Quick cheat sheet on how to answer these top 10 interview questions.
Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but being prepared with answers to commonly asked questions can help ease your nerves and make a great impression on the hiring manager. Here are the top 10 most commonly asked questions during an interview and tips on how to answer them:
10 Common Interview Questions with Example Answers
1 Tell me about yourself.
“Tell me about yourself.” This question is often used as an icebreaker to get to know the candidate better. Use this opportunity to give a brief summary of your career history and relevant experiences. Focus on highlighting your skills and qualifications that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
- This is often the first question asked in an interview, and it’s a great opportunity to make a good first impression. Be prepared to talk briefly about your relevant skills, experiences, and achievements. Don’t ramble on too long or share too much personal information. Keep your response professional and focused on what makes you a good fit for the job.
“Sure. I’ve been working in the marketing industry for the past five years, where I’ve gained experience in both traditional and digital marketing campaigns. I’ve had success in creating campaigns that drive engagement and lead to increased sales for my clients. I’m excited about the opportunity to bring that experience to this role.”
2 What are your strengths?
“What are your strengths?” The interviewer wants to know what you excel at and how those skills can be beneficial to the job. Choose strengths that are relevant to the job and provide specific examples of how you have used those strengths in the past.
- This question allows you to showcase your best attributes and how they relate to the job. Choose strengths that are relevant to the position and provide examples of how you’ve demonstrated those strengths in the past.
“One of my greatest strengths is my ability to work well under pressure. In my previous role, I managed multiple projects with tight deadlines and was always able to deliver high-quality work on time. I’m also very organized, which helps me prioritize tasks and manage my time effectively.”
3 What are your weaknesses?
“What are your weaknesses?” This can be a tricky question to answer, but it’s important to be honest. Choose a weakness that you are actively working on improving and explain what steps you are taking to improve in that area.
- This is a tricky question, but it’s important to be honest and authentic in your response. Choose a weakness that is not critical to the job and show how you’re working to improve it.
“I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, which can sometimes lead to spending too much time on small details. However, I’ve learned to prioritize tasks better and delegate when necessary to ensure that deadlines are met.”
4 Why do you want to work here?
“Why do you want to work here?” Research the company before the interview and be prepared to explain what drew you to the company and why you think you would be a good fit.
- This question shows that you’ve done your research and are genuinely interested in the job. Talk about the company’s values, mission, and any recent successes that caught your attention. Show how your values align with the company’s and how you can contribute to their success.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to work for a company that values innovation and creativity. Your recent product launch was impressive, and I’m excited about the prospect of contributing to future projects. I also appreciate the company’s commitment to sustainability, which aligns with my personal values.”
5 What are your long-term career goals?
“What are your long-term career goals?” The interviewer wants to know if you have thought about your career beyond this job. Be honest about your goals and how this job fits into your overall career plan.
Show that you’re ambitious and have a plan for your career. Talk about your career goals and how this job will help you achieve them. Be realistic and avoid sounding too scripted.
The interview question, “What are your long-term career goals?” can be a tricky one to answer. The interviewer wants to know whether you have thought about your future in the company and how you plan to achieve your goals. Here are some tips on how to answer this question:
- Be honest: Start by being honest about your long-term goals. This shows that you have a plan and are committed to your career.
- Be specific: Give a specific answer, as vague or generic answers can come across as insincere or lacking direction. Explain what you hope to achieve in your career and what steps you are taking to achieve your goals.
- Be relevant: Ensure your answer is relevant to the role you are applying for and the company you are interviewing with. Show that you have done your research on the company and understand how your career goals align with their goals.
- Demonstrate your skills: Use this opportunity to showcase your skills and how they can help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you want to become a manager, explain how your leadership skills and experience make you a good fit for this role.
- Show your commitment: Make it clear that you are committed to your long-term career goals and are willing to work hard to achieve them. This demonstrates your dedication to your career and your willingness to grow and learn.
Here’s an example answer:
“In the long-term, my goal is to become a marketing director. I am passionate about marketing and have been working in this field for several years now. I plan to achieve this by continuing to develop my skills and gaining more experience in different areas of marketing. I am also interested in taking leadership training to develop my management skills. I believe that my strong communication and leadership skills make me a good fit for this role. I understand that this company values innovation and creativity, and I believe that my skills align with these values.”
6 Can you tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge?
“Can you tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge?” This question is meant to gauge your problem-solving skills and how you handle difficult situations. Provide a specific example and explain how you overcame the challenge.
The interviewer wants to know how you handle difficult situations. Choose an example that demonstrates your problem-solving skills and your ability to work well under pressure. Explain your thought process and the steps you took to resolve the issue.
