Common Job Interview Questions

Handling an interview with confidence takes planning and lots of practice. Prepare yourself for success with our list of Common Job Interview Questions below. We’ll take you step by step through each question and give tips on how to craft a winning response. Learn from the experts at Oxford HIM how to master the art of the interview and land the job you want.

How would you describe yourself?

Keep your answer mostly related to work and career. This is your chance to highlight your qualifications, good work habits, attributes, and achievements that make you a valuable employee.

Name a few work accomplishments that you're proud of and how you achieved them.

Briefly describe one to three work projects that made you proud or earned you pats on the back, promotions, pay raises, or other commendations. Focus more on achievement than reward.

What is your biggest weakness?

Everybody has weaknesses, but keep your answer work related. Try to point out a couple of weaknesses that the interviewer might see as strengths, such as sometimes being a little too meticulous about the quality of your work. For every weakness, offer a strength that compensates for it.

Why do you want to change jobs?

Avoid criticizing other employers and making statements such as, "I need more money." Instead, make generic statements such as, "It's a career move." It’s acceptable to discuss major problems within a company, or to share the fact that the company is being bought out or shut down. If this is the case, a safe answer is that you feel you can no longer make a contribution because of extensive changes at the company.

What did you like or dislike about your last position?

This helps interviewers decide if you’re a good match for the position. Avoid admitting that you didn’t like working overtime or you had a conflict with the company’s management team. Instead, put a positive spin on your answer by saying you enjoy challenges and growth opportunities.

In what ways are you qualified for this position?

Focus on a few requirements of the job and how you can meet these requirements through your particular skills and experience. Highlight your interpersonal skills, management experience, technical skills, or personal success stories.

Describe your most valuable strengths.

Identify five strengths you feel are most in line with the position for which you’re interviewing and give a brief example of how you successfully applied that particular strength to a work situation.

What is your ideal work environment?

Try to tailor your answer to the job. For example, if the job requires you to lock the lab doors and work alone, then indicate that you enjoy being a team player, but also enjoy working independently.

How do you handle criticism?

Your answer should be along the following lines: "I think that it is important to get feedback on how I am performing so that I can improve any areas that my manager or supervisor highlights.”

How do you handle pressure and stress?

Everyone feels stress; the only difference is in the degree. A good answer may include exercising, relaxing with a good book, socializing with friends, or turning stress into productive energy.

Explain how you overcame a major obstacle.

The interviewer is likely looking for an example of your problem-solving skills and the confidence you showed when using them. Emphasize the skills you used to deal with a problem, such as organizational and interpersonal skills, perseverance, or diplomacy.

Where do you see yourself five (or ten) years from now?

Don’t mention goals you know are most likely not attainable. Instead, focus on career-advancement goals that are in line with the job for which you are interviewing. It's not a good idea to tell your potential new boss that you'll be going after his or her job, but it's okay to mention that you'd like to earn a senior or management position.

What qualifies you for this job?

Highlight your skills, experience, education, and other qualifications, especially those that match the job description well. Avoid just repeating your resume.

Why should we hire you?

Point out your positive attributes related to this job. Take this opportunity to reveal your organizational skills, positive attitude, and confidence – traits that make you an ideal candidate for the position. Restate some of the key aspects of the job and describe how your qualification and their requirements match.