100 Questions in a Job Interview (and 100 answers to shine)

100 Questions in a Job Interview (and 100 answers to shine)

If there is a decisive moment in the career of any professional, it is undoubtedly a job interview.

Facing fear and overcoming doubts may seem like a daunting task when the content of the interview is unknown. However, it is shown that all job interviews present the same questions to a greater or lesser extent.

Questions to break the ice
The most common would be that you focus all your preparation for the interview on those weighty questions, such as your professional experience or the skills that can make you shine in that position.

However, a recent study has shed light on the importance of courteous conversation at the beginning of an interview : developing an affinity with the interviewer in that trivial talk can give you an essential advantage over the rest of the candidates.

Have you easily found the office? Do you know this area?
Icebreaker question par excellence, can also be rephrased as "how about the trip here?" In its more informal side.

It is an initial contact in which the interviewer will make a first impression about your way of expressing yourself and your personality. Remember that, although it is an introductory question, it is part of the interview and you must always respond with the utmost professionalism.

Did you know the company? Have you been a client?
If you have followed our series on how to prepare an interview you will know that it is essential that you investigate the company. It is time to either explain your experiences as a client or, if you have not had the opportunity to be one, comment on what most catches your attention of what you have found out.

How did you know about this vacancy? Do you know anyone who works here?
A transition question that gives rise to entering a more professional field. It is also a way to measure your interest in the offer: have you contacted someone from the company to express your interest?

In the event that the vacancy has been communicated to you by a worker of the company, do not miss the opportunity to mention it. In general, companies look with great eyes at those candidates whose professionalism some of their employees can answer.

The Essential Questions
The hard core of any job interview, these 15 classic questions are essential to show that you are the perfect candidate for the position.

If you have little time to prepare for the interview, do not hesitate to focus all your attention on these 15 essential questions.

Tell me something about you.
Undoubtedly an open question, will also give good measure of how much or little you have prepared the interview.

What the recruiter wants to find out is whether you will fit into the team. Your résumé has taught you that you have the skills and the trajectory, but what about your personality? What makes you a better choice than the other candidates with your same experience?

There are several ways to structure your response to arouse the greatest interest:

Start with your current position, your years of experience and where you would like to focus your career
Build a story Explain how you found your love for the profession and how you learned to get your exceptional experience. Remember to keep your story in the strictly professional field
Start your speech talking about your skills and explain how they have helped you prosper in your career

Why do you think you are the right person for the position?
This will be the main concept on which the rest of the interview will pivot. Find out what your competitive advantage is for the position and explain it clearly and attractively.

For this you can take the job description and cross the information with the one presented in your CV. You will find your strengths and it will be much easier for you to contextualize them for the company.

What are your strengths?
It is a common mistake to answer this question with an endless list of adjectives: worker, enthusiast, responsible ...

However, it is much more effective to respond with concrete facts: "I am very responsible, when I led a team of 15 people I got ...".

What are your weak points?
The B side of the previous question, the interviewer can feel very frustrated if you answer with the cliché hackneyed about perfectionism or excessive dedication to work.

Find that weak point that is sincere but not too harmful and explain it in the most positive way possible. It will make you look like a really confident candidate.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
The real question is how will you suddenly need a new challenge? Will you stay with us the time necessary for the investment in your training to be profitable or will you go to another company as soon as you have the opportunity?

A sure answer would be to redirect the interest towards the company. "In 5 years I hope to be working in Compañía SA and contributing to its growth. I am very interested in your expansion plan in the coming years and I believe that my contribution can be very positive ".

Why do you want this position?
Although it may give the impression that the question is about you, it really only has to do with them. It's time to reveal to the interviewer everything you know about the company and the position. It shows that you are deeply aligned with the products, services, corporate culture and mission of the company.

What has been your greatest professional achievement?
If there is a question in which you should act with confidence and confidence in yourself, this is it. Do not be too modest in your response, the interviewer will be waiting for you to explain with the greatest enthusiasm that success story that you hope you can replicate in your company.

