Most Common Job Interview Questions and Best Answers

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  1. Tell me about yourself

ANSWER: I worked at a small shop for two years doing 50 projects a year, meeting 100% of my deadlines. Then I worked for a bigger firm with clients like Disney and Netflix—with 99% client satisfaction. I collaborated with the team to win an A’ Design Award. I’m excited to step into a role like this that’s designed around that kind of efficiency and collaboration. Why are you applying for this position?

WRONG
I was born in Central Maine and spent summers swimming on a lake. After college, I worked bartending jobs. I knew I had graphic design talent, so I tried it. I’ve worked for seven years now at two different firms. I’ve gotten really good.

2.Why do you want to work here?

ANSWER:

RIGHT
You’re looking for someone experienced in pairs programming and Scrum. I’ve been part of two programming pairs in six years. In the first we raised code efficiency 45%. In the second we helped the team win a BOSSIE Award. In that job I was on a Scrum team that delivered 15 projects 20% under budget.
WRONG
I’ve been applying to just about every job I see on LinkedIn. This looked like a good fit, depending on the salary.

3.What motivates you?

ANSWER:

RIGHT
This is a high-end office with a great team. Your employees voted you the best place to work in New Hampshire. I know you’re looking for an administrative assistant good at resolving customer complaints. At CRM Mineral, I did that 43% faster than the previous assistant by triaging complaints and quickly escalating larger issues.
WRONG
I need work and I’ve applied to 200 jobs in the past month. I’m ready to work hard and I’m a skilled admin assistant.

4.Why are you a good fit for this position?

ANSWER:

RIGHT
I’m a good fit because you need an efficient nurse who is professional under pressure. At Harrison Memorial, we had a full ward and fast-paced schedule. The charge nurse commended me five times for efficiency and teamwork.
WRONG
I’m a great nurse and I’d work very hard to do the best job possible here. I’ve always fit in very well with nursing teams I’ve worked with.

5.Why are you the best person for this job?

ANSWER:

RIGHT
You need a business analyst who knows how to redesign customer communication protocols and fulfillment processes. I did that at Huffman Barco when outdated systems pushed our costs up. I was able to save the company $2 million a year.
WRONG
I’m a top-notch business analyst, highly skilled in future state assessment, business process re-engineering, and gap analysis. I’ve been on the job for nine years. At Huffman Barco, I was responsible for all business analysis functions.

6.What are your weaknesses?

ANSWER:

RIGHT
I haven’t traditionally been great at leadership. At Sintertron, the DevOps manager wanted to put me in charge of two programming pairs, and it was terrifying. I enrolled in three Dale Carnegie classes and learned a lot. It was a challenge, but I ended up enjoying it. My teams outperformed the company speed average by 5%.
WRONG
I’m not very good at teamwork. Every time my last boss put me with someone else to work with, we never got along. I work better by myself.

7.What interests you about this position?

ANSWER:

The job offer jumped out at me. You need someone who knows about app prioritization and network monitoring. At AccuRight Solutions, I used those tools to boost network performance 38%.
WRONG
It looks like a good opening at a good company. The pay is right, and it’s local to me and I need a job. I’m really interested in working here.

8.Tell me about how you dealt with a tough challenge

ANSWER:

RIGHT
We had a big last-minute order come in from a valued customer. I called a meeting and laid out the problem. We found a way to get it done with zero overtime. We made an extra $1.1 million in revenue that month.
WRONG
A crucial machine broke down right in the middle of a big run. I called in maintenance and they fixed the issue.

9.What are your strengths?

ANSWER:

RIGHT
I’m a strong Python programmer and I excel at collaboration. In my last job I worked closely with a team of five software engineers that turned out 10 Python projects in two years, end-to-end. We raised customer retention by 20%.
WRONG
I’m an excellent Java programmer and I’ve got great communication skills. In my last job I worked with six software engineers. Our team created 11 software solutions in Java in two years. We boosted customer retention by 22%.

10.Why should we hire you?

ANSWER:

RIGHT
You need an accountant who can support general accounting functions in the monthly close process for a high-volume firm. I did that at Amex for five years. I spotted a hidden issue that saved $3 million. I also redesigned our cloud computing policies and saved $300,000 a year in labor hours spent on security.
WRONG
I’m an experienced accountant skilled in financial statements, asset management, and account analysis. I worked for five years at American Express as an accountant. During that time I worked on cross-functional teams and improved our account analysis policies. I think I’d be a great fit.