In this two-part series, we’re taking a look at common job interview questions and the best way for you to answer them. After all, job interviews are no walk in the park. They can be extremely stressful, and with stress comes a whole host of health problems — lack of sleep, acne breakouts and scarring, and more. To save you from all that hardship, we have more common interview questions for you to look at, so you’ll have a better chance of acing any interview and landing your dream job.


What Was A Problem You’ve Faced At Work Before?

By asking this behavioural interview question, your interviewer wants to get a sense of how you respond to conflict. Anyone can seem nice and pleasant in a job interview, but what will happen if you’re hired and something happens that totally sends you off the rails? Address the issue as it happened, and be sure to focus on how you handled the situation professionally and productively. Ideally, close with a happy ending, like how you came to a resolution or compromise.


Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?

If you’re asked this question, be honest and specific about your future goals — but consider this. When asking this question, the hiring manager wants to know if you’ve set realistic expectations for your career, if you have ambition, and if the position aligns with your goals and growth. Your best bet is to think realistically about where this position could take you, and you should answer along those lines. If the position isn’t necessarily a one-way ticket to your goals, it’s okay to say that you’re not quite sure what the future holds, but that you see this experience playing an important role in helping you make that decision.


Why Do You Want To Leave Your Current Job?

This is a tough one, but if you currently hold a job title, you can be sure you’ll be asked this. You’ll want to keep things positive — after all, you have nothing to gain by being negative about your past employers. Instead, frame things in a way that shows that you’re eager to take on new opportunities and that the role you’re interviewing for is a better fit for you than your current or last position. For example, “I am always open to new opportunities that will challenge me, and this role will provide me with just that.” Keep it simple and honest — if you were retrenched, “Unfortunately, I was let go,” is a legitimate answer too.


Why Were You Let Go Or Fired?

If your answer to the previous question was how you were let go by your ex-company, you will likely get the admittedly much tougher follow-up question as to why you were let go. Your best bet is to be as honest as possible, but it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker just yet. Share how you’ve grown from your experience, and how you now approach your job and life as a result. If you can position the learning experience as an advantage for this next job, that would be even better for you.


When Have Your Shown Leadership?

When you get asked this, it means the interviewer is assessing to see if you are suitable for leadership roles. Depending on what’s more important for the role, you’ll want to choose an example that showcases your project management skills — like spearheading a project from end to end, or juggling multiple moving parts — or one that shows your ability to confidently and effectively rally a team. Show how you were a leader in these situations and how it represents your overall leadership experience and potential.


Why Was There A Gap In Your Employment?

If you were unemployed for a long period of time, be direct and to the point about what you’ve been up to — hopefully, that means you participated in volunteer work and other mind-enriching activities, like blogging or taking classes. Then, steer the conversation toward how you will do the job and contribute to the organization. If you felt burnt out from your previous job, be honest and say, “I decided to take a break at the time, but today I’m ready to contribute to this organization in the following ways.” The interviewer is likely to be impressed with your honesty.


Do You Have Any Questions For Us?

Ah, the finale. When you hear this question, it usually is the last question that interviewers will ask. If you have any questions or anything you want to clarify, now’s the time to ask. If you don’t have any questions, you should still ask at least one or two. It shows the interviewer that you are engaged and genuinely interested in the position and that you have put some actual thought into the role. Ask about the job itself, or about the company — but keep things strictly professional.