Build a story that manages to arouse your interest from the beginning. You can even be inspired by "the journey of the hero", a classic storytelling structure that will help you sort the contents and present them in the most attractive way.

What did you like least about your previous job?
It is a question that, although it may seem that invites to delve into the negativity, must be addressed in a positive way. Make sure your answer shows determination and a comfortable professional ethic. And above all do not incur a speech full of faults about your previous company.

What do you like most about your previous job?
On the contrary, a too enthusiastic speech about your current position can cause them to ask themselves what is your real need to want to change.

Do not leave room for improvisation in this question. During the preparation of the interview identify those positive points of your previous job that you think may be repeated in the vacancy and stick to them.

Do you prefer to work alone or as a team?
Of course the interviewer will wait to hear that you are capable of working as a team. But it would not hurt to add that you also work well alone because you are an autonomous person with your own resources. Add some example of when you got great success working side by side with your colleagues.

What would a comrade / boss say about you if we asked?
A very popular question among recruiters, since it is capable of destabilizing even the most trusted interviewee.

As in the question about your strengths, it is advisable to avoid giving a long list of favorable adjectives and, instead, offer some example of recognition that you have received. You can use even the testimonies cited in letters of recommendation or professional social networks.

How do you deal with stress?
Any interviewer knows that there is absolutely no employee immune to stress. It is human and sometimes necessary to progress, so do not try to sell the idea that stress does not affect you.

Name some techniques you have used previously to overcome it and achieve outstanding results: prioritize tasks, delegate, limit the time of each task ...

How do you face failure?
"I take some time to try to assess where this failure has come from and understand how to avoid it in the future. And I dedicate myself to work harder, if possible. I never stop in a failure longer than strictly necessary to learn from him. I prefer to invest my energies in continuing to reap successes. "

How do you face success?
Interestingly, the perfect answer is really similar to the previous one: "I give myself a quick pat on the shoulder and continue to work hard on the project. Of course I analyze what has led me to achieve that success and how I can repeat it, but I prefer to move quickly to continue working to reap new triumphs. "

What is your desired salary?
Suggesting too low a quantity can make you feel really unmotivated in the position. Too high an amount, on the other hand, can nip your chances of being chosen at the root.

Unless you are very clear about your desired salary, and it is non-negotiable, the safe option is to return the question to the interviewer. You can ask what the salary range they are considering for the position. And, once you get that information, explain that due to your training and experience you consider that you should be on top of that fork.

Questions about your professional goals

Why do you want to work in this company?
Or, which is the same, what do you know about our company? A question that will serve to the recruiter to discard to that candidate that has been limited to realize a superficial investigation of the company. Do not hesitate to go beyond the "about us" page of your website, a thorough investigation can give you a significant advantage.

Remember also that you should never focus your answers on what the company can do for you, but on what you can do for the company.

What motivates you?
Candidates who feel motivated solely by a salary or recognition will rarely be the most enthusiastic or productive employees of a team.

Recruiters know this and what they are waiting to hear is an answer that is intrinsically aligned with the peculiarities of the position. Saying what motivates you the most about a job is creativity when you are applying for a data management position can lead to an immediate dismissal.

Why were you so long in the same position or company?
Although the interviewer will value your stability and bet on a specific company, you should not give the impression of having been stuck. If this is your case, comment that you had the opportunity to take on new projects and responsibilities and that the position evolved -primarily thanks to you- during all those years.

Why do you want to change jobs?
This will not be the opportunity to cite all the negative aspects of your current position. Remember that what they want is not to know more about you but about what you can do for them.

List two or three reasons to leave your current position focusing on aspects such as limitation to grow or lack of challenges. And then reaffirm-ate that the new position could satisfy both needs.

How does this position fit into your career?
In other words, the interviewer wants to know if the investment they are going to make in your training will be profitable in the long term. There is nothing more expensive for a company than an employee who leaves his post after a few months. Claim your commitment to the position whenever you have the chance.

