10 Common Job Interview Questions in English You Need to Know

Sep 23, 2015 | 20 comments

This lesson on the 10 Most Common Job Interview Questions in English has been updated since it was originally published in September 2015.

Reduce your worry and stress by understanding the 10 most common job interview questions in English. And here’s why it’s important… 

Job interviews are difficult for everyone. That’s true. But, they’re more difficult in a second or third language. You feel worried about your grammar and word choices. Will you get stuck? What happens if you don’t understand the question? And then the fear that someone is judging your English.

The best was to reduce doubt, fear, and anxiety is preparation. Preparation includes knowing what to expect, understanding the job interview questions and what the interviewer really wants to know, and finally, practice. With practice, you become more confident. And that means you’ll do better in an interview.

That’s exactly what I‘ve created this Confident English lesson on the 10 most common job interview questions in English.

You’ll the common questions you can expect in your job interview, understand what the interviewer really wants to know, and get examples for your to prepare your answers.

Bonus:

Get more help with my free class on Surprising Secrets to Confidence in Job Interviews.

10 Common Job Interview Questions in English & How to Answer Them

Question 1: So, Tell Me about Yourself… 

This is the most common question to start with in an interview.

The biggest mistake people make in this answer is they summarize their resume or their entire job history. But that’s not what the interviewer wants.

Instead, prepare to say a few things about your accomplishments, strengths, and a quick summary of your career. Be sure to keep your answer brief with a 60- to 90-second answer.

This question is so important in job interviews so I have a full lesson on this common question. You can get it here: The Number 1 Job Interview Question in English—Tell Me About Yourself. 

Question 2: Reasons You Want this Job

Example Questions:

  • Why are you interested in this position/job?
  • Why are you interested in working at this company?

With these questions, highlight what interests you about the job. But focus on the specific job responsibilities or the values and mission of the company.

Are you excited about interacting with clients and solving problems? Do you like working with numbers and saving the company money? Perhaps you love the company’s product and you’re excellent at growing sales.

Focus on what you will do in the job and what excites you about the position, not the benefits or salary or day-to-day tasks.

Example:

“What excites me about this position is the opportunity to interview customers on their experience with our product. I’ve always been skilled at understanding what people want or need. So, I look forward to using that skill to understand the user experience and consider how to improve it so that the company stands out among its competitors.”

Question 3: Your Job History

Example Questions

  • Why did you leave your last company/position?
  • Why are you leaving your current company/position?

With this question, you want to be careful. You don’t want to complain or make negative statements about your previous/current company or supervisor. But you do need to be honest at the same time.

Some common reasons you might have for leaving a job include:

  • Looking for a new challenge 
  • Looking for an opportunity to grow your career 
  • Current company is struggling financially (it is ok to mention this if is true and known publicly)
  • Recent or upcoming move to a new location
Example:
 
“My last company  reorganized it customer service department and as a result, they reduced the department by 10%, letting go of their most recent hires. Unfortunately, I was one of them but I’m grateful for the time I had there to sharpen my skills in customer experience and I look forward to using those skills in this new position.”

Question 4: What Makes You the Best Choice

Example Questions

  • Why would you be the right choice for this position?
  • What makes you the best candidate for this position/this job?
  • Why should we hire you?

With this question, the interviewer wants to know what you will do for the company. How will your skill set or professional experience benefit the company and help reach its goals? 

This is an opportunity to focus on your strengths, a past accomplishment, and/or your skills. Then you want to connect that to how you’ll use that strength or skill in this new position. 

Example:

“In the job description, I see that the top priority is to increase sales revenue. One of my skills is the ability to identify opportunities for growth and strategize accordingly. In my previous job, I saw an opportunity to increase our market share within a specific segment and through new marketing outreach I increased our sales by 12% within one year. I look forward to bringing those same skills to this position.”

Question 5: Behavioral Questions

Example Questions

Tell me about…

  • A time you dealt successfully with a complaint or difficult customer successfully.
  • Your highest accomplishments or the accomplishment you are most proud of.
  • A time you made a mistake in your job. How did you handle it?
  • A time you handled a high-pressure situation.
  • A situation in which you showed real leadership.
  • A time when you disagreed with your boss.

