Top 10 Questions Interviewers Love To Ask

job interviews questions

I’m pretty sure there isn’t anyone who likes being on the applicant side of a job interview.  I know it’s on my list of least favorite places to be.  So it’s always a good idea to go in being as prepared as practical.  The interview questions they  love to ask are typically the ones that are toughest to answer.  At least with an answer that makes you feel like you’re winning the interview battle.

The questions that you hear repeatedly change with time.  Some of the standard go-to queries will probably always be part of the mix.  But there’s also the current favorites which must be somehow magically communicated to every hiring executive and HR department out there.   Here are ten questions from a recent study of HR leaders, and another ten that are favorites at the second- and third-interview level.  Remember, good preparation is a battle half won!

The Waggl Survey

In Waggl’s newest pulse survey, “The Voice of the Workplace,” conducted with hundreds of business and HR leaders in May-July 2016, eighty-five percent of the participants responded that they believe an insightful interview question is more important than a resume for sourcing talent and cultural fit.  Responses were fairly consistent across geography, organization size, and job title/role.

Waggl also asked participants, “What’s your most insightful interview question and why?”, and distilled their crowdsourced responses into a ranked list.  Here are the top ten interview questions from that list:

  1. 72.6% voted for “Tell me about the 3 most pivotal leadership experiences in your career.  What did you learn? How do you apply that today?”
  2. 65.8% voted for “How do you approach someone who is not cooperative?”
  3. 63.8% voted for “Tell me about the opportunity/event/etc. that made you grow the most as a leader.”
  4. 63.7% voted for “What is your personal professional brand? How would your current or former co-workers describe you, and what is a piece of constructive feedback you receive consistently?  What have you done to improve on that?”
  5. 62.5% voted for “Tell me about a time when you overcame internal resistance and successfully accomplished an important business objective.”
  6. 62.1% voted for “Who is your hero and why?
  7. 61.4% voted for “What excites you about this job?
  8. 61.1% voted for “Tell me about a time when you received negative feedback from a customer or stakeholder. How did you address this feedback and what was the final outcome?”
  9. 60.2% voted for “Describe a workplace challenge/issue/problem and how you overcame it.”
  10. 59.9% voted for “I would ask a real world problem question that I’m currently facing in the area of candidates expertise, and ask them how they would solve it.”


The Third Interview

You gotten by the preliminary interviews, and you’re in the final running for the position.  On the surface, questions at this level typically seem more friendly and conversational.   Some are similar, and not, to the ones you’ve heard earlier.  But they’re designed to allow you to open up and either demonstrate you’re the one they want, or that you’re the candidate deserving of the “Thank you for applying, however . . ” letter.  Here are ten of the favorite top-level questions you’re likely to hear:

  1. Tell me about where you are from originally.
  2. What do you like to do in your spare time?
  3. What was your first leadership role?
  4. How would you choose people to hire for your team?
  5. What kinds of behaviors irritate you in your colleagues?
  6. Whom do you admire and why?
  7. How would you describe yourself as a leader?
  8. What kinds of situations bring out the best in you?
  9. What kinds of situations bring out the worst in you?
  10. What’s the hardest thing you have ever done as a leader?

Interview Questions:  Preparation is Rehearsal Not Memorization

As you review the above questions, remember it’s not about memorizing answers.  Your interviewer has done this many times and can spot canned responses a mile away.  So you’ve got to do the preparation like a top-billed  standup comedian.  You have to know your material, but be able to make your presentation flow naturally and relaxed to your audience.  The only difference being that you’re after a handshake and a job offer instead of applause.


Images: Main Jeff interview Bill Strain


Jackie LaMar

Beach lover. SoCal dweller. Life is never over unless you surrender. Keep going, the prize IS out there.

You may also like...