Why have you changed jobs so often?
Today there is no stigma that a few years ago suffered the professionals who jumped from one position to another. However, it is still essential to explain each movement in a way that the interviewer can sympathize with. Short-term contracts, transfers, career advancements and structural changes in the company are some of the most excusable explanations.

What is the work of your dreams?
"This one, without a doubt!", You may be tempted to answer. But there would be many possibilities that they did not believe you. In the same way, it would be harmful if you cited a profession that had absolutely nothing to do with the position you are applying for.

It is recommended that you offer a description of your personal aspirations ( "a position that presents challenging challenges and where I can achieve a positive impact with my abilities", etc.) instead of a specific professional title.

Do you have experience leading departments? How would you motivate your team?
If you are in a selection process for a position that implies some leadership, it is very possible that this question is asked. One possible answer: "I would recognize and maximize the individual skills of each member of my team. I would always keep an open line of communication. And it would share both successes and failures. "

Are you in other selection processes?
Perhaps it is not one of the most common questions, but it is an unbeatable opportunity to prove that you are a professional in demand. The interviewers do not cease to be susceptible to social validation, so if they intuit that you are considering other companies, they will inevitably be awarded an added value.

What special skills do you bring to the position that other candidates do not possess?
Have you crossed the details of the vacancy description with your CV until you find your true competitive advantage as we suggested at the beginning? This is the occasion to explain it without skimping on details.

What would you like to achieve that you could not achieve in your last position?
Just as in the question about your reasons for wanting to change jobs, you should show respect to your current job. Briefly summarize some lack of your position without falling into negativity and quickly directs attention to the exciting of the new project before which you present yourself.

Would you be willing to work overtime?
The simple fact that this question appears means undoubtedly that it is an indispensable requirement for the position. You have to be honest with yourself and decide if you are willing to spend more time than stipulated or if, on the contrary, you deny categorically.

Would you be willing to travel frequently or change your address?
Again, respond with the greatest sincerity. Lying in such a relevant section will only mean that both parties are dissatisfied when the situation arises.

When could you join the company?
In the event that you work you must undoubtedly indicate that you need the 15 days of rigor. You can also add that you need that deadline to leave several projects closed and make the transition as smooth as possible for your current company. You will be giving an image of professionalism and consideration that will be very well received.

Questions about personality

Although it is true that in a job interview there is no single valid answer, with questions about personality the interviewer will be waiting to get certain answers . These are some of them.

Do you take risks or are you a cautious person?
"I take risks but I always proceed with caution, so I guess I should be somewhere in between. I like to weigh what my chances of success are before taking a risk. I also tend to analyze what I can earn and what I can lose. I can say that I am a daring but at the same time cautious professional. "

How do you handle the pressure?
"I take a deep breath and find out what needs to be done. And I just do it. I have discovered that my best projects have been devised under pressure "

What bothers you the most about your co-workers?
"The excess of negativity has always worried me. I believe that the energy you use in complaining can be invested in something much more profitable for all like fixing what does not work. "

How do you react to the change?
"Change seems essential to me to progress. We are in an industry that changes at a fast pace, we can not stay behind. For example, when I worked for Empress SA I realized that the software they used to make the newsletter was outdated and quite rigid. I spoke with the director of the department and I got her to agree to move the whole process to an online manager, which is cheaper, more dynamic and offers much more detailed metrics. It was a very positive change. "

How do you make decisions?
"It took me a while to assess the situation before deciding what to do. I also try to learn from others. If I know of someone who has experience with a similar situation, I will not hesitate to ask for advice. "

What do you owe your boss and what does your boss owe you?
"I owe my boss hard work, respect and improvement, first of all. And my boss owes me respect, recognize my hard work and enhance my skills. "

Have you been in a situation where most disagreed with you?
"Something similar happened on one occasion. What I did was first listen to the reasons why most of my colleagues felt that way. Then I evaluated if it was necessary to reconsider my position. Even after listening to her arguments, I still thought that the option I was proposing was the best one for the company, I tried to persuade them. In the end many of them managed to see things as I did and decided on an intermediate solution. "