Behavioral questions are challenging because you don’t always know what to expect.  With these questions, the interviewer is looking for specific examples of how you have performed in the past. They want a real story, a concrete example.

They also want answers that are quantifiable. What does that mean? It means to show the quantity of something or something that is measurable.

Examples include:

  • I increased sales by 6% in 3 months by…
  • I reduced the wait time for customers by 11% by…
  • I signed on 3 new high-end clients by…

To prepare for behavioral questions, review the responsibilities of the position. The interviewer will probably ask questions related to those specific areas and about the skills needed to perform them well. 

Question 6: What Do You Know about the Company

Example Questions

  • What do you already know about our company?
  • What do you know about our competitors?
  • What makes you a good fit for our company?

With these questions, the interviewer wants to see what you’re familiar with the company and its product or service. Don’t just repeat what is on their website or brochures. Show you know something about the specific industry and the company’s role in the industry. Talk about their competitors or the marketing strategies you are familiar with. Talk about the company culture and values.

This shows you took the time to learn about the company and that the job opportunity is important to you.

For more on this topic, be sure to review the lesson on How to Prepare for a Job Interview in English.

Question 7: Future Goals and Future Outlook

Example Questions

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • What are your career goals?
  • What would you do in your first 3-4 months here?
  • What would your first 30 days look like in this job?

The focus here is how you set goals, how do you achieve goals and how do you solve problems. An interviewer wants someone who is ambitious and will get the job done.

For example, if the question is “What would your first 30 days look like in this job?”

Here’s what you should consider: the first days and months in any new job will require learning, focus, getting to know your colleagues and learning to solve new problems in the company. Highlight how you have done this successfully in the past and how you plan to do this in your next position.

Question 8: Strengths

Example Questions

  • If I asked your supervisor to describe you, what would he/she say?
  • Describe what a successful day looks like for you.
  • What do you think your top strength is?
  • What are you good at?
Talking about yourself and your strengths can be uncomfortable. But it’s unavoidable. The best way to handle these questions is to highlight a particular skill or strength with a story. Show how you’ve used that skill in the past.
 
Example:
 
“I’d say I’m definitely good at noticing patterns in numbers and identifying anomalies, which is essential in tax preparation. I love that I’m able to use this skill to help our clients save money.”
 

Question 9: Job-Specific Details

Example Questions

  • What salary range were you looking for?
  • Would you be willing to move to a new city?
  • Would you be willing/able to travel often?
  • What is your availability?
  • How would your ideal work day look?

With questions related to the requirements for the position, it’s essential to be honest. Be clear about your availability. Be truthful about what you’re willing to do. 

If you receive a question about salary that can definitely feel uncomfortable. It’s always a challenge to talk about money. In your answer, you don’t want to offer a number that is too low or too high. It is best to research on the common salary for that position and for someone with your qualifications.

GlassDoor.com is a great resource for researching salary standards.

Example:

 “The typical salary range for this position is $XX,XXX to $XX,XXX, so I would expect something within that.”

Question 10: Closing Questions

Example Questions

  • Do you have questions for me?
  • Are there any questions you’d like to ask?
  • Is there anything you wish I had asked about but didn’t? (This is my favorite question as an interviewer!)

Now it is your turn to ask questions. And you definitely should. These questions should relate to the job, company culture, expectations, etc. (not the benefits package, salary offer, vacation time, etc.)

I’ve got a full lesson on this topic: 5 Smart Questions to Ask in a Job Interview

Special Thank You

Special thanks to Udacity for featuring this blog post on 10 Common Job Interview Questions in English as a resource on their Tips for International Students web page.

Now, that you’ve reviewed the 10 most common job interview questions in English, I’d love to hear from you!

I’d love to know about your experiences with interviews in English. And I want you to practice. Review my challenge questions below.

  1. What is the best advice you’ve received for doing a job interview in English?
  2. Choose one question from this list and share your answer below.

The best place to share, get feedback, and learn from the Confident English Community is in the comments section below. 

Annemarie

⚡️P.S. Did you know my Confident Job Interviews course is now open? I’d love to have you join and get the practice you need to be confident in your next English job interview.

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