How To Answer These 9 Typical Interview Questions Like A Boss

typical job interview questions

Pxhere/Waseem Farooq

Can you ever really be over-prepared for a job interview? We didn’t think so. Beyond researching the company and the interviewers, packing your bag with interview essentials and even preparing to send that handwritten thank-you note post-interview, there are a few more items you can add to your to-do list. First thing? Getting creative with how you answer those typical job interview questions. You want to stand out from the crowd and land that dream job, don’t you? Here are nine common interview questions and how to answer them like a #boss.

1. “Tell me about yourself.”

Whatever you do, don’t start your answer by regurgitating what’s on your resume or in your cover letter. The person interviewing you already has that in front of them. Instead, paint a picture and tell a story about yourself.

First, remind them of general experience in one or two sentences, and then hone in on a really interesting part of your career so that you stand out. Whether it’s a quick story about a time you attended a conference for work and met Jeff Bezos or that time you had to meet a last-minute deadline and pulled an all-nighter to do it, give the interviewer a look at what’s behind the resume. With this type of answer, you’ll be showing the interviewer what type of skills and strengths you have, as well as what type of employee (and person) you are.

Pro tip: Answers to this question often get long-winded and take up too much time during the interview. Instead, practice your answer at home so you know exactly what you’ll say, and time yourself. You don’t want to answer it too fast, but also don’t want to spend 10 minutes talking about that job you had two years ago. The sweet spot? Ninety seconds or less.

2. “Why do you want this job?”

Again, you’ve already said why you want this job in your cover letter, so don’t repeat that answer. Instead, lock down a power statement about why you’re the best fit for the role. A great answer to this question needs to be unwavering. Demonstrate your passion for the company while also describing your abilities that will help you take the business to the next level. Finish it off with how it will help you achieve your career goals in tandem with the company’s goals.

3. “Tell me about a time when you faced a challenge at work and how you overcame it.”

This is your chance to not only answer this question, but also the “What’s your greatest weakness or greatest strength?” question, too. Killing three questions with one answer? You’ll look efficient and prepared AF for this interview. Talk about the learning experience you had during the challenge. Aim to show that you’re both a team player and problem solver and not afraid to work hard and lead when needed.

Pro tip: In your current job, when you face a challenge and overcome it, write down the experience. Include what happened, how you overcame it, what you learned and why it was important for your career path. Keep this in a safe place and reference it whenever you’re preparing for this interview question.

preparing for an interview


4. “How would your current boss and coworkers describe you?”

It could look a little suspicious if you ask your current employer and colleagues how they would describe you. Instead, ask friends, family members and your old internship advisors or even professors from college. Make a list of the adjectives they use to describe you and review them before every job interview.

5. “What’s your leadership style?”

First, make sure you know what the different leadership styles are and then lock in one that describes you. However, don’t just answer this question with a short direct answer. Put it into context.

For example, if you’re a visionary leader who often has the big, long-term goals in mind, describe a time when this leadership style really made an impact. It could have been in college when you were the president of your sorority or fraternity, during an internship when you built out a training guide that the magazine could use for years to come or even in your first job when you helped put a process in place for tracking social media engagement. Whatever it is, continue to paint that picture of how your abilities will look when put into action at this new company.

6. “What do you think we could be doing better as a company?”

Since you’ve already done your research on the company, answering this question should be pretty easy. But rather than jumping head-first into the area where you know the company could improve, compliment the company on something it’s doing well first. Then, describe the area where you think it could improve. Lastly, finish with how this improvement could really help the company achieve a goal and succeed well into the future. This will help the interviewer understand that you’re not just pointing out a weakness, but that you understand how that weakness could be remedied and made into a strength for the organization.

interview questions


7. “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

No one actually knows where they’ll be in five years (especially if something unexpected and out of your control happens, like getting laid off from work), but we can hope.

Instead of jumping straight to five years from now, start with how you plan to build up your career to achieve your five-year goal. Maybe you plan to work hard on your management skills and lead the internship program in two years, before moving up to overseeing a team of full-time employees in three to four years, ultimately becoming the manager of a national team in five. Whatever it is, tell your story of how you plan to work hard and get there in five years.

8. “What do you like to do outside of work?”

Answer this question honestly, but also keep it suited for the work environment. Be specific. If you like to read books, tell the interviewer about the most recent book you read and describe why you enjoyed it. If you love to go to the beach, describe the beach you go to and why it’s your fave. Maybe you love music and attend a lot of concerts. Talk to the interviewer about the next concert you plan to buy tickets to next year. You never know what you’ll bond over, which can leave a great lasting impression.

Pro tip: Before going into the interview, look at your social media feeds. There may be pictures of you enjoying these different activities outside of work. Make sure they’re suited for a potential employer to see if they do some research after the interview is over. Rule of thumb? If you’re not cool with your grandfather seeing it, then don’t post it.

9. “Do you have any questions for me?”

Always. Have. Questions. But not just any questions. Before the interview, while doing your research, make a list of questions you have about the company and the job role. These should include questions about the company culture, a recent project, the function of the job role in the first 90 days, challenges that you could help the team overcome and more. Skip questions like how long have you worked here, do you like the company or anything about benefits (just don’t even go there).

Pro tip: During the other job interview questions, feel free to interject and ask follow-up questions on things that the interviewer mentioned. This creates a dialogue and will help the interview feel much more like a two-way conversation.

The job search process takes a lot of hard work, and when you finally land an interview, it’s important to keep working hard. You’ve got a foot in the door, but now it’s time to wow that hiring manager. Practice these questions and answers, and you’ll knock the interview out of the park with a little bit of pizazz.


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