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Interview Questions About Skills, Abilities & Work Experience

abilities interview questions

When you’re invited to a job interview, interviewers will use this opportunity to get to know you better and learn more about your skills, abilities, and work experience.


Before you head to your interview it’s smart to prepare strong answers to commonly asked interview questions. To succeed, it’s important that you can demonstrate through clear examples that you’re self-aware and possess the required skills, abilities, and experience for the job.

You can use interview questions about your skills and experience to your advantage by preparing the right way. If you prepare strong answers to questions that you expect based on your research, you will make a stronger impression. For example, by discussing example situations in which you successfully demonstrated the skills required for the job.

In this article, we discuss interview questions about your skills, abilities, and work experience. Also, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist.

Why Employers Are Interested In Your Skills, Abilities & Work Experience

First of all, employers want to assess how well you fit into the organization. Secondly, they want to get an understanding of how well you understand the company and the job. Also, employers want to know how you can contribute and add value to their organization and the position you’re applying for.

Interviewers want to hire a candidate who’s ideal for the position and company culture. Therefore, the closer you match your skills in your answers to the required requirements, the better your chances of getting a job offer.

Your goal during the interview is demonstrating that you have got the credentials that they are looking for.

Example questions you can expect about skills, abilities & work experience:

Every interview has a unique focus, but some questions are asked so often, it makes sense to do all you can to prepare for them. In order to be successful, you need a strategy—not scripted answers. Your goal should be to emphasize the experiences in your background that best fit what each interviewer is looking for. In this series, we’ll look at some common abilities interview questions and what you should consider when formulating your responses.

Work through the potential abilities interview questions, creating your own responses, and you will be in great shape for your next interview. It helps to write out potential answers to the most common abilities interview questions. Even better: Practice aloud with someone.

Questions & Answers to Interview Questions About Skills, Abilities & Work Experience

Below we discuss some examples of commonly asked job interview questions about your skills, abilities, and work experience.

  1. Tell Me About Yourself.

Usually, this question is used as a first or second question to start the conversation. Also, because the question is open-ended, the interviewers can use the information you give them to come up with a follow-up question. The main goal of this question is to get to know you better and assess your soft and hard skills.

For you, this is a perfect opportunity to sue this question to your advantage to show that you are effective and clear in your communication. Furthermore, you can present yourself professionally and demonstrate why you’re the perfect candidate for the job.

Learn more about personal interview questions and how to answer them.

What the interviewer is looking for in your answer

The interviewer is looking for you to communicate clearly and have a story ready about your present, past, and future. Hiring managers generally are interested in your current role, accomplishments, and your work history. Furthermore, they want to know how you got to this point and why you’re interested in this position. Here it’s important that you relate your answer to the position and company.

Example answer to ‘Tell Me About Yourself’

‘I grew up in a town near [City] in a family that owns a restaurant. My family has worked in that restaurant for generations. As I got older, I used to assist my parents in the business. I always had an interest in the commercial side and helped with structuring marketing campaigns to get the occupancy up during the low season.

After graduating from high school for me, the decision was easy: I would go to Business School at the [University of XYZ]. I chose [University of XYZ] because of the school’s strong academics and strong reputation.

During the summer, I followed an internship at Deutsche Bank and the year after at Citigroup. Those experiences, for me, were very valuable to gain a better insight into what I wanted in my future career. Holding analyst positions at Deutsche Bank as well as at Citi made clear for me that I wanted to get into investment banking. I enjoyed those internships a lot and passed the CFA level I exam soon after. The financial industry gives me the opportunity to demonstrate my quantitative and analytical abilities.

After I graduated, I got an offer at Deutsche Bank, and I’ve worked there for the last two years as an associate. I’m very experienced in financial modeling, and I was responsible for valuing equities, bonds, and developing investment strategies for mutual funds and other portfolios. My experience seamlessly matches the requirements of the job description. So that is what got me interested in this particular role, and I feel it’s the right step to take in my career. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to interview for it. Thanks for the invitation and your time to chat with me today.’

