Hard-Hitting Job Interview Questions and Answers

Job Interviewing is all about preparing properly, confidence and creating a good rapport. The hiring manager needs to know that you are capable of performing the tasks of the job and also that you will fit the culture of the team. The interview is your time to shine. By having an understanding of the potential job interview questions you may be asked you will be able to give yourself the greatest opportunity of finding success.

1) Why do you want to leave your current job?

As a general rule, focus on why you are moving toward a better opportunity and not why you want to leave your current job. I’ve seen too many job candidates bad mouth a current or past employer or cite money as the key motivator for them seeking a new position. This will immediately send red flags to hiring managers, as you may bad mouth their company in the future or leave the position as soon as a better paying job comes along. This question is typically aimed at trying to see how well your expectations match the job you are applying for. That’s why it’s important not to go into details about aspects of your job that you are not happy with. I once had a job candidate interviewing for a sales position. When asked why he is leaving his current job, he said he did not want to work directly with customers anymore. Unfortunately he was still interviewing for a customer service call center and would still be dealing with clients. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job.

The best way to answer this question is to do the following:

  • Express a desire for greater responsibility or challenge in your work.
  • Indicate you are seeking an opportunity to use certain skills or talents that are under-utilized in your current position.
  • Speak well of your current or recent employer and mention your accomplishments in the role.
  • Include a specific reason for how this role you are applying for, and the company, will be a better fit for what you are looking for.

Example: “I have been at my current company for four years now and have learned a lot from some very talented colleagues. I was promoted to sales team lead where I helped my team increase sales by 25%; however I am starting to feel like I need a new challenge. This position would allow me to manage a larger team and allow me to work directly with large corporate clients.”

2) Why do you want to work for this company?

Too many job seekers blow their chances in the interview by not doing their research on the company beforehand. Before you go into an interview, you should know everything that’s on the company’s website as well as the latest news and stats on the company. The more you can learn, the better your chances will be for acing the interview.

At least 75% of employers site not knowing enough about the company as a main reason for passing up a job candidate. This question is a chance for you to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and to show the interviewer that you genuinely want to work for this company and aren’t just shooting out resumes to whatever job openings you find. Prove to the interviewer that you understand the company’s core values and that you would be a good fit with the company’s goals and culture.

Tip: Try to include at least one specific detail about the company that shows you’ve done your research. If the company has a large corporate volunteer program, mention the volunteer work you’ve done in the past and express interest in being involved. I once had a job candidate say he liked the company’s annual golf event with clients because he also prefers to build positive relationships with clients outside of the traditional workplace. This showed that he knew about some of the key events the company sponsors and that he would fit in well in the environment.

Example: “I want to work for this company because it meets everything I am looking for in an employer. I have seen great reviews about this company being a very family-oriented one and I appreciate the benefits it offers employees. I want to work with one of the leading companies in advertising and I love the creative genius that has come from the company.”

3) What is your greatest accomplishment?

Although this question leaves the opportunity to discuss a personal accomplishment, remember it should always be work-related, unless you have no previous work experience. Choose an accomplishment that is fairly recent and identify the skills you used to be successful and the positive impact it had for the company. It’s always best if it has relevance for the position you are applying for so hiring managers can see directly how you can benefit the company if hired.


  • Choose your greatest accomplishment that is relevant for the skills and qualities you will need to be successful in the role you are applying for.
  • Be specific about a problem that existed and what you did to solve that problem or improve the situation and state the overall benefit it had for the company.

Example: “In the previous company I worked for, we had a low percentage of customers purchasing products upon looking at the product overview pages. After initiating some research on the issue, I developed a new product page layout which brought more attention to purchasing products. We ended up increasing sales from the website by 50% within the first 6 months.”

4) What are three positive things your former/current boss would say about you?

This definitely isn’t the time to be modest. This is your opportunity to brag about yourself through someone else’s words. Your boss has most likely given you praises in the past, so this is the time to bring out all those quotes. It should go without saying, but only bring up positive things your boss has said. There is no need to bring up criticism your boss has made or times when your boss wasn’t happy about your performance. My best advice is to make a list of positive things your bosses and colleagues have said about you in the past and be ready to talk yourself up.

Example: “My boss has told me that I’m the most creative advertising executive he has ever had. He knows he can rely on me to get projects done under a tight deadline and that I can work effectively with clients to meet their expectations.”

5) What drives you to achieve your goals in the workplace?

By asking this question, hiring managers want to know that you are not only motivated by money or status, but that you are motivated to succeed for your own personal satisfaction and for the overall benefit of the company. If you only care about a pay raise, then you’re likely to underperform if the company has a difficult financial year and has to cut yearly bonuses. Hiring managers want some insight into what makes you tick, other than money. Employees who have other reasons for why they are enthusiastic about their jobs work harder and have better success than those who are only doing it for a paycheck.


  • Use this opportunity to demonstrate your genuine enthusiasm for the work.
  • If you can, think of an example of a project you worked on that you were particularly enthusiastic about and that you succeeded in.
  • Your motivation should be connected to the skills and attributes that would be relevant for the job.

Example: “I love talking to new people and trying to figure out what really makes a customer tick. It’s like an exciting game for me to try and figure out what matters to the customer in a product and then try to find them the right one to meet their needs. One time I had a customer who was being very aloof and didn’t want any help looking for kitchen products. After some time, I asked him what made him come into the department, and slowly he started to open up about what he was hoping to find in the store. I ended up showing him some of our new products and he left with all of his problems solved.”

Originally Published on RedStarResume

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