4 Commonly asked interview questions

Practice responding to the most commonly asked interview questions (with our prep tips and sample answers).

Articles

Two individual sit at a conference table for a job interview. One is talking and the other is listening.

Let's be honest – selling yourself to an employer in 45 minutes is enough to make anyone sweat. But there are three simple ways to overcome nerves: practice, practice – and you guessed it – practice. There is not a 100% correct way to answer any interview questions, but most employers can 100% know if you’ve prepared for the interview or not.

Ask your recruiter, your spouse, a relative, a friend, or anyone you trust to do some mock interviews with you and give you their honest feedback. Then download our Job Seeker’s Guide to customize the answers based on the job you are applying to.

1. Why are you interested in the opportunity?

Sometimes the answer to this question is easy: It aligns with your career goals. You've had positive experiences with the company in the past. Other times though, giving a fully honest answer isn't what a hiring manager wants to hear. Do not talk poorly about your current employer or say that you're just looking for a job, any job. Find something about the company or specific position that you can relate to. As you prepare for the interview, you should be learning more about the company’s values. Find a way to connect your values to theirs, and then move into how you admire and act on that value in your career. You can then talk about how you think this value furthers your professional goals.

Ex: I know that Responsibility is one of your core values, in the sense that as an industry leader, it is your responsibility to provide more work opportunities for more people. I identify with that because I prefer to work towards a greater good. Providing work for everyone is a greater good, in my opinion, and will give me true purpose in this position. I further think that if I have purpose, my career goals will be even more satisfying as the question will always be – what more can we do, and what are we not doing that can be done?

2. Why are you the best person for the position?

Go back to the job description. What skills are they looking for in a candidate? What are the responsibilities of the role? Those descriptors that made you want to apply to the job, that's your answer! Use real past examples that demonstrate your ability and history with those. Don't be afraid to make it personable! Interviewers want to get to know you and know that you'll be an excited and engaged worker.

Ex: My career has always had a home in serving others and it’s what I know. Down to each step once you answer that phone, it all comes back to the customer. Answer with a smile and your patience bank open, if they don’t understand your answers to their questions you have to restate the question to see if you understand exactly what they are asking. I was glad to read that this job will involve tracking, in my previous experience it is when I had access to a strong, accurate database that I was able to best serve the customers.

3. What do you look for in a job?

So, go back to the research you did for Question 1 here. This is another chance to mention the company's values and your values, especially if you . Maybe it's that you're interested in giving back. Maybe you like being challenged at work. Or you want to be a part of a strong and supportive team. But if you’re going to reference their core values multiple times it’s best have a few different ones in your pocket.

Ex: Like I had said earlier, I do look for a valued purpose in my job. Responsibility leads to purpose and in turn, leads to innovation. How can I best serve? Where are the kinks in the day-to-day of my job or in the organization and how can I improve that process or project? I like to take initiative, and I always hope I am encouraged to do so.

4. Why did you leave your last job? Why are you looking?

Be honest, but be tactful. You want to stay away from negative and or emotional comments. Instead, focus on the future. If you're stuck, look at the job description. Don't say, "I'm just ready for a change." Say, "I'm ready to focus more on customer service and less on administrative duties."

Ex. I am thankful for my time at my previous employer, but feel I have exhausted my learning opportunities. I am searching for a company where I can continue to learn from experienced professionals who can continue to develop and grow my skillset.

For more sample questions and access to our interview questions and answers worksheet, download the Job Seeker’s Guide.

If you feel ready for the next step in the interview process, check out the next article in our interview series: Leave a lasting impression.

Related Articles

Why more women are choosing to change jobs – right now

Now’s your chance to make a change. Learn why.

read more
Best interview questions a job candidate should ask
An interview is your chance to get to know the company and figure out if the job is a good fit for you. Learn the right questions to ask.
read more