By the time you make it into the interview chair, you've potentially beat out hundreds of other applicants. On average, job postings from midsize or large corporations can pull in more than 250 resumes, but only half a dozen or so people get called in for interviews. Preparing to answer traditional interview questions is one of the best ways you can help ensure you're the one who gets hired for the job.
Traditional interview questions are those that employers are most likely to ask, and practicing the answers to these questions will help you seem well-prepared and confident during the interview. While you don't want to memorize specific answers — an employer may not ask the exact questions you anticipate, and memorized answers sound less sincere — answering questions in interview role-play situations with a trusted friend or mentor helps you discover your interview strengths and weaknesses and work on areas where you stutter or fall short on an answer.
Check out theses 63 traditional interview questions you might get below, and then visit our database of common job interview questions for more inspiration for your interview practice sessions.
Traditional Interview Questions About Yourself
- How would you describe yourself?
- Why did you leave your last job?
- Why did you choose this career?
- What's more important to you — the work itself or how much you're paid for doing it?
- What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- How would a good friend describe you?
- What motivates you to go the extra mile on a project or job?
- Do you have any hobbies? What do you do in your spare time?
- Have you ever been fired or forced to resign?
- Which is more important: creativity or efficiency? Why?
- What's the most recent book you've read?
- Do you have plans for continued study? An advanced degree?
- In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable?
Traditional Interview Questions About Your Experience
- Can you explain this gap in your employment history?
- What would your last boss say about your work performance?
- Describe the best job you've ever had.
- Describe the best supervisor you've ever had.
- Describe the workload in your current (or most recent) job.
- How do you work under pressure?
- How do you like to be managed?
- What's one of the hardest decisions you've ever had to make?
- How well do you adapt to new situations?
- What major problem have you encountered and how did you deal with it?
- What one lesson you've learned from a mistake you've made?
- What have you accomplished that shows your initiative and willingness to work?
Traditional Interview Questions About Your Goals
- What are your long-range and short-range goals and objectives?
- What do you see yourself doing five years from now? Ten years from now?
- What do you really want to do in life?
- How do you plan to achieve your career goals?
- What are the most important rewards you expect in your career?
- What do you expect to be earning in five years?
- How do you determine or evaluate success?
- What would you need to accomplish in the next five years to consider yourself a success?
- What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?
- Describe the most rewarding experience of your career thus far.
Traditional Interview Questions About Your Expectations
- What two or three things are most important to you in your job?
- Are you seeking employment in a company of a certain size? Why?
- What are your expectations regarding promotions and salary increases?
- What criteria are you using to evaluate the company for which you hope to work?
- Do you have a geographic preference? Why?
- Are you willing to relocate?
- Are you willing to travel for the job?
- If you are willing to relocated, what appeals to you about the community in which our company is located?
Traditional Interview Questions About Your Interpersonal Skills
- How well do you work with people?
- Do you prefer working alone or in teams?
- How would you evaluate your ability to deal with conflict?
- Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor? How did you resolve the conflict?
- Describe the relationship that should exist between the supervisor and those reporting to him or her.
Traditional interview questions are those that employers are most likely to ask, and practicing the answers to these questions will help you seem well-prepared and confident during the interview.
Traditional Interview Questions About Your Leadership Skills
- What qualities should a successful manager possess?
- How would you describe your management style?
- Do you consider yourself a leader?
- What are the attributes of a good leader?
- Are you good at delegating tasks?
Traditional Interview Questions About Your Qualifications
- Why should I hire you?
- What makes you qualified for this position?
- What qualifications do you have that make you successful in this career?
Traditional Interview Questions About the Role or Company
- What do you think it takes to be successful in a company like ours?
- In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our company?
- If you were in charge of the hiring for this position, what qualities would you look for in a candidate?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What can you tell us about our company?
- What interests you about our products?
- What do you know about our competitors?
Remember that an interview isn't a pass/fail oral exam, though. Don't just prep so you can tick off a box by answering a question without floundering. Prep so you can wow the hiring manager or stand out from the crowd with your answers. For more information on acing your interview, check out more LiveCareer interviewing tips and tools.