Sample Job Interview Questions

Sample job interview questions provided here gives you the opportunity to practise commonly asked interview questions, if you are a candidate or know what to ask your candidates, if you are an employer looking to hire right staff. Get it right with these commonly asked questions at interviews!

Your employer will always want to hire the right person for his job.

Your ability to provide insightful, concise and honest answers to questions asked is important to his assessing your job skills.

Unfortunately, there is no way you can determine what questions he or she is going to ask.

These sample job interview questions are universally asked, and practicing and mastering them will help improve your performance during the interview encounter.

If you are an employer looking to organize interviews, going through the commonly asked interview questions presented below will no doubt help you gain valuable insight into the mind of your candidate, their motivation, approach to work and reliability. You want to study their body language, mental strength, fine skills and also elicit their pet peeves.  Would this person sitting in front of me be someone I can work with?

Whether you are an employer or candidate, you want to get it right. For the employer, take your time to choose which of these questions to ask within the time frame you have and avoid hiring in haste and repenting at leisure. For the candidate, these frequently asked interview questions would also help you to reflect and master what your prospective employer is looking for and how to build up your psyche to match those attributes.

Commonly Asked Interview Questions

Make no mistake. There are a number of reasons why your CV has been selected. It means there is something very desirable in your profile. A face to face interview or perhaps telephone and Skype interview will throw up more than you ever expect. Do not panic. Just prepare and master the following top most commonly asked questions at interviews. More importantly, try to see the reasons behind the questions.

Here are the most frequently asked questions by prospective employers:

1. Tell Me About Yourself

Tell me about yourself is a good opening interview question. It is a simple, innocent but very powerful question. It is like placing a pot of clay in the hands of a potter and watch him construct and build something out of it. It won't be long before you start developing a profile of the potter whether he or she is skilled or not so great as sold by his or her CV.

For the employer, it helps you step backwards and watch how the candidate articulate and organizes himself, his thought process and whether he focuses more on his abilities and strength and how he can bring these to bear on the job or on the unimportant.

For the candidate, this is an invitation to serve your prospective employer a tantalizing "starter" meal. How you handle this will determine whether he would want to go along with you into the main meal proper with a relaxed and burning appetite.

2. Tell Me About Your CV

Tell me about your CV is another way of framing the first question tell me about yourself. It means the employer wants you to focus on your qualifications, experience and job achievements and what you can bring into this job, if offered.

A common pitfall is that some candidates focuses on the substance of their CV and not able to tweak it to reflect how their experience relates to the current job description that they are been interviewed for.

For employers, be very weary if you meet a candidate who cannot tell you about their CV fluently. Everyone should be able to know the content of their CV like "the back of their hand".

For candidates, be sure to explain any gap in work or education and bring something interesting and important about you that you think should make you stand head and shoulder above all other applicants and make you more desirable. This is your precious "30 seconds on prime time television". Sell yourself and job accomplishment like you've never done before here.

3. What Do You Know About This Company?

This question, what do you know about this company, is a sieve to help separate the serious candidates from the "I can't be bothered" ones.

If you really care about the job and place you intend going to for work, you will scurry through the internet or anywhere you can get materials about the company. If you have not done this before, do it now. Minimize this screen. Search for the company online and read about them, what they do, their competitors, success and things they could do better and how you can help improve their core business goal. Do your research thoroughly and let it shine here, if this question comes up. Once you are happy about these, then come back and continue your practice.

4. Why Do You Want This Job?

At first, this might sound an awkward question - is it not obvious that I need a job to pay my bills etc? Well. This sample interview question tends to be asked in specialist or high executive posts. Positions where they do not just want anybody to that can turn up for the job, but someone who have a special motivation or passion for the job.

Are you going for the position of a ward manager, for example, in a district hospital? You could say "working in this unit has always been my dream after following developments here for the last 18 months. I am convinced I can bring in my 5 year experience as a lead nurse in Accident and Emergency medicine to help with the high patient turn over here. I am passionate about very high standards of patient care and I am also able to motivate myself and other staff to achieve our goal of efficient in patient experience”.

Show interest. Show passion.  Show that you are not just looking for income, but have a desire to bring something special here. It could even be because “I have always dreamed of working in this part of South London because of my interest in the huge multicultural diversity in this area. I love people and like to learn about different cultures and people”.

5. Why Should We Hire You?

Why should we hire you is another way of framing the question what are your strengths and weaknesses and what can you bring into this job?

If you are able to find answers to the above questions, then you can answer this common interview question.

