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22 top interview questions: Update

You’re heading to a job interview because you want to be selected for the job, right? Well, some time ago, the recruitment experts at face2face pulled together the top 22 questions candidates are frequently asked at interview. Now we’ve updated the list.

Considering these questions before your interview could improve your performance and make you an impressive candidate.

For more tips, check out Resume Success Secrets, written by our Chief Executive Officer Kate Prior. This book shot to #1 on Amazon in its category when it was released.

Ice breakers

Tell me about yourself?

This is your opportunity to talk about things not in your resume, such as your personality or something you’re passionate about. You can also share your greatest career achievement, but stay concise and relevant.

What motivates you?

Although money is important, it’s best to focus this answer on what makes you happy in the workplace. Think about personal drivers like recognition, company culture, ability to help people, or opportunity to develop your skills.

Popular questions

What is your salary expectation?

It’s important to know the salary range before being interviewed. Refer to the job advertisement so you’re clear on the experience you’re bringing to the position, especially if you’re looking to the higher salary range. Never back a prospective employer into a corner. Leave the door open for negotiation.

What do you do in your current role?

Briefly summarise your current role, duties and how you contribute to your organisation’s success. If your current role isn’t directly related to what you’re applying for, focus on transferrable skills.

Transferrable skills: More important than ever

What are your strongest attributes?

Focus on attributes relevant to the position and give examples. Decide on two strengths before the interview and tie these into the job specifications.

What’s your long-term goal?

Drectly relate this answer to the job you’re applying for. Mention how you want to progress within the organisation, to show your motivation. Don’t, however, leave the impression that you’ll jump ship as soon as something else comes along. Longevity is important to employers. If your employer states they’re looking for an expert who will stay awhile, and you’re happy with this prospect, say so.

What are you looking for in your next role?

Relate this answer to your skills, what you’re interested in and what you like in an employer. Examples could be flexibility, training and growth opportunities. Avoid stating that you’re looking for something the company isn’t offering.

What would your manager say about you?

Answer by focusing on your suitability for the role. Talk about soft skills and attributes that aren’t on your resume. Base your answer around feedback you’ve received during performance reviews. Cover topics like attention to detail and work ethic.

Care about the difference between soft and hard skills

Are you interviewing for other positions?

Interviewers ask this question for different reasons. They might be testing how serious you are about looking for a new opportunity. They might want to know if they’re competing with other organisations. If you have other interviews lined up, tell the interviewer you’re considering options, but don’t name specific companies or the number of applications you have in the market.

Do you have any questions?

This is usually the last question in an interview and it’s your chance to show how interested you are in the job. Research the company, especially through its website, and have two questions ready to ask, connected to what they do. This shows you’ve taken the time to research, are keen and prepared. You can even ask about next steps in the hiring process.

Specific questions

Why are you interested in this position?

Tell the interviewer you believe the company will be a good cultural fit and why. Connect what they do and the position to your skills and interests. Research the role and the team beforehand so your answer is detailed and targeted.

What do you know about our company?

The last thing you want is to pull a blank on this question. Explore the company’s website, social media presence and LinkedIn profile. Find out as much as you can to show respect and genuine interest.

Why should we hire you?

This is your chance to highlight your skills and experience relevant to the position. Review the job description and prepare examples of how you connect. Mention your personality, attitude and ability to work well with team members and management. Tell the interviewer about strengths you’ll bring to the table.

Behavioural questions

Behavioural questions are popular. Many companies use them to determine how you behaved in a situation instead of how you say you would behave. This indicates whether you can fulfill the position duties. Answer using the STAR technique.

Be a star with star techniques

Tell me about a time when you worked under pressure?

Provide examples of stressful work situations where you relied on problem-solving skills to cut through and get the job done.

Have you handled a difficult situation with a co-worker? If so, how?

Provide an example of a challenging situation you had with a co-worker and how you handled it. If you’ve never faced such a conflict in a workplace, describe how you would deal with one if you had to.

Tackling a personality clash at work

Tell me about how an idea you had was implemented?

This question determines your ability to make process improvements. In an ever-changing workforce, organisations are looking for proactive staff who introduce better processes and procedures, to gain efficiencies. Have an example up your sleeve.


Do you work well in a team?

Don’t be vague or limit your response by simply saying you work well with people. Employers want to know if you’re a good cultural fit and how. Describe your ability to listen to, communicate with and work as an effective team member. Provide an example of a team project where your ability to work well with colleagues led to a positive outcome.

Do you prefer to communicate verbally or in written form? Why?

Think about what the position requires. If verbal communication is a big part of the job, emphasise your ability to communicate face-to-face. If the job involves writing, give examples of your skills in this area.

Managerial questions

What management style would you work with the best?

A great answer is that you work well with managers who are clear on what’s required, willing to provide constructive feedback and prepared to let you know when how you’re performing. Be positive. Don’t focus on what you don’t like about management.

What is your management style?

If you’re interviewing for a managerial position, explain how you successfully manage teams and quickly adapt your style to suit individuals and situations. Describe how you apply different management styles depending on circumstances. Provide examples.

Tricky questions

Why are you leaving your current role? Why did you leave your previous position?

Give a short and sharp answer. People leave jobs for various reasons, including redundancy, company closure, lack of professional growth, or even a move to a new place. Perhaps you’ve just finished a degree and are ready to start the next chapter of your career. Stay positive and don’t speak negatively about a previous manager or organisation. This will only reflect negatively on you.

What are your weaknesses?

Only mention weaknesses that aren’t crucial to the position. If you’re applying for a reception position, for example, being weak with numerical skills likely won’t affect your chances. With this answer, you can also describe small flaws you’re working on. Always turn negative into positive by showing you’re aware of your weaknesses and are working to overcome them.

Here’s how to be strong with your answers.

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