  1. Tell Me About a Time You Faced a Challenge At Work. How Did You Overcome It?

Basically, the interviewer wants to get a better insight into your ability to manage projects and complex situations. Furthermore, they want to know more about your approach and decision-making skills in stressful or challenging situations.

Another reason for asking this question is to analyze how the company can benefit from your skills and abilities.

What the interviewer is looking for in your answer

Your answer should include the situation you were in, the tasks you had in that situation, the actions you took, and the results you got. In short, this is called the STAR method of structuring your answer. The interviewer wants answers to questions such as:

  • What is your approach to dealing with challenges?
  • How do your skills help you successfully finish projects?
  • What is your work ethic like?
  • How do you handle stress?

Example answer to ‘Tell Me About a Time You Faced a Challenge At Work. How Did You Overcome It?’

In my previous job at a marketing firm, I have worked on several challenging projects. One time, when I just started at the company, I was asked to work with a small team on a marketing pitch deck for a new client. We got the project because of our reputation and ability to take on the project on short notice.

It was a great opportunity for us to show what we were capable of doing in a short amount of time. Then, two weeks before the pitch deck presentation, the client requested us to change the entire plan. It turned out that they were unhappy with our first concept and stated that it differed too much from the initial idea that they had in mind.

Answer to ‘How did you overcome it?’

We organized a brainstorm meeting with the team to figure out what exactly went wrong, at which point in the development of the pitch deck. After several hours we concluded that some parts of the project were developed based on assumptions without clearly asking the client for approval before moving on. I asked if I could take the lead on redeveloping the pitch deck. For me, this was a challenge, as well as a great opportunity.

It was a challenge because I had never created a pitch deck working at this company, and we had a short amount of time. Still, it was a great opportunity because I had experience with creating these decks in several of my prior jobs, so it was a great chance to demonstrate my skills. I overcame the challenge by getting the goals clear of what the client exactly wanted, analyzing their feedback, and setting up small milestones to track progress in the two weeks we had left.

We kept in touch with the client throughout the redevelopment process of the pitch deck and finished and submitted it one day before the deadline. Ultimately the client was very happy with our work, and we are still working with them today.

Bonus: Include what you learned from dealing with this challenging situation

For me, the most important learning from this project is that it’s important to get the goals clear before a project starts. Furthermore, my experience taught me that the best way to work on challenging projects is to create milestones to track progress. Now, at the start of a new project, I focus on the most difficult parts and challenges of the project so that I know as soon as possible if there are any issues or attention areas. If this is the case, I have more than enough time to work on this before any deadlines. A detailed plan to work on a project is essential to finish it successfully.’

  1. Why Do You Want To Work For This Company?

This is a very important question for interviewers. Your answer tells them whether or not you take the interview seriously and if you did research before you applied for the job. Interviewers are not looking for someone who did not put any thought into why they would want to work for their company. Therefore, hiring managers are very careful and selective in who they will let go through to the next interview round.

What the interviewer is looking for in your answer

Interviewers are specifically looking for you to explain why you applied to the position and why you want to work for their company. It’s therefore essential that you do your research prior to your interview.

Also, in your answer, mention specific facts that demonstrate that you understand their business and know their organization, products, and/or services. To substantiate these facts, you can mention specific information that you found on their social media accounts, in the news, or on their company website.

Example answer to ‘Why Do You Want To Work For This Company?’

‘ I’m really impressed by the products and services your company has been able to push in such a competitive market. Furthermore, the top-quality customer service provided to make your products available to everybody who wants to use it is something that I always admired. I know that your company sets high targets for employees, and I’m really excited about the opportunity to be a part of a team that is not afraid to take calculated risks to push into new markets.

I have several years of experience working with tight deadlines and fast-paced work environments. Furthermore, I believe my time management abilities and team working skills can make me a valuable addition to your team. Also, I read in recent news that you are looking to expand your target markets into providing services for financial institutions as well. Is that correct? Could you please tell me more about that?’

