[Sample Answers]

These questions are the ones you’re bound to hear at just about any job interview – whether you’re an intern or a senior professional with a decade of work experience.

All of these questions are used to learn more about you, both as a person and a professional.

You might have heard the popular idea that there’s no right or wrong answers for job interview questions.

Well, while that might be true, there ARE a set of rules you need to follow when answering these questions.

If you understand what, exactly, the interviewer is looking for with each question, you’ll be able to give the right answer (and rock that interview!)

In this section, we’re going to go through 14 of the most common job interview questions and answers. We’re going to explain what the HR manager wants to see in you, as well as give you sample answers you could use.

So, let’s get started! 

1) Tell me something about yourself.

Talking about yourself might seem straightforward since it’s something we do every day without much thought. However, in an interview, the goal is to present a concise and relevant pitch, not your life story, childhood achievements, or last night’s dinner menu.

Recruiters typically ask this question at the beginning of an interview to set the stage. Your response should be tailored to the position you are applying for, showcasing you as the ideal candidate.

Here’s a simple structure to guide your answer:

  • Introduce Yourself Briefly: Start with your name and your profession or current role.
  • Highlight Your Passion for Your Job: Share what you love about your work.
  • Mention Your Top 2-3 Relevant Achievements: Focus on accomplishments that align with the job you’re seeking.

Here are a couple of sample answers to illustrate:

Sample Answer 1:

“Hello, my name is John Doe, and I’ve been working as a business analyst for over five years at Company X and Company Y. I have a background in data analysis, having studied Information Systems at [Made-Up] University. During my career, I’ve led significant projects, such as migrating all operations data to a new data warehousing system at Company X, which resulted in annual savings of $200,000.”

Sample Answer 2:

“I’m Jane Doe, a recent Biochemistry graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Graduating with honors, I’ve gained extensive lab experience as a chemistry research assistant. I am passionate about lab work and am eager to apply my skills and knowledge as a lab assistant. I am diligent, responsible, and excited to bring my university learning into a professional setting.”

2) How did you hear about this position?

Even if you weren’t constantly checking the company’s job listings, convey a sense of eagerness and interest professionally. If an internal contact referred you to the position, be sure to mention their name, position, and their reasons for recommending you. This can significantly boost your chances if someone credible vouches for you.

Highlight what excites you about the job or what specifically caught your attention.

Here are a couple of sample answers:

Sample Answer 1:

“I’ve been a fan of [MadeUpTechnologies] for a long time and even own one of your latest phone models. I admire the company’s dedication to creating intuitive and beautiful hardware. When I came across your job ad on [RandomJobBoardWebsite], I was immediately interested, even though I wasn’t actively job hunting at the time. I couldn’t resist applying because I would love to be part of such an innovative team.”

Sample Answer 2:

“My former colleague and college friend, Jim Doe, mentioned that [Company X] was looking for a new sales director. He encouraged me to apply, noting that my experience in managing a sales team at [Some Software Company] would be beneficial for [Company X]. I’ve heard a lot about [Company X] from Jim and admire the company’s flat organizational structure. I’ve always wanted to work in such an environment, so I was excited to apply.”

3) Why did you decide to apply for this position?

Interviewers ask this question to gauge your passion for the role and the company. The answer they’re not looking for is:

“Well, I’m very passionate about not starving to death.”


“Well, I needed the money, and you guys tend to pay a lot.”

Instead, they want to understand your genuine interest in the job and the organization. Your enthusiasm is crucial because job satisfaction often leads to higher productivity.

When you’re passionate about something, it shines through in your conversation. For HR managers, this enthusiasm is a positive indicator of a good fit for the role.

To effectively answer this question, focus on two key points:

  1. What motivated you to apply for this position specifically?
  2. Why this company? Have you heard of them before?

Sample Answer 1:

“I am very passionate about sustainability and renewable energy, having minored in Environmental Science at [XYZ University]. I’ve always wanted to use my engineering degree to contribute to a good cause. The position of Sustainability Coordinator at [Company XYZ] perfectly aligns with this goal. I’ve been following your company for the past few years and admire how you’re transforming the renewable energy landscape in America.”

Sample Answer 2:

“I’ve always wanted to get into marketing. Although I’ve done promotional jobs here and there, I haven’t had the chance to pursue something more substantial. I believe I have the right skills to get started, including copywriting, basic Photoshop, and a lot of creativity. An internship at [Company X] would be an excellent start to my career in marketing.”

Remember, if you don’t know much about the company or position, that’s okay. Be honest and show your passion for the job. However, doing some research before the interview will always give you an edge.

4) What are your biggest strengths?

When answering this question, it’s best to focus on your actual strengths rather than what you think the hiring manager wants to hear.

You should narrow your answer down to at most three strengths. Choose one or two skills that would help you excel in the job and one or two personal skills that, while not directly related, highlight your overall capabilities.

Not sure which ones are your top strengths? Check out the table below to learn which one’s perfect for your field:

After picking your strengths, back it up with a situation or story that shows how you have used it to benefit you on the job. 

After all, words are just that – words. The HR can’t know whether your “natural leadership” is an actual strength, or just means that you were super active in your high school class.

As you probably already know, this is one of the most common interview questions out there, so make sure you’re prepared for it before facing the HR manager! Possible answers:

Sample Answer 1:

“My biggest strengths are my analytical skills and attention to detail. In my previous role as a data analyst, I was able to identify patterns and insights that significantly improved our decision-making processes. Additionally, I have strong communication skills, which allow me to effectively present complex data to non-technical stakeholders.”

Sample Answer 2:

“I excel in project management and problem-solving. In my last job, I successfully led multiple projects from inception to completion, ensuring they were on time and within budget. Personally, I’m also very adaptable, which helps me quickly adjust to new environments and challenges.”

By focusing on both professional and personal strengths, you can provide a well-rounded answer that showcases your qualifications for the position.

At that point, things looked so bleak that we were considering canceling the event or postponing it. Instead, I took the initiative in my hands and sorted through the problems one by one.

5) What is your biggest weakness?

This is always a tricky question!

You might hesitate to mention your flaws during an interview, but the interviewers aren’t expecting perfection. Everyone has areas for improvement, and the key is to show self-awareness and a commitment to growth.

When asking this question, the HR manager wants to know:

  • Whether you have the right skills for the job: For example, if you’re applying for a server position in a busy restaurant, and you say your biggest weakness is handling pressure, you likely won’t get a callback.
  • If you’re self-aware and recognize your sticking points: Avoid fake humble-brags like “I work too hard” or “I’m a perfectionist.”

The trick is to mention a real weakness that doesn’t hinder your ability to do the job well. Also, explain how you are working to overcome this weakness. If possible, balance it with a positive side effect, treating it like two sides of the same coin.

Sample Answer 1:

“My biggest weakness has always been my communication skills. I was pretty shy and anxious as a kid, but over the years, I’ve worked hard to improve. I’m much better now, though not perfect. This weakness won’t impact my job as a programmer, as I excel at collaborating within a team despite my communication challenges.”

Sample Answer 2:

“As a recent graduate, my biggest weakness is my lack of real-life work experience. While I’ve completed numerous software projects at university, I haven’t yet worked in a fully agile environment with an experienced team. However, I am eager to learn quickly and catch up as fast as I can.”

Looking for more sample answers about your strengths and weaknesses? Check out our full guide!

6) What do you know about this company/organization?

Simply glancing at the “About” page might give you a basic understanding, but to truly impress, you should dig deeper. This question is your chance to demonstrate your genuine interest and knowledge about the company.

Imagine two equally qualified candidates:

  • One who knows little about the company and is applying mainly for the salary.
  • Another who has been following the company’s developments, loves its products, and has connections within the company.

