4. “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Answers to this question go one of two basic ways. Candidates try to show their incredible ambition (because that’s what they think you want) by providing an extremely optimistic answer: “I want your job!” Or they try to show their humility (because that’s what they think you want) by providing a meek, self-deprecating answer: “There are so many talented people here. I just want to do a great job and see where my talents take me.”
Since a candidate cannot compare himself with people he doesn’t know, all he can do is describe his incredible passion and desire and commitment and . well, basically beg for the job. (Way too many interviewers ask the question and then sit back, arms folded, as if to say, “Go ahead. I’m listening. Try to convince me.”)
Rarely do candidates come to the end of an interview feeling they’ve done their best. Maybe the conversation went in an unexpected direction. Maybe the interviewer focused on one aspect of their skills and totally ignored other key attributes. Or maybe candidates started the interview nervous and hesitant, and now wish they could go back and better describe their qualifications and experience.
14. “What is your leadership style?”
This is a tough question to answer without dipping into platitudes. Try sharing leadership examples instead. Say, “The best way for me to answer that is to give you a few examples of leadership challenges I’ve faced,” and then share situations where you dealt with a problem, motivated a team, worked through a crisis. Explain what you did and that will give the interviewer a great sense of how you lead.
No one agrees with every decision. Disagreements are fine; it’s what you do when you disagree that matters. (We all know people who love to have the “meeting after the meeting,” where they’ve supported a decision in the meeting but they then go out and undermine it.)
Show that you were professional. Show that you raised your concerns in a productive way. If you have an example that proves you can effect change, great — and if you don’t, show that you can support a decision even though you think it’s wrong (as long as it’s not unethical, immoral, etc.).
Example interview questions
Basic interview questions
Behavioral interview questions
Questions about salary
Questions about you
96. Tell me about yourself
At the beginning of the conversation, your interviewer will likely start out by asking you about yourself. They are seeking to understand your qualifications, what led you to the job and generally why you think you’d be a good fit. The key here is making your answer concise and direct, including only professional information relevant to the job. Your answer should be structured as follows:
1. Start by describing your background with a summary of your most impressive responsibilities: “I’ve been a hostess at XYZ Restaurant for just over two years where I greet and seat customers, assess wait times, fulfill to-go orders and answer the phones. I love the lively and busy environment—we often have Friday and Saturday wait times of one hour or more. ”
2. Next, briefly summarize your previous experience with key achievements: “. Before working at XYZ Restaurant, I worked in retail as a floor associate for five years. Working in retail developed the customer service skills that make me a great hostess, offering a top-tier dining experience from the moment customers walk in the door. It also equipped me with the ability to work quickly under pressure. “
3. Lastly, express how you found the new job and why it’s a good fit for you and your goals: “. I’ve enjoyed and grown in my current role, but wish to expand and utilize my customer service expertise in an elite restaurant environment. I am interested in your restaurant because of its reputation for delivering first-in-class service to your patrons in a lively, dynamic environment.”
97. How would you describe yourself?
With this question, your interviewer wants to learn how your qualities and characteristics align with the skills they believe are required to succeed in the role. To answer this question, pick one to a few personal characteristics and elaborate on them with examples.
For example, if you are ambitious and driven you can say:
“I am an ambitious and driven individual. I thrive in a goal-oriented environment where I can constantly challenge myself personally and professionally. I am always looking for an opportunity to do better and grow. These characteristics have helped me achieve success in my career. For example, I was promoted three times in less than two years in my last position.”
98. What makes you unique?
Employers often ask this question to identify why you might be more qualified than other candidates they’re interviewing. To answer, focus on why hiring you would benefit the employer. Since you don’t know the other applicants, it can be challenging to think about your answer in relation to them. Addressing why your background makes you a good fit lets employers know why your traits and qualifications make you a strong candidate.
Assets the employers finds valuable: Review the job description for role responsibilities as well as required and desired skills, qualities, experience and qualifications. For example, if a position emphasizes cross-collaboration, you might speak about your ability to unite a team around a common goal.
Ways you’ve been successful in previous roles: Reflect on past accomplishments and list the qualities that helped you achieve them. For example, if you received an award for your marketing skills you might share this along with the project or experience that earned you the award.
Traits or skills you’ve been praised for: Consider your strengths and qualities commonly recognized by previous employers or coworkers. Think back to positive feedback you’ve received from performance reviews and completed projects. For example, if your employer consistently brings up your ability to motivate others in your performance reviews, it’s likely a trait they highly value and other employers would also appreciate.
Example answer: “What makes me unique is my ability to meet and exceed deadlines. In my previous role, my manager consistently praised me for completing my projects efficiently with a high level of quality. This allowed me to take on additional responsibilities and eventually led to a promotion.”
99. Why do you want to work here?
Interviewers often ask this question to determine whether or not you took the time to research the company and think critically about whether you’re a good fit. The best way to prepare for this question is to do your homework and learn about the products, services, mission, history and culture of this workplace. In your answer, mention the aspects of the company that appeals to you and aligns with your values and career goals.
How to prepare for an interview
Use these questions and example answers to prepare for your interview by making them your own and tailoring them to fit your experience, the job and the company you’re interviewing for. It’s important to get comfortable with what you could be asked and understand what a good response might be.
Much like preparing for a test in school, the best way to succeed in your interview is to study and practice. Research the company and the job, and practice your talking points until you feel confident about your answers. The more you prepare, the more likely you are to leave a lasting impression and outperform fellow candidates. Come equipped with examples of work from previous jobs, as well as ideas for the new job. Try and make the interview as conversational as possible by showing genuine interest in the job, company and your interviewer.
Do You Have Any Questions For Me?
To be honest, the question you just read belongs in the previous list too. You will be asked this at the end of most job interviews. No matter how much detail you went into when answering the interviewer you’ll still have to ask some questions yourself. If you don’t, it makes you look like you’re not interested or fully committed.
And all ten of them have one golden thread running through them. Showing a genuine interest in the role and the organization you’re applying for. There’s also a strong focus on future advancement, training and progression. Interviewers want candidates who are committed and who intend to grow and develop, contributing to their employer’s future success.
If you don’t want to make the same mistake, we’d advise to note our list of recruiters’ favorites and make sure you ask some of them when it comes to the end of the interview. You don’t have to copy them word for word though. As we’ve already stated, the key is to keep your questions open, show an interest and focus on progression. It’ll help to make sure you leave the right impression with your prospective employer.
How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?
The employer wants to know: Do you hold down the fort or crumble under pressure? They want to make sure that you won’t have a meltdown when the pressure becomes intense and deadlines are looming. The ability to stay calm under pressure is a highly prized talent.
Share an instance when you remained calm despite the turmoil. If it’s a skill you’re developing, acknowledge that and include the steps you’re taking to respond better to pressure in the future. For example, you could indicate that you’ve started a mindfulness practice to help you better deal with stress.
Example: “I realize stressful situation are always going to come up, and I definitely have had to learn how to navigate them throughout my career. I think I get better at it with every new experience. While working on a new product launch at my last company, for example, things were not going according to plan with my team. Instead of pointing fingers, my first reaction was to take a step back and figure out some strategies around how we could we solve the problem at hand. Previously, I may have defaulted to panicking in that situation, so being calm and collected was definitely a step forward and helped me approach the situation with more clarity.”