Succeeding in an interview is vital to moving forward in your career. If you have an interview scheduled, you must be well-prepared for it. It can be stressful if you encounter questions you haven’t prepared for during an interview. The best approach is to conduct thorough research on common interview questions and learn responses to those. Being fully prepared for frequently asked questions during an interview boosts your confidence level.
10 Most Common First Interview Questions to Focus On
Out of all the questions asked in the majority of the interviews, the below-mentioned ones are the most important.
Common first interview questions
Please tell us about yourself
This is the first question asked in an interview to make you feel comfortable and open up for a detailed interaction. The answer to this question also gives the interviewer an overview of your personality.
- Communicate your career highlights and goals briefly
- Mention your interests and accomplishments to cast a positive impression on the hiring staff
- Do not ramble
“I was hired at a blue-chip company after graduating with honors. During the past five years, I helped them grow their B2B market by 75%. Now, I am ready to take up a new challenge and make a career move.”
“I won’t call myself lazy but I leave for home early and sleep late”
What is your motivation?
The answer to this question varies depending upon the type of role you are applying for. If your motivation factor matches the requirements of the interviewer’s expectations, it will be a positive impact.
For a sales job, motivation must be money. While applying for a nursing job, the motive must be to help others.
Tip: Be honest about your motivations and career goals.
“My desire to have a thriving career drives me to work harder”
“I need money to pay for my credit card debts”
Why should we hire you?
This question is asked to check your understanding of the job description for the role you are applying for. The answer determines whether you are a good fit or not.
- The reply must have a condensed sales pitch
- Exhibit your background research about the company
- Explain how can you fulfill your job responsibilities successfully
- Do not say anything negative about your past or current manager
“I am confident that I have all the mandatory experience and skills to prove I’m a valuable asset to your company”
“Let me answer this question. I am a local here and I can work anytime after 10 a.m.”
Why do you want to join this company?
This question is asked to determine whether you have performed background research about the company before appearing for an interview. You must also be aware of the important details related to the role you have applied for.
- Conduct thorough research on the history, ethics, and niche of the company
- Give an overview of your career goals
- Explain with reasons why you are a fit for the company
“I was extremely glad to see the advertisement for this position. I am well aware of your company’s amazing services. I am confident that I can contribute to the success and growth of the company.”
“My friend informed me about this job position and the great benefits offered here. The early off timings on Fridays will suit me ideally.”
Please list down your strengths
This is a crucial question and the interviewers are checking if your strengths comprise suitable qualifications for the role.
- Avoid mentioning cliche strengths such as hard-working, passionate and capable
- Describe your expertise with examples
- Mention attributes that make you stand out among all the candidates
“I am an expert in public relations. I have represented my employer for almost ten years including numerous damage limitation exercises that ended positively. My contributions were rewarded and I was awarded “Employee of the year”.
“If strength means the power of personality, I am outstanding at telling people what to do and get things done my way.”
What are your weaknesses?
The purpose of this question is to scrutinize your ability to turn a weakness into a positive.
- Never say that you don’t have a weakness
- Mention a weakness that won’t affect your ability to perform at the desired job post
- Identify a weakness you are trying to improve
- Portray a perceived negative as a positive trait
“I was not an organized person previously, but I have started learning and implementing a time management system to boost up my organizational abilities.”
“I have many weaknesses including drifting off to sleep during work hours.”
How do you evaluate yourself as a team player?
This question is asked to inquire about your understanding of team dynamics. If you are being considered for a managerial position, then the employer wants to make sure that you can perform well as part of a team.
- Mention a few examples of your team-building capabilities
- Name a few clubs and organizations at which you are an active member
- State how well you get along with other people to prove yourself as a strong team player
“A team player must be aware of the team goals and work actively on achieving those goals. I am experienced at this as I play for a local basketball team weekly. This has led me to learn the power of harmony in a team and the ability to deal with challenging people.”
“Being part of the team is good as someone can always fill in for you. You can also hide behind good performers in the team.”
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
The interviewers ask this question to assess whether you are likely to switch jobs quickly. The hiring process for a new team member is tiresome and costly. This is why organizations avoid hiring people who are most likely to switch jobs constantly.
- Use this question to mention your career goals
- Your answer must focus on the role you are applying for
- The answer must be enthusiastic and progressive
“I would love to move on to a managerial position after gaining sufficient experience.”
“I haven’t given it much thought, since five years is a long time. I might switch from a full-time job to a part-time position.”
What is your expected salary for this position?
The recruiting team asks this question to find out whether you have conducted any research on the average salary for the role. Also, it is to determine that your expected salary is within the range offered by the company. Employers are impressed if you are well-versed in this question.
- Ensure that you have the know-how about the salary of similar roles
- Mention a salary range instead of a specific number
- Inquire about company benefits in response to this question
“Thank you for asking this question. I will be happy if you offer a salary range of $30,000 to $35,000 as this is being paid for similar roles.”
“I need a higher salary as compared to my current earnings. What do you offer?”
Do you have any questions for us?
This is usually asked at the end of the interview. In response to this question, you can inquire about unaddressed topics and details about your role and company. The answer to this question portrays your enthusiasm and curiosity.
- You must be prepared to ask at least one or preferably multiple questions
- Be curious about the company and job description
“Can you share more information about the related professional training offered at your company?”
“When will I get my first salary?”
30 More Common First Interview Questions
The above-mentioned questions are asked during almost all interviews. For more commonly asked questions, please continue reading:
- What suggestions would you give us to perform better?
- Which animal would you want to be if given a choice?
- How do you work under pressure and stress?
- Why do you want to get hired for this position?
- How do you handle failure?
- How do you manage success?
- Please mention your hobbies
- What makes you different from other candidates?
- What is your career’s low point?
- What is your career’s high point?
- How will you perform during the first month of this job?
- Explain the reasons for changing your career path
- Describe the gaps in your employment history
- What do your colleagues say about you?
- Why would we hire you?
- What is your dream job?
- What will be the reason for leaving your current job?
- Your expectations for this job position?
- How would you describe an ideal working environment?
- Have you ever disagreed with your manager?
- Mention your most prominent contribution to your current employer
- What is your management style?
- Have you applied to any other job openings?
- What are your views about our competitors?
- Would you consider yourself a leader?
- What is your problem-solving approach?
- What motivates you to get out of bed every morning?
- What do you do if you are late for work?
- Are you competitive?
- What is your most fascinating trait?