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13 of the most common and important interview questions to prepare for

Need a heads up for your upcoming interview?

By Bsyn Support and Paul Wai

Report 5 Sep 2021

Importance of knowing interview questions

Many people are not prepared for a job interview, which makes it difficult to succeed in the process. Job interviews can be stressful and intimidating if you don’t know what to expect! Don’t worry though, we’ve compiled 13 of the most common questions that employers ask during an interview so you’ll be ready when opportunity knocks.

Interview
13 of the most common and important interview questions to prepare for 1
  1. Tell me about yourself?
    Most commonly asked at the beginning of the interview, employers ask this to break the ice. Use this opportunity to briefly go through your professional work experience (and/or any relevant education). Do not delve into personal hobbies/interests and keep the topic on your work history. After going through your career timeline, explain how your work journey has led you to the company you are applying for and why you believe this is a great prospect for you.
  2. What do you know about our company?
    Employers want to know if you took the time to research their company before coming in for an interview. Tell them what you learned about their values and mission statement. This will show that you are genuinely interested in joining this company!
  3. Why are you interested in working for us?
    This is one of the most commonly asked questions in a job interview. Use this opportunity to communicate with employers on their interests, needs, and problems that your professional skills can solve for them.
  4. What is your greatest strength/weakness?
    Employers want to know that you are a reliable and positive addition to the company. Employers need to see how well their potential new hire will be able to handle themselves in various situations such as when they have been given an impossible task or asked a difficult question. Try not to give generic answers, instead think of examples from past experience where you were faced with challenges that allowed you to triumph over adversity.
    Do not use an overplayed answer like perfection as a weakness. The answer will come across as disingenuous and show a lack of self-awareness. Instead, be honest about any weaknesses which may hinder career progression at this company such as needing more supervision than other employees who have been there longer, difficulty speaking up when someone makes an error, not being able to work alone because you find yourself getting distracted easily, etc. After addressing your weakness, remember to demonstrate how you try to fix your weaknesses.
  5. What motivates you?
    Employers want to know what drives you as a person. They’re trying to figure out if this company is the best fit for your personality and work style. This question also helps them see how well they can motivate you when necessary (i.e.: time-sensitive assignments, deadlines, etc.). Make sure that your answer lines up with their culture!
  6. Why should we hire you?
    This is the question that you’ve been waiting for! This will be your opportunity to sell yourself. Take this chance to talk about your professional experience and credentials, how it aligns with their company’s needs, what sets you apart from other candidates as well as any additional qualities which make them stand out (e.g. bilingualism).
  7. Tell me about a challenge/conflict you faced and how you dealt with it?
    Usually, this question is about workplace conflicts so tell a story of a workplace challenge. If you have no work experience, you can alternatively draw from a group-based education experience or any volunteering/community experience. Employers want to know that you can handle yourself professionally when faced with adversity and conflict. It’s important for employers to see how well their potential new hire will be able to take care of themselves in various situations such as when they have been given an impossible task or asked a difficult question without letting emotions get the better of them.
  8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
    Employers want to know if you are goal-oriented. They also want to see that your professional goals align with their company culture and practices. Employers may ask this question because they feel like many people stop progressing in their career after becoming comfortable at a job, or have unrealistic expectations for the future about what is possible in five years which can lead to disappointment. They may also ask this because they want you to understand the longevity of their company and how it can be difficult for an employer/employee relationship to work out if the goals don’t align in that timeframe.
  9. What do you do outside of work?
    Employers want to know that you are a well-rounded person outside of the office. Now is the opportunity to talk about any positive passions/ hobbies you have. Some good hobbies to talk about could be: sports, community work, volunteering, reading, family activities, etc.
  10. How do you work under pressure?
    Employers want to know how you can handle stressful situations. Employers need to see how well their potential new hire will be able to take care of themselves in various situations such as when they have been given an impossible task or asked a difficult question without letting emotions get the better of them.
    If possible, use examples from your work experience to show how you work under pressure. If you have no experience, talk about a time where you faced an impossible task or difficult question and think of examples from past experience where you were able to overcome adversity which allowed for success.
  11. What did you like/dislike about your previous job?
    Answer this question based on your personal experience. Talk about the good and bad points of previous jobs to show that you can give constructive criticism as well as see things in a positive light. This question is important for employees to see whether you will fit well culturally into their company/office. Try to not speak about overly personal workplace situations e.g. your dislike for a specific co-worker as it can come across that you are a petty person and difficult to get along with.
  12. What are your salary expectations for the role?
    This is a tricky question because your answer will vary depending on the company and position. A good rule of thumb to follow is that you should never accept the first offer, but also make sure you are not asking for too much. Research salary ranges as well as what expectations exist in the industry before answering this question.
  13. Do you have any questions?
    This is the last question which you are asked in an interview. This allows you to ask about company culture, job requirements, and any other questions that have come up during your experience with the employer. Job seekers should always prepare a list of questions for employers as it shows interest and engagement in what they do.

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