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.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2021!
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1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
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 October 1, 2020.
2 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 5.49% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.34% 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 October 26, 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 10/26/2020. 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.
3 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 January 4, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
4 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
5 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 12/07/2020 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.99% to 8.56% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% to 8.77% Fixed APR with AutoPay.