The interview question, “Can you tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge?” is a behavioral interview question designed to assess your problem-solving skills, your ability to handle pressure, and your resourcefulness. It’s important to prepare a thoughtful response to this question in advance of your interview.
To answer this question, you should follow the STAR method:
- Situation: Briefly describe the challenge you faced, being specific about the context and circumstances. What was the problem, and what was the impact?
- Task: Describe the task or goal that needed to be accomplished. What was expected of you? What did you need to accomplish in order to overcome the challenge?
- Action: Describe the specific steps you took to address the challenge. Be specific about your role and your actions. What resources did you use? What skills did you employ? How did you prioritize your actions?
- Result: Describe the outcome of your actions. What was the end result of your efforts? Did you accomplish the task or goal? How did your actions impact the situation, and what did you learn from the experience?
Here is an example response:
“During my previous role at ABC Company, we faced a significant challenge when a major client unexpectedly cancelled a contract. This represented a significant portion of our revenue, and we needed to quickly find a way to replace the revenue stream.
My task was to develop a strategy to identify and win new clients quickly, while also keeping our existing clients happy. I decided to take a proactive approach and identified a list of potential clients in our target market, and developed a personalized outreach strategy for each.
I worked with our marketing team to develop targeted messaging, and began reaching out to potential clients via phone and email. I also attended industry conferences and events to network and meet potential clients in person.
Through my efforts, we were able to win several new clients, which helped us to replace the lost revenue stream. Additionally, our proactive approach helped to strengthen relationships with our existing clients, who appreciated our proactive efforts to maintain the level of service they had come to expect.
Overall, this experience taught me the importance of staying proactive and resourceful in the face of challenges, and the importance of focusing on solutions rather than dwelling on problems.”
7 How do you handle stress or pressure?
“How do you handle stress or pressure?” This question is used to see how you handle difficult situations. Provide an example of a time when you were under pressure and explain how you stayed calm and handled the situation.
The question “How do you handle stress or pressure?” is a common one asked by employers during job interviews. The purpose of this question is to determine how you cope with difficult situations, and whether you have effective strategies for managing stress and pressure.
Here are some tips on how to answer this question:
- Provide an example: One of the best ways to answer this question is by providing a specific example of a time when you successfully handled a stressful or high-pressure situation. This can help to demonstrate that you have experience dealing with these types of challenges and that you have effective coping strategies in place.
- Emphasize your skills: When answering this question, focus on your skills and abilities that help you manage stress and pressure effectively. For example, you may mention your ability to prioritize tasks, delegate responsibilities, or remain calm and focused under pressure.
- Discuss your coping mechanisms: It is important to discuss the specific strategies you use to cope with stress and pressure. For instance, you may talk about how you exercise regularly, practice mindfulness or meditation, or utilize time management techniques to stay organized and on top of your workload.
- Show your resilience: Employers want to hire candidates who are resilient and can bounce back from setbacks. Use your answer to show that you are capable of handling pressure and stress and can adapt to changing situations.
“I have found that the best way for me to handle stress and pressure is by prioritizing my tasks and breaking them down into smaller, more manageable goals. For example, when I was working on a tight deadline for a project in my previous role, I created a to-do list and assigned each task a priority level. This helped me to stay focused and motivated, even when faced with competing demands. Additionally, I make sure to take breaks and practice self-care, such as taking a walk or practicing mindfulness, to recharge and stay energized.”
8 What motivates you?
“What motivates you?” The interviewer wants to know what drives you and keeps you motivated. Provide specific examples of what motivates you and how that motivation has helped you succeed in your career.
- Be honest and specific: When answering this question, it’s important to be honest and specific about what motivates you. Avoid vague or generic answers that could apply to anyone. Instead, think about what motivates you personally and professionally.
- Connect your motivation to the job: Once you have identified your motivation, make sure to connect it to the job you are applying for. Explain how your motivation aligns with the job duties and the company culture.
- Provide examples: Provide specific examples of how your motivation has helped you in your previous roles. Use these examples to illustrate your point and to show the employer that you have a track record of being motivated.
- Show enthusiasm: When discussing your motivation, show enthusiasm and passion for the job and the industry. This will demonstrate your commitment to the job and your eagerness to contribute to the company’s success.
Here’s an example of how to answer the question “what motivates you?”:
“I am motivated by the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in my work. In my previous job, I was able to develop a new process that saved the company time and resources, and I felt a great sense of accomplishment knowing that I was able to contribute to the team’s success. I am excited about this role because I see the opportunity to make a similar impact here. Your company’s mission to improve the lives of your customers through innovative solutions resonates with me, and I am eager to be a part of a team that is committed to making a positive difference in the world.”
9 What are your salary expectations?
“What are your salary expectations?” Do your research before the interview and have a realistic salary range in mind. Be honest about your salary expectations and provide a range that is reasonable for the job and your experience. The headhunter or recruiter you are working with should be able to give you salary guidance for the role prior to the interview.
