14 Basic Interview Questions and Answers

Basic interview questions and answers that get you noticed. Be ready for these 14 common job interview questions, prepare excellent interview answers using our winning sample answers and make sure you progress to the next stage in the hiring process.

Two sets of hands across interview table with resumes in front of them

From the opening interview question "Tell me about yourself" to "What salary are you looking for", we provide excellent example answers that make it easy for you to develop your own impressive interview answers.

You can be sure that a number of these questions will come up during the interview. Be ready with your answers and come across as a confident and well prepared candidate for the job opportunity.

Basic Interview Questions and Answers

1. Tell me about yourself

The interviewer is trying to find out how you will fit in with the position and the company and if what motivates you is consistent with the position. Avoid just repeating what you have on your resume and focus on what job and career skills make you uniquely qualified to do this job?

Describe yourself objectively highlighting why you will be of value in this job. Good interview answers to this question

2. Why should we employ you?

Basic interview questions about why you are the right candidate for the job include an objective assessment of your suitability for the position. How does your work experience fit the requirements of this job. Provide specific examples of your relevant transferable career skills and knowledge.

What do you offer in addition to the basic job requirements? Good interview answers

3. What are your strengths?

Describe three or four strengths that highlight why you are the right candidate for the job. Avoid over-used terms such as "peoples-person", be specific about your strengths and provide hard evidence of them in the form of examples. Good interview answers

4. What are your weaknesses?

The interviewer is evaluating your self awareness and insight rather than your actual weaknesses. Refer to a genuine weakness but turn it into a positive by describing it as an area for development.

Detail the steps you have taken to try and improve. Good interview answers

5. What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Select an achievement that is relevant to the position and fairly recent. What are the job requirements?

This will guide you to the best answer for this interview question. Good interview answers

6. How do you define success in your job?

The best way to answer this interview question is to provide an accepted definition of success and then support it with good and specific examples of your own success.

Good answers to interview questions about your view of success will clearly link your definition to the position you are interviewing for. Good interview answers

7. What motivates you in a job?

Your interview answer should fit the characteristics of the job and company you are interviewing with. This interview question is asked to make sure that you are looking for the same job that the employer is trying to fill. Good interview answers

Sample answers to What motivates you interview question

8. What has been the most difficult situation you have faced?

Make sure your perception of a difficult situation is what would generally be considered tough or difficult by most people when answering this interview question.

Highlight the relevant job skills you used to deal with the situation. Good interview answers

9. What do you consider to be the most important skills for this job?

Refer to the job description and list the competencies and skills required for successful job performance.

Give examples of how you have used these skills successfully before. Good interview answers

10. Why do you want to work here?

Here is where you use your preparation and background research. Give a couple of  reasons why you want to work for this company and focus on what in particular attracts you to the job and organization. Good interview answers

Why this Company?

11. Where do you want to be in five years?

Basic interview questions and answers about your future ambitions should demonstrate a match of expectations between your hopes and goals and what the job and company can offer you.

Avoid referring to specific job titles and time periods but discuss generally what you enjoy, the strengths you would like to develop and the realistic opportunities in your chosen career field. Good interview answers

12. Why do you want to leave your job?

One of the most common basic interview questions and answers should be carefully thought about before the interview. Avoid negative comments about past employers, managers or colleagues. Be straightforward but present your interview answer in a positive and forward-looking manner. Good interview answers

13. What salary are you looking for?

This is a difficult interview question to handle. Usually it is advisable for you to suggest that the salary question be left until the end of the interview when you have learned more about the position. How to handle difficult interview questions

14. Do you have any questions for me?

This is a key interview question! Fail to answer this properly and you will destroy any chance of success. Have a prepared list of good, insightful questions to ask in the interview that demonstrate your preparation, interest and understanding of the position and company. Job interview question to ask

Common behavioral basic interview questions and answers

Are you ready for common behavioral interview questions? Find out how to master the behavioral interview and how to answer typical behavioral job interview questions.


Behavioral Interview Guide


Behavioral Interview Tips

Difficult interview questions

Tough interview questions about gaps in employment and being laid off or terminated with excellent sample answers.

What about those off-the-wall interview questions that seem to have no relevance to the job interview? Click here to learn how to answer strange interview questions such as "What animal would you choose to be?"

Know the basic interview questions and answers that make you stand out as the most impressive candidate for the job!

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