Be Prepared to Answer These Trending Questions in Your Next Job Interview

UPDATED: June 29, 2023
PUBLISHED: June 14, 2023
manager asking a candidate questions in a job interview

I was recently interviewing for a new gig as a freelance content marketing writer and journalist, chatting with a potential new client. We were almost finished with the interview when one of her questions took me by surprise, a huge topic she brought up almost as an afterthought. But I knew immediately my response would make or break my success in the interview. She asked, “So, what do you think about ChatGPT?” Her meaning was clear: How will it impact the future of our industry, as creatives? How would I be using—or not using—it if I got the position?

It was a loaded question, because I had the opportunity, in one response, to look progressive or behind, excited or cautious. My answer would reflect much more than just my stance on this single topic. Like many interview questions, it’s not so much about the answer itself, but what it reveals about the candidate. 

I realized, as I cautiously waded into this territory with my answer, that our changing landscape is influencing interview questions and job application processes beyond the topic of ChatGPT. I set out to explore what other trending interview questions job candidates might want to prepare for ahead of time in order to allow you to think through your answer a bit more thoroughly than I had time to. Here’s what HR experts are recommending job candidates prepare for.

A focus on wellness

“Self-care” was a buzzword during the pandemic, one that, for some of us, seemed to be laughing in our faces about the nature walks and bubble baths we didn’t have time to take in the madness. But now, it’s far from a laughing point. Employers who value the well-being of their employees may see improvement in areas including retention, performance and the prevention of workplace burnout

Joy Pittman, creator of HR for the Culture, says to be prepared for this question: “How do you manage your work-life balance and prioritize self-care?”

“Organizations increasingly recognize the importance of employee well-being. Recruiters demonstrate their commitment to creating a healthy and supportive work environment by asking about work-life balance and self-care,” she says. 

When you answer this question, or others, Pittman recommends going for the following vibe in your responses: knowledgeable, likable and memorable. To answer, share a personal story, communicate your own self-awareness and even connect your answer to the job’s role specifically.

You can also rest assured that interviews are becoming less formal than ever before, according to William Stonehouse III, president and co-founder of Crawford Thomas Recruiting. “The new age of interviews has become increasingly more conversational. We’re also moving to more panel-style interviews than what we would have had 5 years ago. With the ease of virtual/video meetings it’s easier than ever to include more interviewers on the meeting to get a true feel for a candidate,” he says. This means you can totally open up about that lunchtime walk you take every day, or the midafternoon meditation practice that makes you feel more productive than ever.

Your career trajectory

In the age of quiet quitting and a competitive job market, Marla J. Albertie, owner and chief I/O scientist and practitioner of Truth Speaks Group LLC and HR director of operations for a major healthcare system, says questions about your career trajectory are trending in interviews. 

“These questions have become more popular, because the demand is high for remote work, especially with millennials and Generation Z. People now have options. Gone are the days where you can sell a pension plan. If companies are not following the trends, and what’s going on, they will continue to face problems,” she says.

Kate Smalkin, senior vice president of talent and employer partnerships at Climb Hire, is seeing a similar trend in career trajectory questions during interviews.

“Companies are asking questions focused on gauging how likely talent is to stay put. Companies see junior talent as an investment, and they want to suss out the ‘stickiness’ of their new hires,” she says, pointing to the trend of younger millennials and Gen Zers “job hopping” more than previous generations. “Companies want to understand these groups’ career aspirations (e.g. where they see themselves in 3-5 years)… to see whether or not they’re likely to leave in a few months or stay around for the long haul. While it’s an outmoded concept for companies to expect employees to stay forever, they want to know that there will be some ROI on their talent investment and will look for ways to identify this in the interview process.”

So, if you are asked a question like “Where do you see yourself in five years?” or “How are you staying current and adapting to trends in your industry?” be prepared with these tips:

  • Demonstrate your enthusiasm for lifelong learning and professional development. 
  • Don’t be the know-it-all. 
  • Highlight specific examples of how you stay up-to-date with industry trends and technologies, such as attending conferences, taking online courses or reading relevant publications. 
  • Show that you are proactive in seeking out new knowledge and skills to improve your work performance.

How the pandemic changed the way you work

It’s time to take inventory of what pandemic working life taught you, and the lessons you’ll carry into the rest of your career from that trying and messy time. 

“Another smart question I have heard recently is: How did the pandemic affect the way you see your career?” Stonehouse III says. These similar questions might arise, he adds:

  • Hybrid/remote-based questions are trending in interviews, such as “How do you communicate or organize your day when working remotely?”
  • What is your ideal work environment?
  • Did your work environment change during the pandemic, and how?
  • Did that change your stance on what an ideal work environment looks like to you?
  • What was the hardest part of adapting to your new environment, and what was the most positive and negative impact?
  • How do you feel it impacted culture and support? Did you learn any new communication skill sets and/or technologies to overcome changes?
  • How comfortable are you with virtual meetings and having the camera on regularly while working remotely?

These questions have one goal, he adds: “Making sure candidates are aligned with a company’s remote work vision and strategy is a huge area of focus to avoid hiring mistakes.”

This is one type of question you want to be exceptionally honest about, as it may impact your daily life at the company. “We are hoping to make long-term placements with the companies we work for so honest and genuine answers by candidates and hiring managers ensures everyone is fully informed and can make decisions to find the proper fit,” Stonehouse III says.

With each of these trends, and other questions that come up, Pittman recommends leaning into a growth mindset attitude wherever possible in your responses. “Employers are increasingly looking for individuals who are passionate about learning, are curious about emerging trends and technologies and actively engage in self-improvement. By showcasing a growth mindset and a genuine thirst for knowledge, candidates can demonstrate their ability to thrive in dynamic environments and contribute to the organization’s ongoing success,” she says.

Photo by Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock