Common Interview Questions and the Answers Employers Want to Hear

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Common Interview Questions and the Answers Employers Want to Hear

From the moment you walk into an interview, a recruiter or hiring manager begins evaluating whether you are the right fit for the job. Most interviews start out with questions that you have likely heard before and that you’ve come prepared to answer. However, before you go ahead and deliver your message on these common interview questions, take a step back and ask yourself: “Is the information I’m providing what an employer actually wants to hear?”

When faced with some of the most common interview questions, most job candidates address the questions asked but fail to provide responses that fully captures what the employer is looking for – hint: it’s not just words! By starting the interview off with a standard response to questions, many job candidates actually miss out on a key opportunity to shine.

Let’s review 3 of the most common interview questions and ways to respond that will help you stand out to a hiring manager:

  1. Tell me about yourself
    Almost all job interviewers will start with this question. It provides a nice transition to help ease the initial interview nerves before diving into deeper topics. However, the way you respond to this question also provides the interviewer with their first impression of both your character and your interest in the job.Are you confident and able to feel at-ease in a new situation quickly, or does it take you a few minutes to get comfortably into your stride? Are you passionate about the work the company does and excited about the current role? Would you come across as nervous if introduced to an important client, or would you be quick to smile and woo them with your natural charm?When responding to this question, it is just as important to demonstrate your enthusiasm about the opportunity and natural fit in personality with the role, as it is to highlight why the transition makes sense from a professional development standpoint.
  2. Why do you want to work here?
    This seemingly simple question can really hurt your chances of getting a follow-up interview or job offer if approached the wrong way. The best approach is to show that you have researched the company, evaluated the position carefully, and that you communicate a passion for the work. If you show up without knowing the basics about the company and don’t have a general idea of why this role is important to the company and what you can do on the job, then you signal to your interviewer that you are not a serious candidate. There are more enthusiastic candidates vying for the position right outside the door, if you fail to provide a response that is thoughtful and that shows you’ve done your research.
  3. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
    When an employer asks this question, they are assessing both your ambition and your likelihood to remain loyal to the company. They want to see that you have a drive for success that would make you an asset to the company, because your success will ultimately contribute to the company’s bottom line.Also, employers want to avoid bringing on board anyone who’s not in it for the long-term. Why invest both time and money bringing in someone who may just leave after just a few months or a year? It also creates a risk where valuable knowledge and skills walk out the door, right when a company may see a return on the investment they made  on the employee.The possibility of someone leaving shortly after being hired is a huge red flag for employers. And it could be the sole reason why a job offer would not be extended to you. For other major red flags to avoid, check out our recent article on How Not to Answer Some of the Most Common Job Interview Questions.

As you progress in your career, you may attend dozens of interviews. Each one will be different from the next – even if most of them do include these 3 questions. Ultimately, you will achieve the greatest success by performing your best, treating each interviewer with respect, and being open to learning and improving your performance. And now that you know more about what employers are looking for in an interview, you can walk into your next interview with more opportunities in mind to stand out among the other job candidates!

For more tips to acing the job interview, you may also like our article about 3 Things You Need to Do to Get a Job Offer.

About Jobs Resume Writing & Career Consulting helps professionals secure job search results. Our Certified Professional Resume Writers work one-on-one with each client to build a personal brand that stands out in today’s job market. We also provide Career Services to help job seekers turn interview opportunities into job offers. For more information, visit, or find us on LinkedIn and Facebook.