From trying to second-guess what questions might come your way, to getting caught off guard by a tricky topic, job interviews can be a minefield. But before you get yourself into a state of blind panic, UK jobsite Glassdoor has revealed the top 50 most common interview questions, with insights from experts on how to answer them. Here are 12 example questions, so you can ensure your next interview is a complete success…
What gets you up in the morning?
Glassdoor says: Knowing what excites you helps to assess whether or not you fit with the company's culture. In your response, offer up examples that are relevant, like managing projects, learning new skills or a specific activity that is tied directly to performing this role. A word of caution: saying what you think the interviewer wants to hear is always a mistake — they can easily sense an insincere response right away. Plus, this may land you in a company that isn't right for you.
What are your career goals?
Glassdoor says: With this question, employers want to get a sense of how long you intend to be in a company or role. Show that your career goals and expectations are aligned with how careers unfold in the company. Avoid two things: Don’t give an answer that shows you have no idea what you want in the future, and don’t give an answer that shows you are not satisfied with the job you’re interviewing for.
What are some of your leadership experiences?
Glassdoor says: Select one example that demonstrates why you stepped into a leadership role for a project or situation, what you did as the leader and what impact it had on others and yourself. The best answers include what goal you set, how you rallied the team to achieve that goal and how you applied those learnings elsewhere.
If you called your boss right now and asked them what area you could improve on, what would they say?
Glassdoor says:Show that you believe in growing professionally and are not afraid to admit you’re not perfect. The key here is to share an area you need to improve on that’s not critical for what you’re applying for.
Once you’ve shared your weakness, immediately follow it up with how you’re actively invested in improving upon it.
What are your co-worker pet peeves?
Glassdoor says: For this question, think less about minor irritations like how loudly your co-worker chews their gum or taps their pencil, and more about big-picture issues that prevent you or the team from getting work done (talking over other people in meetings or ignoring important emails, for example). Then, describe what you do to address that particular pet peeve. The former shows your ability to pinpoint a barrier and the latter demonstrates your leadership, collaboration and problem-solving skills – all desirable attributes for a candidate.
How do you handle pressure?
Glassdoor says: When things get intense, companies want employees who can handle the stress with grace and ease. In your response to this question, give an example of a time you were under pressure that’s rich in details and describes a thoughtful reaction to a situation that would challenge most people. If you have a hard time working under pressure, you can share that – to an extent. Consider focussing on how you work to prepare, so that you can tackle pressure with ease.
What’s your biggest failure?
Glassdoor says: Interviewers aren’t trying to pinpoint your weaknesses, they just want to get a realistic picture of you as a candidate. More importantly, they want to see if you learn from your failures. The key here is to choose something you learned and bounced back from. Share something authentic and express how you felt, the impact it had on you or the project, how you got up again and what you did differently the next time around.
Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss…
Glassdoor says: This question tests two things: your political savvy and your courage to speak up. If your boss is making a major mistake or you have an even better idea, they will definitely want you to speak up – but it would be important to do it the right way. To answer it, use an example that illustrates a disagreement where you were able to persuade your boss to try things your way – and ultimately, it worked out well for everyone (including your boss). The goal is not to make your boss look bad. It’s to show how you can work through conflict with another person effectively.
What can you offer us that someone else can’t?
Glassdoor says: If you’re lucky enough to get an interview, you’re now competing against a number of equally qualified and talented candidates. If you really want the job, you have no choice but to show why you are the absolute best.
In your response, make sure that you clearly articulate what you want to be remembered for. Include a specific example that demonstrates the competencies and characteristics you want to highlight. Stay away from trite responses, such as ‘I'm a hard worker', or your education (unless you’ve had some sort of specialised training you know no one else would have).
Why do you want to leave your current company?
Glassdoor says:Rather than focusing on what's driving you away from your current company, focus instead on what you want to achieve with the move. Emphasise the attributes this new company has that you’ve been seeking and don't have today, like a part of their strategy you find really exciting or perhaps an element of their culture you feel really aligns with how you best work.
Read the company's latest press releases, listen to earnings calls, read Glassdoor reviews, and network with folks. This shows you have done your homework and that everything you have learned thus far sounds like a great opportunity.
Why are you interested in working for us?
A few things not to say:
- I think this job is a good stepping stone for my career
- I want to work here for the prestige
- I heard the work-life balance and compensation are great
Instead, share strategic or operational reasons that you’re interested in the company (e.g. ‘I think your technology is the future of the industry’) and also cultural reasons (e.g. ‘I love how much you value training and development’.
What questions do you have for me?
Glassdoor says: This is one of, if not the most important question during the interview process.
Ask the interviewer these questions:
- I read about the XYZ initiative online. Can you tell me more about it and how it relates to the work your team is doing?
- What type of people tend to excel here?
- How would you describe the culture here?