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80 Common Interview Questions You Might Get Asked

By Mark Wilkinson | Nov 8, 2016 | Candidate Tips

80 Common Interview Questions You Might Get AskedWe all get nervous in job interviews!

It’s always a bit nerve-racking meeting someone for the first time, especially when you know you have to make a great impression.

But the key to beating those nerves is to be (fully) prepared! (That’s where this week’s blog comes in).

Behold! 80 (pretty) common questions that you could get asked during your next job interview…

The Basics

At a bare minimum, you should be prepared to answer the following questions.

They are incredibly common and are often used to ease candidates into the interview (before the tough questions begin).

Question 1: How did you find out about our vacancy?


Question 2: Why do you want this particular job?


Question 3: Why are you leaving your current company?


Question 4: Tell me a bit about yourself.


Question 5: What makes you the right person for the job?


Question 6: What makes you better than the other candidates?


Question 7: What were your responsibilities at your last workplace?


Question 8: What’s your greatest weakness?


Question 9: What’s your greatest strength?


Question 10: What do you know about the industry?


Question 11: What do you know about the company?


Question 12: Where do you see yourself in five years?


Question 13: What are your long-term goals for the future?


Question 14: What do you like to do in your spare time?


And of course, you’ll also be asked some basic fact-finding questions like…

Question 15: What are your salary requirements?


Question 16: Do you have a driving license?


Question 17: Why is there a gap in your employment history?


Question 18: Does the location suit you?


Question 19: Are you willing to/capable of travelling across the UK for the role?


Recruiter Pro Tip

99% of recruiters will also ask you…

Question 20: Have you got any questions for us?

…towards the end of the interview. So make sure you’ve prepared some interesting and impressive ones!

Click here to get your hands on some examples.

You will impress your interviewer if you can show off a good knowledge of the company, industry, the ins and outs of the role and your own strengths and weaknesses (relevant to that role).

Personality Questions

Potential employers are also going to want to know what you’re like as a person (no one wants to hire and work with someone boring/ unsociable/ arrogant).

So be prepared to show off some interesting, appealing and slightly more personal facts about yourself.

You may get asked…

Question 21: How would your best friend describe you?


Question 22: How would you describe yourself in 3 words?


Question 23: What book do you think everybody should read?


Question 24: What’s the last book you read? Or film you watched? Or event you attended?


Question 25: What has been your greatest personal achievement?


Question 26: Are you competitive outside of work?


Question 27: Do you have any other commitments outside of work, for example, voluntary positions?


Question 28: Tell me something about yourself that I don’t know from your CV.


Question 29: What are your favourite/least favourite things in life?


Question 30: Do you have any pets?


For more advice, check out this blog dedicated to personality questions.

Cultural Fit Questions

These questions are a little different because they’re aimed at revealing your professional persona – and whether you’ll fit in at the company and click with the rest of the team…

Question 31: What do you like most about your job and why?


Question 32: What do you like least about your job and why?


Question 33: How do you like to be managed?


Question 34: Who is the biggest influence on your career?


Question 35: What do you do to get ‘in the zone’?


Question 36: What motivates you?


Question 37: What kind of counter-offer would you accept from your current employers?


Question 38: Do you prefer working as part of a team or individually?


Question 39: What’s the most important thing you look for in a job?


Question 40: What’s the environment like at your current place? Do you like it?


Interviewers will be trying to work out exactly what motivates you and looking out for any warning signs that you might not fit in with their management style, team and company culture in general.

Competency Questions

Competency questions will assess a variety of different skills and attributes.

You should be (mega) prepared to answer these questions using the STAR method (see this blog, for more details).

Question 41: Tell me about a project you successfully completed as part of a team.


Question 42: Can you tell me about a situation when you personally had to solve a problem at work?


Question 43: Tell me about a time you had to solve a conflict at work.


Question 44: Can you give me an example of when you exhibited great communication skills?


Question 45: Tell me about a time when you successfully took on a leadership role.


Question 46: When’s the last time you learnt something outside of work?


Question 47: When’s the last time you had to persuade someone?


Question 48: Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a complaint from a customer.


Question 49: When was the last time you had to really think on your feet?


