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How to Answer the Most Common Interview Questions

Preparing for a job interview can be stressful. You want to practice clear answers that provide the requested information to show you are well-equipped for the role. This increases your odds of moving forward in the hiring process or being offered a job. Although you cannot know everything the interviewer may ask, you can go over responses to some of the most commonly asked questions. This helps increase your confidence and comfort level to show you are the right candidate for the position.

Choose among the following commonly asked questions to help prepare for your next interview.

What Is Your Greatest Professional Achievement?

Share an accomplishment that aligns with the job you want. Use the STAR method to discuss your Situation, Task, Action, and Results. For instance, “My last job as a junior analyst had me managing the invoicing process. I streamlined the process in one month. This saved my group ten person-hours each month and reduced errors on invoices by 25%.”

Discuss a Challenge You Faced at Work and How You Dealt with It.

Be honest about how you managed a difficult work situation. Show that you directly faced the issue and attempted to find a resolution. Remain calm and professional while telling your story. Focus on the answer more than the problem. Explain what you would do differently if the situation came up again. Demonstrate that you learn from experience.

How Do You Prioritize Your Work?

Talk about how you manage your time, show judgment, communicate, and shift your focus when needed. Begin by discussing the system you use to plan your day or week. This may involve an app, color-coded spreadsheet, or to-do list. Then, share how you respond to a last-minute request or another unplanned change in priorities. Include how you evaluate and decide what to do and how you communicate your decisions to your manager and/or teammates.

Talk About a Time When You Demonstrated Leadership Skills.

Share your experience taking the lead on a project, suggesting an alternate process, or motivating your team to finish something. Describe the situation you encountered, the task you had to complete, the action you took, and what your results were. Point out how this example of leadership equips you for the role you desire.

What Did You Do When You Disagreed with a Decision Your Manager Made?

Explain how you professionally took a different position on an issue and what you learned from the experience. Begin with a brief statement to frame the rest of your answer. Include the takeaway or the reason for sharing your story, such as, “I learned that it’s fine to disagree if you have data to back up your statements. Close with a one-sentence summary of your response. Or, briefly share how what you gained from the experience would help you be successful in the position you are interviewing for.

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