There’s nothing worse than going blank in the middle of a job interview.
The interviewer stares at you, waiting for an answer. Meanwhile, you’re racing through memories, trying to find the right one to share.
By preparing for common interview questions and answers beforehand, you can make sure this doesn’t happen to you. Read on to learn how to answer job interview questions like a pro and get the job you deserve.
7 common interview questions and answers
1. Tell me about yourself.
This prompt, or some version of it, is one of the most common ways for interviewers to begin. It’s very open-ended, so you can go in many directions. However, you don’t want to ramble or share your entire life story. So how should you answer?
First, reframe the prompt as, “Tell me about yourself as I evaluate you for this position.” Think about the interviewer’s goal here: She’s trying to gauge whether you’d succeed in the role and be a good cultural fit.
Therefore, tell the interviewer about yourself as you relate to the new job. If you’ve had relevant experience, share it. Even if you’re entry level, you can talk about skills you have that would transfer into the new role. Share your personality, but also make sure to customize your answer to the new position and company.
2. What are your strengths?
Here, the interviewer wants to make sure you possess the “core competencies” to succeed in the new role. Before answering interview questions about your strengths, learn as much about the position as you can.
What skills and strengths are listed in the job description? Look them over and pick two or three that you have. If you can share specific examples from past jobs, all the better.
Let’s say you’re applying to be an English teacher. You could vaguely say that you’re skilled at devising creative projects that get students engaged. Or, you could talk about the time you had your students write and perform original plays set in a dystopian future.
By giving an example, you won’t sound like you’re just telling the interviewer what you think she wants to hear. Instead, you’ll prove that you possess certain strengths with a memorable anecdote.
3. What are your weaknesses?
This interview question is always a tricky one. You spend time preparing to sell yourself, and then the interviewer wants you to talk about your weak points. How can you discuss your failings without undermining yourself for the job?
You should be honest about your weaknesses, but also strategic. Don’t choose a weakness that’s a core competency of the new job. If you’re interviewing for a position in human resources, for example, you probably shouldn’t say you have poor communication skills or are wildly disorganized.
Instead, pick a weakness that wouldn’t affect your job performance very much, then talk about the steps you’ve taken to overcome that weakness. That way, you can turn a conversation about weak points into one about growth opportunities.
4. Describe a time that you failed.
Like the weakness question, talking about your failures probably isn’t at the top of your mind when answering interview questions. Again, interviewers are trying to feel out how you respond to failure.
Do you just throw in the towel and give up? Or do you own up to your mistakes and take proactive steps to fix them? Here’s a chance to show how you react to setbacks.
This is an example of a behavioral question; you’re being asked to provide a specific example or anecdote. These can be hard to answer on the spot, so it’s useful to come up with examples before the interview.
5. Describe a time you contributed something to your team.
This is another behavioral question that asks for a specific story, but it’s also a question about cultural fit. The interviewer wants to see how you’d mesh with your new team.
This question is especially important if the new company values teamwork and collaboration. Consider this prompt an opportunity to show you’re a team player.
6. Why are you leaving your current job?
Interviewers often want to hear about what compelled you to leave your job. Did something drive you away? What are you looking for now? Can the new company meet your needs?
They don’t want to hire someone who will jump ship in a few months. Hiring a new person is a significant investment and they want someone who will last.
In answering interview questions like this one, don’t disparage your last company. Instead, focus on what the new company can provide, like new challenges, opportunities for leadership, or an inspiring mission.
Overall, you want to communicate enthusiasm to your interviewer. Bad-mouthing your last company or employer will just introduce negative energy.
7. Why do you want to join our organization?
Interviewers want to see that you’ve done your homework. What do you know about the company? What about its vision or culture appeals to you? How do you see yourself fitting in?
To prepare, do some serious research. Check out the company’s website, learn its founding story, follow their social media accounts, and educate yourself on the company’s industry and competitors.
Companies want to hire people who will propel progress. In answering interview questions like this one, you should show the interviewer that you’re the one for the job.
How to answer job interview questions: final words of advice
As you prepare, keep the following three principles of answering interview questions in mind.
- Be strategic in your answers. Show that you possess the core skills to get the job done.
- Prepare specific examples. Interviewers will likely ask you to describe instances of achievement, collaboration, or even failure. They want to hear about how you’ve behaved in the past to get a sense of how you’ll act in the future.
- Be open, honest, and enthusiastic. Show that you’ve done your research and are excited to join the new team. You don’t want to produce canned responses, but you should be prepared with your very best answers to interview questions.
By reading common interview questions and answers, you can ace your interview and get the job.
Are you on the hunt for a new position? If so, check out this article to learn how to market your skills to new employers.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.99% – 5.64%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.09%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 6.77%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|1.99% – 5.41%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
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1 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.
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 September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 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 September 10, 2020.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. 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 0.16% effective August 10, 2020.