Career Advice, Interviews

40 Interview Questions You Should Be Prepared to Ask & Answer

When it comes to interviews, there’s no better formula for success than research and preparation. For your next big interview, here’s a roundup of all the best advice Glassdoor has to offer on what type of questions you’re going to be asked, how to answer, and also what kind of questions you should be asking in return.

BE PREPARED TO ANSWER:

1. How would your boss from your last job describe you?

This is a good opportunity to talk about your work ethic and how your personality fit into your previous position. If you had a negative experience at your last job, share what you learned from the role and how you turned it into a positive experience.

2. Do you prefer to work alone or with others?

Interviewers often ask this question as a way to see if the job candidate will fit in with the company’s culture. Research company culture beforehand to find out what they’re looking for, and if it’s right for you.

3. What are you proud to have accomplished at your last job?

Interviewers ask this in order to give you an opportunity to show off your strengths – just remember to be humble, and genuine.

4. Tell me about yourself.

This question is an opportunity for you to give your elevator pitch – craft and practice it beforehand so you don’t deliver a long, rambling answer that glazes over the important details that your interviewer should know.

5. Tell me about a time when you messed up at work. How did you fix your mistake?

This question is an opportunity for the interviewer to assess your damage control and problem-solving capabilities. Be honest when talking about the mistake you made, but focus on how you solved the problem.

6. What do you value most about our culture and vision?

The best way to answer this question is to have a firm understanding of the company’s values, and be able to talk about how those values align with your own.

7. Would you quit your job if you won the lottery, even if you loved your current position?

Interviewers may ask this to find out if you’re more excited about the job or the paycheck. Whether you’re in it for the income or you’re wildly passionate about your job, give your honest opinion, and the reasoning behind that opinion.

8. What religious holidays do you observe?

It is illegal for an interviewer to ask you about your religion, age, or sexual orientation. If you get asked this and don’t feel comfortable answering, kindly deflect.

9. What is something you don’t want me to know about you?

This is a tricky question because this could lead you to reveal information that isn’t legal for interviewers to ask. Make your answer lighthearted and clever, so that you can steer the conversation away from more serious topics. Consider talking about your hobbies or a fun guilty pleasure like binge watching National Geographic shows.

10. What is your greatest weakness?

Try not to answer with a humble-brag, like your greatest weakness is that you’re a workaholic – a genuine answer will really set you apart from the pack. Don’t softball this question; welcome the opportunity for examination. Look at past performance appraisals and think about the feedback that you’ve heard from previous managers. Be honest with yourself about your professional areas of challenge. Own them. Self-awareness is a soft skill, and those are increasingly in demand in the workplace.

11. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Interviewers ask this in order to gain perspective on your personality and values. Talk about how your hobbies contribute to who you are and how you would make a unique addition to the workplace.

12. What do you dread most about going to work?

Deflect this negative question with something positive, like “having to leave work at the end of the day.”

13. How many pizza places are in New York City?

Employers ask oddball interview questions like this one to measure your ability to think on the spot. Regardless of whether your answer is correct, talk them through your thought process, being careful to mention all the assumptions you’re making in order to answer the question.

14. Why have you had X number of jobs over the last X years?

Answer this question by focusing on the job experiences that shaped your career in a positive way. For instance, explain you’ve been searching for the right job that fits your career goals and how the position you’re interviewing for fits these goals.

15. What do you hope to accomplish within the next year?

This is a chance to highlight your skills and strengths that will bring you success as a future employee. Also reference accomplishments in previous jobs to show that you have what it takes to be successful in a new position.

16. What is the question you were hoping I wouldn’t ask today?

Prepare for this question so that you’re not left stumped. And know the answer to your own question as well! Consider questions like: What is your greatest weakness? Why are you leaving your previous job? What was the last thing you Googled?

17. Tell me about a project that forced you to be innovative and creative.

Display your abilities to give outside the box solutions and think on your feet with this answer – think of one anecdote beforehand that can highlight this.

18. What is your five-year plan?

This is an opportunity for the interviewer to assess your long-term potential at the company. Ideally, you’ve applied for this job because you can see yourself working there for the foreseeable future. If not, talk about how this job will help you prepare for your next career move.

