It can be tough to know how to prepare for an interview – especially when there are so many different techniques to gauge your qualifications and fit with the company. Where do you even begin? To help you get started, we’ve compiled and categorized some of the most common interview questions into an interview cheat sheet so that you can walk into your next interview with confidence.
Interview Cheat Sheet | Resume-Based Questions
Some of the most common interview questions are resume-based (or traditional), and they’re likely to come up in any type of interview. They’re meant to dig into some of your prior experiences and confirm your skills and qualifications. It’s easy to master these questions so long as you’ve been truthful on your resume and are prepared to address employment gaps, career shifts, or frequent job-hopping.
- Tell me more about your role with your current employer.
- Why have you changed jobs so often over the past few years?
- Why are you switching to a new career field?
- Why did you choose your school? Your major?
- It appears you’ve worked in several different industries. What drew you to this one?
- Tell me about some of your accomplishments in your previous role.
- Can you tell me about a time that you demonstrated this skill?
- What role did you play in your community service activity?
- How will your experience or education help you with this role?
- Tell me about some of your leadership experiences.
- What did you like most about your last position? What did you like least?
- How proficient are you with this tool?
- What salary are you looking for?
Interview Cheat Sheet | Behavioral Questions
Behavioral interview questions ask you to draw upon real scenarios and describe how you handled them. Typically, they’re used to assess specific competencies like teamwork, adaptability, communication, customer service, time management, or motivation. To expertly answer these types of questions, use the STAR method – that is, describe the situation you were in, the task you were responsible for, the action you took, and the result it yielded.
- Tell me about a time when you realized your approach for a project wasn't working and what you did to fix it.
- Describe a time when it was especially important to make a good impression on a client. How did you go about doing so?
- Give me an example of a recent goal that you set. How did you work toward the goal, and what was the result?
- Describe a time when you were able to persuade a team member to do something differently.
- Tell me about a time when you were under a lot of pressure. What was the situation, and how did you get through it?
- Tell me about a time when you came up with a creative solution to a problem.
- Give me an example of a challenge you were faced with. How did you overcome it?
- Things don’t always go as planned. Can you tell me about a time when you hit an unexpected roadblock in a project and had to change your plans? What happened, and how did you adapt?
- Give me an example of a time you had too much on your plate. How did you handle it?
- Describe a time when you were working on a team, and the group was behind schedule. What did you do to get your team members back on track?
- Tell me about a time when you were managing a complex project. What steps did you take to complete it?
- Give me an example of a time that you were dissatisfied with your work product. Why didn’t it turn out as you’d hoped, and what would you have done differently?
- Tell me about a time when you worked on a team with people from different cultural backgrounds.
- Talk about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours.
- Describe a time that you led a team. How did you lead the team toward the desired goal?
- Can you give me an example of a time you received criticism? How did you handle it?
- Tell me about a time when you performed well under pressure.
- We don’t always have perfect judgment. Describe a time when you misspoke or made a mistake. How did you amend the situation?
- Can you describe a time when a company you were working for underwent a change? How did you adapt?
- Describe a scenario where you foresaw potential issues and implemented preventive measures.
- Tell me about a time when you analyzed information and presented a recommendation.
- Give me an example of a time you had a misunderstanding with a coworker or customer. How did you resolve it?
- Describe a time that you went above and beyond to complete a project.
- Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult choice. How did you arrive at a decision?
- Tell me about a goal that you didn’t achieve.
- Describe a situation that required you to consider a different perspective from your own.
- Give me an example of an innovative idea that you implemented.
Interview Cheat Sheet | Situational Questions
In a situational interview, you will be asked to answer hypothetical questions based on situations you may encounter on the job. The interviewer will use your response to gauge your ability to analyze the situation quickly and develop an appropriate solution. Like a behavioral interview, the best way to prepare for a situational interview is to reflect on your own workplace experiences. Have you already encountered a similar scenario? How did you handle it? Or perhaps, how would you have handled it differently?
- Imagine you are behind schedule on a project because you need a colleague to complete their part before you can finish. The deadline is quickly approaching, and you do not think you will be able to wrap up the project by the specified date. What do you do?
- What would you do if one of your subordinates was not meeting your performance expectations?
