Web designers in Seattle, project managers in Boston, or maybe financial analysts in Chicago. Using Glassdoor’s crowdsourcing, you could view the job interview questions posed to previous applicants for any role in any city.
The tool is especially useful if you have a company in mind. Enter the name of your dream employer and see what its hiring managers have asked applicants for different jobs.
Knowing the questions in advance could help you before your next job interview. But imagine if you also knew the answers.
How to answer these 5 interview questions
Acing common interview questions is important. But you’ll also have to study outside-the-box questions for jobs at top companies. Facebook, for example, is known to ask, “On your very best day at work — the day you come home and think you have the best job in the world — what did you do that day?”
Whichever big-time company you’re interested in working for, you should be aware of the types of interview questions coming your way. An engineering candidate at Google, for example, might want to be ready for competency or brain-teasing queries that test their ability to think quickly.
But popular companies hiring for any roles will also be asking behavioral questions that challenge your maturity. You could count on fielding experience-based questions too, as human resources departments try to see whether your resume matches up with your actual skill level.
Here are five such questions posted to Glassdoor by former job applicants at Airbnb, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.
1. Airbnb: If you had to teach a class at Airbnb to your peers, what would you teach?
Airbnb is a travel services company that emphasizes being open to new experiences. So it’s probably no surprise that the company hosts in-house fireside chats. Like the intern who posted this question on Glassdoor, you could be asked about the chat you’d lead.
Beyond gauging your knowledge and the ability to communicate it, this question is asking about your passion. You could show your personal side by sharing a hobby, but there’s a better way to score points.
“When you describe what you would teach, also express how it would be helpful to the goals and growth of the company,” said Robyn Coburn, a resume reviewer. “That is, how your peers would become better employees if they knew this stuff like you do.”
Your pre-interview research should shape your choice of topic. The more you know about a company’s mission and direction, the better your answer could be.
“For instance, if you learn that Airbnb is developing shared communities targeted to aging adults, the class topic could be [about] housing issues facing seniors,” said Carisa Miklusak, the CEO of job-matching app Tilr.
2. Amazon: Give me an example of a time you used data to solve a problem.
Experience-based questions often require citing a specific example. You could be smart enough to come up with an answer on the fly. But having one in your back pocket would be in your best interest.
“Amazon knows that not all decisions should be made on gut instinct and that solving a problem with data is effective and measurable,” said Miklusak. “They’re also trying to see if you know how to conduct research and how to analyze data to derive relevant information from which smart decisions can be made.”
You could use an example from your personal life, such as the time you figured out how to pay off your student loans. From comparing lender quotes to choosing repayment methods, there are plenty of numbers to talk about.
No matter your example, highlighting how you employed data is more important than the problem itself.
“When they say, ‘used data,’ that could mean re-examining stats and information that were already available, or it could mean that you designed a survey or other data-collection system to discover the nature of a problem,” said Coburn, who specializes in film and TV careers.
“Start with the problem,” she continued, “how it was noticed, then define how you used or found the data, what that suggested, and then [talk about] your solution.”
You might even ask if your interviewer has experienced a similar problem at the company. That will help you create a two-way conversation, not a dictatorial interview.
3. Apple: Tell me about a design decision you messed up and explain how you handled it.
Apple cracked the top five of companies that millennials are most excited to work for, according to a 2017 SurveyMonkey study. Given that level of interest, the company’s recruiters won’t be hesitant to put your work experience under the microscope.
Talking about a decision that went wrong could show your seniority. Maybe you miscommunicated with a client before handing off a brief to one of your underlings, or maybe you misread the brief yourself.
Either way, the result wasn’t good. That’s where the trap in the question lives, Coburn said.
“Whatever the reason for the mess up, it’s crucial to take responsibility, rather than blame any other person,” she said. “Especially avoid criticizing the client. That would be a job [interview] killer.”
Also, avoid focusing too much of your answer on the problem, not the solution — even though the question doesn’t directly ask for one.
“It would be better not to tell the story of a truly catastrophic error unless you then made a spectacular save,” Coburn said. “Move on quickly to the solution and the eventual outcome, which should be positive. You can also say what you learned, and how you have used that new information since.”
4. Facebook: What is something that you fundamentally changed about yourself to be successful?
You might read Facebook’s query as the dreaded “biggest weakness” question, but it’s actually about problem-solving and self-awareness.
