How to Answer Some Common Interview Questions

Some questions are practically standards at most job interviews. Yet, no matter how many times you may be asked these standard questions, you will probably find yourself struggling to come up with an appropriate, job-getting answer. That is because the most common interview questions are designed to be difficult. However, with a little knowledge and preparation, you can ace these questions and get the job. Impress the next hiring manager you talk to by learning exactly how to answer these three most common (and most difficult) interview questions.

1. What is Your Greatest Strength?

This is one of the questions that most job candidates dread hearing. It's difficult to know what to say without coming across as arrogant. After all, the interviewer is essentially asking you to say what makes you great. You don't want to sound like a snob, but you want to convey your skills with a sense of pride, too. The best way to approach this question is to focus on just your strengths that particularly suit you for the job to which you are applying. You don't have to run down a list of every single thing at which you excel. Keep you answer focused on skills you'll need in this particular job.

Some acceptable answers to this question include variations on these responses:

2. What is Your Greatest Weakness?

This is another universally dreaded interview question. No one wants to tell a job interviewer about areas where they need improvement. This might make them seem like they are not good candidates for the job. However, if you approach the question from a different angle, you can glide through this part of the interview looking like the true professional you really are. The three main ways to approach this question without making it look like there are some things at which you are incompetent is to focus on weaknesses you have that are not pertinent to the job at hand, talk about skills that you have improved upon, or talk about a negative experience you had on a job that you were able to turn around into a positive experience. Remember, even when you're talking about weaknesses, you want to make them sound positive.

Here are a few sample answers you can adapt for your own purposes at your next interview:

3. Why Are You Leaving (or Why Did You Leave) Your Job?

Interviewers love to ask why you left your previous job or why you are leaving your current one. If you left of your own volition, the question is easy to answer. Just say you were ready to move on to new challenges, as you believed you had gone as far as you could go at the previous job. If you were fired, it's a bit more tricky. Here's how to answer this question if you were fired from your most recent job, or did not leave under good circumstances with your boss.

It doesn't have to be intimidating to answer these practically universal interview questions. Once you know what the interviewer wants to hear and how best to say it, you will have no problem acing your job interviews. Just remember to tailor your answers to be specific to the job to which you are applying. Customize these sample answers as needed. You'll soon be a job interview pro and flying through the interview process with confidence and ease.