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CBS International Business School, 25 April 2021

80 Common Interview Questions and Answers

common-interivew-questions-and-answers

You passed the application phase and have been invited for an interview. First of all: well done! Next thing to do is prepare and practice for the job interview. Wouldn’t it be great, if you just knew what questions that they will ask during the interview? Recruiters want to find out whether you are suitable for the job and whether you fit into the company. They want to learn as much as possible about your personality, motivation, strengths, and weaknesses.

While there’s absolutely no way of finding out what the recruiter will ask, luckily job interviews usually have a certain pattern and there are popular & common interview questions that frequently get asked. By practicing and preparing answers for those common interview questions, you will feel more confident and make a good impression during the job interview.

A job interview is what is standing between you and your dream job, and we are here to give you all the tips to make sure it is a success. We provide you with a list of the 80 most common interview questions. Check them out before your interview and you will be good to go!

5 typical job interview questions

1) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This question sometimes feels like a trick question. But once you know what's behind it, it definitely gets easier to answer. The good news is that you can be honest while still telling them what they really want to know. The interviewer wants to know more about your career plan and whether you plan to stay with the company for the long term. So what are your goals? Do you fit in with the company? Do you want to make a long-term commitment? Do you have realistic expectations for your career? Are you ambitious? And does this particular position align with your growth and goals overall?

It's best to make clear statements about your goals that also match the employer's expectations. Express especially that you are flexible and also open to interesting and responsible activities. Show that you would like to develop your skills in your new position.

2) What are your strengths and weaknesses?

People don't always ask you directly about your strengths, sometimes it's "What are you particularly good at?", "Which tasks at your current job do you particularly like?", or "How does your boss see you?". Make sure that you remain authentic. Answer the strengths confidently, but not too exuberantly. It is best to compare your personal strengths with the job requirements profile in advance and give specific examples. For example, problem-solving skills and the ability to learn are popular with recruiters.

So what do you say when you are asked to describe your greatest weaknesses? This is usually a bit more difficult to answer. Name a weakness, but also signal your willingness to learn and eliminate it. This shows your ability to reflect and your willingness to learn. You need to appear humble and willing to learn without scaring off the recruiter with a monumental weakness that you can’t overcome. 

List of Strengths

  • Versatility

  • Creativity

  • Taking Initiative

  • Continuous Learning

  • Flexibility

  • Focused

  • Dedication

  • Honesty

  • Integrity

  • Self-control

List of Weaknesses

  • Self-criticism

  • Insecure

  • Extremely Introverted

  • Extremely Extroverted

  • Creative Writing

  • Too detail-oriented

  • Financial Literacy

  • A Particular Software

  • Too sensitive

  • Presentation Skills

3) Have you ever been faced with a task that you couldn't solve right away? How did you react? How did you deal with the difficult situation? How do you deal with problems?

Here the interviewer is testing how you deal with problems and stress and how you handle tough situations. Think of an example and explain how you analysed and recognized the problem. How did you solve the problem anyway? Did you seek help or were you able to handle it on your own? Did you look for similar problems and apply their solutions to the new situation?

4) Tell me about a time where teamwork didn't go as desired? How did you behave?

Teamwork is an important social soft skill in modern companies. But tensions in teams are almost inevitable, and they exist in every team. Show that you can solve problems openly and constructively together with other team members. For example, a good answer would be: "We addressed the problems openly in a team meeting. During the discussion, it turned out that some colleagues had too much on their plate. As a result, we redistributed the tasks and were able to support each other."

5) Why should we hire you?

This is a question that personnel managers particularly like to use to put you under pressure, i.e. to test your behavior under stress. Keep calm and briefly summarize your strengths once again. Convince them with a short self-presentation of your professional experience, your successes and special achievements. Above all, show how the company can benefit from your skills. To do this, you should always keep the requirements from the job advertisement in mind. Again, combine your strengths with the qualifications required in the job advertisement.

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29 frequently asked questions in job interviews

  • Tell me about yourself

  • Why did you apply for this job?

  • What sets you apart from other candidates?

  • How do you deal with stress?

  • What attracted you to this company?

  • What is your ideal company?

  • What do you know about our company?

  • Why do you want to leave your current job?

