Job Interview Questions and Answers 101

By Mike Simpson

“And now, for our feature presentation…”

Normally these words would signal you to lean back in your movie theater chair, put on your 3D glasses and start shoveling buttery popcorn into your face for the next two-and-a-half-hours.

But in this case, while your job interview does have the potential to be an Oscar-winning drama (and hopefully not a B-rated bust), we’re not talking about the silver screen.

The “feature presentation” I’m talking about is in reference to the most important part of the entire interview process.

The Job Interview Questions (and Answers).


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If you’re anything like I was just over a decade ago, the very mention of interview questions is enough to make your temperature rise like a bad fever and your palms to sweat as if you were holding a never-ending tree pose during a hot yoga session.

But why the anxiety?

What is it about these simple little phrases that end with a question mark that causes us to lose our minds and run for the hills?

Well, much like anything else… it’s the fear of the unknown.

You’re afraid of not knowing what interview questions are going to be asked. You’re afraid of giving the wrong answer.

But more than anything, you’re afraid that if you don’t answer all of the questions in the most perfect way possible, you’re going to walk out of the interview room with no offer and make the long, shameful trek back to your parents’ basement.

And I’m not exaggerating. Even about the parent’s basement. Just ask Jeff (a story for a different day).

Here’s the deal: You should be a bit nervous.

There are hundreds of typical interview questions that you could be asked, and there are a right and a wrong way to answer each one of them.

Not only that, but you could be asked these questions at any stage of the 2017 interview process, from the phone interview (for help with these check out our article 8 Phone Interview Tips That Will Land You A Second Interview) all the way to the panel or group interview.

One little slip could mean the end of your chances if one of your competitors is able to do what you can’t and give smooth, confident answers to every question.

And the reality is, if you don’t…

Someone will.

people-out-of-workYou know the deal. There are approximately 90 million Americans that don’t have jobs and a large portion of those people are frothing at the mouth to get back in the workforce.

So needless to say it’s a competitive landscape out there and you need to do what you can to make sure you stand out from the crowd.

Luckily for you, Jeff and I have spent the last few years perfecting a method for how to answer interview questions perfectly, and I’d like to share it with you in this article today.

Here's What We Are Going To Cover

Job Interview Questions and Answers 101

4.4 (88.19%) 364 vote[s]

  • Traditional Job Interview Questions and Answers vs. Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers
  • Your Mindset: It’s Not About You, It’s About Them
  • The Tailoring Method
  • Common job interview questions

Job Interview Questions and Answers 101

4.4 (88.19%) 364 vote[s]

  • 3 Example Interview Answers
    • The Traps to Avoid For Each Interview Question
    • The Do’s and Don’t s for Each Interview Question

Before we get started you should download our Job Interview Questions and Answers Cheat Sheet.

It’s a great companion to this article as it gives you perfect example answers to three of the toughest interview questions you will face (not contained in this article) and will also give you access to our VIP Resource area where we have upwards of 10 more free job interview tools. Click Here To Get Interview Question Cheat Sheet!

The Basics: Traditional vs. Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

If you’ve had an interview in the last few years, you may have noticed that nearly all of the tough interview questions you were asked could fall loosely into two types or styles, or should I say “broad categories”.

Generally speaking, every interview question that you can be asked is either a Traditional (sometimes referred to as basic interview questions) or Behavioral Interview Question.

*Now there are a few other categories of questions such as situational interview questions, case, technical and a few others that we’ll cover in future articles, but for the purposes of this article I’ve focused on the two largest types.

A hiring manager uses Traditional Interview Questions to get a general sense of who you are as a person and what your qualifications for the position are.

Quite often, their goal is to explore your professional aptitudes, attitudes and qualifications by asking questions such as, “What is your highest level of education?” or “What were your primary responsibilities at your last job?”.

Pretty straight forward stuff.

Behavioral Questions, on the other hand, are a whole different ball of wax (and the nemesis of a large portion of the job seeking community).

With Behavioral Questions, the hiring manager is trying to determine how you will act on the job (the one you are currently interviewing for) by analyzing your past behaviors.

In other words, the way you behaved in the past is a predictor of how you will behave in the future. These questions usually begin with “Tell me about a time that…” or “Describe to me a situation when…”.

NOTE: Today, our focus is going to be on Traditional Interview Questions.  For more information on how to answer behavioral interview questions, please check out our other in depth article "Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers 101."

Answering Traditional Interview Questions

Okay. So I think we can both agree that it’s pretty obvious that being able to properly answer the commonly asked interview questions is crucial if you hope to beat out your competition and get a job offer from your next interview.

Unfortunately for most people, knowing this and executing this are usually two different things.


Because most people don’t have a planA formula….

…. A way to answer every single interview question that ensures that your answer leaves the hiring manager’s jaw hanging open with astonishment and has them writing you up a job offer before you even stand up to leave the interview.

The reality is, most job seekers simply roll into their interview with no plan and try to “freestyle” their way through the interview.

Look, you might be able to string words together off the top of your head like Eminem, but we’re not auditioning for parts in 8 Mile here, we’re trying to get a job.

So leave the rhyming couplets behind and sharpen your pencil because you’re about to learn the step-by-step method that I know will give you an incredible advantage when you’re in front of the hir