Top 8 Interview Questions and Expert Tips for Crafting Winning Answers

Attius Li- Author
Aiko Yeh
October 31, 2022
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Job interviews can make even the cool folks break into a nervous sweat and feel their heart race. But no need to panic! Believe it or not, interviews aren't just terrifying situations to endure—they're golden opportunities for you to unleash your awesomeness and leave those hiring managers utterly impressed.

To help you conquer any interview challenge, we've got your back with the ultimate arsenal of top interview questions that are practically guaranteed to come your way. Plus, we've got some awesome tips straight from the pros on how to craft answers that'll knock their socks off. Brace yourself to captivate those interviewers and skyrocket your chances of landing that dream job you've been longing for. It's time to shine, my friend!

The Common Interview Questions and Compelling Answers

Whether you're attending an interview for the first time, or looking for a new role, here are eight common interview questions that often catch candidates off guard and tips on how to answer them impactfully.

1. Tell Me About Yourself

While many candidates anticipate this question, it often catches many people flat-footed. Why? Often, it's the first question hiring managers ask. Generally, most hiring managers ask this question to break the ice, assess your communication skills and determine whether you're a good fit for the role.

So, if the question arises during your next job interview (which it almost certainly will), don't break into a long monologue describing your entire life history. Instead, keep your answer brief, focusing on your professional background, achievements, and skills.

Sample Answer

I've always enjoyed working with computers and learning new things independently. However, after working in marketing for about two years with a team of UI/UX designers, I realized I have a passion for design because I'd always ask the designers many questions and dabble in design in my free time. 

So, I eventually decided to enroll in an online course to get a UI/UX design certification. I recently earned my UI/UX certification and believe my experience as a digital marketer and my design skills would make me a great fit for your junior product manager role.

2. How Did You Learn About This Position?

While this question seems pretty straightforward, it often trips up many candidates. Why? Many candidates don't differentiate themselves from other candidates when answering the question.

If a hiring manager asks you this question, use it as an opportunity to demonstrate your connection and enthusiasm for the company. For instance, if you learned about the role from a current company employee, name the person who shared the opportunity and tell the hiring manager why you were excited about the vacant role. Not only can doing so give you more credibility, but it can also boost your chances of getting hired if someone can vouch for you.

Alternatively, if you didn’t learn about the position from a referral, state what appealed to you about the role. Ideally, your answer should demonstrate why you’re keen to join the company.

Sample Answer

I’ve known about Company XYZ for a long time, but I learned about the vacant copywriter position from Tim, who’s part of your marketing team. I love your copywriting teams’ compelling and often humorous ads, and I’d be delighted to join the team. So when Tim told me about the vacancy, I couldn’t wait to apply.

3. What Interests You About This Position?

Hiring managers ask this question to gauge how passionate candidates are about the role or the company. So, if you can't muster passion for the role during your interview, you won't convince hiring managers you're suitable for the role.

To convince the hiring manager you're a great fit for the position, be clear about what caught your eye about the role. Also, share why you'd be delighted to join the company.

Sample Answer

I enjoy writing human interest stories, and look forward to watching the captivating weekly documentaries Company ABC publishes online. Your focus on producing human interest stories drew me to the position. So, I was delighted when I saw the vacancy for a multimedia journalist with experience writing about environmental issues.

At my previous job, I was responsible for writing human interest stories on a variety of issues, including the environment for both print and online. On average, my stories published online garnered 250,000 views. As a result, I believe my experience writing human interest stories for various media would make me a great fit for this role.

4. How Do You Deal With Challenging Situations?

Accidents happen. Things go wrong at the workplace. It's inevitable. Hiring managers ask this question to determine how candidates react when confronted with difficult or stressful situations. Ideally, they want to know that you won't buckle under pressure when faced with challenging situations like tight deadlines or handling demanding customers.

Share a work-related scenario where you kept calm despite intense pressure. As a rule of thumb, use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to provide a clear and concise response.

Sample Answer

Throughout my career, I've learned that things won't always go smoothly. I'll encounter obstacles along the way that I hadn't anticipated. When I'd just started working, I often avoided challenging issues, hoping they'd go away or someone else would resolve them. But over time, I've become better at confronting the challenges I face. 

For instance, while at my last company, I unknowingly delivered faulty equipment to one of our biggest clients. Upon discovering the faulty equipment, the client threatened to stop giving us business. 

Previously, I’d have stressed over the issue and asked a senior team member to handle it. However, I took it up myself and discussed possible solutions with the client. While we had to pick up the faulty equipment for repairs, inconveniencing the client for several days, at least I managed to find an amicable solution, and the client stayed on board.

5. What Are Your Greatest Strengths?

Interviews allow you to demonstrate why you're a better fit for a position than other candidates. And this question allows you to do just that. Instead of just saying you're creative, analytical, meticulous, or hardworking, provide actual scenarios showcasing these or other strengths you have. Simply put, don't just tell, show.

Sample Answer

My greatest strength is that I'm pretty diligent and great at learning new skills. I'm a self-taught front-end developer, and I picked up most of the knowledge I have within a year. So, despite my few years of work experience, I'm confident I'd be an excellent fit for this role because I'm good at quickly getting up to speed with new technologies.

6. What's Your Biggest Weakness?

This question often trips up many candidates because many people try to answer it tactfully but end up coming across as inauthentic. For instance, many candidates respond to this question by saying they spend too much time on tasks because they're perfectionists. 

So, instead of giving hiring managers a diplomatic response that they feel isn't genuine, mention a real weakness that wouldn't compromise your ability to do a good job. For instance, don't say you don't work well under pressure if you're applying for a high-pressure job. Instead, talk about something you're struggling with but are trying to get better at.

Sample Answer

I don't like addressing large audiences. Whenever I'm called upon to talk to large audiences, I usually become very apprehensive. However, to overcome my fear of public speaking, I joined my local Toastmasters club about a year ago. Since then, I've spoken in front of about five large audiences, and my public speaking skills have significantly improved.

7. Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?

Hiring managers ask this question to assess a candidate's career goals, ambition, and commitment to professional growth. If you're asked this question, frame your answer in a way that shows a desire for long-term career growth within the organization. Not only will answering the question this way demonstrate your ambition, but it will also show that you won't jump ship immediately.

Sample Answer

Within the next five years, I'd like to become a Senior Full-Stack Developer within the organization. While I've previously held positions as a Front-End Developer, I'd like to eventually manage a team of front and back-end developers and UI/UX designers on projects. To reach this goal, I'm currently brushing up on my back-end development skills by learning back-end languages and frameworks like Python, Django, and Node.js.

8. What Are Your Salary Expectations?

Money is a thorny issue many people would rather avoid. But at job interviews, it's unavoidable. At some point, questions about money will arise. To avoid getting caught by surprise by this question, here are some handy tips:

  • Find out the average salary for the role before the interview based on factors like experience, location, and skills.
  • Find out the average salary the company pays employees at your skill level. Sites like Glassdoor and Payscale can help with research.    
  • Provide a salary range rather than a flat figure.

Sample Answer

Considering my skill set and experience, I’m looking for a salary of $65,000 to 75,000 annually for this role. However, if you provide other perks and benefits, I'd be willing to adjust my salary requirements.

Ace Your Next Interview

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking. But they don't have to be. By preparing for commonly asked interview questions, you can craft winning answers that leave a lasting impression on potential employers. However, as with many other things, practice makes perfect. So before your next job interview, consider having a mock interview to practice your answers and identify your weak spots.

Want to free up time to practice for interviews? Then, get in touch with us today to automate your job search.

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