19. What makes you excited about Mondays?

This is a question for you to share what makes you most passionate about the career you have, and what you like most about working in that field.

20. Why are you working in this industry?

Share a story about a defining moment in your path to this career. Highlight what about that experience relates to the job you’re currently applying to.

BE PREPARED TO ASK:

1. How would you define your company values?

This question is important to ask to multiple interviewers to gauge whether you’re getting a consistent sense of the same company values from all of them. You also want to make sure that the values they’re describing are ones you can stand behind.

2. How do you incorporate employee feedback in the day-to-day operations?

Employers who not only listen to their employees, but also work to incorporate employee feedback, are going to be the easiest to work with, and as a result will also probably have the most effective teams. This is also a question to sniff out a micromanager.

3. What’s the most essential trait a new team member should possess, and why?

This a question you can ask to anybody along the hiring process to learn more about the company’s needs and expectations.

4. Why have people left this position voluntarily or involuntarily?

Learn more about the type of personalities that worked well in the role, and the ones that didn’t. If a string of qualified people left the job, that’s definitely something to be wary of.

5. Are there opportunities for professional development?  If so, what do those look like?

Beware of taking positions where there’s a potential for professional stagnation – take the interview as an opportunity to learn about structures the company has in place for learning and advancement.

6. Where do you see the company in five years?

This is a question to evaluate how clear the vision and how steadfast the leadership of the company is. It’s also a way to gauge how much say employees have in helping shape the vision of the company.

7. What benefits are focused on work-life balance?

Ask the difficult questions about work-life balance – your future happiness depends on it. Target your applications towards companies from the get-go who you’ve identified to have a good work life balance.

8. How do you set employees up for success?

It’s critical to evaluate the flexibility your future employer will allow you. A narrowly focused supervisor could be a potential source of conflict.  

9. What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job?

Understand the scale of the challenges presented in this role. It’s important to know if this is a challenge that you’ll be able to take on.

10. What are your interests outside of the office?

This is a sneaky way to evaluate work-life balance. If your supervisor doesn’t have any hobbies outside the office, they’re probably spending too much time on work.

11. What does success look like in this position, and how do you measure it?

It’s crucial to understand what the key performance indicators are for the role. How, and how often are they measured?

12. What do the day-to-day responsibilities of the role look like?

Your daily responsibilities are really the meat of the job. Even if a job sounds cool on paper, it’s important to clarify beforehand exactly you’ll be doing. Is this really a routine you can see yourself doing every day?

13. What are the company’s values? What characteristics do you look for in employees in order to represent those values?

It’s crucial to know about company culture when you’re applying for a job – you need to know if this a work community where you’ll fit in.  

14. What’s your favorite part about working at the company?

Find out what your interviewer enjoys about working at this company. And if they don’t readily dole out enthusiasm, it might be a warning sign.

15. Who will I be working most closely with?

Get a sense of who your collaborators will be, even going so far is to ask for names and titles. This is so you can evaluate how cross-functional the role is.

16. What’s the greatest challenge your company has faced? How did you overcome it?

This is a great question to ask when you get to an interview with a higher-level executive. Learning how the company behaves in times of failure is a window into its true culture.

17. What’s the company policy on telecommuting?

This question will allow you to gain more insight into whether the company is focused on the well-being of its employees, or is rigid about office rules.

18. Do employees control the structure of their goals and tasks?

How lenient is your employer going to be if you can’t deliver something on time? This question gives insight into how rigid the company culture is.

19. If I’m hired, what would you expect me to have accomplished in a year?”

Make sure that the interviewer’s answer to this question is in line with what you can realistically accomplish. Fair expectations show the company has thoughtfully considered what your role will be in the company.  

20. Is there anything about my background or resume that makes you question whether I am a good fit for this role?

This type of question can be a great opportunity for you to respond to any latent concerns your interviewer may be harboring.

Preparing for a Job Interview? Check Out These Resources:

10 Interview Questions to Ask to Evaluate a Company’s Work-Life Balance

7 Interview Questions You Should Never Ask

How to Prepare For The “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question

50 Most Common Interview Questions

Top 10 Oddball Interview Questions for 2016