businesswoman sitting and waiting for an interview

How To Answer These Common Interview Questions

Whether it’s your first or fiftieth, job interviews are intimidating.

You have to look your best, talk about yourself without sounding pompous, and answer challenging questions in a way that makes you look good. 

The best way to tackle job interview anxiety is to be prepared. Though it’s impossible to know exactly what questions your interviewer will ask, there are very common interview questions you’ll likely encounter. Having answers prepared for a few likely questions will help you feel more confident—and confidence is key to winning the job. 

I’ve been on both sides of the interview table over the course of my career, so I’ve put together a list of some of the most common interview questions. 

For each one, I’ve explained what the interviewer really wants to know when asking these questions, and pointers for answering the prompts with grace and style. 

Have a read-through, and also check out these other excellent resources that will help you prepare for a stellar job interview: 


Interview Question: What can you bring to the company?

Why interviewers ask this question 

A job interviewer’s primary goal is to assess whether you, as an individual, would be an asset to the company. This question is a way for them to gauge how you stack up compared to the other people they’re interviewing. They want to hear about your personal skills and experiences, and how those will translate to the role you’re applying for. 

How to answer this question

This is your opportunity to showcase what makes you a unique and valuable asset to this specific role. A good place to start is to read over the job description again, so that you have a clear idea of exactly what qualities they’re looking for in the right candidate. Then it’s simply a matter of demonstrating how your abilities and past experiences align with what they want. 

For example, let’s say your job description is looking for someone who is “a proficient graphic designer with strong creative skills.” If you’re asked this question during the interview, you might say something like: 

“I used Adobe Photoshop, among other tools at my last job, so I can hit the ground running when I start. I also love playing with design and style, and enjoy finding creative ways to visually express a brand and its message. In fact, I spend some of my free time coming up with new designs, which I’ve included in my portfolio.” 


Interview Question: Why do you want this job?

Why interviewers ask this question 

Interviewers want to know their new hire is motivated and will be highly engaged in their job. This prompt is designed to ensure that you’re serious about wanting the role and not just looking for easy money. This interview question is a bit tricky because, ultimately, the main reason anyone takes on a job is to get paid. While income may be the primary motivating factor, it’s safe to assume the company already knows this—they want to know what is driving you to apply for this specific role apart from the compensation. 

How to answer this question

Hopefully, you aren’t applying for jobs only for the money. There is a lot you can get out of a job in terms of experience and personal growth—and that’s where you should focus when answering this common interview question. 

You may use this as a chance to share your larger career aspirations and explain how this specific role will help you along your path. If you choose to answer in this manner, make sure you include the company in your future plans as well. For example, you might say: 

“My ultimate dream is to be a broadcast journalist. This job would give me the chance to work closely with professionals who have already achieved that dream, so I can learn from them and support them—and maybe one day work alongside them on air.” 

You could also answer this question by complimenting the specific organization:

“I know this company is a leader in the industry—and for good reason! It would be an honor working for a business that has such a long and successful history.” 


Interview Question: How do you stay organized?

Why interviewers ask this question 

Organizational skills are crucial to so many different jobs—whether you’re looking for work as a server, a salesperson, or a CFO. Employers like hiring people who are organized because it means you’ll be able to deliver your workload on time without the need for micromanagement. Being organized is good for you too—if you can stay on top of your work, you won’t have your boss breathing down your neck, and it will be much easier to stay in a job and receive promotions. Organizational skills also help you be more detail oriented, something that will benefit you in life (and benefit your employer in the future). 

How to answer this question

This interview question is best answered with honest examples. Take a moment to think of how you stay organized, either at your current job, in previous jobs, or in daily life. 

What tools do you use to stay on top of your to-do list? There are so many options out there today, like Trello, Asana, and Notion. Letting your future employer know you already use a tool like this will tell them that you’re a self-starter who manages their time and tasks well. 

Think of some specific examples in the past when you’ve worked on a project that required a lot of organization. For example, you might discuss the way you managed a group project at school:

“There were six of us collaborating on our final presentation, and I led the way by coordinating everyone’s calendars, creating checkpoints for the team along the way, and running practice presentations in the days leading up to the final. It all paid off—we got an A, and our teacher said ours was one of the best presentations she’d ever seen.” 


Interview Question: How do you deal with pressure or stress?

Why interviewers ask this question 

There are few jobs in this world that won’t have at least some moments of pressure. Employers know this, and while they should be doing what they can to mitigate stress at work, they want to know that if they hire you, you’ll be able to deal with high-pressure situations and keep moving forward. A word of advice: After answering this question, ask what sorts of high-pressure scenarios you can expect on the job. You want to be prepared if you take on the role, and asking this question will help you gauge whether the job contains the average amount of pressure. Listen carefully to the answer—if it sounds like the role is high-stress all the time, that’s a big red flag. 🚩🚩🚩

How to answer this question

Once again, it’s a good idea to answer this question with specific examples of how you’ve handled high-pressure experiences in the past. Think about moments in life when you’ve had pressing deadlines, large volumes of work, or high expectations. 

For example, you might say:

“At my last job, I worked as a cashier downtown, and on summer days, tourists came into the store in a steady stream. They were often very demanding, and they usually left the store a mess. I found that cleaning up the store in sections throughout the day, whenever there was a break in the stream of customers, kept the store tidy and kept me from feeling overwhelmed.” 

You can also use this question to share your self-care strategies:

“At my previous job, I had to run a number of presentations for some very big clients, which put me under a lot of pressure. In addition to asking colleagues for feedback so I could feel more confident on the day of the presentation, I always made sure to get some extra sleep and workout the morning of the big day—this put me in the right headspace to stay poised while presenting.” 


Interview Question: What are your biggest weaknesses?

Why interviewers ask this question 

This may be the most dreaded interview question because you’re probably focused on making yourself sound as good as possible so you can land the role. This question requires you to do the opposite; the employer wants you to talk about something you don’t do well. The hiring manager is not looking for you to trash talk yourself. Instead, they want to know that you have room for growth and can learn from past mistakes or failures. 

How to answer this question

It’s not a good idea to give a cheesy answer for this, like “My biggest weakness is that I’m too passionate about my work.” A hiring manager will know you’re dodging the question by attempting to disguise a strength as a weakness. 

Instead, be honest about your weaknesses and show how you manage your shortcomings. For example, let’s say one of your weaknesses is that you can be a bit short-tempered when things aren’t going well. You might answer like this: 

“In the past, I’ve had some bad experiences where pressure built up and I lost my cool. I ended up snapping at one of my colleagues, and felt terrible afterward. I gave that colleague an apology afterward, which they thankfully accepted. Since then, I’ve learned that if I’m really starting to feel stressed, it’s a good idea for me to take a walk around the block or have a cup of tea, so I can calm down a bit and clear my head. When I do this, I’m able to dive back into work without getting upset.” 



These are some of the most common interview questions you’ll come across when applying for jobs, and hopefully, you now feel more prepared to give stellar answers. 

There are still plenty of other questions you’ll likely hear during interviews, so check back on this article in the future—I’ll be updating it with more common interview questions to help you land the job of your dreams.