- Be prepared to discuss your salary expectations but avoid giving a specific number unless you’re asked. Research the industry standards and be prepared to provide a range.
“I’m flexible on salary, but I’m looking for a compensation package that is in line with industry standards and reflects my experience and skills.”
10 Do you have any questions for us?
“Do you have any questions for us?” Always have questions prepared for the interviewer. This shows that you are interested in the company and the position. Ask about the company culture, opportunities for growth, and any other questions that are important to you.
- Ask about the company culture: You could ask about the company’s values, work culture, or management style. This shows that you’re interested in the bigger picture and that you want to know if the company is a good fit for you.
- Ask about the team: You could ask about the team you’ll be working with, how they collaborate, and what they enjoy most about working at the company. This shows that you’re interested in the day-to-day operations and that you value teamwork.
- Ask about growth opportunities: You could ask about opportunities for professional development, training, or advancement within the company. This shows that you’re committed to your career growth and that you want to work for a company that invests in its employees.
- Ask about the next steps: You could ask about the next steps in the hiring process, such as when you can expect to hear back or what the timeline is for making a decision. This shows that you’re interested in the position and that you’re eager to move forward in the process.
Remember to keep your questions professional and relevant to the position and the company. Asking thoughtful questions shows that you’re engaged, interested, and have done your research.
This is a chance to demonstrate your interest in the company and the position, and to learn more about the role and the company culture. Prepare a few thoughtful questions in advance that show you’ve done your research and are eager to learn more. Examples might include asking about the company’s growth strategy, or about the team’s dynamic and how they collaborate on projects.
Here are some examples of questions you can ask:
- Can you tell me more about the company culture?
- How does the company measure success?
- What are the biggest challenges facing the company right now?
- Can you walk me through a typical day in this role?
- How does the company support professional development?
- What qualities do you think are important for success in this role?
- What do you enjoy most about working for this company?
- Can you tell me more about the team I would be working with?
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
Preparing for these common interview questions can help you make a great impression on the interviewer and increase your chances of landing the job. Remember to be honest, provide specific examples, and tailor your answers to the job you are applying for. A professional headhunter / recruiter should be able to assist you in your interview preparation for any role they refer you to.
We wish you the very best of luck during your interview!
Save this article, print it, read it over just before your interview and it should greatly increase your chances of coming across as star interviewee for any role you apply to!
Benefits to working with a headhunter
In this extremely competitive job search environment there are many benefits to working with a headhunter!
Headhunters also tend to have access to positions are NOT advertised anywhere else…the so called “hidden job market“. So they can sometimes bring opportunities to you that you never knew existed!
Significant advantages in your job search!
Advantages to working with a headhunter
Headhunters are recruitment professionals that can help open closed doors. Headhunters know their clients (employers) very well. They know which skill sets are absolute musts and which skill sets are simply nice to have, so they can be effective in highlighting the right skill sets to the hiring authority. This direct line of communication with the hiring authority is critical in opening doors, and setting you apart from the masses.
Access to the hidden job market
Access to the hidden job market. Connecting with the right headhunter can grant you consideration for job vacancies that are never posted anywhere (the hidden job market). These jobs are available but not promoted. Headhunters may know of these other job opportunities and can present you as a possible candidate for them to their clients. Without the assistance of a headhunter you likely never know about these opportunities. Always check out the job postings on a headhunters web site to learn more about current vacancies, and the type of vacancies they normally work on.
Critical second set of eyes
Critical second set of eyes. A headhunter will be quick to point out any glaring issues with your resume or cover letter. They are interested in showcasing qualified candidates that they have chosen to work with in the best positive light to their clients. If they see a glaring issue with you cv they will let you know about it, so that it can be corrected before they decide to refer you to the hiring authority. This second set of eyes that works in the field daily is extremely valuable and can make a huge difference to your success rate. Headhunters will do this as it is also in their interest that your present well to their client.
Access to more job opportunities
Access to more job opportunities. Headhunters usually work with multiple clients (employers). They may be able to present additional opportunities with other employers they work for that you are not aware of. This can expand your job search to additional opportunities that you would likely never have come across on your own. Headhunters can widen the net so to speak of additional opportunities for you consider.
Spend less time applying for jobs.
Less time applying for jobs. On your own you will need to constantly search out job postings and apply to them like everyone else. A headhunter can be instrumental in focusing on opportunities they know you are qualified for. They are not going to refer your details to any roles you are not qualified for as that would be a waste of their time, their clients time, and you time.
