7 frequently asked questions during an interview: what their purpose is and how to best answer them

Writen by: 
Tsvetelina Kirilova

Job interviews are an important step in the process of finding a new job that cannot be avoided. However, we can prepare for them in the best way possible. Interviewers ask various questions in order to learn more about the candidates, their interests, experience, motivation and skills. Below we will share 7 frequently asked questions during an interview: what their purpose is and how to best answer them.

1. Why did you apply for this position?

It doesn't matter if you came across a job ad, if a recruiter found you or if someone you know referred you to the relevant company; there was something in the information about the company or the position that impressed you and is the reason you are in this interview. Try to mention how you found out about the position and say what you liked in it. Maybe something in the brief description of the responsibilities for the position corresponds with what you want to do in your future job, or an interesting social policy is a reason that motivates you, or maybe something in the company’s described values corresponds with what you want your future employer to have.

2. Tell me a bit about yourself.

The interviewer sees a CV in front of them with your experience and education written on it. However, what led you to apply for this job? What attracts you to this type of work? Briefly explain why you decided pursue this career, which qualities of yours shine through during work and how all this lead you to the present moment when you are ready for a new step in your career path.

3. What are you looking for in your career path?

This question aims to find out if your professional and business interests coincide with what the company offers. Here it is wise to mention the opportunities this position would give you: whether it will be a chance to demonstrate your knowledge, to promote your ideas or maybe you strive to be a leader someday. Be clear about your ambitions.

4. Can you tell me more about the gap year in your CV?

Recently, during the pandemic, many people lost their jobs, which becomes evident when you list
chronologically your job positions in your resumé. Such gaps can be due to various things. It is good to mention briefly, what was the reason and how you used this time for improving: whether you were learning new skills, were focused on your professional development or your took a break and enjoyed a well-needed vacation.

5. What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies?

Don't be fooled by how “easy” this question is. Its purpose is to understand how you balance your work and free time, what motivates you, what activities you focus your energy on. You can mention your non-work interests here. For example, if you play sports, say how good your concentration, discipline and fighting spirit are - this way you leave the interviewer with the impression that you are putting these qualities to use in your work at the office as well.

6. What are your salary expectations?

Perhaps the most frightening and difficult question of all. This topic is often debated and different ideas are given to potential future candidates- "say a higher number", "say a lower one", etc. Moreover, here, like in the previous questions, the best thing to say is the truth. It is important to know very well the salary levels of your professional field, to take into account the experience and knowledge gained so far, what the company offers as part of their social policy (bonuses, training, etc.), as well as an absolute salary minimum under which you would not fall, taking into consideration your monthly expenses and needs. It would be best to indicate the range in which you would like the offered payment to fit, taking into account all the factors mentioned so far.

7. How do you see yourself in 10 years?

A very cliché question, that can however, be full of hidden traps. Its idea is to check what your long-term goals are, whether they are realistic and whether you will be able to achieve them by taking on this position.

The best answers to give during an interview are the truthful ones. The interviewer aims to get to know you and your professional ambitions as much as possible, so when applying for the position you really want, be honest with your answers and you will most certainly present yourself in a good light.