Congrats! You’ve got the interview. Now let’s get down to business. Whether it’s a phone call or an in-person interview, you’ll need to put in some prep time.
Read up on the company, study the job description, write down all the questions and concerns you have about the company, then dig into these 16 interview questions you’ll likely be asked.
16 interview questions and how to crush them
1. Tell me about yourself.
This is the first interview question you’ll get from pretty much anyone you interact with in the interview process. From the phone interview to your first conversation with the hiring manager, you’ll likely be asked this question several times.
This interview question is easy. Just keep your answer brief and the conversation to topics about your professional experience, like your career trajectory, what you love about the work you do, and why you’re interested in this job opportunity.
2. Why are you looking for a new job? / Why are you leaving your current job?
To craft your answer, just check out our guide: The three-step formula to answer, “Why are you looking for a new job?”
Alternatively, the interviewer might ask why you’re looking to leave your current job. The same is true here: Focus on the opportunity. Then use our guide on reasons for leaving your job.
3. Why do you want to work here?
Your answer to this question should center around what you have to offer the company: The unique skills and perspective you bring to the organization, how you hope to contribute to the department.
Need more guidance? We have a guide for this too: Two ways to answer, “Why should we hire you?”
4. Why should we hire you?
What’s most important to know about this interview question is that there are plenty of things that you shouldn’t say, like, I need more money or I hate my current job. These might be true, but there are better ways to say them in an interview.
Our guide will help you craft the perfect answer to this question: 7 ways you should never answer, “Why should we hire you?”
5. Where do you hope to be in one/five/ten years?
Your answer doesn’t need to be, In five years, I’d like to be working for your company day in and day out! Unless, of course, that’s the truth.
Answer honestly. If you’d like to start your own company in five years, say so. If you hope to be on a beach in the South Pacific, say that. The interviewer is trying to get a sense of your long-term interests and ambitions and how they might be mutually beneficial.
6. Tell me about a time when a project didn’t go to plan. What did you do?
This interview question is your opportunity to show your potential employer your resilience, cool under pressure, and problem-solving skills. They’re looking for an honest success story, and they may also be looking to see how well you take responsibility when things go wrong.
In your answer, be sure you don’t play the blame game. Don’t talk about how you proved to someone that you were right and they were wrong. Talk about how you were able to work with your teammates to solve a problem or how you were able to use your unique skill set to help in a crisis.
7. Tell me about a time when you didn’t agree with your boss. How did you handle the situation?
This interview question is probing to understand how you assert your ideas clearly and respectfully. Choose a moment you’re particularly proud of in which you stood up for your convictions.
Much like the question above, don’t make the story about how you were right and your boss was wrong. Make it about your ability to communicate and persuade.
8. What are three words your coworkers would use to describe you?
Since you know this question might be asked in an interview, you could just ask you coworkers!
Be wary of words that oversell. While they might all be true, brilliant, god-like, and perfect aren’t the best choices. Also avoid vague adjectives, like smart, helpful, and nice—most employers will hope you are those things.
If your coworkers see you as smart, try brainy, academic, or astute.
If you’re known to be a good problem solver, try words like resourceful, clever, or inventive.
If your coworkers often come to you for your opinion or advice, you might say, mentor, coach, experienced, or counsellor.
For each word you give, be prepared to back it up with an example.
9. How do you decide how to prioritize tasks?
This interview question is asked to suss out how well you manage your time when you deal with competing tasks.
Prioritization is all about understanding business goals, so your answer should expand on how you used business priorities to rank tasks and projects in order of importance.
10. What would you do if you had two large projects due on the same day?
This question is probing for two things: your time management skills and your work ethic. They want to know how you will move two heavy things at once. Do you build a careful plan for completion as soon as you get the assignments, do you meet with your manager to move dates, do you stay up nights and weekends using brute force to get the work done? Answer the question honestly. You might even use an example of how you’ve solved a similar problem in the past.
11. What are your salary requirements?
This is everyone’s least favorite interview question. No one likes to talk about money, but you will likely be asked about your salary requirements early in the interview process—they need to know if they can afford to hire you.
You could dodge the question, saying something like I’d prefer to learn more about the position before we discuss compensation, but they might press you for a concrete answer. To do this, give them a specific number on the high end of your range. Then read our guide on how to negotiate your salary.
12. What do you believe the biggest challenge of this job would be?
The interviewer wants to know that you 1) understand the job, and 2) that you will be challenged in the role. Be frank about what you believe will be the toughest part of the job. Maybe it’s scaling the work you have to do or proving out a new process. If you’re having a hard time finding an answer, you may not know enough about the position or you may be over-qualified.
13. Tell me about a risk you’ve taken.
You don’t have to limit yourself to professional experiences—maybe you moved around the world or quit a high-paying job to pursue a career change. They want to know where your comfort zone is and how far outside you’re willing to step.
14. What are the most important trends you see in the industry right now?
This question is meant to test your knowledge of the space, how much you keep up with developments, and how you react to changes. In addition to the trends, you’ll need to identify why they’re so important.
15. What about the job/company/organization concerns you?
There’s no need to say nothing concerns me! No organization is perfect, and your interviewer knows this. This question is asked because they are looking for ways to address the concerns you have.
It’s important to be candid in your answer. If you’re concerned about career growth and the interviewer knows that the company struggles with helping people move up the ranks, you want to know this. If you’re concerned about career growth and the interviewer happens to be involved in a management training program, you want to know that, too.
16. What questions do you have for me?
Never come into an interview empty handed. You should always have questions for the person interviewing you. It shows you’re engaged in the conversation and interested in the position.
You might ask questions like:
What do you like about working here?
How do you make sure employees stay engaged and happy in their work?
How would you describe the company culture here?
What’s something you wish this company were better at?
Where do you believe the person in this role would be in five years?
What’s a good piece of feedback you hear from people who work here? What’s a bad piece of feedback?
How do you make sure your employees and company are always improving?
What’s the next big project for this team / company?
Is this a new role? If not, why did the last person leave? If so, why is this role necessary now?
What kind of people succeed here? What kind of people tend to leave?