Which one would you choose? Likely the second candidate.

To position yourself as the more engaged candidate, research the following about the company:

  • What their products or services do
  • The impact of their products or services
  • The company culture
  • Recent news and company performance
  • Any other relevant information

Sample Answer 1:

“I discovered [Company X] through a job ad on RandomJobBoard and was intrigued. After researching, I was impressed by your innovative software and mission. I’ve used several project management tools like Example Software 1 and Example Software 2, but none are as intuitive as Example Software 3.”

Sample Answer 2:

“I know that [Company X] is one of the leading investment banks in [town/state/country]. I’ve read about your investments in major tech IPOs and your portfolio of emerging biotech companies. Your recent investment in [Startup X] caught my attention because of [Y Reason], which aligns with my interests and experience.”

By showing that you’ve done your homework, you demonstrate your genuine interest and increase your chances of making a strong impression.

7) Why should we hire you?

Ah, the ultimate humble-brag question.

The challenge here is to sell yourself without sounding arrogant, desperate, or needy.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid extremes. Think you’re a good fit for the job? Simply state that you have the right experience.

Avoid overselling yourself:

“I’m the best salesman you’ve ever met!”

Instead, make a general statement (e.g., “I’m a great fit for the position because…”) and then elaborate on your relevant experiences and achievements.

Here are three key points to mention:

  • Your passion for working at the company (and why).
  • How your skills match their requirements.
  • How you can help the company solve its existing problems, improve metrics, set up processes, etc.

Sample Answer 1:

“I have all the skills and work experience required for the job. I’ve worked as a Sales Manager for over five years and, in the past two years, I’ve closed several six-figure deals. Additionally, I have experience working with tech companies, so I can quickly grasp the product specifics, setting me apart from other candidates.”

Sample Answer 2:

“I have the right skill set to excel as an executive assistant. While I haven’t previously worked as a personal assistant, I believe I fit the bill for the role. I’m extremely organized and have managed several project teams at university. I led the organization of Event #1 and Event #2, coordinating with over 12 companies, 30 speakers, and 15 sponsors. I’m meticulous and efficient, and I can help the CEO make the most of their time.”

Looking for more sample answers? Check out these 10+ answers to “Why should we hire you?”

8) What are your salary requirements?

This is always a tricky question. You don’t want to undersell yourself, but you also don’t want to scare them away with an unrealistic number.

When answering, consider these three factors:

  1. What’s the average salary for someone with your skill level?
  2. How much does the company typically pay employees with your experience? Glassdoor can be helpful here.
  3. How much are you currently making? You can often negotiate a pay increase from your current salary.

The final number you provide should reflect these considerations. If you know the company is doing well and compensates employees fairly, you might aim higher. If your skill level is above average, this should also be reflected in your salary request.

It’s a good idea to have two figures in mind: a “good” scenario and a “best” scenario. State your “best” pay, and the worst-case scenario is they negotiate down to your “good” pay. Alternatively, you can provide a range, which often leads to them choosing a number within that range.

Possible Answers:

Sample Answer 1:

“My salary expectation is around $70,000 annually.”

Sample Answer 2:

“My salary requirement is in the $30,000 – $40,000 range annually.”

9) Do you have any questions for us?

You’ll hear this question in every interview you attend.

While there isn’t a right answer, there is a wrong one:

“Nope, all good! Thanks, I’ll show myself out.”

Instead, use this opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the company. Imagine you’ve already been hired and are starting tomorrow—what would you like to know about them?

Keep in mind that your questions shouldn’t be too basic (e.g., “So, what does your company do?”).

Beyond showing your interest, this is also a chance to learn more about the company’s inner workings. The answers you get can help you decide if you really want to work there.

