Common Job Interview Questions

Job interviews can be stressful. It can be challenging to decipher what interviewers are trying to discover about you as a candidate during an interview. “What does that question really mean?” “What are they trying to get out of me?” At JSG, we are here to put these worries to bed with a comprehensive group of common job interview questions. We will discuss popular job interview questions, explain what the interviewer wants to hear, and provide examples to help you nail your interview. Good luck!


 

A Conflict You Faced at Work

Interview Question: Tell Me About A Conflict You Faced at Work

What they want to know

Everyone has faced a challenging situation or conflict in the workplace. However, that doesn’t make it any easier to discuss in a job interview. It can be challenging to pick a conflict to discuss without feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. The key here is to make your answer more of a story and less analytical. Your interviewers want to see your human side and get a sense that you are capable of professionally handling conflict in the workplace.

In your answer, focus more on the resolution and less on the conflict. Many interviewees make the mistake of spending too much time talking about the conflict and getting caught up with the story’s negative side. Instead, briefly explain the problematic situation and focus your time on what you did to overcome it. But most importantly, be honest with your answer and don’t pretend to be the “perfect” candidate.

If you can, pick a relevant example relevant to the job or the company’s industry. In other words, choose a conflict or situation related to the job. You can use the STAR method to outline your answer to this question to keep you on track and paint a clear picture of your conflict resolution skills.

Example answering tell me about a conflict you faced at work

“My coworker was on vacation for the week, and our Chief Operating Officer called me and asked if her presentation for a new product idea was completed. She was very stressed as she needed it by the following morning. I was not working on the presentation and didn’t have the most recent copy. I called up my coworker on their cell phone and had her email the PowerPoint to me.

Our COO and I had a brief call and went over the presentation with her to see what was missing. I was able to figure out what was left to add and completed the presentation before the end of the day. Our COO was very pleased with the presentation and called me after her meeting and send it went very well! Now, my coworker and I share all of our working documents on the cloud so we can easily access each other’s files if something like that ever happens again.”

Final comments

This is an excellent example of explaining a conflict you faced in the workplace and how you resolved it. The answer highlights the conflict itself but focuses on the steps the interviewee took to overcome it and come to a resolution. Additionally, it clearly uses the STAR method to lay out the problem, making it easy for the hiring manager to follow. It also demonstrates that the interviewee can thrive under pressure and work alongside senior leadership.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

what's your greatest achievement

Interview Question: What’s Your Greatest Achievement?

What they want to know

This interview question is another tricky one to answer. If you are relatively young in your career, you may struggle to identify your greatest achievement. And if you’re an established professional, you may have a slew of accomplishments to choose from. However, the best thing you can do is share an achievement that you’re proud of that also demonstrates the value you bring to the table.

If you share an achievement that ties back to the job you are applying for, you’ll get some bonus points. Your interviewers want to see a glimpse of your work ethic and your professional values.

Pro tip:

Use the STAR (Situation, Tasks, Actions, Results) method to formulate your answer to this interview question. The STAR method essentially helps you build a story of a problem, your role in addressing that problem, the actions you took to fix the problem, and the results of your hard work. This is a helpful method to keep your answer on track and present your achievement clearly to your interviewers.

Example answering what’s your greatest achievement

“In my current role, our engineering team was responsible for building a new prototype for a medical device we were designing. One of the engineers tasked at 3D printing the device accepted another job offer, and nobody else on the team had 3D printing experience. I have some experience with 3D printing and offered to prepare the device to be printed. I worked with our team to troubleshoot a few issues that came up during the initial process; however, I was able to finish the device’s printing process two weeks ahead of schedule. The device is now on the market, and our company has sold thousands of units that help medical professionals save lives.”

Final comments

This is an excellent example of answering what’s your greatest achievement. It followed the STAR method to paint a concise picture of the problem, the interviewee’s role, and the resolution. If this answer were for an engineering position that required 3D printing experience, this would be a perfect choice.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Interview Question: Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

What they want to know

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” is another painful interview question to answer. It is difficult to explain where you see your career in the next half-a-decade to a stranger. Hiring managers ask this question to develop a better understanding of whether you fit into their long-term plan. If you say you want to be doing something completely different from the role you are applying for within five years; you probably won’t make the cut. The best way to answer this question is to provide a general idea of what you want to accomplish, the types of roles you see yourself in, and the skills you hope to lockdown.

You don’t have to have the perfect picture painted when answering this question; your interviewers just want to know if you are thinking of your future and if it aligns with the company’s goals. In other words, they want to know if you can see yourself with the company in that time frame. Employers like longevity!

Example answering where do you see yourself in five years

“In the next five years, I want to become an industry expert in digital marketing. I want to develop into a resource for my team and help educate newer marketing professionals on innovative concepts and tools. Also, I would like to improve my video editing skills to help produce engaging marketing videos for social media platforms. In the next few years, I would like to work up to earning a leadership role to help a company, like [insert company name], achieve their marketing and brand awareness goals.”

Final comments

This example checks all the boxes for successfully answering this question. It shows the candidate’s ambition, the drive to learn more about their industry, states a skillset they want to improve, and demonstrates their career drive. A hiring manager would be happy with this answer because it shows that the candidate is passionate about their industry and eager to learn more. It also expresses their desire to grow within the company. Where do you see yourself in five years is a tricky question to answer. However, if your answer shows your ambition to learn, grow, and longevity, you will be in good shape!

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

what's your greatest weakness

Interview Question: What’s Your Greatest Weakness?

What they want to know

This is probably one of the most challenging interview questions to answer. It is difficult to pinpoint weaknesses and talk about them with complete strangers. And that’s exactly why interviewers ask this question. Hiring managers and HR professionals want to know if you are self-aware of your flaws and see what steps you are taking to better yourself. Start with a fault and then discuss the steps you are taking to overcome it. The best thing you can do is remain positive and honest with your answer.

