15 most common interview questions and how to answer them

The interview is stressful enough. Don’t let preparing for interview questions stress you out even more. Adecco has the 15 most common interview questions you need to prepare for the best interview you’ve ever given.

Two young men and a young woman getting ready for a job interview

It’s impossible to predict the questions your interviewer will ask during your interview. There are, however, a number of common interview questions that you can anticipate and prepare for. By getting comfortable with these interview questions and understanding how to best answer them, you can impress potential employers and land that dream job.

Ready to get started? Adecco has curated a list of 15 common interview questions and tips for answering them that guarantee success.

1. What top 3 skills do you bring to this role?

With this question, the interviewer is looking for your strengths and what you have to offer to the role. Don’t waste your time listing skills that are not relevant to the position. Rather, acknowledge the skills listed in the job description and the relevant skills you have that set you apart from your competition. Carefully consider your soft and hard skills to pick the perfect answer. Prove it by providing examples of your skills in action and the successes achieved.

2. Tell me why you think you are the best candidate for this role.

Businessmen in suits sit at the table opposite each other: interview questions and answers

Rather than explain why you want the job, use examples of your skills and experience to demonstrate how you meet the requirements for the role. Quantify your accomplishments where possible to emphasize your professional contributions and highlight any other relevant qualities or experience that may distinguish you from other candidates. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss your work ethic to exemplify why you would be a great fit for the role and addition to the company.

3. Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?

Your interviewer knows you can’t predict the future. However, this question is designed to catch a glimpse of your professional goals and aspirations. Make sure to use your answer to address your career development plans. Identify the position you would like to be in and explain how this role will assist in your career progression and how it aligns with your passions. Don’t tell the interviewer that the role is a “filler” and refrain from talking about your personal life. Focus on the skills you would like to develop and the responsibilities you are eager to take on.

4. Tell me about yourself.

Your interviewer is not looking to get to know you on a personal level. When answering this question, only consider your professional self. Use this opportunity to summarize your skills, experience and education. Discuss why you are looking for the new role – whether it’s professional development or a career change – and what you are looking for. Avoid including personal information such as age, marital status or political/religious views. For further tips on how to best answer this interview question, click here!

5. Tell me about a time when…

Behavioural questions are some of the most common interview questions asked and the most important answers for the interviewer. These questions help the employer gauge how you handle tough business situations. Employ the STAR method to construct the perfect response. Outline the situation, identify the task you were faced with, detail the action you took and explain the results of your action. By using the STAR formula for behavioural questions you will provide well rounded interview answers every time!

6. Tell me about what you know about this company and why you want to work here.

This is where your pre-interview research comes into play. Don’t just regurgitate their website. The interviewer is looking to see if you’ve done your homework, so give them what they want! Describe what you’ve learned about the organization, including company values, culture and what makes the business a great fit for you. If you’re a client or consumer, mention the services or products you’ve experienced. Be enthusiastic with your answer to demonstrate your interest in the position and organization.

7. Why do you want this job?

Refrain from discussing compensation or other self-serving answers. Rather, prove your value to the organization by describing what you can bring to the company, how this opportunity will utilize your skills and how the position aligns with your professional development goals. Gain an edge over your competition by incorporating information from your research on the organization into your interview answer. Include reasons such as: the company culture and values, admiration of products or services, company initiatives etc. Referencing your work values is a great way to guide your answer.

8. Tell me about your greatest achievement to date.

It’s your time to shine. Don’t be afraid to brag a little and describe an achievement that shows your accomplishment of a goal or hard work. Be specific in describing what was achieved, why it was a significant accomplishment and how you reached this achievement. Although it doesn’t have to be relevant to your job or career, it certainly helps. Picking a recent accomplishment tied to your position will exemplify your motivation towards professional development.

9. What is your dream job?

It’s okay for your dream job to be different than the job you are applying for. In fact, the description of your dream job should identify what the pinnacle of your career would look like. Your answer will indicate whether the position is in-line with your career aspirations or merely an income until the right opportunity comes up. If you choose to describe something outside your line of work, connect the dots to help the interviewer understand your motives. Avoid anything unrealistic.

10. Why are you leaving your current job?

People leave jobs for a variety of reasons. Rather than putting down your co-workers, employer or organization, keep it positive and professional. Shift the focus to your career aspirations and culture fit. Consider including some of the following reasons within your response: desire to learn new things, or take on more responsibility, looking to relocate or make a career change, hoping to improve your work/life balance. Honesty is important but revealing any negativity towards your current employer can leave a bad impression on the hiring manager.

11. What would your manager say you need to improve on?

Everyone has weaknesses and in answering this question it’s important to be candid about yours. Your interviewer is trying to gauge how any potential weaknesses will affect relationships with co-workers or business productivity. Some weaknesses may be recognized as strengths in different work environments. Answering honestly is always best and include your strategies to improve these weaknesses. Remember, your potential employer will likely fact check your answer to this question when they conduct their reference check. Being honest will ensure you don’t get caught in an embarrassing lie.

12. What are your salary expectations for this role?

Young woman holding a wallet: salary expectations

Answering this question can be intimidating. If you expect too much, you may exceed the company’s established salary range and price yourself out of the job. On the other hand, a lowball response may result in you losing out on income. Before walking into any interview, prepare yourself for this question. Make sure to do your research, provide a salary range and be clear that you are open to negotiation when it comes to compensation.

13. What is most important in a new position for you?

This question is your cue to be candid and specific. Describe what you need in your job to be successful. Summarize your ideal work environment, management style and training preferences. This question is also the perfect opportunity to touch on professional development and growth. Your answer will help the hiring manager identify if your needs match what the company offers while giving them a better understanding of your career goals.

14. What questions do you have for me?

Your biggest mistake entering an interview is not having questions prepared for the hiring manager. Don’t bring up pay or benefits. Rather, consider asking open-ended questions that create a dialogue with the employer. Asking questions in your interview will help you learn more about the position’s expectations, management style and the organization as a whole, helping you determine not only if you are a fit for them, but if they are the best fit for you. Check out a few of our recommended questions to ask in your next interview here.

15. If you were an animal, which would you be?

These unusual interview questions are the latest trend in recruitment. Their purpose is to test how quickly you can think on your feet and to identify how well you understand your strengths and weaknesses as a candidate. Although these questions hold no right or wrong answer, you should still be strategic with your response. Don’t jump into the answer by simply selecting your favourite animal; rather, choose an animal that best reflects your behavioural characteristics. For example, a duck is calm and composed on the surface, but under the water their webbed feet are hustling.

For job help that includes interview preparation, rely on the expert recruiters at Adecco. For 46 years, Adecco has been matching skilled candidates with top employers. To land your dream job through Adecco, visit your local branch or register online today!

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