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10 Killer Interview Questions To Ask Employers: [With Sample Answers]

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Are you getting ready for an upcoming job interview but don’t know what to expect? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Answering job interview questions can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know what to expect.

Fortunately, it’s easy to build up your confidence by preparing for questions and answers that highlight your skills and value to the employer.

We’ll show you some of the killer interview questions to ask employers, why they’re asked, how to answer them, and sample answers to help you prepare.  

10 Killer Interview Questions That Applicants Might Be Asked

  1. Tell me about yourself: This question allows you to provide a brief overview of your background, experiences, and qualifications.
  2. Why are you interested in this position?: The interviewer wants to see if you have researched the role and can articulate why you’re a good fit.
  3. What makes you unique?: This question gives you a chance to differentiate yourself from other applicants.
  4. Why do you want to work at this company?: The interviewer wants to know if you have researched the company, understand its values and culture, and can show you align with them.
  5. What are your greatest strengths?: This question is an opportunity to highlight the key attributes that make you a strong candidate for the job.
  6. What motivates you?: This question is a chance to showcase your inner drive and what keeps you engaged in your work.
  7. What are your goals for the future?: The interviewer wants to understand your aspirations and how they align with the company and the role.
  8. What are your greatest weaknesses? This question allows you to demonstrate self-awareness and a commitment to personal growth.
  9. Can you tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it?: The interviewer wants to assess your problem-solving skills and how you perform under pressure.
  10. Describe a time when you worked successfully as part of a team: This question evaluates your aptitude for collaborating, communicating, and making effective contributions within a team environment.

Besides the above ten questions, we recommend you check out related questions asked in a peer interview. Furthermore, it’s important to know off-limit questions that aren’t right to ask in an interview.

What Should I Say in an Interview?

Hiring managers evaluate job candidates for more than just excellent answers. They’re looking for clues about the kind of employee you’ll be based on how you answer questions and your conduct during the interview.

What Skills Are Interviewers Usually Looking for in a Candidate?

  • Preparation: Adequate preparation demonstrates that you’re serious about getting the job. Prepare all the supporting documents you might need, such as extra copies of your resume and letters of recommendation.
  • Leadership skills: Even if the position you’re applying for doesn’t involve a formal leadership role, employers want to hire candidates who can take charge and motivate others.
  • Willingness: An interview allows you to sell yourself as a team player and a valuable asset to the company. Emphasizing your eagerness to serve might be a key determinant of whether you get the job.
  • Adaptability: Employers want to hire flexible candidates who can adapt to change. Describe a time when you had to adapt to a new situation or work environment.
  • Confidence: Trust in yourself and act appropriately. Give the hiring manager the impression that you know your worth and can’t wait to use what you know to help others.

What Traits Are Interviewers Usually Looking to Avoid in a Candidate?

  • Negative attitude: Nobody wants to work with someone who’s constantly complaining or bringing a negative vibe to the workplace. That can bring down team morale and impact productivity.
  • Lack of interest in the company: One of the most common blunders candidates make is failing to do enough research on the organization. Interviewers want someone conversant with the company’s vision.
  • Poor time management: Arriving late for an interview sells you as an unreliable person, which is undesirable to hiring managers.
  • Dishonesty: Candidates who lack integrity, provide misleading information, or demonstrate dishonest behavior during an interview are seen as untrustworthy.

Sample Killer Interview Questions That a Candidate Might Be Asked

Here are some of the best questions to ask during an interview.

1. Tell Me About Yourself

Why This Question Is Asked

The interviewer wants to know about your qualifications and why you deem yourself an ideal addition to the team. It also serves as an introduction, and depending on how you frame your answer, it’ll assist the hiring manager in determining what to ask next.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

Your response should be short and to the point. Describe who you are, your major accomplishments, and why you consider yourself a suitable candidate for the position. Highlight your hard and soft skills that are transferable to the position.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

The interviewer’s interest isn’t your whole career history, so keep your answer brief and relevant. Also, avoid voicing complaints about job hunting or your previous employer. You’ll be more appealing to employers if you maintain a positive attitude.

Example Answer

“Over the past two years, I’ve been a hostess at ABC Restaurant, where my duties include welcoming guests, showing them to their tables, and taking their orders. I enjoy the buzzing environment and can multi-task even on the busiest Saturday evenings.

While I’ve grown in my present position, I’d like to offer my customer service skills in a fine dining establishment. I want to join your organization because of its reputation for providing world-class service in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.”

2. Why Are You Interested in This Position?

Why This Question Is Asked

Interviewers want to gauge a candidate’s understanding of the position they’re applying for and allow them to show relevant skills. They’re seeking to understand what you can bring to the table.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

To answer this question effectively, research the company and the job role before the interview. Identify what appeals to you about the company’s mission, values, and culture. Then, tie those aspects back to the specific job role and explain how you believe your skills and experience align with the position’s requirements.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid giving generic answers since it demonstrates that you didn’t research the company. Additionally, don’t discuss salary and compensation because the employer might think you only want the job because of its benefits.

