Suzy Welch: How to answer 7 of the most common job interview questions

CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch

Prepping for an interview can be nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time.

On the one hand, it's your time to show a potential employer everything you bring to the table. On the other hand, clumsy or incomplete answers could easily hinder your chances of being hired.

While it's impossible to predict every question that a hiring manager will ask you, there are a few that are almost guaranteed to come up, and bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch knows just what you should say.

Below, Welch tells CNBC Make It exactly how you should answer seven interview questions every job seeker will almost definitely encounter:

1. "Tell me about yourself."
VIDEO1:3201:32
Suzy Welch: What to say when a job interviewer says, 'Tell me about yourself'

When asked to discuss yourself in an interview, Welch says employers are looking for two key things in your answer: maturity and authenticity.

That's why, she says, you shouldn't be afraid to show who you really are, but you should also tell your story with the job in mind. "The interviewer, usually your future boss, wants to know the parts of your life story that relate to you doing well in the open job," says Welch.

And because a company's culture can be essential to its success, she says employers also "want to see if you fit in culturally."

Click here to read more about how to answer this interview question.

2. "What are your salary requirements?"
VIDEO1:4701:47
Suzy Welch: How to answer "What are your salary requirements?"

Talking about your salary requirements with a potential employer can be difficult. If you undersell yourself, Welch says you run the risk of being "underpaid and undervalued from day one." But, if you oversell yourself, then she says "you could price yourself right out of a job offer."

To effectively answer this question, Welch says you should follow three simple steps: 1. Do your research, 2. Determine how much leverage you have, and 3. Come up with an appropriate salary range.

"Don't blurt out what you think you're worth, or what you think they want to hear," she says. "Instead, show your diligence and maturity — it's as easy as one, two, three."

Click here to read more about how to answer this interview question.

3. "Tell me about a mistake you made."
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How to make your biggest career mistakes work in your favor during a job interview

Being asked to discuss your past mistakes in an interview may throw you for a loop. But, Welch says, many hiring managers ask this question because "they're trying to figure out if you own your mistakes, or if you're the kind of jerk who passes blame around."

She adds that interviewers are also trying to figure out how well you react when things don't go as planned. That's why, Welch emphasizes, it's important to pick the right mistake that's "big enough to show you've got the bumps and bruises of real experience, but small enough to convey you are generally highly competent."

But, even with the right mistake in mind, Welch warns that you want to be sure not to ruin your chances of landing the job by focusing on the negative aspect for too long. "Spend the majority of your answer to this question on the aftermath of your mistake," she says, "what you learned, the ways you changed and how you grew."

Click here to read more about how to answer this interview question.

4. "Do you have any questions?"
VIDEO1:3601:36
Suzy Welch: Here's the secret to answering "Do you have any questions?"

As an interview comes to an end, it's almost guaranteed that a hiring manager will ask, "Do you have any questions?" And, according to Welch, your answer can either hurt or improve you chances of landing the job.

Rather than responding with a simple answer like, "What would a typical day look like for me?" Welch says you should use this opportunity to shine. She emphasizes that you should ask questions that show you've been listening and that you know how to think big.

A good example, she says, is asking something like, "I just read an interesting article about how your competitors are using artificial intelligence. How are you thinking about that development?"

This type of answer, Welch explains, will show a potential employer that you are thinking ahead about the company and how it operates.

Click here to read more about how to answer this interview question.

5. "Describe yourself in three words."
VIDEO1:3801:38
How to describe yourself in 3 words during a job interview

Describing yourself in three words can be a real challenge when you're trying to prove to a hiring manager that you're a well-rounded candidate. But, Welch says, regardless of how hard this question may seem, interviewers love to ask it in order to "evaluate if you're authentic and self-aware."

To deliver the perfect answer, she says you want to offer a response that describes how your mind works, demonstrates your character and reveals something interesting about you.

Click here to read more about how to answer this interview question.

6. "What are your greatest strengths?"
VIDEO1:5001:50
Suzy Welch: How to nail the interview question, 'What are your greatest strengths?'

Discussing your strengths in an interview may sound easy, but Welch explains how this common interview question is one that many people still get wrong.

When preparing your answer, she says you should always make sure that your response passes what she refers to as the "A.R.S.I. test." This means, is your response "accurate, relevant, specific and interesting?"

"Let a piece of you shine through," Welch says. "Let your humanity shine through."

Click here to read more about how to answer this interview question.

7. "What's your current salary?"
VIDEO1:4201:42
Suzy Welch: Here's the best answer to 'What's your current salary?'

Asking about a candidate's current salary is banned in some states, but it's still legal in others, which is why Welch says you should always be prepared to deliver a proper response to this question.

"People are going to tell you that you should game this conversation," she says, or that "you should dodge this question by talking about ranges. That is no way to start a relationship."

Instead, Welch says you should follow a two-step process when discussing your current salary with a potential employer. The first step, she explains, is to do your research so that you know your market value. The second step, she says, is to disclose your current salary and then make the case for how much you think you should be paid.

In the end, she says, "if your potential employer games you in this conversation, it's a warning sign."

Click here to read more about how to answer this interview question.

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. If you have questions about your own career, email her at gettowork@cnbc.com.

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CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch
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