How to Answer the 4 Most Common Interview Questions

Have you ever felt tripped up by a seemingly harmless question at a job interview? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. When preparing for an interview we’re often so focused on sounding like the ideal candidate that some questions seem impossible to answer without shattering that illusion and revealing that *gasp* we’re human after all!

With that in mind, we’ve put together this handy guide on how to answer the four most common interview questions. And, remember, there’s nothing wrong with showing a little humanity in a job interview.

What Are Your Biggest Weaknesses?

 What You Want to Say:
“If anything, I’m too dedicated to my work.”

What You Should Say:

People will tell you the fool-proof way to answer this question is to take a strength and disguise it as a weakness, but this can actually sound quite insincere.  Instead pick an actual weakness of yours and outline what you’re doing to overcome it. For example: “I’ve struggled with time management in the past but I’m now actually using a daily planner to help me divide my day into bite size chunks.”

Where do You See Yourself in X Years?

What You Want to Say:
“Making lots and lots of money for this company.”

What You Should Say:

Showing ambition in a job interview can be tricky. Some roles don’t have much scope for upward mobility, so interviewers may avoid hiring overly ambitious applicants for fear of them leaving the company. Others are looking for high flyers with ideas and the drive to make them happen.

The best thing you can do with this question is to echo it back to the interviewer. Let them know where you see yourself in five years will largely be informed by where the company sees itself in five years. The tone of their answer will help you find yours. If the interviewer responds with excitement and ambition, then you should do the same.

 How do you Deal With Pressure or Stressful Situations?

What You Want to Say:

“I’m an oasis of calm, nothing can stress me out.”

What You Should Say:

If you have an example of how you overcame a stressful situation now would be the time to use it! Even if it’s something as simple as a printer jam. The interviewer isn’t overly interested in the specifics of the situation as much as they are with your response. Explain what techniques you use to combat stress in the moment and also what you might do to prevent stressful situations. If you’re really stuck, try answering with something innocuous like “I do deep breathing exercises/practice mindfulness throughout the day.”

What Did You Like Least About Your Previous Role?

 What You Want to Say:
“Uhhhhhhhh…”

What You Should Say:

The interviewer is looking for a degree of honesty here but avoid being too honest and completely slating your last job. Don’t hone in on personal gripes like “the company culture was too politically correct, I felt like I couldn’t joke about anything”. Companies are supposed to be professional and you need to be able to show that you are ready and willing to follow the rules.

Nobody likes a perpetual complainer. Instead, focus on smaller grievances and use them as an example of a positive work ethic i.e. “it sometimes took management a little too long to get meetings going which is time I feel could have been spent focusing on customers/clients.”

Now you know how to answer the four most commonly asked questions you’re ready to ace that interview! Need a job but don’t have any interviews lined up? Visit our Candidates page and check out the jobs available to you. Remember, our expert consultants will help you every step of your application!

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