  1. Tell Me About a Time You Worked As Part Of a Team.

If you’re applying for a position and a company that relies on teamwork, you can be sure that teamwork will be discussed during your interview. As discussed earlier in this article, teamwork orientation is an essential factor of people with a strong work ethic.

Teamwork creates a supportive work environment in which open communication lines are established. Furthermore, teamwork can spark creativity and boosts morale.

What the interviewer is looking for in your answer

Interview questions about your past teamwork experience are a great opportunity for you to show that you’re a fit for the position. With the right preparation, you can use your answers to your advantage by demonstrating that you’re a true team player.

The most important thing to focus on is providing specific examples of times you successfully performed on or managed a team. You need to remain positive and able to explain why you value teamwork.

Example answer to ‘Tell Me About a Time You Worked As Part Of a Team’

I tend to do well in team settings because I can relate to others well, approach situations professionally, and through my experience, understand what it takes to get the job done.

For example, in my previous position, I worked as a team leader on a project that involved members from different departments with different backgrounds and skills. This group was put together to finalize the project as a collective and produce a result that we could not have achieved individually. As you can imagine, ongoing and clear communication was very important during this project.

I led the project and broke the project down in weekly sprints to help us reach our targets. Besides weekly meetings, I organized a short 15-minute session at the start of each day, where each team member would answer the following three questions: 1. What did I do since yesterday? 2. What will I do today? And what problems am I running into? These meetings made sure that everybody could continue their work instead of waiting for the weekly meeting to discuss their issues.

For me, this was a great way to stay in constant communication with the team and not only focus on our own goals but also helping team members in reaching theirs. The result of the project is that we provided five distinct deliverables and recorded over $100,000 is cost savings in the last two quarters.

  1. What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?

Interview questions about accomplishments and achievements are often asked during job interviews. This question is popular among interviewers for several reasons. First and foremost, the interviewer is interested in your character, work ethic, and core values.

The way you respond to such questions and the information you give the interviewer reveals a lot about your skills, abilities, and personality.

Learn more about interview questions about accomplishments

What the interviewer is looking for in your answer

These particular interview questions require you to talk about yourself and your career in a very positive way. It’s therefore important that you can provide the interviewer with concrete examples of your accomplishments.

This means that you should be able to provide an answer on the spot when you’re being asked about your career achievements. In other words, this is your time to ‘brag,’ not to be humble. However, do not overdo it, but it’s very important that you show confidence when you walk the interviewer through your success story.

Example answer to ‘What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?’

My greatest accomplishment happened in my previous position as a sales manager. I often saw team members struggling to locate specific, but essential client details in the system that we were using at the time. As a result, productivity went down, and it became harder to reach sales targets every month.

After noticing this, I took the initiative to implement a new, more up-to-date CRM system that I already had experience with. After implementation, I trained and coached my team members on how to use it and showed them with what ease they could find and file client information.

We reviewed the results after two months of working with the new system, and our time sheets indicated that we spent multiple hours less on collecting client data. As a result, we were able to increase our sales targets, which we already met in the third month of implementing the new system.’

Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers

Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!

  1. Accomplishments
  2. Adaptability
  3. Admission
  4. Behavioral
  5. Career Change
  6. Career Goals
  7. Communication
  8. Competency
  9. Conflict Resolution
  10. Creative Thinking
  11. Cultural Fit
  12. Customer Service
  13. Direct
  14. Experience
  15. Government
  16. Graduate
  17. Growth Potential
  18. Honesty & Integrity
  19. Illegal
  20. Inappropriate
  21. Job Satisfaction
  22. Leadership
  23. Management
  24. Entry-Level & No experience
  25. Performance-Based
  26. Personal
  27. Prioritization & Time Management
  28. Problem-solving
  29. Salary
  30. Situational & Scenario-based
  31. Stress Management
  32. Teamwork
  33. Telephone Interview
  34. Tough
  35. Uncomfortable
  36. Work Ethic

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