You can't predict the exact questions employers will ask during a job interview, but you can take steps to prepare yourself. Here are 14 common, challenging interview questions with answers to help you formulate your own responses.
1. What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
When answering this interview question, it's tempting to say you work too hard. An experienced hiring manager is going to want a better answer. Be honest, but offer a strength to compensate.
2. What Are Your Future Plans?
When seeking employment, it's best to tell the person interviewing you that you want to expand your skill sets and grow within the company.
3. Why Do You Want to Work Here?
This is one of those interview questions that can make or break you. Learn about the company and its culture, and formulate a specific response that pertains directly to the organization.
4. What Salary Do You Expect?
To prepare for this interview question, do some research to find what the job typically pays for someone with your experience, then come up with a slightly higher figure. The person conducting the interview just wants to make sure your expectations are reasonable.
5. What Is Your Greatest Strength?
This is one of the most critical interview questions, and it gives you the opportunity to brag a bit. Talk about your skills, experiences and accomplishments, and don't hold back.
6. Why Did You Leave Your Previous Position?
If you're currently unemployed and looking for work, the hiring manager may ask why you left your previous employer. Don't disparage your last company. Say that you're seeking employment that offers new opportunities and challenges.
7. How Did You Learn About This Job Opening?
This is your chance to namedrop, if possible. Don't hesitate to let the hiring manager know if you're friends with some of the heavy-hitters in your industry.
8. How Do You Handle Stress?
This is one of the interview questions that can reveal a lot about you. Be sure to give a positive answer, such as meditation or reading, rather than shouting into a pillow.
9. What Do You Know About Our Company?
Spend some time reading the company's website before the job interview, and absorb everything from their CEO's name to the general corporate culture.
10. How Would Past Co-workers Describe You?
Be specific. Don't just say that you're a team player. Provide concrete examples that highlight how you contributed to the organization.
11. Can You Explain Your Employment Gaps?
Be honest when answering this question. If applicable, discuss the volunteer assignments you completed, and then explain that you were waiting for an ideal opportunity.
12. What Do You Do in Your Spare Time?
Keep it wholesome. Talk about hobbies that enrich you as a person.
13. What Is Your Greatest Achievement?
Don't hold back when answering this question. Talk about one specific moment in your professional career, and sell it hard.
14. What Was Your Greatest Professional Challenge?
Make sure this story has a happy ending. Talk about the obstacles you faced in your career, but focus more on how you overcame them.
Spend some time practicing your answers, but don't memorize them. Anyone can spout off canned responses to interview questions. Be unique, and let your true personality show.
Photo courtesy of Iefan Admad of Flickr.com