Example Answer

“Although I have enjoyed my stay at ABC Company, I’m leaving because they no longer offer advancement opportunities that align with my career objectives. This role is a perfect match for my skills and professional goals.

I’m also seeking an opportunity in an organization like yours that focuses on serving underprivileged communities, something I’m passionate about.”

3. What Makes You Unique?

Why This Question Is Asked

Hiring managers ask this question to determine what differentiates you from other applicants. They’re also seeking to learn something not present on your resume.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

You should mention the assets that are most important to hiring managers. Read the job description to identify the requisite skills, experience, and attributes. Also, think about your past accomplishments and list the personal traits that contributed to your success.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

You should avoid giving vague answers such as “I’m a workhorse.” Generic answers don’t demonstrate how you’ll contribute to the company’s growth if you get the job.

Example Answer

“What makes me unique is my organizational skills. I enjoy developing processes, templates, and other tools that help me operate faster and more efficiently.

In my previous position, I used this to develop a new appointment system for communicating with clients, allowing me to save two hours daily.”

4. Why Do You Want To Work at This Company?

Why This Question Is Asked

Hiring managers use this question to establish whether the candidate has done their homework on the company and given serious consideration about their suitability for the position.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

Show why you’re a perfect fit for the organization’s culture. Research the company’s values, mission, and vision. Discuss how these align with your values and how you think you can contribute to their success. Consider previous career successes that you’ll likely repeat at this organization by referencing specific projects or products the company is working on.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

It’s crucial to be sincere when answering. However, don’t make it seem like you only want the job for selfish reasons. Moreover, don’t discuss salary or reveal that you don’t intend to remain in the company for long.

Example Answer

“I’ve been using your software for several years, and I’m continually impressed by the new features and improvements you introduce.

Furthermore, I value your commitment to educating your clientele by offering them access to free product demos. I’m happy about the ground-breaking work you’re doing and would like to use my skills as a member of this creative team.”

5. What Are Your Greatest Strengths?

Why This Question Is Asked

Hiring managers use this question to determine whether a candidate’s strengths match the organization’s needs and the position’s roles. They’re seeking to establish whether you have what it takes to succeed in the position you’re applying for.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

Focus on the specific strengths that align with the job requirements. For example, if the job requires strong communication skills, highlight your ability to communicate effectively and give examples. Emphasize how your strengths can benefit the company and contribute to your success in the role.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoiding responding with a long list of unspecific strengths. You also don’t wish to come off as arrogant or boastful.

Example Answer

“I have a very strict work ethic. When working on something, my goal isn’t merely to meet the deadline. Instead, I like finishing projects ahead of schedule. Last year, I was even given a bonus for finishing my most recent three reports one week before the due date.”

6. What Motivates You?

Why This Question Is Asked

The primary reason for interviewers asking this question is to determine your self-awareness and ascertain your sources of motivation align with the organization and the position you’re applying for.

It helps them understand what gives you contentment in your job to determine the type of employee you’ll be.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

You should think about your career history and the specific aspects of each position that you found satisfying to create a list of patterns or trends. Additionally, consider what you love the most about your profession besides monetary benefits.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Ensure the hiring manager doesn’t get the impression that you only want to work for the organization because of benefits. Don’t talk about the friends you have working in the company. Employers value individuals who demonstrate enthusiasm for the organization.

Example Answer

“Acquiring new skills really motivates me. Seeing my knowledge in a given field or industry grow is rewarding. In my previous job, I frequently enrolled in courses that would improve my skills. I believe continual learning is the best way to boost your creativity and marketability in the job market.”

7. What Are Your Goals for the Future?

Why This Question Is Asked

Interviewers usually ask about your goals to establish whether you plan to remain in the organization for a long time.

They also use it to gauge your aspirations and ability to plan for the future. Organizations use many resources to hire and train new employees. Thus, they’re looking for individuals who want more than just a paycheck.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Your career objective should align with the needs of the industry and the organization you’re interviewing with. The interviewer doesn’t care about you wanting to become a millionaire by 30. Rather, they’re looking to hear how your goals will benefit them.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t mention anything to do with personal, family, or hobby goals. Avoid goals relating to things you find unpleasant about your job. It’s admirable to be creative, but it’s not a good idea to give the impression that you’ll challenge the organization’s status quo. Avoid getting too deep into details.

Example Answer

“I’d love to continue improving my marketing skills for the next few years. Among the key reasons I want to join a dynamic startup is that I’ll have the opportunity to take on various roles and partner with many teams. My long-term objective is to head a marketing department.”