Do you consider that you have been successful in your career?
"I consider that I have been successful in my career because I have always worked very hard and I have always been very receptive to any challenge that comes my way. I am very enthusiastic and that has allowed me to work on really interesting projects. For me, success is that. "

What motivates you to go beyond duty?
"I do not consider that there is a line that separates what goes beyond my duty. When I work on a project I always give my best, always. "

What would you do if you disagreed with your boss?
"If I believe that my ideas can positively impact the department, I would share my impressions with him or her, always with respect. In the past my suggestions have been very well received and have been implemented successfully. "

What if your boss asks you to do something 
that does not correspond to your position?
"It would depend on what he asked me to do. I do not expect you to send me to do something that is not ethical. But if what is asked of me has the objective of making a project grow, I would not have any problem. As a Marketing Specialist in my previous job in a publishing house I ended up designing the covers of the books. So it's not a big problem for me to overcome the limits of my title. "

How did you get on with your last boss?
"We had - and we have - a really good relationship. There was mutual respect and a lot of desire to take projects forward. He worked from London, also, so he trusted me to lead the department in situ. "

Have you ever had a boss you did not like?
"I've worked with bosses that I liked more than others, but I've always tried to maintain a professional attitude and get along with all my colleagues."

Describe the ideal partner.
"The ideal work partner is one who respects those around him and works side by side with them. He who knows how to offer constructive criticism and accept it too. That he collaborates for the common good and does not try to compete with his co-workers. "

Describe the ideal boss.
"I believe that the ideal boss is the one who knows the specific abilities of each one and maximizes them. The one who always challenges to do a better job and does not hesitate to recognize the achievements of others. I have been lucky enough to work for several people like that and it has been very rewarding. "

How do you handle criticism of your work?
"Not only do I not fear them but I look for them. I think that criticism can be a very valuable tool. It forces you to evaluate your work and find out where you can improve. "

Do you consider yourself a person with initiative?
"Definitely. I can not avoid detecting inefficient processes in all the projects in which I collaborate. I always suggest improvements and I can say that they have been a success. For example, in the restaurant where I currently work I detected that every day we threw a lot of food in the trash because the inventory was manual and not very agile. I implemented an online inventory system and reduced waste by 40%. "

Questions in which you must provide examples
Give me an example of a great decision you had to make.
The interviewer will want to make sure that your decision-making process is compatible with the way your company works. Always offer an example adapted to the peculiarities of the position. If the position is to lead a team, explain a story about how you managed to motivate and increase the productivity of your team. If, on the contrary, it is a data management job, it mentions a situation in which the logic and the compartmentalization of functions are used.

Explain a failure that you have experienced in your work.
With this simple question, several complex issues will be addressed:

Are you able to take risks?
Does failure paralyze you?
Have you managed to learn from your failures?
Do not be afraid to detail the project that you bet on and that, however, did not work. The failure is human and your ability to turn it around, learn from it and use it to overcome you can shed a very favorable light on your candidacy.

Tell me once when a customer has been very unhappy and what you did to fix it
The interviewer will not be oblivious to the existence of those particularly difficult clients. The advisable thing in this case will be to stop blaming the client and put the emphasis on your ability to handle a conflict in a professional manner.

Explain to me a big change that you have had to deal with.
An employee who embraces change is one of the most important assets for the progress of a company. Show that not only do you not see it as an obstacle, but also, you perceive it as something as inevitable as necessary.

Can you give me an example of a time when you were persuasive?
This is a question about leadership. And, as the best leaders do, you must demonstrate that you are directing with power and not simply with authority.

Describe the time when you overcame an obstacle creatively.
The key word is undoubtedly "creative". What the interviewer will want to know is if you are capable of thinking with originality. Offer an example of how you were able to offer a totally unexpected (and equally successful) solution.

Give me an example of a time when you persuaded others to support one of your less popular ideas.
Nobody has a particular interest in hiring a lone leader. As we explained before, your leadership must always be reaffirmed in your capacity to get the support of your colleagues. Show that consensus and persuasion are part of your professional day-to-day.

