Interview questions about skills (With sample answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Interviews are an integral part of the job application process, and many candidates feel nervous as they don't know what to expect from the interviewer. An interviewer may ask questions about your skills as they assess your abilities and how you can contribute to the role and company. Preparing for your interview by reviewing possible questions and sample answers can help you feel more comfortable when you sit across from the interviewer and help you be more effective. In this article, we list a variety of possible skills-based questions you may receive during an interview, including general ones, those about your experience and background, and in-depth questions, and provide helpful tips to help you prepare.

10 general interview questions about skills

These are some general interview questions about skills you may encounter:

  1. How would you describe yourself?

  2. What can you contribute to the company?

  3. Why are you the best candidate for this role?

  4. Why do you want to work at this company?

  5. What are your passions and hobbies?

  6. Why did you decide to apply for this position?

  7. What challenges are you looking for in a new job?

  8. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  9. What type of work environment do you prefer?

  10. How would your colleagues describe you?

Related: A guide on how to ace an interview (with tips and examples)

10 skills interview questions about experience and background

You may also experience some more specific questions about your previous work experience or background, such as:

  1. Can you describe a major accomplishment from your past work experience?

  2. What's a skill you possess that you believe can contribute to this role?

  3. Can you describe a challenging situation you faced at work and how you dealt with it?

  4. What experience do you have related to this role?

  5. What work skills have prepared you for this job?

  6. Can you describe a time when you performed duties outside of your role?

  7. Can you describe your biggest professional failure?

  8. Can you tell me about a time when you reversed a negative situation at work?

  9. What's your process for handling a heavy workload or stress?

  10. Do you have any moments where you showed leadership?

10 in-depth skills interview questions

Depending on how the interview progresses, the interviewer may ask you more in-depth questions pertaining to your skill set and professional background, such as:

  1. What were your responsibilities and daily duties during your tenure with your previous employer?

  2. What can you do better than other candidates for this job?

  3. Can you discuss your resume in more detail?

  4. How do your skills qualify you for this job?

  5. Have you worked on a team that didn't get along or couldn't work well together? How did you overcome the situation?

  6. What area of your skill set needs improvement?

  7. Do you prefer collaborating in a team environment or contributing alone?

  8. What are your career goals, and how does this position fit into them?

  9. Can you tell me about a time when you displayed leadership on an important project?

  10. How do you handle conflicts or disagreements in the workplace?

3 sample interview questions about skills and answers

Here are some example interview questions and examples of how you may answer them:

1. How can your skills help you contribute to this role?

When interviewers ask this question, they want to know if you possess the relevant skills for the role to gain confidence in your potential as a candidate. To answer this question, doing some research on the company and its operations can help you identify potential weaknesses that you can solve with your skills. Choose one or two skills that you feel you're an expert in and include how you used them for your previous employer.

Example: 'I'm proficient in design software and have been using it in a professional capacity for 10 years now. I've noticed that your organisation's recent billboard designs follow outdated graphic design trends, and I believe I can provide some valuable input into their design and production. I led a team of designers at my previous place of employment to produce billboard, print and digital advertisements that won multiple awards'.

2. Can you tell me about a time when you had to think outside of the box to solve a problem?

With this question, the interviewer attempts to assess your thought process and ability to solve problems in the workplace. To answer this question, apply the STAR method as your answer takes place in the form of an anecdotal story. The STAR method stands for situation, task, actions and results, and it helps you provide logically structured answers. For this question, choose a situation that may be relevant to the interviewer.

Example: 'In my previous job, I regularly managed a team of designers who produced graphics and materials for the entire organisation. At one point, we experienced difficulties with engagement for our digital advertisements. We had to come up with a solution as the organisation had invested a lot of money in them. We made many adjustments to copy, graphics and ad placement, but the numbers didn't improve. I took a step away from the advertisement and noticed that I didn't like the colour of the background. We changed the background to a softer hue, and engagement increased'.

Related: How to use the STAR interview technique in competency-based interviews

3. What's the most challenging project you've worked on?

When the interviewer asks about the most challenging project you've worked on, they're trying to find your professional capacity and how you use your skill set in challenging situations. Use the STAR method to share a relevant story that showcases how you operate under pressure to answer this question. When telling stories related to your skills and work experience, ensure that they're concise and relevant to the question.

Example: 'Even before I was officially named head of graphic design at my previous place of employment, I would perform managerial tasks and display leadership. We had to create an all-encompassing campaign that ran over digital, print and TV spaces without an official leader guiding us. I oversaw most tasks, including providing direct input for designs and discussing with the marketing team how to proceed with the campaign. While this project was extremely challenging, it was also equally rewarding as I learned leadership skills and felt empowered through my work'.

General interview tips

If you have an upcoming interview, here are a few general tips to help you succeed:

Stay concise

When answering questions or providing context to the interviewer, it's crucial that you keep your responses concise. While the interviewer wants to know more about you as a candidate to determine whether you're suitable for the job, they may get bored if you take over the interview or spend significant time talking about a topic. An interview is a two-way conversation where you can connect with the interviewer and demonstrate your capabilities.

Related: Introducing yourself (examples, explanations and tips)

Be confident

Body language, vocabulary and tone of voice all showcase your confidence and can help you distinguish yourself from other candidates. If you talk about your skills and expertise with confidence, the interviewer may feel you're a strong candidate and decide to hire you. Sit with an upright and professional posture and talk about your work experience and skill set with assurance and pride while staying concise with your wording.

Related: 14 ways to project body language confidence (with example)

Prepare yourself

Even though you may not know what subject matter the interviewer may discuss in an interview, there are ways to prepare yourself for any situation. Focus on knowing your resume, skill set and professional background fluently so that you can recall information from memory and speak with confidence. You can also review some potential questions and practise your answers to them in case the interviewer asks any of those questions. Staying prepared for an interview gives you confidence, as you rely less on improvisation and more on knowledge.

Related: How To Prepare for an Interview

Show your personality

As part of the application process, an interview is an integral time to make a first impression on the hiring organisation and have a candid conversation with a representative of the company you're applying to. They may ask you multiple interview questions about skills, but they also want to see if you're a candidate that can contribute to the work environment of the company and develop positive relationships. Show your natural professional personality in the interview with confidence.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Explore more articles