Top 5 Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Content

Want to know the most common interview questions and how to answer them? We’ve got your back.

Every interview is different, but most interview questions are pretty much the same.

Sure, there are unique interview questions related to your unique job. But unless you ace the most common questions, answering unique questions won’t matter much. By then, your potential employer would’ve probably made their decision. Ouch. You don’t want that to happen.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of only five questions. Plus, as a bonus, we’ve included the top five questions to ask your employer at the end of the interview!

So, without further ado…

In this post, you’ll learn how to answer the top five interview questions:

    1. Tell me about yourself
    2. Why are you leaving your current employer?
    3. Why should we hire you?
    4. How do you handle stress?
    5. What are your salary expectations?

BONUS: The top five questions to ask your employer:

    1. How do you help your employees grow?
    2. How do you evaluate success?
    3. What’s your overall compensation package?
    4. What’s your company culture?
    5. What are the biggest challenges of this job?

Let’s get started.

Want to find out how much your prospective employer might pay you? Just enter any company’s name into GrowthAdvisor and watch it crunch the numbers for you.

The Top 5 Interview Questions

It all boils down to the basics: who, what, when, where, why, and how.

There are the basic questions that every story (or every news story) covers. Your interview is a story about YOU, so…

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From your resume (or from your LinkedIn profile—we used ours here as an example), your potential employer has already glimpsed what you can do, and when and where you did it. Now they want to know who you are, why you’re looking for a new job, and how you’ll fit in (or not).

Plus, they’ll be asking for how much you want to get paid. We have a special trick up our sleeve for negotiating salary (more on this later).

1. Tell me about yourself

Who are you? Don’t treat this question lightly. 

Think of yourself as a product. Your potential employer is your buyer. They want to know what they’re buying before they’ll pay for it. What’s in it for them?

Sell yourself. List your past, present, and future accomplishments as assets to the company. Use numbers and facts as much as possible:

      • What specific goals were you able to reach in your past job? 
      • What specific goals are you working on now? 
      • And, what specific goals do you want to reach in this new job—in the future?

Use numbers for:

      • How much revenue you added
      • How many new clients you added
      • And, how many problems you solved
      • And so on…

Numbers will not only help you ace the interview. Numbers will help you negotiate a higher salary and more employee stock options (more on this later).

 2. Why are you leaving your current employer?

This is a tough one to answer. What’s the truth? 

Think of this question as another selling point. Will you show your previous employer in a negative light? Or will you focus on the positive opportunity with your new employer?

Always take the high road. Don’t disclose any unsavory details from the past. Your positive story will tell your recruiter that you are:

  • Professional
  • Optimistic
  • Trustworthy

After all, if you were fired from your new job, what will you say at your next interview? Based on your answer, the recruiter will know if they can trust you. So be careful. And be honest. If you were fired, then simply say, “I was let go of.”

But what if they ask about your boss? And what if your boss was truly awful? Spin a positive note on it. Say, “I’m forever grateful to my previous boss for teaching me X.” Whatever that X maybe, once again, make it positive.

3. Why should we hire you?

Rejoice! If you’re asked this question, you can sell yourself even more.

Remember how we talked about the importance of facts and numbers? Here is where you’ll want to revisit them. 

Show what you can do for the company:

  • What specific results can you deliver?
  • How will you be a great addition to the team?
  • How are you better than other candidates?

Have data prepared for all these points, and you’ll be ahead of the pack. This question is usually the pivotal point in an interview. If you stumble here, you’ll make your recruiter doubt why they should hire you. But if you shine, it’s a huge win!

4. How do you handle stress?

Every job is stressful. That’s the nature of employment. Don’t say you can handle stress swimmingly. There is always a time when stress can overwhelm you.

Instead, show how you deal with stress. Again, use your story to sell yourself as a product. Be specific. To stay productive, do you:

  • Switch to a different task?
  • Go for a run?
  • Meditate?

The more specific you are, the better. It’ll show your potential employer that you have a plan. That you’re prepared. And that you’re experienced when it comes to stress. All big winning points. You don’t want to miss them.

5. What are your salary expectations?

This is the trickiest and the most important question of all. If you’re asked this question, chances are…you almost got the job. How much money you’ll get will depend on how you answer.

So how do you answer? Don’t overprice yourself. And don’t underprice yourself. 

The trick is to price yourself just right.

You can do it in three simple steps:

  1. Google salaries for your prospective position (use sites like PayScale or Glassdoor)
  2. Calculate your overall compensation (salary plus stock options) with GrowthAdvisor’s Compensation Calculator 
  3. Print out your GrowthAdvisor report and bring it with you to the interview

HP entreprise dashboard

Above is the example of what it might look like.

Why do you need to do this? Because it’s one thing to negotiate blindly. It’s quite another to consult when knowing facts. 

Plus, the recruiter will be impressed. You’ve done your homework. That means you’ll use the same diligence in your new job — another big win for you. 

Don’t dismiss employee stock options as just some perk on top of salary. When managed right, stock options can make you a lot of money.  Use GrowthAdvisor to see how much your stock options will be worth up to 10 years into the future.

Get started. It’s free

BONUS: The top 5 questions to ask your employer

Now that we’ve got the interview questions out of the way let’s get to the most exciting part.

At the end of the interview, the recruiter will most likely ask you, “Do you have any questions for me?” This is the time to ask the following:

1. How do you help your employees grow?

You want to make sure this company is dedicated to your success. In business terms, it should be a fair trade. You’re a great product for them. They’re a great buy for you.

But, putting money aside…

You’re not a machine. Neither is your employer. You’re people entering into a business deal. 

Your success will depend on the people around you. Can the company demonstrate they will support you all the way?

2. How do you evaluate success?

In other words, you’ve got to cover your bases. To navigate your career, you’ll need to demonstrate success. And to demonstrate success, you’ll need to know how it’s evaluated.

What metrics does your employer use? Can you deliver what they ask for?

3. What’s your overall compensation package?

Here is where GrowthAdvisor can help you the most. When you ask this question, you’ll be prepared. You’ll have the real-world competitive data with you.

growthadvisor-stock-options

Our algorithms have collected data from over 800,000 companies. We’ve analyzed their past performance patterns to predict the valuation and the exit scenarios of any company. 

Research your prospective employer with GrowthAdvisor’s tool, and you’ll know exactly how much to ask for.

4. What’s your company culture?

It’s really important that you do your job well. But it’s even more important you’re part of the culture that can help you do your job well.

Do your own research on the company’s culture, but don’t forget to ask this question at your interview. Watch for the recruiter’s reaction. Body language is very important here. Do they like it? Do they love working here? How have they grown since they’ve started?

Look around. Do you like the office where you’re being interviewed? What about the people? The vibe? Picture yourself coming here every day. Can you do it? And will it make you feel productive and satisfied with your new job?

5. What are the biggest challenges of this job?

Prepare yourself for the hard times. If you ask this question now, you’ll know what’s coming your way before you decide to accept the job. It’s a big decision. It’s years of your life. 

Is it worth it?

If you want to go even deeper, here are more questions to ask your employer:

  • Who is your dream candidate? 
  • What do I need to do to be successful at this job?
  • What specific skills are you looking for?
  • What’s your training program look like?
  • Where will the company be in the next 5 years?
  • What do you like about the company?
  • How do you think the latest industry developments will impact the company?

This is your best sales tactic—ask questions and listen. Let your employer talk. You might find yourself accepting the job offer before your interview ended!

Final Thoughts

Interview questions are nothing to be afraid of. If you take enough time to study as many of them as you can, you’ll remove most of your fear. And if you take the time to prepare your own interview questions, you’ll feel empowered.

Suddenly, the interview will seem like a friendly conversation.

To make yourself feel even better, prepare all the data you can.

Get your salary and stock options numbers from GrowthAdvisor. Remember to print out not only the data for your prospective employer but also for their competitors. You’ll have that much more leverage to negotiate the compensation you deserve.

Get started. It’s free

Next Steps

Want to get started?

Compare salaries and stock option grants with our FREE tool ⟶

Want to read more?

Check out our post on How to Negotiate Salary: The Best Tips and Free Resources ⟶

Want to keep exploring?

See how you can make money with your employee stock options ⟶

Questions? Email our team at support@growthadvisorhq.com


Article Number: GA-211
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