20 Nearly Perfect Interview Answers (With Common Sample Questions)
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Preparing for an interview is integral to creating a positive first impression. There are many common questions that an employer can ask, and delivering the right answer can determine whether they offer you a job. Learning how to answer some of these questions with confidence and clarity can help you prepare for your interview. In this article, we explore 20 perfect (or nearly perfect) interview answers to common questions an employer might ask you.
Perfect (or near-perfect) interview answers to common questions
While there is no one way to respond to interview questions, using the following samples as a reference can help you provide near-perfect answers:
1. Why do you want to work at our company?
Employers ask this question because it gives them insight into your intentions. Your answer may reflect whether you have a genuine interest in the company or whether you only want to work for them because of the offered salary compensation. To provide a quality answer to this question, you can mention an aspect of the company that interests you the most.
Example: "I want to work at your company because I love the service you provide to customers. I'd love to contribute to that process."
2. What do you know about our company and what we do?
When an employer asks this question, it's usually because they want to see if you researched the company beforehand. Even knowing one or two facts about the company can help an employer see you have an interest in them. To answer this question, prepare by reviewing the company's website and memorizing their primary product or service and why it's important.
Example: "Your company provides business management digital interfaces and software applications to clients all around the world. It's one of the leading companies in the field."
3. Give us three reasons we should hire you
This is a self-reflective question an employer may ask because it can help them assess your personality traits, like confidence, self-assurance and capability. The perfect answer to this type of question is one that's honest about who you are.
Example: "I think you should hire me because I'm very organized, diligent in my work and always complete my projects on time. I'm confident that any assignment you give me I can complete by the deadline or earlier."
4. What are your salary expectations for this position?
A salary-based question is common because it helps employers gain some insight into the compensation to offer you for the role. Sometimes, they might use your response to give a lower or higher estimate. The perfect answer sets a minimum salary limit that's reasonable but remains open for the employer to give their own feedback.
Example: "Ideally, I'd be content with $50,000 at a minimum. However, I'm open to other suggestions and negotiations."
5. Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
Prospective employers understand mistakes happen, but this question is often to find out how you handle mistakes. The perfect answer can illustrate how you react to errors and what you do to correct them or learn from them.
Example: "There was a time when I was organizing my company's customer database and I accidentally deleted some data. To fix the issue, I had to use one of our internal applications to help retrieve the data before we lost it for good."
6. Do you have experience working in this industry?
This is a common question employers ask to better understand your work history. If you have industry experience, it can help differentiate you from other candidates. The perfect answer describes the relevant experience that you have in the industry and the role.
Example: "Yes, I have experience working in the industry. I worked as a medical writer for three years before transitioning into a content writer, and I worked in that role for another three years."
7. Tell me about a conflict with a colleague and how you resolved it.
Sometimes conflicts between colleagues can occur, so employers ask this question to assess your conflict management and interpersonal skills. The perfect answer shows you can handle these kinds of situations in a healthy and professional manner.
Example: "A colleague and I got into a disagreement about how to best complete a software development project. To resolve the conflict, I proposed a compromise that we could both accept. My colleague got to implement the functional capabilities, while I chose the visual and UX elements."
8. How would your manager and colleagues describe you?
When an employer asks this question, it's because they want to understand how other people perceive you. The perfect answer is sincere and positive. It's important to be honest in your answer because the employer may speak with your colleagues.
Example: "My manager and colleagues would describe me as someone who's hardworking and compassionate. They might also say that I'm really patient and have excellent time management skills."
9. Do you prefer working in a team or independently? Why?
An employer may ask this question to understand your interpersonal skills and preferences. Your answer may describe a balance of the two options, showing you can work independently and with a team.
Example: "I don't have a preference since I believe both are necessary for different reasons. I can definitely work independently when completing an individual task and with a team when working on a large-scale project. For example, I may have to work alone when creating a basic periodic financial report, but collaborate with a team when developing a company-wide digital finance computer application."
