9 Common Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 November 2022

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.

Interviews are a standard stage in the hiring process, and it's helpful to prepare yourself for common interview questions that hiring managers might ask. Interviewers typically ask about your background, motivations, experience, education and more. Learning which questions hiring managers might ask helps to prepare you for an interview. In this article, we list nine common questions that hiring managers ask in interviews and provide sample answers to help you prepare your own responses.

Related: 20 of the Best Interview Questions to Ask a Job Candidate

Common interview questions to prepare for

It can be challenging to predict which questions an interviewer might ask you during the hiring process, but there are many common interview questions you can prepare for. Interviewers might begin by asking basic questions about yourself, including where you're from, where you're based and what your level of education is. They may then ask more in-depth questions about why you wish to work for the company, your experience in the field and your successes and failures. Common questions hiring managers might ask in an interview include:

1. Can you tell me about yourself?

Hiring managers often start an interview by asking this simple, yet vital question. They hope to find out more about your past and your personality, to see if you're going to fit in with the team and align with the company's ethos. You might wish to answer by providing a concise and detailed response that briefly covers important areas such as your education, experience and your current employment status or job role. It can be helpful to provide an overview of your personal interests and character traits while speaking in a friendly, conversational tone as you ease into the interview.

Example: 'I'm employed as an assistant digital editor at a national newspaper, and I'm currently looking to make the jump to a senior editorial position. My media career started after studying English at university, but I've had a keen interest in journalism and digital media since I was in high school. I'm based in Sydney and in my spare time, I'm an active member of the local rugby club.'

Related: Interview Question: ‘Tell Me About Yourself

2. Can you take us through your resume?

Hiring managers have already looked over your resume, but they often ask you to take them through it section by section. They do this to verify that your resume is accurate and because they wish to hear more about your education, qualifications and experience. You may answer this question chronologically, starting with your high school education and ending with your current employment status. The aim is not to list your qualifications and experience, but to elaborate on each section by providing extra information.

Example: 'After studying at my local high school in Melbourne, I decided to pursue my interest in chemistry at university. I studied for a bachelor's degree in chemistry, where I gained a grounding in and passion for pharmaceuticals. This led me to my current position as a laboratory assistant for a pharmaceutical company.'

Related: How to Create a Stand-Out Resume (With Template and Examples)

3. What do you know about our organisation?

Prospective employers often like to know that you've thoroughly researched the organisation before applying for a job. They may ask what you already know about the organisation to see if you understand its operations, structure and values. You may prepare for this question by reading through the organisation's website, searching for articles and profiles online and by asking current employees for help. Answering concisely helps to show that you're well-prepared and an effective communicator.

Example: 'From my research, I know that your company had the biggest market share in the sector in the last financial quarter. I also understand that the business isn't just about profits, but about providing customers with a real service that makes a difference. I asked some of your current employees what they thought about the company's values and the way you work, and their answers really encouraged me to apply for the role.'

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4. Why did you apply for this job?

Hiring managers typically like to know why you've chosen to apply for the role. Providing a thoughtful response that details your knowledge of the role, the challenges it involves and the successes you could achieve is a positive way to answer. This shows you've adequately thought through the job's duties and responsibilities, and you understand exactly what the job entails.

Example: 'I've spent several years working in television, but I'm now looking for a new challenge. When I saw this role advertised I knew that I had the skills and experience to make the step up into film production. Working in film is something I've wanted to do for a long time, and for me, the timing is perfect. I understand that the pace may be faster in a film studio than I'm used to in my current role, but this is what I'm looking for.'

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5. What can you bring to the organisation?

Employers may ask what you can bring to the organisation, giving you the opportunity to sell yourself as the best candidate. Hiring managers often ask this question to understand what unique skills you think you can offer and to see if they think you might be a good fit for the company. You may respond by providing them with a list of your best attributes, character traits and past successes.

Example: 'I'm a proficient salesperson, I consistently hit my targets and often exceed them. My real talent, though, lies in bringing new customers to the market. At my last company, I onboarded more new clients than any other salesperson in the last financial year. I know how to identify and attract new customers to products they've never used or heard of before.'

Related: 8 Signs You Will Get the Job After an Interview

6. Why do you want to work for our organisation?

This question is an opportunity to show hiring managers that you've thought seriously about why you want to work at the organisation. When answering a question like this, it's important to be specific rather than generic. Pointing out reasons you like their organisation specifically, such as their work ethic, policies or history, shows that you have a desire to work here, rather than at any of the other organisations that might be recruiting for the same position.

Example: 'I've valued the products your company has on the market for a long time, and I believe they make a real contribution to your customers' lives, just as they've also contributed to my life. I'd love the opportunity to learn more about a product I already buy, work for a company I already know a lot about and develop my own skills and experience in the process.'

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

7. What are your most important strengths?

Interviewers often ask what your greatest strengths are. This allows them to evaluate your strengths against the job requirements to see if you're an ideal fit for the role. When asked this question, it's important to highlight strengths that apply to the role you're interviewing for. It's helpful to list your strongest skills, including skills that show you're a team player.

Example: 'My most important strength is my ability to work collaboratively. I understand the importance of teamwork. I realise how much more efficient it is to work with my colleagues, as opposed to trying to achieve everything on my own. But I also understand the individual strengths I bring to a team environment, which includes my ability to communicate, pitch to clients and negotiate the fine points of a business deal.'

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8. What are your biggest weaknesses?

Hiring managers often like to hear what your weaknesses are. They aren't trying to catch you out, but are typically establishing how honest you are. This is an opportunity to demonstrate self-criticism by showing a hiring manager you've analysed and understand the areas you can improve on. It's also an opportunity to show how you're working to overcome your weaknesses.

Example: 'I'm a naturally shy person. In the past, I found it difficult to contribute to group discussions, for example, but I've worked on my confidence and found ways to overcome this. I understand that my shyness is often seen as a weakness, but I now also understand that I bring over important attributes to the office because of this. Rather than rushing head first into something, my shyness actually means I step back and think about things in depth before acting on them.'

Related: Video Interview Guide: Tips for a Successful Interview

9. Can you tell us about your most important achievements?

Questions about your achievements allow you to highlight your biggest or most important past successes. Try to keep your answers concerned with professional achievements, unless the interviewer specifically asks you otherwise. Before your interview, it's helpful to list down the successes you're most proud of and why you're proud of them.

Example: 'My biggest professional achievement so far has been winning the employee of the year award at my last company. It showed just how far I'd come in my career and the hard work I'd put in to reach this point. I hope to achieve similar successes if I'm hired by your company.'

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