When choosing how to answer, it’s wisest to prioritize a professional example over a personal one, even if it’s from your money-making side gig and not your full-time job. This will help the hiring manager visualize how your fundamental change makes you a better fit for the job you’re applying to.
“This might include overcoming a challenge or fear, like learning how to speak in public so that you could make better verbal reports and presentations in your department,” Coburn said.
Go above and beyond with your response by describing a change that includes a sacrifice, Miklusak recommended.
“It could be a change to [a] habit or your mindset,” she said. “Perhaps you started waking up two hours earlier because you realized you’re twice as productive in the morning. Or it could be that you started taking more risks in your personal life and your career.
“At Facebook and companies like it, change is imperative to be disruptive [on] a large scale, so they want to know if you can operate within that cultural mindset,” she added.
5. Google: Do you work well independently?
You don’t need to hire a career coach to know that Google’s interview process can be grueling. With that in mind, this five-word question might seem too simple. You might even think it’s a trick.
“If you say ‘yes,’ are you implying that you don’t work well in a team-based environment?” asked Lynda Spiegel, a job search coach. “If your response is ‘no,’ doesn’t that suggest that you can’t get anything done on your own?
“Your only recourse is to hedge by explaining that your work is informed by the synergies of teamwork, but you’re comfortable completing projects on your own.”
As with many of these questions, saying yes or no won’t be enough. You’ll also need to provide details, ideally workplace scenarios that you’ve lived through.
In one case, you could prove you don’t need to be micromanaged. Just explain times in your current job where you delivered results individually and as part of a team.
Learn the questions to prepare your answers
Working for the likes of Amazon and Apple might be on your bucket list. But whether you have hopes of getting a job at a top tech company or a mom-and-pop shop, prepare for potential questions you’ll be asked.
Glassdoor is one tool to help you build a cheat sheet. By seeing how past applicants have been put through the ringer, you can give yourself a better chance of coming out the other side — where a job offer could be waiting.
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1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Splash Financial loans are available through arrangements with lending partners. Your loan application will be submitted to the lending partner and be evaluated at their sole discretion. For loans where a credit union is the lender, or a purchaser of the loan, in order to refinance your loans, you will need to become a credit union member.
The Splash Student Loan Refinance Program is not offered or endorsed by any college or university. Neither Splash Financial nor the lending partner are affiliated with or endorse any college or university listed on this website.
You should review the benefits of your federal student loan; it may offer specific benefits that a private refinance/consolidation loan may not offer. If you work in the public sector, are in the military or taking advantage of a federal department of relief program, such as income based repayment or public service forgiveness, you may not want to refinance, as these benefits do not transfer to private refinance/consolidation loans.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of May 1, 2020.
Fixed APR: Annual Percentage Rate [APR] is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rate options range from 2.88% (without autopay) to 7.27% (without autopay) and will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. Rates are subject to change without notice. Fixed rate options without an autopay discount consist of a range from 2.88% per year to 6.21% per year for a 5-year term, 3.40% per year to 6.25% per year for a 7-year term, 3.45% to 5.08% for a 8-year term, 3.89% per year to 6.65% per year for a 10-year term, 4.18% per year to 5.11% per year for a 12-year term, 4.20% per year to 7.05% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.51% per year to 7.27% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. The fixed interest rate will apply until the loan is paid in full (whether before or after default, and whether before or after the scheduled maturity date of the loan).
Variable APR: Annual Percentage Rate [APR] is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Variable rate options range from 1.99% (with autopay) to 7.10% (without autopay) and will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. Our lowest rate option is shown with a 0.25% autopay discount. Our highest rate option does not include an autopay discount. The variable rates are based on the Variable rate index, is based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of April 27, 2020, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.43763%. The interest rate on a variable rate loan is comprised of an index and margin added together. The margin is a fixed amount (disclosed at the time of your loan application) added each month to the index to determine the next month’s variable rate. Variable rate options without an autopay discount consist of a range from 2.01% per year to 6.30% per year for a 5-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.35% per year for a 7-year term, 2.09% per year to 3.92% per year for a 8-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term, 2.67% per year to 4.56% per year for a 12-year term, 3.44% per year to 6.65% per year for a 15-year term, 4.75% per year to 6.93% per year for a 20-year term, or 5.14% per year to 7.10% for a 25-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable rate may be between 9.00% and 16.00%, depending on loan term. The floor rate may be between 0.54% and 4.21%, depending on loan term. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of June 23, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of July 31, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 7/31/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.18% effective July 10, 2020.