Common Job Interview Questions

Continuing on with my job interview tips, lets discuss some common interview questions that I’ve gotten over the years.  As some of you know, my career experience has been in the engineering field which may vary from other careers in terms of interviewing.  However, I can see these interview questions being fairly common in many careers.

If you are going through the job hunt process now, hopefully this post will help you get partially prepared for your next interview.

Here are some common job interview questions:

  1. What are your strength/weaknesses? These are always tough questions, but remember to stay positive, even for the weakness part.  Use weaknesses like, you have a tendency to work too hard, or that you are a perfectionist.
  2. Tell me about your work experience thus far? This part can easily be scripted and should flow nicely.
  3. Explain how your work experience applies to the position advertised.  Take parts from your experience and try to piece it together to explain how you will benefit the company.  Remember, the interviewer wants to see how you will add value to the company.
  4. Tell me about problems you’ve had at work (technical and social) and how did you over come them? Think about a scenario where you had challenges but overcame them with some creativity and perseverance.  Employers are seeing how well you think on the fly and how you deal with problems as they come up.
  5. If you were in [a certain scenario], how would you handle it? Before the interview, consider some of these scenarios that they could ask that relates to the position.  For example, I once applied for an “Occupational Health and Safety” type job, and one of their questions was “How would you deal with an unruly union member?”  Really..  how would you?
  6. Do you know anything about [insert industry key words here]? This is an easy one, simply do detailed research in the field that you are applying to.  For example, if you are applying to an oil and gas job, make sure to know all the ins and outs of the oil and gas sector.
  7. What do you know about our company? Another easy question as most companies have websites that detail their operations.  Due diligence is required before any job interview.
  8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Be honest, what are your career aspirations?  Employers are looking to see if you will grow with the company.

What common questions have you seen in your job interviews?

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10 years ago

I had that exact question on my interview and it stumped me and I was silent and as I was trying to think of a respone, the panel said that we could come back to the question. After the last question…the panel came back to the weaknes question and I was still silent….I got the position.

Lewis, AKA
12 years ago

“What is your biggest weakness?” question is clearly a dreaded question and there’s no shortage of opinions on how to address it. Here’s my take on how to address this question without coming across as fake:

12 years ago

I do not agree the first answer. The answer is so outdated, becasue the interviewer will think you are so “fake”. The interviewer may even say: this is your strength. Please give me another example of your weakness. If you don’t have a great answre, you screw up.

12 years ago

for Question number one, never show a true weakness. Instead, turn a weakness into a strentgh, but with stealth:

“I went through this phase of procrastination which, while under control now, taught me to work well under pressure and with tight deadlines.

12 years ago

“Do you have any questions?”

I’ve always used this question to ask similar interview questions to the interviewer. I’ll ask questions regarding management style and day to day processes.

Another thing ot remember about interviews:
To an employer, the interview is to see if you are a right fit for the company… but for you, the interview is to see if you want to work for that company. This has helped me create the mindset that interviews are not bad/stressful things.

Gates VP
12 years ago

Megan: How about “What salary do you expect?” This can be a tough one to deal with!

Tough? That’s the most difficult question of all :)

And hey, FT where’s mah props for yesterday’s “blog reply in a comment” :)

Honestly, your list is better. I’m in IT and you’ll see the same questions there. Based on the friends I’ve talked to, much of this question set is pretty much universal. Of course, now that it’s well-documented, it’s like a course where they tell you the exam questions before the actual exam date. Might as well memorize as many of the answers as possible.

12 years ago


A couple of suggestions on how to answer that question.
(1) avoid refering to a weakness in reply, instead refer to it as an area that can be improved, or something to work one.

(2) Always be prepared to spell out how you work around it or are improving it. Similar to Xenko’s response, employers aren’t really looking to hire someone who’s perfect (doesn’t exist), but instead are looking for someone who can acknowledge that they need to do a bit of work in an area and are working towards it.

12 years ago

A lot of questions are behavioral questions which I hate. For example, name me a time when you failed at something. Name me a time when you overcame a challenge, etc. questions like that. Difficult but they want to know how you took step, thought out the situation, and what you learned post situation.


12 years ago

Yeah I usually used the “perfectionist” or some derivative but I’ve noticed its been getting more of a an “eyes glaze over” response lately, seems everyone has caught on to it.

I’m thinking of switching to “I need to be challenged to remain motivated” or similar. Thoughts?