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Are You Prepared for these Interview Questions?


Are You Prepared for these Interview Questions?

It can be nerve wracking for job applicants to answer interview questions. Whether during a video interview or an in person interview, answering interview questions can be difficult for job applicants that don’t understand the point of the question or aren’t prepared to answer the questions. The entire process of looking for work and securing an interview can be an exercise in patience and anxiety control. However, once you’ve secured an interview with a recruiter or hiring manager, there is high potential to tank that interview if you’re not prepared. They say fortune favors the prepared, so it’s important to take some time to prepare answers to common and not so common interview questions. Do you know how to answer these interview questions to secure the job?

Interview Questions to Make You Think

Recently, Glassdoor released a list of oddball interview questions they suggested were becoming more common in interviews. But outside of a small minority of companies, many still ask interview questions that are incredibly common. But these common interview questions are intended to get to the heart of who you are as a job applicant and what kind of work you can produce if hired for the position. Do you know how to answer the following interview questions?

Tell me about yourself. At the beginning of many interviews, the hiring manager or recruiter is sitting there with your resume looking at a collection of positions on the page. But they’re really asking for you to tie it all together into a summary statement. Who are you beyond the collection of jobs listed on your resume? This can be a great place to express what makes you unique and move beyond the standard interview questions. Consider your elevator pitch- your 30 second speech about who you are and what you’ve accomplished. This would be an appropriate time to respond with this pitch.

Sample answer: I’m a driven salesperson with over 10 years of experience managing geographically dispersed teams. I’ve drawn upon my experience as a volunteer firefighter to organize teams to work together towards a common goal and am seeking more responsibility in my next role.

What are you proudest of accomplishing in your last job? There are a variety of interview questions that are variations of this question. What it is designed to do is to find out what you’ve done that sets you apart from the rest of the job applicants. This is the perfect area to brag a little about what you’ve been able to do. At its heart, this question is asking what your job performance is like and what they may be able to expect from you as a potential new employee. In your answer, feel free to brag a little about how you’ve expanded your role, spearheaded new initiatives at work, or have contributed to the bottom line.

Sample answer: I’m proudest of leading my team to become number 1 in territory growth and expansion. Under my leadership, I’ve been able to increase sales by over 60% and secure new customers under multi-year contracts.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Does any of us truly have a plan for the next 5 years of our lives? Is this something you’re willing to disclose in an interview? This can be a tricky question for people, especially when they don’t know what the future brings. But this question is designed to see what you want out of your potential new career, what your career aspirations may be, and whether or not you see yourself with the team. It can also be an insidious way for hiring managers to get around asking illegal interview questions such as if you plan on having children soon and abandoning the job. Consider how you may answer this kind of interview question to show the hiring manager that you’re interested in establishing a long career with the company.

Sample answer: I see myself leading a larger sales team, developing a more international presence for the company.

How would your previous manager describe you or your working style? Some interview questions appear simple but are actually complex. This question can be a spot where people trip up in an otherwise perfect interview. If your last hiring manager was a beast, you don’t want to go off on a rant that shows you in a poor light. And if you had a poor experience at your last job, this question could be a potential minefield for inappropriate answers. Don’t take this as an opportunity to paint yourself as a martyr who suffered terrible long hours that you endured under a demanding manager. Instead, consider keeping it positive and highlighting your strengths and accomplishments as a result of your favorable traits.

Sample answer: My previous manager would describe me as a hard worker, often first in the office in the morning and last out at night. He might also say that this kind of dedication contributed to my yearly growth in sales for the company.

What are your weaknesses? Among interview questions, this one remains the tritest. Many businesses no longer ask this question, but it still rears its head in interviews. Every hiring manager or recruiter is aware of the stock answers that job applicants prepare, citing they work too hard at their job. Instead, consider giving an answer that shows one item you could improve upon and how you plan to improve upon that weakness.

Sample answer: I believe I’m weakest at using Software X and have enrolled in classes to learn the software better to overcome this weakness. I expect in the next few months to have turned this weakness into a strength.

Why are you seeking to leave your current job? We all have many answers for why we would leave a job. To some, it’s as simple as desiring better pay or benefits. To others, they hated the work environment or one particular manager. Whatever the reason, this is one of those interview questions that often trips up good job applicants in interviews. If you had a poor experience at your last company, this is not the place to rant about how the boss was verbally abusive. Instead, keep it professional and positive.

Sample: I’m seeking an opportunity to take on more responsibility and to continue to learn and grow from leaders in our industry.

Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work. How did you resolve the issue? We all make mistakes. Even great employees can do something stupid that can potentially risk the health of the business. But how you recover from a mistake is important. This interview question is designed to uncover how you might function in the role and whether you’ll be able to make good decisions in that role. It’s one of the most important interview questions to prepare for because it can potentially show a hiring manager how you solve problems in a typical work environment.

Sample answer: In my early career, I made the mistake of not entering all of my leads into our CRM system in a timely manner. Once I recognized the error, I organized myself better and adopted a detailed daily system to enter leads into the CRM to better inform the team of prospects I had visited during my sales calls.

Do you have any questions for me? At the conclusion of many interviews, hiring managers will often turn the tables around on you. It’s your turn to ask the questions to better identify if you’ll be a good fit for the organization. This is where you might ask questions beyond simple salary inquiries. Consider asking questions to uncover what the interviewer is looking for in their next great employee.

Sample answer: What characteristics would a successful employee in this position possess?

Job interviews can be nerve wracking experiences, but with a little preparation they can also be fantastic experiences that land you the role. Consider how you might answer these kinds of interview questions to highlight your positivity, your strengths, and your willingness to grow. This kind of preparation for complex interview questions just might provide the difference between being passed over for the position and starting on Monday.


Catherine Hess is the Marketing Manager at GreenJobInterview. Catherine comes to us from the HR world, where she regularly wrote articles about recruiting solutions, talent development, and more. From her position, Catherine seeks to increase awareness of the company and grow the brand. You can connect with Catherine here: