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Last Updated on June 23, 2020

10 Best Interview Questions (With Great Answer Examples)

10 Best Interview Questions (With Great Answer Examples)

Looking for a new job can be quite a daunting task. You’ve got everything from researching companies to applying for jobs that fit your skill set to actually hearing from a company that they’d like to talk to you. And then once somebody does notice your resume and experience, you’ve got the whole interview process to go through.

Sometimes all this can feel like running the gauntlet and can be emotionally exhausting. Being in talent acquisition for 15 years has taught me a few things. I’m fond of telling people that sometimes getting a really good job is like dating to get married. A lot of boxes have to be checked on both sides, as a best fit for the company and a good fit for you.

There are lots of questions to be asked and lot’s of chances for things to not work out. That’s the nature of the job hunting and interviewing process. There are some ways you can greatly increase your chances of landing the role you want. It all comes down to research and preparation. And no where is that more important than in preparing to interview.

With that in mind, I’d like to take a look at the 10 best interview questions (with great answer examples).

How to Get Ready for an Interview

1. Preparation

So many people take the shotgun approach to looking for a new job. They have a general idea of what they want to be doing in a position and that’s about it. Performing a job takes up a whole lot of your waking hours, so it should be something that you enjoy.

The actual work, the people you do it with, the company you do it for, etc. This doesn’t happen by accident; it takes planning and preparation. Now is a perfect time to compile a list of the things that are important to you in a new opportunity.

Think in broad terms and then narrow it down. What type of role do you want? Maybe it’s accounting, perhaps it’s operations, maybe it’s even in recruitment like me. Okay, that part’s done.

Now look for roles that match your experience and skills. I’ve been recruiting for 15 years, have management experience, and tend to focus on sales roles. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to look for or apply to roles that are looking for 1-3 years experience. I’d be bored, and it wouldn’t provide the type of compensation I am used to.

Maybe you are used to being in a specific industry. Do you want to stay in that industry? That will either narrow or broaden the field you are looking at. Do you like working in a larger or a smaller company? Is a large corporate office an environment you enjoy, or perhaps a smaller office with a lot less people? Think about if you like working for big multinational publicly traded companies or a smaller local organization.

The culture of a company tends to be a big factor for many people. These are all parts of the puzzle you should be thinking about as you prepare to go about your job search.

2. Research

Research is so important during your job search. Now that you’ve made a list of what is important to you in your new role, it’s time to do some research. Part of this research is preparing for the interview questions, which we will get to in just a minute.

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First, do research of which companies offer the types of role you are looking for. If you want to work for a large company, do a search for large companies in your geographic region that have positions like the one you want. Don’t just do an online search, but make sure you ask family and friends. It’s amazing what we can learn when we ask others for their thoughts and guidance.

Ultimately, what you are looking to do here is to build a list of companies where you want to apply or see who you know that works there that can maybe help you snag a meeting. This doesn’t mean you can’t apply for other roles as you become aware of them. You just want to have a list of companies to keep an ongoing eye on.

Now that we’ve got our job search parameters built and we’ve done some research on the types of companies we want to work for, let’s look at the interview process. This will help us prepare for the questions.

3. Interview Process

The interview process can vary a great deal[1]. Many times, when interviewing for a new role, you will go through a phone interview. Then, if that goes well, you will be invited to go to the office for in person interviews.

Phone Screen

Many times a phone screen is conducted by a recruiter such as myself. When I get a resume that looks like the experience is a good fit for a role I am working on, I will contact the individual to set up a phone screen, or interview.

Depending on the position, I will schedule between 30 – 60 minutes for the phone screen. During the phone screen, I do a fair amount of talking, as well as asking questions. I want to ensure the candidate is well informed about the company and the position. I then, of course, ask questions, some of which you will see below. If the phone screen goes well, I will then talk to the candidate about having in-person interviews.

In-Person Interviews

Assuming the phone screen goes well and both the interviewer and the candidate want to move things forward in the interviewing process, a live interview will be set up. This is where it can depend on the position. Sometimes I set up one live interview with a hiring manager, and if things well an offer will be extended.

Other times there may be a series of in-person interviews, depending in how difficult that is to schedule on both sides. Sometimes I line someone up to interview for an entire day if it’s a senior level role. If you are actively interviewing and working with a recruiter, ask the recruiter to prepare for any in-person interviews. In my opinion, all good recruiters do this, but some needed to be reminded.

Now let’s get to the really good information. Here are the 10 best interview questions (with great answers).

10 Best Interview Questions (With Great Answer Examples)

On any interview you go on, you’ll likely encounter at least one of the following questions, so get ready!

1. Walk Me Through Your Work History

The interviewer wants to see that your job history makes sense. Ultimately what they are looking for is progression and growth in your career and that you don’t quit a job on a whim. They are looking for a good performer they can count on.

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Great Answers

“When I was at ABC Company my position was Inside Sales Supervisor. I was responsible for a team of 6 that…and I ultimately decided it was time to look for an opportunity outside the company due to lack of growth options inside the company.”

“I accepted a position as Team Leader at Genomix because it allowed me to both grow my level of responsibility and learn a new industry. There I managed a team of 12 Sales Representatives that sold Medical Genome services in a 3 state area.”

2. What Are You Looking for in Your Next Role?

The interviewer is wanting to ensure that what you are looking for in your next role matches up to the job you are interviewing for. If you are wanting to manage people and this isn’t a management role, it’s probably not the best fit.

Great Answers

“I noticed in the job description that you are looking for a highly creative person. Creativity is one of my strengths and something that I am extremely passionate about.”

“One of the things I find to be very important at work is a culture of collaboration. In my next role I’d really like to work and interact with a team that places collaboration high on their list of priorities.”

3. What Gets You Fired up to Go to Work?

They want to know if you will bring passion and energy to the role or if it’s simply a paycheck for you.

Great Answers

“As my 15 years in digital marketing indicates, it’s a field I absolutely love. I am a constant learner and doing this work everyday is something I thoroughly enjoy.”

“I always like to learn new things in the field of electrical engineering. I read numerous publications, and getting to integrate my newly found knowledge into my everyday work is something I always look forward to.”

4. How Do You Handle Stress?

They aren’t really looking to see if you will get stressed at work; everybody does from time to time. What they want to see is if you handle stress in a constructive way and are able to work through it effectively.

Great Answers

“When I feel myself getting stressed, I stop and take a deep breath. I assess the situation and ask myself what I’m trying to accomplish. I then break the project down into smaller, more manageable pieces that I can tackle.”

“I have found that setting up a system that keeps me on track and organized greatly reduces my level of stress. This way I stay on top of just about all work situations. I also feel it’s important to take a short break from time to time and walk around a bit.”

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5. How Do You Prioritize Your Work?

No real shocker here. Your interviewer want to know if you are able to adapt to shifting priorities and timelines. Are you able to juggle a large workload? And what do you do when too much gets heaped on your plate at work?

Great Answers

“I’m used to working with a heavy workload and multiple priorities. When I start to feel overwhelmed and have too much going on at once, I take a minute and write down a list of what needs to get done. I then number the items according to what’s most important. From there I work my way from #1 onward.”

“While I consider juggling multiple projects one of my strengths, there have been times when there is simply too much to get done in a designated amount of time. When this happens, I typically ask my manager for guidance on what I should prioritize.”

6. What Skills and Strengths Would You Bring to This Position?

The interviewer wants to know that your skills and experience match what they are looking for closely. By this point, you should know that what you are good at matches what they are looking for. Otherwise, you’re at the wrong interview!

Great Answers

“As a recruiter I find one of the best areas to know about is how to find candidates. I pride myself on my ability to identify hard-to-find candidates. I have a certification in this area that I keep current as well.”

“My level of knowledge in the data analytics field is pretty solid. I supplement my day-to-day work with additional learning by taking online courses to stay up to date on current trends.”

7. What Do You Know About Our Company?

Hopefully you did your research. They want to know that you care enough about the opportunity to have taken 5-10 minutes to do research on the company.

Great Answers

“While I am certain there’s a lot I don’t know, I found some really exciting things about the company when I was looking online. I had no idea there was such a high demand for injury prevention training in the workplace. How long has that been part of your services?”

“Since it’s a newer industry for me, I still have a lot to learn. I talked to several of my friends in the industry, and they filled me on some of the large scale projects your engineering firm completed recently. How exciting was it to land the renovation of the football stadium?”

8. How Do You Handle Disagreements With a Boss or Colleague?

They want to know how you handle disagreements and differences of opinion with your fellow associates. Since you’ll likely be working closely with other people, it’s important to show that you can handle disagreements in a productive way.

Great Answers

“My manager recently wanted to put in place a bronze level of service to a new client. I completely disagreed as we’d worked over a year to land this client, and it was going to be one of our largest. I set up a meeting with my manager to show her how upgrading them to the silver package would ultimately lead to more revenue. She finally agreed with me, and we changed it.”

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“Several years ago a coworker and I were not seeing eye to eye on setting up marketing for a client. We butted heads for almost 2 weeks before I suggested we talk about it over a meal. Being in a more informal setting really helped us come together and agree on a blend of what we each wanted to do.”

9. How Do You Stay Current on Industry Trends?

The person you are speaking with is interested in knowing if you care enough about the industry to put forth an effort to keep up to date on it.

Great Answers

“One way I’ve found to stay current on the latest and greatest is to go to the ERE conference that happens in Orlando once a year. It’s a two-day event bringing together some of the most innovative companies in our field. I always learn lots of new things that I then implement at work.”

“Do you read the magazine Financial Planning? I’ve had a monthly subscription for years. It always has great articles and helps me stay abreast of the latest trends in our industry.”

10. What Are You Compensation Requirements?

It’s pretty simple; they want to know if the compensation you are looking for fits in what they have budgeted for the role.

Great Answers

“From my research and talking to several colleagues ,I’ve found that the compensation range for this type of role with the number of years experience you are looking for is typically between $60,000 – $70,000. Is this aligned with the budgeted compensation for this role?”

“Based on my years of experience and expertise in this field, I’ve been targeting roles with a compensation range in the $60,000 – $70,000 range. Is this role in that range as well?”

Conclusion

Looking for a new position is hard work and can be a daunting task. It’s a good feeling when you get to the interview stage. Being prepared is absolutely essential and will help you out immensely during the interview process. Review the 10 best interview questions with answers to help you feel ready to tackle any interview you might face. It just might help you land that new dream job.

More Tips on Nailing Your Interview

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Balance Careers: How to Prepare for a Job Interview

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Mat Apodaca

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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