Top 10 Job Interview Questions and Best Answers

Man and woman in job interview
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Are you ready to ace your upcoming job interview? It's important to be prepared to respond effectively to the questions that employers typically ask at interviews. Since these job interview questions are so common, hiring managers will expect you to be able to answer them smoothly and without hesitation.

You don't need to memorize an answer, but do think about what you're going to say so you're not put on the spot during the job interview.

Your responses will be stronger if you prepare in advance, know what to expect during the interview, and have a sense of what you want to focus on during your interview.

Top 10 Interview Questions and Best Answers

Review the top 10 interview questions you'll most likely be asked at a job interview, plus examples of the best answers. Also, review the other questions you may be asked, so you're prepared to ace the interview.

1. Tell me about yourself. - Best Answers
This is among of the first questions you'll most likely be asked. Be prepared to talk about yourself, and why you're an excellent fit for the job. Here’s how to answer questions about yourself without giving out too much – or too little – personal information. Start by sharing some of your personal interests and experiences which don't relate directly to work, such as a favorite hobby or a brief account of where you grew up, your education, and what motivates you.

Remember to be careful what you say, however – avoid potentially contentious subjects such as political or religious leanings, unless you are absolutely positive that your opinions would be well-received by your interviewer. You should also avoid talking too much about family responsibilities or hobbies that might make your interviewer wonder whether you could commit yourself 100% to the job.

2. What is your greatest strength? - Best Answers
This is one of the questions that employers almost always ask. When you are asked about your greatest strengths, it's important to discuss the attributes that will qualify you for the specific job and set you apart from the other candidates. Take the time, before the job interview, to make matches between your qualifications and the requirements as stated in the job announcement. This way, you will have examples ready to hand that will demonstrate your suitability for the job.

3. What is your greatest weakness? - Best Answers
Another typical question interviewers will ask is about your weaknesses. Do your best to frame your answers around positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee, turning seeming “weaknesses” into strengths. For example, you might say something like, “I’ve always struggled with perfectionism – I truly want to do the job correctly the first time, but this sometimes means that I devote more time to a project than is necessary. I’ve learned, though, to balance this drive with the equally important responsibility of meeting deadlines.”

You can also share examples of skills you have improved, providing specific instances of how you have recognized and worked to strengthen a weakness.

4. Why should we hire you? - Best Answers
Are you the best candidate for the job? Be prepared to say why you're the applicant who should be hired.  This is not the time to be modest (although neither should you be conceited). Make your response a confident, concise, focused sales pitch that explains what you have to offer the employer, and why you should get the job.

5. What are your salary expectations? - Best Answers
What are you looking for in terms of salary? It seems like a simple question, but your answer can knock you out of the contest for the job if you overprice yourself. If you underprice yourself, you may get shortchanged and a lower offer. Here's the best way to answer questions about salary.

6. Why are you leaving or have left your job? - Best Answers
When asked about why you are moving on from your current position, stick with the facts, be direct, and focus your interview answer on the future, especially if your leaving wasn't under the best of circumstances.

Always try to put a positive slant on your response; it’s better to give the impression that you’re more motivated by the possibility of new opportunities than by trying to escape a bad situation.

7. Why do you want this job? - Best Answers
This question gives you an opportunity to show the interviewer what you know about the job and the company, so take the time before the interview to thoroughly research the company, its products or services, its climate, and its mission. Be specific about what makes you a good fit for this role, and mention aspects of the company and position that appeal to you.

8. How do you handle stress and pressure? - Best Answers
What do you do when things don’t go smoothly at work? How do you deal with difficult situations? What do you do when something goes wrong? The best way to respond to this question is to give an example of how you have successfully handled stress in a previous job.

9. Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it. - Best Answers
The interviewer wants to know what you do when you face a difficult decision. As with the question about stress, be prepared to share an example of what you did in a tough situation. 

10. What are your goals for the future? - Best Answers
This question is designed to find out if you’re going to stick around or move on as soon as you find a better opportunity. Keep your answer focused on the job and the company you’re interviewing with.

Do You Have Any Questions?

At the close of the interview, most interviewers ask whether you have any questions about the job or company. It's always a good idea to have a list ready and to be prepared to respond.

Bonus Questions

Here are some related questions that you may be asked during a job interview that will require some thought to answer. Consider how you'd respond, so you're as prepared as possible to answer the hiring manager's questions.

What else will the hiring manager ask? Review more common job interview questions, plus see sample answers you can use to practice for a job interview. You can also expect to be asked about how you would respond to a specific work-related situation. Here's a list of examples of these behavioral interview questions you may be asked.

What shouldn't the interviewer ask? There are some interview questions that hiring managers should not ask during a job interview for legal reasons. Here are questions that shouldn't be asked, with advice on how to diplomatically respond.

More About Interviewing: Step by Step Guide to Job Interview Success | 10 Interview Tips That Will Help You Get Hired