What are the most popular interview questions?

Open-ended questions 'provide highly accurate way of measuring candidate's abilities'

What are the most popular interview questions?
Open-ended questions prompt job candidates to answer in more detail, says one expert.

When it comes to the most popular interview questions, “Tell me about yourself” comes out on top with hiring professionals, according to a recent survey.

Six in 10 recruiters say that’s their number one choice, followed by “Tell me about a challenge or conflict you faced at work, and how did you deal with it?” with 57 per cent of the vote.

Most hiring professionals ask “Tell me about…” and other situational interview questions to gauge a job applicant’s experience and abilities, according to a recent survey of 503 U.S. recruiters.

Rounding out the top 10 most popular interview questions gathered by resumé builder and career website Zety are:

  • “What are your greatest strengths?” (51 per cent)
  • “How did you hear about this position?” (48 per cent)
  • “What are your greatest weaknesses?” (46 per cent)
  • “Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills.” (44 per cent)
  • “Why are you leaving your current position?” (38 per cent)
  • “Tell me about a time you made a mistake.” (36 per cent)
  • “What type of work environment do you prefer?” (32 per cent)
  • “How would your boss and coworkers describe you?” (32 per cent)

The results match those of 1,025 job candidates surveyed, with higher percentages for the top five (94 per cent, 82, 91, 84 and 80, respectively).

Hiring professionals often ask open-ended questions as these prompt job candidates to answer in more detail, using stories, examples and lists, which give deeper insights, says Jacques Buffett, career expert at Zety.

“Interestingly, these questions have been proven by multiple studies to provide a highly accurate way of measuring a candidate’s abilities,” he says. “Asking a candidate what they have done versus what they would do is a highly effective interviewing technique.

Recruits often look at factors beyond interviews, including the way a candidate dresses, to see if they fit the role.

‘Do you have any questions for me?’

To see if a job applicant has genuine interest in the position, recruiters often ask if they have questions at the end of the interview. Here are the top questions hiring professionals expect candidates to ask, according to the survey:

  • “Can you show me samples of projects I’d working on?” (54 per cent)
  • “What are the skills and experience you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?” (52 per cent)
  • “What are the most immediate projects that would need to be addressed?” (50 per cent)
  • “What does a typical day look like?” (45 per cent)
  • “Do you expect the main responsibilities for this position to change in the next six months to a year?” (44 per cent)

There’s “a strong focus on future advancement, training and progression,” says Buffett. “Interviewers want candidates who are committed and who intend to grow and develop, contributing to their employer’s future success.”

Some hiring professionals deliberately ask unusual questions to see how interviewees respond to the unexpected.


Register now in this free webinar from MHS to find out how you can use existing resources to improve your hiring process.

Latest stories