Common Job Interview Questions and Answers for Freshers and Experienced Professionals

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 22 November 2022 | Published 27 May 2021

Updated 22 November 2022

Published 27 May 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Job interview questions vary with the company and the role you are applying for. However, there are certain questions common to all interviews. Getting an idea about these questions can help you prepare well in advance for an interview.

In this article, we discuss common job interview questions for young graduates and experienced professionals with sample answers and tips on how to structure your response.

How to use these job interview questions

You can use these job interview questions as a guide to answer general questions you may expect in addition to those related to your area of expertise. Remember that interviewers may ask the same question in several different ways. You should customise your response to match your job profile based on the exact questions asked.

Basic job interview questions and answers for young graduates

If you have just graduated university and are looking for your first job, here are some tips and sample answers to help you approach the most common interview questions:

Tell me about yourself.

Interviewers usually ask this question at the beginning of an interview to understand your background. Start with your name and tell the interviewer about your educational qualification, projects and apprenticeship. If you have any previous work experience, include it in your response. Briefly touch upon your attributes and personality traits that can help you excel in the given role.

Example: “My name is Kelly Cheung. I completed my MBA in marketing from the Hong Kong Institute of Management. I did my project on SWOT analysis, in which I compared the strengths and weaknesses of leading department stores in Hong Kong. I also worked as a floor Marketing Executive with Waiba Department Store for a brief period of six months. I actively participated in inter-college competitions like elocution contest, mock advertising contests and JAM (just a minute) sessions during my MBA. It helped me develop good speaking and convincing skills, which I believe would be immensely helpful for this position.”

Read more: Interview Question: ‘Tell Me About Yourself'

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Talk about your key skills and abilities to highlight your strengths. Focus on qualities related to the position you are interviewing for. Take care while talking about your weaknesses. Approach the subject in a way that shows you can introspect. When sharing your weaknesses, also explain how you work around them in any given situation.

Example: “I am a good communicator. I mingle with people easily and love participating in discussions. My friends often confide their problems to me, and I have often been successful in helping them come up with a practical solution. Solving problems and taking up challenges is my second nature. In fact, that's the main motivation for me to pursue a career in human resource management.

Coming to weaknesses, I think my biggest weakness is that I cannot say ‘no' to anyone. It often lands me in a stressful and counterproductive situation. Sometimes, I end up working late nights to catch up with my pending work just because I could not say ‘no' to a request. While I understand that it is good to help others, I think I should give a higher priority to my own work. I am working on being more assertive and also exploring some effective time management techniques.”

Read more: Interview Question: “What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?”

Why did you apply for this role?

This question seeks to find out your understanding about the given job. The interviewer may want to see how serious you are about joining the company and whether you did enough research on it. In order to answer this question well, browse the company's website and social media pages to understand their business. Review the job description and identify how the role fits your career goals. Talk about their products or services that match your interests and abilities. Finally, express your sincerity and desire to grow with the company.

Example: “I chose nursing as a profession because it would give me an opportunity to serve the needy and make a positive contribution in the lives of people struggling with life-threatening diseases. My resolve only grew stronger after I lost my mother to a brain stroke last year. She was bedridden for two and a half years. Your hospital is a reputed institution that provides advanced treatment to the financially needy and I would like to support your mission by working alongside you.

I have been actively following your organisation for potential job opportunities where I can utilise my skills and knowledge. That's the reason I decided to apply for this position the very moment I came across your job advertisement on Indeed.com.”

What are your interests and hobbies?

Talk about specific things and activities that motivate you. Present your passion in a way that aligns with the job. Consider providing some examples of how you can apply your interests and hobbies to excel in your work and add value to the organisation.

Example: “I am a born number cruncher. Performing complex calculations give me a thrill. I also love playing chess and table tennis. I look forward to using my analytical skills in my role as a financial analyst.”

Why should we hire you? What makes you ideal for this position?

This question gives you yet another opportunity to pitch for the position. Think about characteristics other candidates may be lacking. Highlight your unique skills and abilities that make you a good fit for the role. Focus on how the company can benefit from recruiting you.

Example: “I am passionate about developing mobile applications to solve real-life problems. The application that I developed to help retail grocery stores go online along with my four other friends received over 90,000 downloads within a week. Your company is known for building some of the most popular mobile apps and I think I can learn a lot from more experienced colleagues and bring my own unique insight too."

Do you have any questions?

Towards the end, interviewers often give you an opportunity to clarify any doubts and questions about the role, culture and company. This is a great opportunity to also show your interest in the company by asking about projects they are working on that interest you.

Example: “I was wondering what challenges this role entails on a typical work day. Does this position require working night shifts?”

Common interview questions and answers for experienced professionals

Here are some common questions interviewers ask when recruiting experienced professionals:

Tell us about your work experience.

Share your job experience and expertise beginning with the most recent position you held. Try to show how your previous experiences would benefit you in this new role.

Example: “I have eight years of experience in floor management. In my current position as floor manager, I manage a team of 15 sales executives. My role involves coordinating with the marketing department and guiding my team members in order to help customers find the right product and increase revenue for the company. We focus on getting repeat customers and minimising grievances.”

Why are you looking for a change?

Discuss how your career path requires you to look for a new job for further growth. Focus on your future aspirations and the opportunities the new position offers instead of being resentful towards your current employer.

Example: “Having built a strong foundation in business development in a start-up venture, I am now looking to move on to the next level in a larger organisation, where I can learn new skills in a more challenging environment. In my current company, we are a team of eight professionals in the business development department, working as individual contributors. Most of our clients are small companies and traders. I look forward to working with large corporate clients in your organisation.”

What are your career goals?

Interviewers often want to learn about your future career plan in order to decide whether you intend to stay with the company for a long time. Your career goals should be compatible with the job you are applying for.

Example: “My short-term career goal is to develop expertise in market research and product development, while helping the company launch new products to meet customer requirements. After gaining experience in this role for several years, I eventually want to take charge of large-scale marketing operations, for instance, working as country head for a certain product range of the company.”

What do you like about your current job?

This can be a subtle attempt to understand how well you value your current employer. Make sure you highlight the positive aspects of your job while framing your response.

Example: “I love the positive work environment my company provides, enabling me to give my 100 percent. The managers are understanding and cooperative. They are always ready to provide any support I ask for. The company respects each team member and encourages them to come up with new ideas.”

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

This question seeks to understand your career goals and whether it is a good match for the long-term organisational objectives. You may talk about your personal development goals, things you intend to accomplish and the positions you would like to work in.

Example: “Adding another five years would take my total experience to 15 years in telecommunication engineering. I believe, I would be able to mentor a team of engineers by then, helping the company perform innovative research and come up with ultra-modern product designs.”

Explore more articles