Have you ever disagreed with your boss? Give me an example.
Arguing that you have never had a disagreement with a superior is as negative for your aspirations as explaining that you solved it by slamming the door. Be honest, but above all focus on your ability to debate in a mature and productive way for the good of the company.

Can you give me examples of some initiative you took to reduce costs?
Nothing illustrates an example better than a figure. Prepare your numbers well before introducing yourself to an interview and mention them whenever you can.

Describe the time you helped a member of your team who had problems.
Do not simply stay in the anecdote of when you were empathetic and a true companion. Go further and detail how this gesture helped the company on a more generalized level.

Give me an example of a time when you had to improvise.
"Wait for the unexpected," the interviewer seems to be telling you. Although this question may seem to appeal to spontaneity, it is not an exercise in improvisation at all. Prepare well the story of how you managed to face chaos, handle the unthinkable and overcome the fear of failure.

Cheating questions
Do you think you're overqualified for the position?
The cheating question par excellence, it is not surprising that it catches many unsuspecting candidates. A correct answer would be : "Both my training and my experience guarantee that I will be able to do the job successfully, in my opinion it is very positive. I am interested in betting for the position in the long term and without a doubt I want to contribute to the growth of the company. It's something my career has prepared for me. "

What would you change if you ran the company?
No doubt with the greatest respect, but do not hesitate to provide some ideas for improvement in a constructive way. Interviewers like candidates who show initiative and who have also done their homework when investigating the company.

We use the X program. Are you familiar with it?
"I use a very similar program. I also have friends in the profession who dominate it and I am sure that they will be able to teach me how to work before joining the position. I am very easy to learn new software and I am in several online learning platforms, so it would not be a problem. "

Have you ever been fired?
Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Elvis Presley and Oprah are just some of the most successful personalities who have been fired at some point in their lives. Or, what is the same, it happens even to the best. Speak honestly about the experience and, above all, focus on how it has helped you become a better professional.

Can you provide references?
There are reasons for optimism when this question appears on the scene. Do not hesitate to provide references of those former supervisors who can validate your strengths and excellent professional contributions. If the interviewer asks to contact your current company, however, it is your right to demand that they proceed with discretion.

Forbidden questions
Unfortunately there are still some job interviews in which the morally acceptable line is crossed . Then you will find them classified according to their degree of adequacy.

It is a collection of questions that should sound all your alarm signals and invite you to consider if you really want to work for that company.

Questionable questions
Where were you born?
What is your marital status?
Have children?
Do you have a house in property?
Do you belong to a club or society?
Have you ever had to take a leave of absence?
Inappropriate questions
What would you do if a superior wanted to spend time with you outside the office?
Would you have a relationship with a co-worker?
Do your children get sick frequently?
Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?
How much do you weigh?
Illegal questions
Do you belong to a union?
Would you like to start a family one day?
What is your sexual orientation?
What is your nationality?
Are you of race ...?
How old are you?
What year did you license?
Do you profess any religion?
What political affiliation do you have?
What is your health status?
Do you have any disabilities?

Questions for the interviewer
You must not forget that a job interview is a bidirectional process. The following questions will help you decide if it is the opportunity you were waiting for .

What is the biggest challenge that I will have to face in this position?
What would a day be like by developing this position?
(In the case of being a newly created position) Why was this post created? (If someone has left the job) Why did the person leave the position?
What are the main challenges of this position?
How is the environment in the department?
Who would be my direct supervisor?
What results do you expect to get in the first 6 months?
Are there possibilities to grow professionally in the company?
What type of training would you receive?
What is the level of responsibility in the position?
What plans does the company have for the next 5 years? How does the department fit into them?
Are you usually working extra hours or is it something punctual?
What is the best thing about working for this company?
As you may have already deduced from our series on job interviews , there is no single path to success. Maybe even the interviewer will surprise you with a compendium of weird questions . And that your answer to those questions is what gets you the position.

Your true mission will be to overcome nerves , work hard in the process, know yourself well as a professional and present you with the greatest enthusiasm. Good luck.

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