39 Job Interview Questions: How to Answer Now

39 Job Interview Questions: How to Answer Like a Pro. Interview questions are predictable so it pays to prepare your answers in advance. Here’s a list of frequently asked job interview questions and instructions on how to answer them. Let’s nail it!

Job Interview Preparation: Questions and Answers

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First off, well done! Have you been invited to an interview or are you just getting a head start on putting your application strategy together?

Either way, the fact that you’re doing this research means you’re already ahead of the pack as you’re starting the job search process by being fully prepared.

Interview Like a Pro: Use These Questions

What types of job interview questions are asked?

From brainteaser to boring, there are plenty of questions you can prepare for in order to crack job interviews.  Avoid interview traps by understanding traditional and modern interview approaches.

what are your pay expectations

Old-School Interviews

An old-fashioned interviewer, the traditionalist, may stick to time-tested question techniques and plod through your history or lack thereof. They will want to know why you think you’re a good fit for the job.

Finding Singularity: Testing Your Mindset

The modern approach is to dig into details, your creative problem-solving skills and mental agility. They want to test if you’ll fit into the working culture and if you can bring anything competitive to the mix. Employers look for people who demonstrate initiative and who want to be industrious. Wanting to be industrious means you like to be busy, not standing around and waiting for someone to instruct you. This implies you can be led without having to be micromanaged. Communicate a willingness to learn, the ability to accept responsibility and an interest in the company and position.

9 Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving Interview Questions

Interviewers may surprise you with an unusual WTF brainteaser question:

  • Tell me what you can use this paper clip for.
  • How many times do a clock’s hands overlap in a day?
  • How would you weigh a plane without using scales?
  • Tell me 10 ways to use a pencil other than for writing.
  • Sell me this pencil/water
  • If you were an animal, which one would you want to be and why?
  • Why is there fuzziness on a tennis ball?
  • If you could choose one superhero power, what would it be and why?
  • With your eyes closed, tell me step-by-step how to tie my shoes.
  • Why are manholes round?

These questions test your experience, logic, confidence, problem-solving and lateral thinking ability. They’re surprising questions to see if you can do more than blank out. Think of responses to these questions and write them in the comments section below.

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Strategy for Answering Job Interview Questions

No matter how boring it seems, prepare for the popular questions and put some thought into how your answer can make you stand out. 

Interviewers are often bored but do their best to try to hide it. Consider how other applicants may respond to a question and try to come up with a unique answer.

Interviewers also have a knack for asking very meaningful questions in a casual manner to get you to relax and reveal who you really are. Don’t be casual, take advantage of predictable questions by being prepared for them.

Interviews are a game of strategy, nothing your interviewer does is meaningless. They will carefully delve into who you are in the hope of matching you to the job and the organisational culture. Finding the right staff can be a risky process and candidates need to give potential employers every reason to believe they will be low-risk and can be counted on.

Answering Interview Questions

You’ll see that our answers always remain focussed on the job and don’t give away much more than that. Who you are outside the specifics of the job is none of their business but you can’t say that if you want a shot at the job. This is why you plan your answers so you don’t say anything they don’t deserve to know.

Prepared answers mean you can deflect the conversation politely and keep the focus on what makes you professional. You can control interviews if you have practised the approaches you will take.

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9 Typical Interview Questions and How to Respond

9. Tell us about yourself.

The most often asked question in interviews.

  • Focus on career goals, not your personal history.
  • Prepare a short statement in advance but don’t let it sound rehearsed.
  • Only talk about work-related items unless asked otherwise.
    • Talk about things you have done and jobs you have held that relate to the position you are interviewing for.
    • Start with the item farthest back and work up to the present.
questions to ask interviewers at learnership interviews

8. What are your strengths?

  • Match your key strengths to the job requirements.
  • Examples of strengths could be your:
    • ability to work under pressure.
    • ability to focus on projects.
    • professional expertise.
    • problem-solving skills.
    • ability to prioritize.
    • leadership skills.
    • positive attitude.

7. What are your weaknesses?

wage floor why some jobs pay more

6. Why do you want this job?

5. Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?

  • This tests your level of ambition and career planning
  • Interviewers want to know how you will fit in with the company’s team, vision and culture.