8. What Are Your Greatest Weaknesses?

Why This Question Is Asked

The hiring manager wants to learn whether you’re honest enough to admit your shortcomings. They’re also looking to determine a candidate’s ability to evaluate themselves, pinpoint areas of improvement, and show a willingness to improve.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

Employers value honesty and integrity in the workplace, so be honest about your shortcomings. Focus on evaluating your skills and previous experiences.

Then, list your weaknesses and consider what you’re doing or are planning to address them. Show that you are action-oriented and ready to learn.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

You shouldn’t talk about shortcomings that make you look like a bad hire or like you can’t do the work. Also, don’t give jokes as a response, irrespective of how confident you feel.

Example Answer

“I struggle delegating tasks when I know I can complete them myself. However, I had to delegate some duties in my previous position since multi-tasking wasn’t an option. I used a project management system to keep track of tasks and ensure they were completed on time. Consequently, I’ve grown more comfortable with sharing responsibilities.”

9. Can You Tell Me About a Difficult Work Situation and How You Overcame It?

Why This Question Is Asked

Hiring managers use this question to assess how you perform under pressure and your problem-solving skills. It also helps them learn more about you without asking many questions. They gain insight into your leadership, communication, and initiative skills.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Concentrate on what you did to correct a specific challenging situation. If you don’t have any applicable professional experience, talk about something that happened to you recently.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t badmouth your present or former co-workers and employers. Avoid coming off as “superior” in your previous or present positions. Conversely, avoid underselling yourself unless doing so will help you better articulate your growth.

 Example Answer

“In my previous position, a client called late Thursday afternoon requesting an update on their project’s status. My supervisor usually handles all client interactions, but he wasn’t in. I offered the client an answer and left a note on my supervisor’s desk informing him to contact the customer on Monday morning.”

10. Describe a Time When You Worked Successfully as Part of a Team

Why This Question Is Asked

This is asked to assess your ability to collaborate, communicate, and contribute effectively within a team setting. The interviewer wants to understand how well you work with others, your interpersonal skills, and your attitude toward teamwork.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Focus on a specific example showcasing your collaboration and teamwork skills, highlighting the situation, your role and contributions, and the positive outcomes. Emphasize effective communication, active listening, and your ability to work collaboratively to overcome challenges and achieve shared goals.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid focusing too much on individual achievements or taking sole credit for the team’s success. Also, avoid mentioning any conflicts or negative aspects of the team dynamic unless context is necessary.

Example Answer

“In my previous role, I was part of a cross-functional team tasked with launching a new product. As the team’s project manager, I delegated tasks based on team members’ strengths and encouraged collaboration.

By establishing clear goals and leveraging each team member’s expertise, we successfully launched the product ahead of schedule, resulting in a 20% increase in sales within the first quarter.”

Other Questions You Could Be Asked

Here are other questions you might expect from hiring managers:

  • Behavioral Interview Questions: Interviewers love behavioral questions since they effectively describe the person behind the resume. By understanding a candidate’s previous behavior, they can tell the kind of employee they’ll be.
  • Diversity Interview Questions: Hiring managers ask diversity questions to determine a candidate’s ability to be a good organization’s ambassador and cultural competence.
  • Culture Interview Questions: Employers use these questions to determine how a candidate matches the organization’s culture. They seek to understand your core values, work style, and personality.
  • Problem-Solving Interview Questions: The questions are meant to judge how you’ll deal with challenging situations that are likely to arise in the workplace.
  • Final Interview Questions: The questions usually focus on a candidate’s future career objectives rather than skills.

Additional Tips for Interviews

Here are some other ways to stand out during an interview:

How Do You Prepare for an Interview?

The first step in preparing for an interview entails reviewing the job’s description. That might give you ideas about the questions to expect.

Familiarize yourself with the organization to better understand the interviewer’s perspectives. You should clearly understand your primary motivation and what makes you a match for the position.

What Should You Wear to an Interview?

It’s a good idea to research the dress code of the organization you’re interviewing with to know what they expect of you. It’ll help to look professional if even the company permits casual wear. You should also choose clothes that complement the weather.

How Should You Introduce Yourself in an Interview?

You should put on a bright smile, extend your hand to give the interviewer a firm handshake, and state your name. You must speak clearly and confidently to convey that you value this opportunity.

You may want to mention your educational background and professional experience in your introduction. Mention things that aren’t present in your resume.

What Questions Should You Ask at the End of an Interview?

  • What do you like most about working for this organization?
  • How would you describe the organization’s culture?
  • What do you find most challenging about working for this organization?

Wrapping Up

Preparing for a job interview is a nerve-wracking experience. However, having a solid understanding of common interview questions that candidates might be asked can help you feel more confident.

Remember to be honest in your response and provide specific examples to support your claims. Good luck in acing your next job interview.

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