Open line of communication to the hiring authority
Open line to the hiring authority. Headhunters will have an open line of communication to their client and the hiring authority. They will get feedback on their referrals from the hiring authority that can be instrumental in helping focus your job search, and skill set. Applying on your own will likely only result in a request for interview or nothing at all. Working with a headhunter will give you access to a direct line of communication with the hiring authority that simply does not exist on your own.
Salary that is a proper fit
Salary that is a proper fit. Headhunters are interested in maximizing everyone’s time, including ensuring that they only refer candidates to their clients for roles that have a compensation range that makes sense for both the jobseeker and employer. On your own you may spend hours, days, and weeks focused on opportunities that at the end of day do not have a compensation range that would make sense for you. If your salary range is set at X a headhunter is not going to send your details in for consideration for a role that only has a compensation of x-20K as it would likely be a waste of everyone’s time. Searching on your own you will likely not even have a compensation discussion until you get through an interview first.
Discreet job search
Discreet job search. Headhunters ensure that your details remain confidential during your job search. Many job applicants are already employed when they initiate a job search and risk exposing the fact that they are in active search for a new role. A headhunter can ensure discretion is maintained during the process. Sometimes interviews with the hiring authority are done at the Headhunters offices to maintain an extra layer of confidentiality.
Honest professional feedback
Honest professional feedback. To maximize your time, the hiring authority’s time, and the headhunters time, you can expect professional honest feedback and critic of your job search goals, skill set, resume, and personality traits. If there are areas that need improvement a headhunter will let you know so that you can regroup and make any necessary amendments to get the results you want. Headhunters are not interested in wasting anyone time on a application that is not going to have a chance of success for whatever reason. This honest professional feedback can save you an extraordinary amount of time.
Headhunters can give you a significant advantage in your search.
Access to additional job opportunities in the future
Access to additional job opportunities in the future. Even if you are not an exact match to a current vacancy that the headhunter is working on today, working with a headhunter can grant you consideration for opportunities that develop in the future. Headhunters will hold on to details of candidates with skill sets they feel are in demand and contact them at a later date to discuss new opportunities develop with their clients. Some of the best opportunities are filled with very happy candidates in this way (and often these role are never advertised anywhere).
Greater chance of consideration for an open role
Greater chance of consideration for an open role. A referral from a headhunter, executive recruiter is going to have a greater chance of being properly considered by the hiring authority. Employers choose to engage the professional services of headhunter and as such are going to ensure they review their candidates. Applying direct to an employer risks the chance that your details may or may not be given consideration when there are many candidates applying to the vacancy.
There are many additional benefits to working with a headhunter. Remember if a headhunter chooses to work with you during your job search that they will do all they can to open the doors that they feel should be opened for you now and in the future. Treat your relationship with the headhunter with professionalism, honesty, and respect and you should receive the same in return.
Any advantage you can harness today can make the difference between getting the call for an interview or being one of the many, many other applicants who do not.
Start connecting with Headhunters early…
Give yourself and the headhunter, executive recruiter time. Connect with a headhunter as early as possible in your job search.
Networking with headhunters
Networking with headhunters that operate within your field of specialty, and within you target geographic area may help you finally land that perfect job. It does not matter whether you have just started your job search or have been unemployed for some, or even if you are still employed but find your self in a job that you are unsatisfied with, connecting with a headhunter can make significant difference to your successful job search.
Contingent Recruitment. These search assignments are often contingent on the headhunter recruiting a candidate and the employer choosing to hire the candidate they have recruited for the job. Headhunters are said to working on contingency in this method.
Retained Recruitment. Other headhunters may be retained to perform the search and simply present qualified candidates to the hiring authority. Simply put a headhunter is in constant search for the top available talent to fill job vacancies with their clients. Retained headhunters are paid by their client (employer) to recruit talent regardless if the client hires the recruited candidates.
Headhunters, also called recruiters, find quality candidates to fill job openings for companies. Headhunters typically work with an employment agency, and are contracted to work with a variety of companies. The headhunter typically receives a fee for matching qualified candidates with open positions. Headhunters also help applicants tweak their resumes and help them brush up on interview skills.
Ensure the right recruiters, headhunters, and employment agencies have your details on hand…ensure they know you are actively searching for new role.
The world we are in today is very connected. It is very fast. It is very competitive.
The job market can be extremely competitive, so connecting with a headhunter that works in your field of expertise, and has clients within your target geographic area can deliver an excellent advantage.
Headhunters can open doors for you!
Headhunters can open the right doors to job opportunities now and in the future.
Simple….Easy…and yes Free!
To date HeadhuntersDirectory has assisted literally millions of jobseekers in the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia and many other locations. Connect with a local recruiting firm during your search for the next career opportunity, or search for the best talent for that vacancy!
The job seekers have been both local and from afar! The jobseekers have been across the entire spectrum from general laborer, to the C suite executive.