Possible Questions to Ask at the End of an Interview:

  1. What does a typical day look like in this company?
  2. What’s the best thing about working here?
  3. What are the biggest challenges a person in this position might face?
  4. What are the most important skills and qualities one must have to succeed in this position?
  5. What do you like best about working here?
  6. What are the most pressing issues or projects that need to be addressed?
  7. Do you have training programs available for employees?
  8. What kind of budget is there for my department?
  9. What opportunities are there for future development?
  10. What are the performance expectations for someone in this position?
  11. Do departments collaborate often?
  12. How does the company celebrate events like birthdays or retirements?
  13. Do employees usually hang out with each other outside of work?
  14. Is there anything else I can help with at this stage?
  15. What is the next step in the hiring process?

For a complete list of questions to ask the interviewer, check out our article!

10) What are you looking for in a new position?

The easiest way to answer this question is to align your response with what the company is offering.

Think from the potential employer’s perspective. Would they hire someone who answered with:

“A good salary. And uhh, well, that’s about it!”

Such an answer suggests you might leave as soon as you get a higher-paying offer.

Instead, explain why this job at this company is the perfect fit for you. Mention your short-term and long-term career goals and how this position aligns with them.

Possible Answer:

“I’m looking to further apply my machine learning skills that I developed during my 2+ years at [Startup X], where I worked on programmatic ads model design. Now, I’m seeking an opportunity to work on larger-scale projects that involve setting up programmatic ads for audiences of more than 10 million people. I believe working on such projects will help me progress significantly faster in my career.”

11) Are you considering other positions in other companies?

This can be a tricky question: How much does the HR manager need to know?

If you admit to having interviews with other companies, it might seem like you’re not fully dedicated to this one. On the other hand, if you say you’re not considering other positions, it might make you seem like you don’t have other options, giving the company the upper hand in salary negotiations.

The best approach is to find common ground between the two answers.

The interviewer likely wants to know if they have competition for hiring you and if you’re serious about the industry and seeking employment in this field.

If you have other interviews lined up, express that you are keeping your options open but that you favor this job. If you don’t have many other options, stick to the same approach.

Possible Answers:

Sample Answer 1:

“I have had two interviews in the past week with companies in the X and Y industries. However, I am very passionate about your industry and the work you have done in recent years, so I am more inclined toward working for you, if everything works out.”

Sample Answer 2:

“Not yet—I wasn’t actively looking for a job until my friend, [name], recommended your company. I’m not looking for just any company; I’m interested in an engaging project like yours.”

12) What is the professional achievement you’re most proud of?

This is another version of the “Why should we hire you” question, but with a focus on one very specific achievement.

This one’s pretty straightforward, just mention your #1 professional achievement and you’re good to go.

As a given, the achievement has to be related to the job you’re applying for. Let’s say you’re applying for the position of Sales Manager:

  • [Incorrect Example]

“I’m very good at underwater basket-weaving, having woven 20+ baskets in the past year.”

  • [Correct Example]

“In my previous sales position, I managed to hit and exceed department KPIs by 50%+ for 6 months in a row”

Keep in mind, though, that you want to be very specific with your answer. To get this right, try using the STAR method. It goes something like this:

S: Situation – Set the scene and context.

T: Task – Describe what your challenge or responsibility was.

A: Action – List and dwell on all the actions you took towards addressing the challenge or responsibility.

R: Result – Explain what the outcomes were and how they fit with the overall goal of the project or company.

So, find a work-related achievement that showcases your contribution through your skills and experience to something that matters to the company. Possible answers:

  • Sample Answer 1: 

My biggest achievement is the fact that I went from being an intern to managing company X’s entire marketing over 2 years.

As an intern, I basically had 0 instructions on what to do – it went like “hey, go learn social media advertising and get it going.” The founders didn’t exactly expect me to achieve much, and didn’t particularly care, as they were 100% focused on making the product work.

Instead of just complaining about a lack of direction, I started reading up on digital marketing – pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I learned how to do content marketing for example, from Neil Patel’s blog, and started putting everything into practice.

My first success was getting an article to go viral, generating over $5,000 revenue in a single day. While that’s not much for a software company, it felt like a lot for an intern.

