Crafting Interview Answers for 10 Common Interview Questions

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 2, 2022 | Published October 18, 2021

Updated October 2, 2022

Published October 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

There are many possible questions that an interviewer might ask during an initial interview. You might be anxious about how to answer these questions, but knowing what some of the most common ones are may help you be more comfortable during an interview. By learning common questions asked during interviews, you can easily prepare an answer beforehand and rehearse it to increase your confidence. In this article, we outline 10 common interview questions and ways to answer them.

How do you craft the perfect interview answers?

There is a lot that goes into crafting interview answers that are perfect for you and your situation. One of the most important factors to consider is confidence. When crafting your answers, make certain that you practise the interview process and your answers ahead of time because the more familiar you are with your answers, the more confident you sound. Take the time prior to your interview to review all the common questions that interviewers might ask you and rehearse your answers, whether with a friend or family member or in front of a mirror.

Listed below are 10 common interview questions, with tips and advice included on how to craft the perfect answer to each question. These questions include:

1. "How did you hear about this position?"

While the question itself might seem innocuous, this question is actually an excellent opportunity for you to stand out. You can also demonstrate that you have a connection to the company if you received a referral. If you found the position through a referral or recommendation of a friend or other contact, then name that individual and follow up by sharing how excited you were when you found out about the position. Even if you found it on a job board, express what it was about the job that got your attention enough to apply. Keep your focus on what the job posting included, going into detail if you took the time to do any further research on the company.

2. "Do you have any questions for us?"

An interview is not only an opportunity for an employer to see if you would be a good candidate for the position, but a chance for you to interview the hiring manager or interviewer about whether the company would be good for you. This is your chance to ask any questions that you might have about the company, or the position that might not have been in the initial job posting. Some examples of good questions to ask are more personal ones about the interviewer, such as what they enjoy most about working at the company.

Related: Answer to Interview Question: "Do You Have Any Questions?"

3. "Why do you want to work at this company?"

With this question, you want to avoid giving a generic answer that could apply to any company or that would make you sound like every other potential candidate. There are a couple of strategies that you can take to respond to this question, all of which involve doing prior research on the company:

  • talk about what makes the company unique and what appeals to you

  • talk about having watched the company's growth

  • focus on possible chances for the company's growth and how you can help it do so

  • talk about what has gotten you excited about the company

Finding an answer that clearly illustrates why you want to work at the company demonstrates your passion and interest in the position. The more generic that your answer is, the less interest you are showing in the position, so take the time to do some research before your interview to prepare your answer.

Related: Interview Question: "Why Do You Want to Work Here?"

4. "What are your greatest strengths?"

When it comes to answering the question of what your greatest strengths are, focus on your desirable qualities. Pick two or three qualities, at most, which make you a great candidate for the position. If the job posting listed traits that the employer is looking for in a person to fulfill that position, try to focus on those as much as possible. You want to discuss qualities that apply to the position you are interviewing for and try to demonstrate these traits with examples from your personal or work history.

If there was anything further that you wanted to mention about yourself, this is a great opportunity. Remember that stories are far more memorable than a generalization, so telling a story about the traits you possess is the best way to demonstrate your strengths.

Related: How to Answer "What is Your Greatest Strength?" (With Examples)

5. "Tell me about a challenge you have faced and how you dealt with it"

If asked this question, it is important that you do not avoid answering it. The best way to answer the question is to be honest about a difficult situation that you have experienced (but do not go into detail the way you would with a friend or family member) and then explain how you dealt with the situation.

When discussing the situation, remain calm and professional. Spend more of your answer focusing on your solution to the challenge, rather than focusing on the challenge itself. When concluding your answer, it is important to talk about what you would do differently if faced with a similar situation in the future to demonstrate your willingness to learn from difficult experiences.

Related: How to Answer Conflict Resolution Interview Questions

6. "Why is there a gap in your employment?"

If there are career gaps on your resume, then prepare to discuss them. Whatever the reason may be, practise your answer and be honest, although be careful with sharing details. Keep your answer brief and highlight any qualities or skills that you gained during the gap in your resume and discuss any you feel would help you excel in the position. This shows the interviewer your enthusiasm for the position and your willingness to learn from your previous experiences.

7. "How would your colleagues describe you?"

Here, it is important that you remember to be truthful, as the hiring manager may call your prior workplaces for references. When answering the question, be sure to highlight strengths you have demonstrated and that your colleagues would attest to (or have complimented you on previously) and provide examples of a relevant situation. This is a chance for you to highlight any aspects of yourself that you have not already had a chance to in the interview, like a strong work ethic.

Related: Interview Question: How Would Your Colleagues Describe You?

8. "How do you prioritize work and manage deadlines?"

Something that interviewers look for is how good your time management skills are. To answer this question, talk about what system works for you to keep yourself organized and on track when meeting deadlines and upholding priorities. When explaining your system, use examples of how you do so, such as colour-coding notes or a planner. Something else to highlight in your answer is how you have responded to a last-minute request or sudden change in deadline, incorporating how you communicated the steps you took with your manager or colleagues.

9. "Where do you see yourself in the next five years?"

Think realistically about your answer to this question. You want to be clear and honest about what your goals are, but you also want to be realistic, as that is something that your interviewer may look for in your answer. The interviewer is asking this question to see if you have realistic career expectations, but also if the position aligns with the growth and goals that you have. They are also asking to see if you are ambitious. Think about where this position could take you realistically before giving your answer, then incorporate that into your answer. This is something to think about before the interview, as a confident answer leaves a better impression.

10. "What are your compensation expectations?"

The best way to answer the question of compensation is to do research before the interview. Research comparable positions and look at the salaries of similar positions, either by looking to online resources or by reaching out to connections within your network. When considering this question, take your experience, education, qualifications/skills, and needs into account. You do not need to come up with a concrete number that you are looking for and you may also consider other benefits that are offered or included with the position, such as health or dental coverage. There are two ways to best answer the question, which include first inquiring what the compensation range is for the position or answering with a compensation range of your own that you have calculated based on your research.

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