4. What’s your ideal company?

3. What attracted you to this company?

2. Why should we hire you?

  • this is your opportunity to sell yourself
  • Show that you can be the solution to a problem.
  • Use specific examples.
  • Talk in soundbites. Ask yourself, “What were my greatest accomplishments at my most recent job?” and “What sets me apart from other candidates?” Prepare short snappy answers.
  • Explain the “how” behind your accomplishments. You’ll need to talk about what you’ve put in your CV.
  • Use the right nonverbal communication. (body language)
  • Show enthusiasm.

1. What did you like least about your last job?

  • this interview question finds out if you’re going to be satisfied in the job for which you’re interviewing

Examples of Interview Questions That Make You Describe Who You Are

1. When were you most satisfied in your job?

Talk about having fun by accomplishing something for the organization.

2. What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?

3. What were the responsibilities of your last position?

4. Why are you leaving your present job?

  • the interviewer wants to understand your motives and gain insight into how you handle work relationships
  • They want to know if you’ll leave them in the lurch if you become dissatisfied or if there’s any dirt in your past.
  • “Why did you leave your last job?” is one way for the interviewer to ensure you’re a person of integrity.
  • Respond positively. Don’t refer to problems with management or bad-mouth supervisors, co-workers, and the organization. If you do, you will be the one looking bad. Provide a positive reason such as an opportunity to progress, a chance to learn something new, or other forward-looking reasons.

5. What do you know about this industry?

6. What do you know about our company?

It takes thorough research to prepare for a job interview. For this question, you must research the organization before the interview. What are their successes and current issues?

7. Are you willing to relocate?

  • Work this out before the interview if you think there is a chance it may come up. Do not say yes just to get the job if the real answer is no. This can create a lot of problems later on in your career.

Do you have any questions for me?

Always have some questions ready for the interviewer as this shows a real interest in the opportunity. Ask questions about the areas you will work in such as “How soon will I be able to be productive?” and “What type of projects will I be able to assist on?”

Four Interview Questions About Pay

Many US states have started banning employer pay secrecy during recruitment. Unfortunately the same is not going to happen in South Africa unless the citizens unite to defend their constitutional rights.

You hate these questions about your pay expectations right? Employers are cagey about amounts because they want to save money and find the best person at the lowest wage.

If there is no amount in the advert, be on guard as they may not be offering a competitive package, and they may not even be serious about hiring.

1. What salary are you seeking?

  • This is a loaded question. A nasty little game that you will probably lose if you answer first. So, do not answer it. Instead, say something like, “That’s a tough question. Can you tell me the range for this position?” In most cases, the interviewer, taken off guard, will tell you. If not, say that it can depend on the details of the job. Then give a wide range.
what are your pay expectations

2. What were you paid in your last position?

  • This question should be banned as it violates the Competition Act. Employers are required by law to compete for talent, not to price-fix workers. Some companies want proof in the form of payslips attached to your application. However your salary is confidential and if you attach it to your application, the receptionist, manager and HR person would see it before you even have an interview.
  • What one employer pays has nothing to do with another employer and they are prohibited from spying on each other’s confidential and competitive pay documents.
  • Avoid answering this question by saying you signed a non-disclosure with your former employer.
what are your pay expectations

3. If I were to give you the salary you requested but let you write your job description for the next year, what would it say?

  • This question links your salary expectations to your understanding of what you can deliver or offer.

4. What’s more important to you — the work itself or how much you’re paid for doing it?

  • Direct the focus away from money by saying something about being willing to accept fair offers from a company that you admire – such as theirs. Focus the answer on how excited you would be at the opportunity at that particular company. Hopefully, you’re applying to a job that you’re genuinely passionate about! 

Job Interview Questions: Related Posts

Career development interview questions to test your ambition and commitment:

  • What are you looking for in terms of career development?
  • How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
  • What goals would you have in mind if you got this job?
  • If I were to ask your last supervisor to provide you with additional training or exposure, what would she suggest?

Getting started and fitting in interview questions:

  • How would you go about establishing your credibility quickly with the team?
  • How long will it take for you to make a significant contribution?
  • What do you see yourself doing within the first 30 days of this job?
  • If selected for this position, can you describe your strategy for the first 90 days?


Leonie Hall

Leonie Hall, disruptive thinker and dynamic strategist, is an expert in education, development, quality management and innovation. She has spoken at local and international conferences; and currently works as an independent consultant and content developer. Contact Leonie for a consultation.

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