After that, the founding team gave me a lot more trust, and assigned me a small marketing budget of $1,000 per month. With a lot more confidence in my abilities, I started experimenting with other strategies.

Then, over the next 2 years, I got promoted to Head of Marketing. After making a couple of hires, I managed to scale up our marketing efforts, growing the company from $2,000 to $30,000 monthly recurring revenue.

  • Sample Answer 2: 

My greatest accomplishment so far is graduating from [University X] within 4 years, with a GPA of 3.9. My family was unable to support me financially, so I had to take care of all the university bills on my own.

Through hard work and dedication, I ended up graduating with almost no student loans. I managed this through a combination of:

  1. Working part-time while studying
  2. Doing seasonal full-time work during the summer
  3. Maintaining a high CGPA and winning 2 scholarships over 4 years

13) What kind of work environment do you like best?

The aim of this question is to assess whether you’ll fit in the company’s working environment

For example, some organizations are pretty structured and hierarchical, they require tight organization and have a well-planned day filled with rules and guidelines on how to do things.

If you’re the creative, think-out-of-the-box type who likes to break the rules and innovate, this is probably not going to cut it for you.

On the other hand, some companies are more laid back, with a lot less bureaucracy. “Go get us more sales” can actually be your main duty for the week if you’re working in an early stage startup.

If you’re the type who prefers to have strict to-dos and objectives, you probably won’t enjoy such a job.

So, the takeaway? Different people work best in different environments, and that’s okay. 

Before you go to the interview, go through the company’s website and social media pages to get a sense of the general vibe and environment there. 

Look at employee reviews on GlassDoor, or if you know someone already working there, ask them. 

Depending on what you learn, answer accordingly.Possible answers:

  • Sample Answer 1:

I work best in smaller companies. I really dislike the corporate world – rules, guidelines, SOPs, and so on. I perform best when I have a certain level of freedom to do things. Want to find innovative solutions to problems you didn’t even know you had? I’m your guy.

Want someone to just blindly follow instructions and do what they’re told? Then we’d probably not be a good fit.

  • Sample Answer 2:

I love working in a youthful, energetic environment. You know, when you’re working on a common goal with a team of people who are as passionate as you are?

I like to think of my work as a second home, and my coworkers as family. 

The last company I worked at had such an environment, and I excelled at the job.

I get that exact feeling about Company X, since the moment I walked in here for the interview. So, I’m pretty excited to get to know how you guys work!

14) Where do you see yourself in five years?

Sometimes the honest answer to this is “Hopefully not doing this.” especially with entry-level jobs. 

Don’t think the hiring manager doesn’t know it, though. There are diplomatic ways to go around it. 

In general, the motivation behind this question is for the interviewer to assess whether you are an ambitious person or not and whether you have realistic expectations for your career. 

Make sure to avoid any of the cliche answers such as…

“In your seat!”


“As the big boss man”

Instead, think realistically about what the next step after this position is, and whether it is possible to reach it within the company you are applying at. Possible answers:

  • Sample Answer 1: 

Within the next 5 years, I’d like to reach the position of a Senior Business Consultant. During the time period, I would like to accomplish the following:

Help 20+ organizations improve their business

Create a personal network of highly specialized professionals

Learn as much as I can about optimizing and improving clients’ businesses, as well as the essentials of operating a company

  • Sample Answer 2:

As a start, I want to learn if accounting is the right field for me. While I loved what I studied at the university, I want to see if working in the field feels the same.

If I do end up enjoying it, I’d like to specialize in either internal auditing or forensic accounting, as I really like to discover and solve problems. From what I’ve seen from your job ads, you guys are hiring for both, so I hope it’s going to be possible to move up from the position of an “intern” within the next few months!

Still not sure how to answer this one? We don’t blame you! Sometimes, you might not know what you’re doing next week, let alone next year! Check out our guide to answering the “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” job interview question to find more possible answers.

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