Josephine's Personnel Services, Inc.

The 5 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers – Part 1

September 16th, 2014

The 5 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers – Part 1

You’ve carefully written your resume, sent a thoughtful cover letter and passed through the screening process. The job search can be overwhelming, so when the call comes granting an interview, candidates often feel as if they’ve nailed the hardest part. However, there are several common interview questions you should prepare yourself to answer. Depending on the field you are seeking a career in, answers may differ, but we’ll share the 5 most common interview questions and why it’s important to be prepared with an answer. Here are the first three, and in our next post we’ll cover the last two basic interview questions you may face.


Photo courtesy of: Alan Cleaver

5 Basic Interview Questions

  1. Tell me about yourself.

This may be the first of the basic interview questions an employer asks you and it’s important to have a confident answer prepared. The employer asks this question to see if your skills are a good match for the company. Use it to start off strong and show that you are a candidate who aligns very closely with the job description.

Sample Answer: “I am a team-player who is motivated by deadlines. I have x amount of years in this industry in which I have built multiple contacts and relationships. I am constantly looking for new responsibilities to take on and I love to lead new projects.”

  1. What interests you about this job?

Interview questions like this may seem obvious, but candidates who apply to many jobs in the same field should familiarize themselves with why the job you’re interviewing for is different. Employers like to hear why you chose them out of hundreds of companies and this makes them all the more likely to want to choose you.

Sample Answer: “I have lots of experience in this field. I am interested in bringing my talents to your company because I feel that its values are very closely aligned with mine. I have heard great things about the environment of your workplace and I love that you are a family-owned business.”

  1. Tell me about a failure you’ve had at work.

While it may sound negative, employers ask basic interview questions like this to find out how quickly you can think on your feet. Most people have lots of professional stories to tell about their successes, but you may be afraid to tell a potential employer that you may have failed one time or another. By highlighting a time when you didn’t do your best, you can use this as an opportunity to show them how you can change a failure into a success.

Sample Answer: “I missed a meeting because I didn’t give thought to the time zone difference and my client wasn’t happy. I learned from this and always make sure to double-check times and locations to make sure I don’t make this mistake again.”

These most common interview questions and answers may seem hard, but don’t be afraid! Questions like these are called behavioral interview questions and they are designed so the interviewer can get to know who you are and whether you’ll be a great fit for their company.

In our next post we’ll cover the last two of the five most common interview questions. Which common interview questions have you experienced? Please share in the comments below.


About Josephine’s Professional Staffing

Founded in 1988, Josephine’s Professional Staffing has nearly 25 years of business success and is continuously committed to providing superior quality staffing solutions to companies in the Bay Area. We proactively and consistently search for avenues to provide staffing solutions in the field of administrative, accounting, healthcare, light industrial, technical and professional services while taking pride in each of our employees. Josephine’s Professional Staffing is a Certified Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Underutilized Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (UDBE), Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WOSB), Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (EDWOSB),  and Minority Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE). We can be reached at or 408.943.0111 and are located at 2158 Ringwood Avenue, San Jose, CA 95131