The 10 most common interview job questions and answers

Two men in a professional interview

What are the 10 most common interview questions and answers? Job interviews are challenging for even the most qualified and confident of us. Wouldn’t it be perfect if there was some kind of cheat sheet to follow when it comes to nailing an interview?

Fortunately, employers across many industries adopt a similar line of questioning. To help you prepare for your next interview, we have identified the 10 most common interview questions and provided some guidance on how to answer job interview questions.

1. Tell me a little about yourself

When it comes to common, it doesn’t get much more generic than this interview opener. This is essentially your platform to fill in all the gaps on your resume and showcase why you are not only technically the right person for the job but personally. Employers want to know that you will be a team player, display empathy, have the right attitude and many more attributes that only a face-to-face interview will provide.

Consider discussing things like, what you’ve learned from your most current position and why that has brought you to this interview and your short and long term career goals. Keep your answer concise and professional and be prepared to answer questions about anything you’ve mentioned.

2. What are your biggest weaknesses?

Rolling out tired old lines like ‘I work too much’ will elicit some chuckles, but this is an important question and should be treated as such. Instead, you should choose a weakness that you’re working on improving. Share how you’re overcoming the weakness. Nobody is perfect, but showing that you’re willing to admit your shortcomings and then look for ways to improve comes pretty close.

3. Why do you want to work here?

This can seem like a silly question. Because I need money? But businesses need to know you are committed to their goals and values. Research is essential here.

4. How come you left (or are leaving) your job?

This can be challenging, especially if you are leaving a job under bad circumstances. No potential employer wants to listen to you bag out a former employer. Instead, adopt a positive approach that focuses on the new challenges and goals you want to attack rather than the negatives you want to leave behind.

5. How much do you want to earn?

Another tricky question, as you don’t want to price yourself out of a job but you don’t want to settle for less either. You should know the going rate in your field, as well as your bottom line or walk-away point, so you can give a range of salaries to your potential employer.

6. How did you hear about this job?

It may seem like an innocuous interview question, but this is a chance for you to stand out and demonstrate your connection to the company. If you heard about the gig through a friend or professional contact, mention them and share your excitement about it.

7. What makes you the best candidate for the job?

There is a reason you will be asked this; it challenges and confronts you. Here, you need to demonstrate three things: you’re capable of the work and can deliver great results, you’ll fit with the team and the culture, and you’d be a better candidate than most of the others.

8. What can you bring to the company?

They aren’t just looking for your background when they ask this question. The interviewer wants to know how you are going to fit into the existing organisation and what problems and challenges you are facing as a department or company.

9. What is your greatest achievement?

You should think carefully before you answer interview questions like this one – you need to avoid sounding like you are bragging while still demonstrating your accomplishment in a way that makes you stand out amongst other candidates.

10. Would you like to ask me a question?

In your interview, you are given the opportunity to ask questions – so if you’ve been curious about the company culture or the day-to-day responsibilities of the role, this is the right time to find out if the position is the best one for you.

When preparing for an interview, it is a good idea to consider how you would answer these common interview questions Australian employers often pose. 

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