"Why do you want to leave your current company?"
Rather than focusing on what's driving you away from your current company, "focus instead on what you want to achieve with the move," says Aurora Meneghello of Repurpose Your Purpose.
"Emphasize the attributes this new company has that you have been seeking and don't have today, like a part of their strategy you find really exciting or perhaps an element of their culture you feel really aligns with how you best work," recommends Nicole Wood of Ama la Vida. "Read the company's latest press releases, listen to earnings calls, read Glassdoor reviews, and network with folks. This shows you have done your homework and that everything you have learned thus far sounds like a great opportunity."
"What can you offer us that someone else can not?"
"When you are lucky enough to get an interview, you are now competing against a number of equally qualified and talented candidates," says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide. "If you really want the job, you have no choice but to [show] why you are the absolute very best candidate."
In your response, "make sure that you clearly articulate what you want to be remembered for," advises Mary Grace Gardner of The Young Professionista. "Include a specific example that demonstrates the competencies and characteristics you want to highlight. Stay away from trite responses such as, I'm a hard worker,' or your education (unless you have had some sort of specialized training you know no one else would have)."
"Who are our competitors?"
"This question checks to see if you've done your homework," Wood explains. "It also tests if you are a strategic thinker or simply a doer. Finally, [it] gives you the opportunity to show just how much you're interested in working for this company."
"To effectively answer this question, I'd suggest conducting a general Google search of your given industry to get a list of all relevant competitors," Painter says. (You can also often find a company's competitors on their Glassdoor profile.) "Visit their sites and read up on their products and company blog to understand what qualities give them their competitive edge."
"Who’s your mentor?"
Glassdoor says: "First of all, this could be anyone: your mother, a close friend, a past boss, or perhaps a professor," says Painter.
"The 'who' is not as important as the 'what,' the 'how,' and the 'why,'" agrees Wood. "Describing who your mentor is and what you get out of that relationship shows firstly that you proactively seek out learning opportunities, and it also tells your interviewer what you value. It is also a good idea to provide an example of how you have learned an important lesson from your mentor in the past."
"Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss."
"This question tests two things: your political savvy and your courage to speak up. If your boss is making a major mistake or you have an even better idea, they will definitely want you to speak up — but it would be important to do it the right way," Gardner shares.
To answer it, "use an example that illustrates a disagreement where you were able to persuade your boss to try things your way — and ultimately, it worked out well for everyone (including your boss)," says career coach Angela Copeland. "The goal is not to make your boss look bad. It's to show how you can effectively work through conflict with another person effectively."
"What gets you up in the morning?"
"Knowing what excited you helps to assess whether or not you fit with the company's culture," Gardner says.
In your response, "offer up examples that are relevant, like managing projects, learning new skills or a specific activity that is tied directly to performing this role," says Cohen.
A word of caution: "Saying what you think the interviewer wants to hear is always a mistake — they can easily sense an insincere response right away," Gardner warns. Plus, you may end up at a company that isn't right for you.
"What are your coworker pet peeves?"
Glassdoor says: For this question, think less about minor irritations like how loudly your coworker chews their gum or taps their pencil, and more about big-picture issues that "[prevent] you or the team from getting work done." Then, describe "what you do to address that particular pet peeve," Gardner says.
"The former shows your ability to pinpoint a barrier and the latter demonstrates your leadership, collaboration and problem-solving skills – all desirable attributes for a candidate," Gardner adds.
"How would you fire someone?"
"Show that you would be capable of delivering the news in a calm, empathetic, but matter-of-fact manner," Wood says. "[Employers] want to ensure you have the soft skills to provide the news as nicely as possible and the grit to handle whatever reaction may arise."
"Would you work 40+ hours a week?"
"Are you okay working 40+ hours a week? If you are at the point in your career when you are eager to work as much as possible, by all means, go ahead and say yes!" But, "if you know you will be unhappy, resentful, or at risk of burnout, make sure to express your preferences," she says.
In that chase, Zachary Painter of ResumeGenius.com suggests answering with the following response: "I think there is nothing wrong with working occasional overtime hours if it's justified; however, I also need the time outside of work to invest in myself so that I'm more productive and effective in the workplace."
"What questions haven't I asked you?"
"This is your opportunity to showcase anything they haven't touched on that you think is important to your story or that will help set you apart," Wood explains. In particular, you'll want to suggest questions that hint at why you're here, how you're different, and how you plan to contribute, she says.
Respond with one of these questions:
"How did you become interested in the position?"
"What unique skills do you possess?"
"If hired, what would your 30-/60-/90-day plan look like?"
Then, of course, make sure you have a prepared response for each.