and use what I’ve learned in the past to lead more projects. That’s why this HR Manager role excited me.”
Tell us about a challenge you’ve faced and how you handled it
Focus on a specific work-related challenge and talk about how you overcame obstacles, used it as a learning experience, used the resources around you (including people/colleagues if applicable), and ended up with a positive result. That’s how to answer this interview question. Keep it work related, not personal!!!
Explain the situation, and what methods you chose (and why)
Share the outcome. What was the result?
Share what you learned from the experience. Did you take away knowledge that has helped you in your career?
Share any story that involves personal conflicts, arguments or disagreements at work
Talk about an argument you had
Talk about a challenge that you didn’t overcome, or didn’t find a solution for
“In my last job, we were facing a tough deadline and my boss was out for the day. Our client was expecting a project to be delivered by 5PM, but we were behind schedule. I took the lead on the project, delegated tasks to the four other team members in a way that I thought would utilise everyone’s strengths best. And then I re-organised my own personal tasks so I could dedicate my entire day to contributing to the project as well. The project was a success and we delivered the work on-time. I went on to lead more projects after that, and used what I learned to be a better project manager.”
What salary expectations do you have?
Unfortunately, this question is left off of many lists of job interview question and answer examples! But it’s extremely important and you will most definitely be asked this question, so it pays to practice! The wrong answer can also cost you thousands in negotiation later on.
DON’T say a number. Why? you have the least amount of leverage possible at this point, assuming you’re early in the interview process. You haven’t finished interviewing with them, they don’t know if you’re any good or if they even want to hire you. So you can’t command a high salary right now. If you go too low with your price, they’ll hold you to it later. Go too high? You’ll scare them off before they even know what you’re worth!
It’s a lose-lose. Don’t do it. So, remember… when you’re preparing what to say in a job interview, especially an early stage interview, salary goals should not be a part of it!
Tell them you don’t have a number in mind yet, or aren’t sure
Let them know that it is more important for you to find a ‘good fit’ and right environment to work in rather than concentrating on a figure
Tell them a specific salary you’re hoping for
Tell them a figure and indicate that you won’t work for less
“Right now I’m focused on finding a job that’s the right fit for my career. Once I’ve done that, I’m willing to consider an offer you feel is fair, but I don’t have a specific number in mind yet, and my priority is to find a position that’s a great fit for me.”
Why should we hire you?
Employers ask, “Why should we hire you” to see how well you understand the role, and to hear your perspective on how your skills can help them. It’s about showing them that you understand the VALUE that you contribute by joining the organisation. Try to talk about them and how you’ll help them. What will be better for them if they hire you? What will you improve for them?
And show you’ve done your research. Make it clear that you know what this position involves, and you are ready to perform the tasks.
Be confident in your skills and abilities
Talk about specific things you can help them do or achieve if they hire you
Do your research before the interview and understand their needs, so you can “tailor” your answers and target the specific things they’ll need if they hire you in this role
Say “I don’t know”
Say “You should hire whoever you want”
Give a generic answer that would fit any company. You really need to “tailor” this to the specific duties you’ll be performing in THIS specific job. Make them feel special otherwise your answer will not impress.
Example interview answer:
“I read on the job description that you’re looking for someone with experience in ____. I’ve done that for 8 years now and can help you to accomplish ____”.
Why do you want to work here?
If they ask “why do you want this job?”, show you’ve done your research to learn about them before coming to interview. Make them feel like you chose them for a reason. This is very similar to the previous question: “Why did you apply for this position?”
Show them that you know what that their job involves (at least as much as you could learn from the job description and company website), and that you’re excited to be interviewing for the position.
Mention specific, work-related reasons why their job and company interest you
Talk about your own career goals and how this job and company fits those goals
Sound excited about the opportunity to work as part of the team
Show you’ve done your research
Say, “I have bills to pay”
Say, “I just need a job for ____”.
Share any personal details like, “I require to work in order to get my visa application approved”
Sample interview answer:
“I’ve been job seeking since graduating with my Engineering degree. I’m interested in urban planning construction and I’ve seen your company mentioned as having one of the best urban planning departments in the region. I thought the job description matched well with my background, and saw some of my personal strengths mentioned, like multitasking and being able to thrive in a fast paced environment, so I’d love to begin my career here.”
Tell us about yourself
This is one of the most popular interview question and answer examples people look for, because it’s extremely common to hear AND difficult to answer. So, how to handle it? Keep it professional when answering this question and don’t share personal details.
To answer, walk them through your background, starting at how you began your career or your current line of work. Take them through key accomplishments, key career moves you’ve made, and end by sharing what you’re looking to do next in your career. If you are worried about what to say, then use your CV ‘summary’ or ‘about’ section for inspiration.
Focus on sharing your professional story
Keep it under 2 minutes
Walk them through how you got started in your career, key moves you’ve made, and then bring them up to speed on your current situation
Share personal details
Talk for so long that the recruiter loses interest
Interview answer example:
“I started my career in HR after graduating with an MBA in 2012. I’ve spent my entire career at Siemens, being promoted to manager shortly after joining them. I’m looking to join a smaller company now, and take on more diversity and inclusion projects.”
Before you go to interview ….
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