Want to do well in your next job interview? Well, preparation is key. Here’s a list of some of the most common job interview questions and answers that you can expect the interviewer to ask you, and some questions that you can ask in an interview. You shouldn’t memorise every answer, but we do suggest that you practice, even in front of a mirror, until you feel confident in your presentation.

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  3. What is your biggest accomplishment?
  4. Why are you the best person for this position?
  5. Why are you leaving your current job?
  6. How would you explain this gap in employment?
  7. What type of work environment do you prefer?
  8. How do you handle stress and pressure?
  9. Why would you like to work for this company?
  10. Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years’ time?
  11. What are your salary expectations?
  12. Do you have any questions?


1. Tell me about yourself.

While interviewers would like to know more about you, they are not just making small talk. They are putting you on the spot by giving you full control of the situation and testing your reaction.

How to answer:

Give a short 2 to 3-minute pitch about your background, and link it back to why you are the best fit for the job. Start with your educational background, move on to your most recent job roles and round off with the skills you’ve acquired, which will be of benefit to the position you are applying for.

Talk about why you chose that specific degree or discuss why you decided to take a gap year, and what you learned from that experience. Make sure that the interviewer understands what you’ve done and the reasons behind these decisions.

You can also explain why you are interested in that specific job role or company. Interviewers are not interested in your personal background, family constellation and childhood upbringing, so focus on your professional experience.

2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

The interviewer here is testing your honesty while also identifying whether you’ve got what it takes. Link your strengths to concrete examples and choose weaknesses that you are working on improving. Always keep in mind to discuss attributes that will eventually qualify you for the job.

Avoid vague and sweeping adjectives such as “professional” and “perfectionist”. These are used by most interviewees and do nothing to describe your personality or work ethic. The answer to this question can also be used for the question ‘How would others describe you?’

How to answer:

When describing your strengths, always be accurate. Share your real strengths, not those you think the interviewer wants to hear. Be specific and choose strengths which are relevant and based on the job role requirements. Avoid choosing vague words such as “people skills,” instead say “persuasive communication” or “relationship building”.

Follow up each strength with an example of how you’ve demonstrated these traits in a professional setting, to prove that you do have these attributes.

The first step to describing your weaknesses is acknowledging that you do have some. Finish your answer on a positive note by linking your weaknesses to practical examples of how you’re trying to overcome them, to show that you are self-aware and that you want to get better at your job.


3. What is your biggest accomplishment?

The interviewer is looking for details to show that you can do the job. It’s an excellent opportunity to showcase your track record, and this information will also convey to your interviewer, what you would be capable of. The answer to this question can also be used for the question: ‘Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you’ve dealt with it?’.

How to answer:

One helpful way to answer this question is by using the STAR method. Set the context for your story (Situation), explain what was required of you (Task), what you did to achieve the objectives (Activity) and the success of it all (Result).


4. Why are you the best person for this job?

Interviewers typically get hundreds of applications for the same job, and what they would like to know when asking this question is what sets you apart from the rest of the candidates. Chances are that you will not be aware of who the other candidates are so your best bet is to summarise your most impressive traits. The answer to this question can also be used for the question ‘Why do you want to work here?’ and ‘What interests you about this role?’

How to answer:

Sell yourself! Think of your most impressive and unique strengths that closely relate to the job description, summarize them and pitch yourself in a way that clearly illustrates the qualities you could bring to the role. You should add how successful you would be in this new position and how well you would fit into the company culture.


5. Why are you leaving your current job?

Interviewers are fishing for reasons why you did not last in the company. They are also testing whether you would bad mouth their company later on. You should never dwell on the past and more importantly, never speak negatively about your previous or current employer, regardless of the reasons for leaving.

How to answer:

Be direct and focus your answer on the positives this move will bring, especially if you did not leave under the best of circumstances. Focus on yourself, what you want to achieve and your eagerness to take on new opportunities rather than what your previous employer did wrong. If you were fired, simply state that you were let go.


6. How would you explain this gap in employment?

A gap of several months to a year on your CV can raise a few question marks for recruiters, and it is likely to come up during an interview. Whether you chose to raise a family, pursue your education further or were just unsuccessful in gaining new employment, you need to help an employer understand the reasons for your career gaps.

How to answer:

Be honest and avoid skirting around your employment gaps during job interviews. The best way to tackle this situation is to explain truthfully and briefly. Regardless of the reasons for your employment gaps, you should always maintain a positive attitude and show the value you offer to potential employers.


7. What type of work environment do you prefer?

The interviewer here wants to identify whether you are the best fit for their company culture. The answer to this question can also be used for the question ‘Do you prefer to work independently or as part of a team?’ and ‘What is your ideal job?’

How to answer:

Before answering this question, make sure to research the role you’re applying for and their company culture. Two good qualities to mention here are your ability to be flexible and adaptive. You can also mention the work environment at your past job, which aspects you enjoyed and which you would rather change.


8. How do you handle stress and pressure?

Your interviewer wants to know how you would react to stressful situations at work. This question can also be linked to ‘What type of work environment do you prefer?’ and ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’

How to answer:

Show your interviewer that you can tackle a stressful situation productively and positively. A reasonable amount of stress is essential to get things done. You can also share some of your techniques for reducing and managing stress or describe examples when you successfully navigated a stressful situation at work. You can also use the START method in this case.


9. Why would you want to work for this company?

By asking this question, interviewers are trying to find out how prepared you are for the interview, and whether you took the time to research your potential employer. They also want to fish for your career goals and understand your priorities. The answer to this question could also be used for ‘Which aspects of the company or the job are appealing to you and why?’

How to answer:

A good answer will demonstrate your knowledge of the company and its industry. Do your homework - pick a specific reason for wanting to work for the firm. You can focus on the company’s culture, reputation or ethos, its position in the market or growth potential, or a passion for the products or service they offer.


10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

Interviewers want to get a sense of your personal goals, expectations and ambitions. They want to know whether your career expectations are realistic, whether you have the drive and motivation for the job, and whether your employment is an investment for the company or merely a short-term solution. The answer to this question can also be used for the question ‘What are your goals for the next 5 years?’

How to answer:

You should tailor your answer according to each job interview you attend. Be realistic about the path that that particular career could lead you on. Don’t focus on personal goals, such as getting married and raising children, but rather on professional ones.

Discuss the skills you want to develop, which roles you’d like to be in and what you want to accomplish. There’s no need to share too much information. If you aim to run your own business someday, you might want to consider whether such a reply would affect your chances of employment.


11. What are your salary expectations?

The interviewer wants to know how much you value yourself and wants to make sure that your expectations are in line with the amount budgeted for the role.

How to answer:

Do some research and benchmark your salarybefore your interview, to get a salary range which is fair and well-informed. Always ask for the higher end of the spectrum and allow room for negotiation.


12. Do you have any questions?

An interview is not only a chance for your interviewer to grill you, but it is also an opportunity to interview the company and see if it’s a good fit for you. It is also an excellent opportunity to show the interviewer that you’re excited about the role.

How to answer:

You should always have some questions prepared to ask your interviewer. This shows your eagerness for the job and proves that you’ve given the interview enough importance to prepare beforehand. If it’s your first interview, ask questions that help you understand the role better, and avoid questions that have to do with salary, leave policy and dress code.

Here are some examples of what you can ask your interviewer:

  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this role?
  • What are the characteristics of someone who would succeed in this role?
  • How will my performance be measured?
  • What are the company’s highest-priority goals this year, and how can my role contribute?

  • If you need support with your job search, feel free to reach out to our recruiters. Our team is always here to help!