When you’ve been a Hiring Manager as long as I have, you develop a long list of the most common interview questions to ask. Many of them are my personal favorites and I ask them of almost everyone I interview.
Others, while common, are not ones I typically use but rather are ones I’ve seen used in interview panels I’ve been on for other Hiring Manager’s openings. Just like me, they have their personal favorites. After a while, they seem to run together and I wonder why we Hiring Managers don’t show a little more creativity!
At the end of this post, I’ve listed the most common of the common questions. One or more (perhaps all!) of these will very likely be asked in any given interview you may have, regardless of the nature of the job.
And yes, I’ve asked many of them myself. Also, I’ve had them asked of me over the years as I interviewed for jobs.
I can give you some general guidelines and advice for answering these types of questions, but it simply isn’t possible to give you exact answers because I don’t know your personal situation. Plus, you shouldn’t want me to feed you answers, as they should be yours, not mine.
To start with, the best advice I can give you is to spend time practicing how you’ll answer each of these questions, keeping in mind that your answers should relate to the job and company for which you’re interviewing.
You don’t need to memorize your answers, as that will make you sound robotic in the interview. Just memorize the general points you want to make with each answer and let the wording take care of itself as you’re speaking in the interview.
Next, make certain your answers speak to your experience, qualifications, and – most importantly – accomplishments as they relate to that specific position.
I cannot stress this enough. Your experience and qualifications are only as good as your accomplishments. So have some excellent examples of your accomplishments that are relatable to that specific position. This does mean that you’ll have to customize them for each interview, but that’s what top-notch candidates do.
Give each of the common questions below some thought, write out an answer, and then commit the gist of the answer to memory so that you don’t hesitate when they are asked in an interview. Each answer should relate in some way or another to some aspect of the job description, or to some aspect of the company that you learned from your research. Always try to personalize your answers in this way. And yes, this means you’ll need to personalize them differently for each interview (sorry!).
Below is the list of the questions I consider to be most commonly asked in interviews. They may be worded a bit differently, so don’t let yourself be thrown off by that.
I recommend you prepare an answer for each of these and then read it out loud to yourself to see how it sounds. Then, write down bullet points for each one. These are the notes you should study beforehand, not your actual word-for-word answer.
The Most Commonly Asked Interview Questions
- Give me an overview of yourself
- What is your greatest strength?
- Tell me why you want this position.
- Why do you find this company attractive?
- Give me an example of an idea you had that was implemented.
- How do describe your work style?
- Give me an example of when you dealt with conflict in your job and what was the outcome?
- What is your opinion of ideal working conditions?
- What was your least favorite thing about your last job
- Why should we choose you over other candidates?
- Tell us what you know about our industry.
- Tell us what you know about our company.
- Tell me about a situation when you went above and beyond the call of duty.
- Name one of your failures and tell me what you learned from it.
- Tell me the hardest decision you’ve had to make in the past year or two.
- Why do you want to leave your current job?
- Name a time you did something wrong and how you recovered from it.
- Tell me how you would quickly establish credibility with your new team.
- Name the tools and processes you use to plan and organize your work activities.