10. Tell me about a time you faced a challenging situation at work and how you resolved it.
Sometimes, unexpected and challenging situations can occur in the workplace. The perfect answer to this question might show your problem-solving skills and ability to innovate solutions.
Example: "There was a time when I had two projects due at the same time because I took on additional work. Thankfully, I finished it with the help of my team members. Some of them offered to work longer hours and others took some of my excess workload. I wouldn't have been able to finish it all without their teamwork and generosity."
11. What is your process for handling a difficult customer?
Employers frequently ask this question because it helps them assess your customer service and communication skills. It's important to communicate with customers using empathy and professionalism, and a perfect answer reflects those values.
Example: "I always remain calm when dealing with a difficult customer. I maintain my professionalism and ask questions to better understand how I can help them."
12. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond to complete your work.
When an employer asks this question, it's usually because they want to understand how committed you are to your position. No matter the job, you can demonstrate a good work ethic, and the perfect answer illustrates that you're a diligent employee.
Example: "There was a project I was working on and the deadline was a few days away. To complete the project, I committed myself to a few hours of overtime every day."
13. Tell me about a time when you helped someone?
Employers ask this question because it helps them gain a better idea about your personality and willingness to help your colleagues when they're in need. A perfect answer to this question demonstrates your generosity and care for others.
Example: "There was a time when I stayed late at work to help my colleague complete a major project that was due the following day. I completed my work early, so I didn't mind helping."
14. Tell me about yourself and what your interests are
This common question is very open-ended, meaning that an employer wants a realistic and sincere answer from you. The perfect answer to this question focuses on your personality traits and professional and recreational interests relevant to the role.
Example: "I have a bachelor's degree in geography, and I used to work as a GIS analyst and cartographer. In my spare time, I enjoy collecting various types of stones, rocks and minerals."
15. What is your greatest professional achievement?
When an employer asks you this question, it's because they want to hear about a notable achievement in your career and how you accomplished it. A perfect answer is truthful and relevant to the job for which you're applying.
Example: "When I worked as a hotel manager for a major resort, I increased the revenue of our establishment by 30% through various promotions and large-scale marketing campaigns."
16. What do you think are your biggest strengths and why?
This is a common question used to gauge your honesty and perception of how you view your best assets and capabilities. The perfect answer is one that you can demonstrate if you get the job.
Example: "I think I have two big strengths. First, I believe that I'm very good at managing my time. This allows me to prioritize my assignments appropriately and meet all of my project deadlines. Second, I'm skilled at graphic and web design. I've designed websites and graphic art pieces for a very diverse range of clients."
17. What do you think are your biggest weaknesses and why?
Employers frequently ask this question because it helps them understand how you perceive your own faults and whether those weaknesses are manageable. The perfect answer to this question describes a weakness that isn't detrimental to your ability to perform the job efficiently.
Example: "My biggest weakness is that I'm a perfectionist. I like all my work to be perfect, but sometimes that can slow me down. I'm striving to improve."
18. Where do you see yourself or hope to be in the next 5 to 10 years?
This is a common question employers ask because they want to get an idea about your interests and long-term aspirations. The perfect answer to this question is honest and describes your professional goals.
Example: "In the next five to 10 years, I hope to still be with this company. However, at that point in my career, I'd like to see myself in a senior or leadership role."
19. What does success or happiness mean to you and why?
The meaning of happiness and success is likely to differ from person to person. When an employer asks this question, they're not seeking a right or wrong answer. The perfect answer to this question illustrates your genuine beliefs and thoughts.
Example: "Success to me is being able to live comfortably with very few worries. Happiness is feeling like the work that I do is meaningful and helps others."
20. Do you have questions you want to ask me?
This is a question employers often ask at the end of the interview. It's an acceptable practice to have one or two questions ready to ask. This shows your interest in the position.
Example: "Yes, I do. First, I was wondering what the daily duties of this role entail? And second, can I expect to be working more independently or with a team in this role?"
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