Pro tip: do not try and disguise a strength as a weakness. Using a weakness such as “I am a perfectionist” is not going to cut it. Everyone has weaknesses, and you should not be afraid to hide them. Your prospective employer wants to see your humility and the steps you take to improve yourself as a professional.

Example answering what’s your greatest weakness

“One skill set that I am currently working hard to improve is my efficiency with HTML and CSS. I took a class in college and developed a basic understanding of coding. However, in my current position, it is helpful to be able to make basic coding updates to our company website, and I have been challenging myself to become more knowledgeable in this area. I am enrolled in an online course, and I am already learning new ways to apply this information in my current role.”

Final comments

Discussing your greatest weakness can be overwhelming. This is an excellent example because a weakness was identified, and the interviewee laid out the steps they are taking to improve in that area. They discussed that they are already working on overcoming this weakness and seeing the results of their hard work. Plus, their answer was positive, which is precisely how any interviewee should frame a response to this question!

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

What’s Your Greatest Strength

Interview Question: What’s Your Greatest Strength?

What they want to know

This question is one of the most dreadful interview questions that an interviewer can ask you. It’s difficult to answer questions like these because, as a candidate, you never want to come off as conceited. However, you want to illustrate your skills and confidence to a new potential employer. To successfully answer “what’s your greatest strength?”, you want to highlight your technical and soft skills. Your answer is your opportunity to share skill sets and qualities that make you an excellent fit for the position and the company itself.

Example answering what’s your greatest strength

“One of my greatest strengths is my strong writing skills. My journalism minor in school helped me discover a passion for writing. For the past three years, I have honed my communication skills and attention to detail by working on our university’s editorial. This role has helped me learn how to write for different audiences and tweak my tone for different writing goals. As a technical writer, I will be able to write, edit, and publish technical documents for the product development and engineering teams with ease.”

Final Comments

Confidence? Check. Discuss a valuable skillset? Check. Relate it back to the job? Check. This example does an excellent job demonstrating the candidate’s background and skills, as well as tying them back to the position. Through this example, you can tell that the candidate carefully reviewed the job description and tied their skills back to the job. The answer was short and direct, which makes it a great example to answering this challenging interview question.

If you are having a difficult time answering “what’s your greatest strength?”, don’t worry. Many candidates struggle to discuss their strengths in an interview. Here is a list of skills you can communicate in your answer:

  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Technical skills
  • Tenacity
  • Work ethic
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Flexibility and adaptability

These are excellent skills to start with in crafting your answer; just don’t forget to tie them back to the position!

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

why are you looking for a new job

Interview Question: Why Are You Looking for A New Job?

What they want to know

So, why are you looking for a new job? There are a multitude of reasons why you could be searching for a new position. Whatever answer you provide, it must be thoughtful to illustrate your intentions and demonstrate your interest in the position. Your response must be carefully crafted and positive. In other words, if you want to succeed in this interview, your answer must steer clear of the negative aspects of your previous or current job.

For example, if you are searching for a new job because you are unhappy, you don’t get along well with your boss or are looking for a pay raise, these are not topics you want to bring up in your answer. Instead, focus on the job you are interviewing for and express your excitement for this new opportunity!

And when answering this question, the most vital detail is honesty. If you are dishonest with your answer, the truth will eventually surface, and your interviewers will not be happy.

Example answering why are you looking for a new job

“I am looking for an opportunity to utilizing my web development skills to create and maintain webpages. In my current position, I don’t have the chance to work on any web development as we outsource all of our web design and maintenance to a local developer. I recently completed an online course, and I really enjoyed learning how to build webpages from the ground-up. With this Digital Marketing position at [insert company name], I will have the opportunity to use this skill set and make webpages that help promote the company brand and services you provide.”

Final comments

In this example, the answer was positive, expressed interest in the position at hand, and demonstrated your excitement for the role. It also illustrates that you are a good fit for the position. “Why are you looking for a new job” is a common interview question that will undoubtedly be brought up in your interview. Overall, this a concise and effective answer to this sometimes difficult question.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

tell us a little about yourself

Interview Question: Tell Us A Little About Yourself

What they want to know

This question is typically an icebreaker at the beginning of an interview. Your interviewers are allowing you to shake off those nerves and provide a quick elevator pitch on your candidacy. The goal is to give a brief background about yourself and demonstrate why you’re a solid fit for this job. You should start by introducing yourself and tell them where you are currently working. This gives you the chance to briefly describe your current and past positions, as well as highlight the tasks that make you a strong candidate for this role.

If you’re fresh out of school or about to graduate, start by sharing your major and school/university. To top it off, feel free to conclude your answer on a more personal level. Maybe include a fun fact about yourself or an exciting hobby that might make for an interesting conversation starter. This tidbit allows you to let some of your personality shine right at the beginning of the interview!

Example answering tell us a little about yourself

My name is [insert name], and I am currently an Account Executive with [insert company name]. Over the last three years, I have developed the ability to identify new clients and provide them with a customized software solution to help them increase their productivity. As a salesperson, my greatest strength is understanding the needs of a prospective client and selling them a solution that fits both their budgetary requirements and business model. As someone who thrives in a competitive environment and enjoys helping companies become more profitable, I believe I can be a tremendous asset to your sales team. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and going hiking with Apollo, my German Shepard.

Final comments

In this example, they are providing a brief overview of their current position and are explaining how their background will allow them to be an excellent fit for the team. It also provides a brief glimpse of their personality (competitive, passionate, and loves the outdoors). Overall, this a great answer to this common interview question that you will likely face.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!