For employers, if a candidate are unable to justify why you should hire them other than “because I think I am the best man for this job”, then alarm bells should be ringing. You do not want to hire someone who is unable and cannot think about what they can actually bring into your employment and why they should stand out from all others.

6. What Skills Can You Bring To This Job?

If this is your opening interview question, then be sure to sell yourself, highlighting your training, qualifications and experience and how these would match the job description.

If after the first few minutes of questioning you get asked this question, then it probably means that you have not sold yourself enough.

Look for short sharp punch lines. Make an impression.

Tell them "I was able to increase sales by 36% within the first 100 days of my last job by bringing innovation in the pay per click marketing, reducing the advertisement cost by 14%, yet increasing click through rates by 76%, resulting in that amount of sales. I believe that the experience I have gained in my last position would be a perfect fit for this post", if you are going for a sales job for example in a company. Be specific. Give verifiable figures and accounts, were possible.

7. What Are Your Strengths?

This is a sample interview question that is almost guaranteed to be asked either directly or indirectly.

It is again your opportunity to be concise and highlight your most powerful abilities and experience and personality. Someone was once asked and all he said was:

  • "I always turn up for work. Always on time. I have never taken a day off work in the last 5 years. I always get the work done; no matter the challenge, to the best quality ever possible. If I cannot do it, I am sure to find how to do it and get it done. Ask my last boss".

I am not sure if you can argue with the fact that this is a promising employee. Avoid any tint of arrogance when replying to this question. Your body language, more than what you say matters a lot here.

8. What Are Your Weaknesses

This is a very commonly asked job interview question.

Many candidates find this question tricky. True, it is. But with practice, you  should be able to deal with it.

Think about weaknesses you may have. These may include:

  • I am a perfectionist (most commonly mentioned weakness)
  • I have high expectations of others
  • I struggle with keeping records
  • I like to be in control of things always
  • I could be better organized
  • I find it difficult to delegate important tasks
  • My former boss used to call me "last-minute dot com", because I tend to wait till the lat minute before getting jobs done
  • I procrastinate a lot

The list to choose from can go on and on.

The key to answering this question is to be honest - identify and write down your weakness now. Turn your weakness into a positive by demonstrating that since you identified ABC as your weakness, you have taken XYZ steps to ensure it does not get in the way of your job. You can see sample interview questions answered here that deals with this question amongst others.

9. Describe A Time In Your Previous Job You Were Faced With A Very Difficult Situation And How You Dealt With It?

This is an interview question aimed at assessing your problem solving skills. Again, like most things in life, preparation is key to succeeding in giving a good answer here.

Think of such a time you can remember. Was it during a team project and someone was getting you irritated? Or perhaps you ran out of funds for a project and had to raise fund? Could it be a difficult experience with your line manager and you were very tactful in resolving this? Get a pen and paper and jot down as many of such occasions as you can remember and write them down.

10. What Is Your Most Significant Accomplishment?

This is another open-ended interview question designed to draw you out and make you demonstrate your organizational and problem solving skills.

  • Do not just say - being a father or been the manager at Zenith Bank Plc
  • Go for specifics and it is best to choose a work related achievement with transferable application to the job you are being interviewed for.
  • Show how you identified the problem, then prioritize, steps taken to deal with it and your management of resources available for the task. 

Everyone should be able to list and name at least one big achievement they have had at school or work. It does not have to be so big or out of the ordinary.

11. Tell me about any leadership role you have assumed

12. How have your training and experience prepared you for this job?

13. Tell me about any leadership role you have assumed

14. What are your hobbies?

15. What five words best describes you?

16. Why did you leave your last employment?

17. Tell Me About Prioritization

18. Have You Ever Had To Meet Deadlines? How Did You Achieve This In Limited Time?

19. How Do You Cope With Stress?

20. How Do You Manage Your Time?

21. What Does Work-Life Balance Mean To You And How Do You Achieve This?

22. If You Were Given This Job, What Do You Hope To Accomplish Within The First 3 Months Or 100 Days?

23. What Are Your Plans For The Future?

24. Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?

25. What attributes do you expect from a good work colleague

26. What characteristics will you expect from a good manager?

27. When are you able to start?

28. When are you able to start?

29. What salary level do you hope to be started on?

30. Do You Have Any Question For Us?

Got Some Interview Questions? We Would Love To Hear From You!

Do you have some interview questions? Or have you had a recent interview? What were the commonly asked questions you got? How did you approached them, if possible to include as well? We would really love to hear from you. Share them here! Put your name to it if you want.

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