Question 50: What do you do to refresh yourself after a tough day at the office?


Question 51: Describe a time when you missed a deadline or target. What did you do to rectify this?


Question 52: Tell me about a time when you made a mistake at work. How did you rectify it?


Question 53: How do you go about setting goals for other people in your team?


Question 54: Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your Manager. What did you do?


Question 55: Give me an example of a personal goal you set & how you overcame obstacles to reach it…


Question 56: Tell me about a time when you didn’t agree with something, but had to do it anyway…


Question 57: When was the last time you had a disagreement with a colleague or customer? What happened?


Question 58: Describe your decision-making process…


Question 59: When was the last time you took a risk that didn’t pay off? What happened?


Question 60: Describe a time when you had to use your creativity to influence someone…

 If you’re not ready for a competency interview, then chances are you will trip yourself up (it’s really hard to make up a story on the spot).

Left-field Questions

Slightly crueller interviewers may try and bedazzle you with tough and bizarre left-field questions, so you should always be prepared to think on your feet.

Question 61: How would you improve our company?


Question 62: What’s your dream job?


Question 63: If you could be a superhero, which would you be and why?


Question 64: What is your least favourite thing about humanity?


Question 65: Are you a lucky person? With examples…


Question 66: When I call your references, how will they describe you?


Question 67: What’s your USP?


Question 68: What was the last gift you gave someone?


Question 69: If you were a breakfast cereal, which one would you be and why?


Question 70: What annoys you most at work?


If you get asked any of these (and you aren’t prepared) then take a deep breath and have a real think before you answer.

It’s far better to take a little bit of time and give an impressive answer than to rush and say something silly and meaningless.

Brainteasers

The same goes for these tricky little brainteasers!

They are used to assess critical reasoning skills and performance under pressure – but they are incredibly intense.

Question 71: An apple costs 40p, a banana costs 60p, a grapefruit costs 80p. How much does a pear cost?


Question 72: How many potatoes (in kg) does McDonald’s sell in a year in the UK?


Question 73: You get shrunk to the size of a penny and then thrown into an empty blender. You’ve got 60 seconds before the blades start to turn… what do you do?


Question 74: You have a 3-Litre jug, a 5-Litre jug, and an unlimited supply of mulled wine. How do you get exactly 4 Litres of mulled wine without estimating?


Question 75: Tracy’s mother had 4 children. The first child was named April, the second was named May, the third June. What was the 4th child called?


Question 76: How do you know if the light inside the fridge is on or off?


Question 77: How many calories are there in a grocery store?


Question 78: You reach the end of a treasure quest and you’re faced with two doors. Behind one door you’ll find the treasure, behind the other you’ll find a slow and painful death. Beside the doors stand two people, one always tells the truth, the other always lies. So what question do you ask them to find the right door? What would you do based on what they tell you?


Question 79: How many tennis balls could you fit in Wimbledon?


Question 80: If a lily pad doubles in size every day and fills a lake in 50 days, how long will it take to fill half the lake?


Unfortunately, it’s difficult to prepare for these as there are so many different variations but it is good to get some practice so you’re used to having to think critically.

If you’d like to see some examples (with answers) click here.

Feeling prepared?

Now it would be pretty difficult for you to fully prepare for all of the above questions! And this list obviously isn’t exhaustive.

But really, all the recruiter wants to know is…

  • Can you do the job? Have you got the skills, competencies and education?
  • Would you fit in and are you a good person?
  • Are you genuinely passionate about the role?
  • Are you confident?
  • Can you think critically (on your feet)?

So if you can practice answers which get all of that across, you’ll be fine!

If you’d like some more guidance, feel free to subscribe to this blog. We’ll send through a quick weekly email with our latest job-seeking tips and careers advice.

Want to read more?

On the other hand if you’d like to continue reading about interview questions, check out these great resources…

Good luck!

- Mark Wilkinson
Mark Wilkinson

Mark Wilkinson

Mark is one of the founders of Coburg Banks and heads up the permanent recruitment division of the business.  Every day he helps companies with their recruitment projects, sourcing the very best individuals for their vacancies.  He understands recruitment inside-out.

> More blog posts by Mark Wilkinson

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