Common interview questions

All job interviews are different, but some questions tend to almost always come up. Think through your answers to the interview questions in advance so that you get the most out of your job interview.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

This is a very general question that gives you a lot of freedom in what you answer. But it is also the question that most people find the most difficult to answer. What should you actually say about yourself? Try to put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. They want to create a picture of who you are; if the interview has just started, it’s a good idea not to go into too much detail. You can include leisure interests, family, and other things usually considered “small talk”.

What attracted you to apply for this job?

This is probably the most important question when it comes to having a convincing answer. Think about what it is that makes this company different and why you like it. Is it their culture, products or services? This is what you should focus on. It may be the case that you don’t know anything in particular about the company but you have the right skills for the job. If so, you must think this through and decide whether this kind of honesty will be perceived as negative or positive.

Which of your previous experiences can you use in this job?

This question is almost self-explanatory. Besides previous jobs, experience and skills, think about whether there is anything else that makes you unique. Have you lived abroad? Do you know any other languages? Don’t be shy to speak about yourself.

Which personal qualities are most important for succeeding in this job?

You already know from the job advertisement what personal qualities the employer is looking for. If one of these is a strength of yours, focus on it. Don’t resort to clichés. If you say you are “used to juggling many balls” or that you “thrive under pressure”, you can expect to lose the interviewer’s interest. You might very well have these skills, but find another way to express it. For instance, you could give examples of previous experience to show that you have exactly these skills.

What can you bring to us?

Now we are talking about pure facts. What skills do you have? What have you done before? What other experience do you have that could be useful in this job? Include everything that is relevant. Don’t forget personal qualities; they are just as important.

How do you work under stress?

There are different types of stress. For instance, when you have a lot to do but still feel in control of the situation. Many people even perceive this type of stress as positive, as long as they do not have to live with it all the time. There is also stress that is purely negative, where you are no longer in control of the situation. This may be when other people have to deliver before you can move on, when a manager makes impossible demands, etc. This type of stress is not positive for anyone. During the interview, it is always best to focus on positive stress.

Do you have any questions for us?

This question typically comes at the end of the interview and contributes greatly to the lasting impression. It may be that there is nothing at all you want to ask. Perhaps you have already thoroughly researched the job and the company. It doesn't matter – ask anyway. Sitting quietly can give a passive impression, while the opposite shows that you are interested in the company and the job. So, prepare a question for this point, preferably something specific. But avoid asking about something that is already evident in the advertisement.

Is there anything you want to add?

By this time, the interviewer will hopefully have a good picture of you and your skills. But if you feel there is anything that has not come up during the interview, this is the time to bring it up.