  • What did you like the least about your previous company?

  • Why are you looking for a new job?

  • What were your responsibilities in your last job?

  • What do you want to earn?

  • What are 3 things your former manager would like you to improve on?

  • Are you willing to travel?

  • Are you willing to relocate?

  • What is your dream job?

  • Are you willing to work on holidays/weekends?

  • Who are our competitors?

  • What do you know about our industry?

  • What would your team members/Boss say about you?

  • What are your hobbies?

  • Would you be willing to work overtime?

  • How do you explain this gap in your resume?

  • How would you describe your work style?

  • What are your goals with this job?

  • If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?

  • Why are you changing your career path?

  • What are your salary expectations?

  • What makes you unique?

12 Behaivoural interview questions

  • Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills.

  • Tell me about a time when you took initiative on a project

  • Tell me about three improvements you made in your current position

  • Tell me about a time where you had to deal with conflict on the job

  • Tell me about a time, you had to make a difficult decision? How did you come to that decision?

  • Tell me about a time when you had to give someone difficult feedback. How did you handle it? 

  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake. How did you handle it?

  • Can you describe a time when your work or was criticized? How did you handle it?

  • What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it? 

  • How do you handle working with people who annoy you? 

  • If I were your supervisor and asked you to do something that you disagreed with, what would you do?

  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with a decision that was made at work?

Questions to ask in a job interview: Exceeding the basic requirements

In addition to the basic requirements such as punctuality, an appropriate outfit, good manners, motivation, interest, and open-mindedness, an applicant can score points in the interview by asking his or her own questions

Good questions in the interview are the cherry on top and they show that the applicant has prepared well is really interested in the position. It shows that there is interest in the company and through well-prepared questions, candidates leave a competent impression on the recruiters.

Do you still have questions? - What good questions should you ask in a job interview? Here are 23 examples:

  1. What does a typical day look like?

    Why is this position advertised?

    Can you show me an example of projects I would be working on?

    How would you describe the corporate & team culture?

    Where do you think the company is headed in the next 5 years?

    What types of skills is the team missing that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?

    Are there any challenges that the company is currently facing?

    Whom will I report to? And possibly: Who will report to me?

    How long did my predecessor stay in this position?

    What do you like most about working here?

    How long have you been with the company?

    What are the top three expectations from someone in this position?

    What are the most important skills someone needs to have to be successful within the company?

    What do you think are some of the challenges for someone in this position?

    What are some typical mistakes I can avoid that others in this position have made when starting out?

    What training opportunities do you offer new employees?

    Has anyone on the team been promoted in recent years?

    What are the next steps in the application process?

    Is there anything that concerns you about my background being a fit for this role?

    Is there anything that I can provide you with that can be helpful?

    What is the usual induction process?

    What can I expect in the first 90 days?

    Can I answer any final questions for you?

What should you avoid in a job interview? 11 bad questions you should never ask

The applicant should pay attention to his appearance in a company from the beginning to the end. Towards the receptionist, towards the employees passing by, and also on the way home. Platitudes on the phone about the interview such as "Yes, it was quite good. But that one was kind of totally weird." Should be saved until you're out of earshot. Other questions you're better off not asking in a conversation are listed here:

11 Inappropriate interview questions and taboo topics

  1. How many employees does the company have?

    Does the company have branches abroad?

    What exactly does the company do?

    Do I have good chances of promotion?

    Is my future boss nice?

    How much will I get paid?

    Will I get a raise soon?

    How many vacation days do I have?

    Can I come in early and get off work early?

    Is it okay to use Facebook while working?

    What is the sick leave policy?In general, questions about working hours, vacation, or private Internet use are not appropriate. The above questions make the applicant or candidate look naive and clueless. You should also avoid asking questions that have already been answered during the interview. It is therefore advisable to write down some questions and make notes during the interview and check off which questions have already been answered.

We wish you all the best for your next job interview!

CBS International Business School

CBS International Business School is a state-recognised private university of applied sciences for business. We offer accredited Bachelor's, Master's and MBA degree programmes in German and English on a full-time or part-time basis. Throughout Germany, the university is represented at three locations in Cologne, Mainz, and Potsdam.

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