- Imagine that your company is implementing a change that will require your team to put in significant effort to learn a new tool. What strategies would you use to get buy-in from your team members?
- How would you proceed if you were unsatisfied by an aspect of your job?
- You’re working with a disgruntled customer who isn’t happy with you, even though you are not at fault. How do you handle the customer?
- How would you handle stepping into a role previously filled by someone who did not get along with certain coworkers?
- Your supervisor tells you the department will be transitioning to a new software system over the next few months, and that it would be good for everyone to familiarize themselves with the program now. You have a full workload. How do you balance learning the new system and completing your existing assignments?
- Imagine you are a team leader and one of your subordinates undermines you in front of the whole team. What do you do?
- What would you do if you disagreed with the way a manager wanted you to handle a problem?
- You’ve made significant progress on a time-sensitive project when you realize that you’ve been doing it incorrectly and have to start over. How would you handle that while keeping the deadline in mind?
- How would you handle receiving criticism from your manager?
- You thought of a great idea, and you’re excited to discuss it with your team. However, when you pitch your idea, it’s not well received by your team members. How do you respond?
- What would you do if your superior asks you to take on a new project, but your plate is already full?
- You’re in charge of responding to customer reviews on social media for your company. As you’re monitoring the feed, you see that somebody has left a terrible review describing a poor experience they had with your company’s service. How do you respond?
- What strategies would you use to motivate a team?
- What would you do if your superior asked you to complete a task that you weren’t confident in your ability to do?
- How would you proceed if you started a job and it wasn’t what you expected?
- How would you go about establishing your credibility quickly with the team?
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Interview Cheat Sheet | Culture Fit Questions
The following questions may be used to assess how well you would align with the company culture. Chances are, if you’re not a great culture fit, then you probably wouldn’t be happy there – but if you want to play it safe, look at their company site, their Careers page, or their leaders’ LinkedIn profiles to get a feel for company culture.
- How would your colleagues describe you?
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- What are you passionate about?
- How well do you adapt to change?
- Tell me about some of your hobbies.
- What’s the last book you read?
- Describe your ideal work environment.
- What qualities do you look for in a boss?
- Do you prefer to work collaboratively or individually?
- What is the last creative idea you had?
- Tell me about a time when you went out of your way to satisfy a customer.
Interview Cheat Sheet | Stress Questions
While these are not very common interview questions, they may be used in high-pressure industries like journalism, law enforcement, and sales to test a candidate’s ability to overcome obstacles and make decisions quickly. The interviewer may include intimidating situations, negatively framed questions, odd or impossible questions, criticism, and demeaning behavior. If you find yourself in a stress interview, remember to stay calm, listen carefully, and be direct.
- Why haven’t you been promoted at your current company yet?
- What makes you think you can handle this job when you only have two years of experience in this line of work?
- Sell me this object in one minute, starting now.
- Describe the color yellow to someone who’s blind.
- I don’t think you adequately answered the question. Can you give me a better answer?
- Do you think you’re doing well in this interview?
- What other jobs have you applied to?
- Why would our clients trust you if you’ve never worked in this industry?
- How do you think you can contribute to society?
- On a scale of 1–10, how would you rate yourself as an employee?
- List the last 10 U.S. presidents.
- Tell me step-by-step how to wrap a gift.
- How many times do a clock’s hands overlap in a day?
- Tell me something about yourself that you wouldn’t want me to know.
Interview Cheat Sheet | Panel Interview & Other Questions
No matter what type of interview you have, you are likely to encounter at least one of these common interview questions. So, we recommend you have an answer prepared for all of the below! However, they may be particularly suited for panel interviews since they’re broad enough to provide value to various stakeholders involved in the interview.
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are your career goals? What do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years? 10 years?
- What makes you the ideal candidate for this company?
- What is one weakness you have, and what are you doing to improve it?
- Tell us about your greatest strengths.
- What accomplishment are you most proud of?
- What differentiates you from other candidates in this industry?
- Who are our competitors?
- How do you stay on top of industry trends?
- What attracted you to this position?
- What contributions do you expect to make within the first three months in this role?
- How do you keep yourself organized?
- What is your personal mission statement?
- Describe a person who made a significant impact in your career.
- How do you motivate yourself to do menial tasks?
- What is your definition of success?
- What do you know about this company?
- Do you have any questions for us?