While you won’t know everything that you are going to encounter when you go into a job interview, you can prepare for some of it.
The whole purpose of a job interview is to give your potential employer a chance to ask you a lot of questions and see if you seem as good in person as you did on your resume.
In order to be able to look your best, you need to have a good idea of the questions they may ask, and how to best answer them.
In this article, we are going to take a look at many of the typical questions that will be presented, and how to best answer them.
- Tell me about yourself. This is one of the most common first questions you will be asked in the interviewing room. Keep in mind this question is not them asking you to tell them your life story. They don’t want to know about your childhood and what you do for fun. You want to tell them about your business achievements and your employment history. You should begin with your most recent job, and move backward. For example “I’ve spent the past five years working for Company X. In my position as Project Manager, I was responsible for overseeing a staff of 17 in marketing campaigns. While in this role I helped the company secure recurring funds of 1.8 million dollars by creating the pitch that persuaded Association Y to spend their annual marketing allotment with us.”
- What are your strengths? This should be a generally easy one to answer. Talk about the skills you have that make you valuable to the company. Remember the company you are going to be working for, and try to explain how your skills would be useful to them. For example “I take pride in my skills at programming and have taken efforts to maintain certification in programming languages X, Y, and Z which is used as your current programming standard.”
- What are your weaknesses? It is important, to be honest in this case. Everyone has them. But make sure you choose one that is not going to make the employer run away. It’s best if you can explain how you overcame your weakness or used it for good. For Example “My main weakness is that I am a perfectionist. I know it’s an annoyance to others, but it also has turned out to be an ally from time to time. As an editor, I have caught many mistakes that others didn’t spot as the work was moving through the ranks.”
- Where do you want to be in five years? This is a trick question, in some respects. In your mind, you may see yourself in the job that the person on the other side of the desk is holding right now. You don’t want to say that. Nor do you want to tell them this is just a job holding you over until you find a new one. Instead, stick with the ‘working for success’ style answer. For example, “No one can predict where they will be in five years, but I plan to use hard work, and dedication to prove myself within this company and hope to be making advancements so I can find new ways to help it grow even more.”
- Why should we hire you for this position? This is a pretty straightforward question that deserves a very straightforward, yet thought out the answer. Telling them to hire you because you need a job will not help you get a job. Instead, you need to let the interviewer know what you can offer to the company to get this job done. For example “I have spent four years in customer service and I have a full grasp on the patience, and persistence necessary to solve customer problems and maintain their positive view of our company.”
- Why are you leaving your current job? This is a question that can either be a gold mine or a land mine. You have to answer it carefully. You don’t want to talk ill of your former employer or job, or you will look negative. Instead, you need to give an answer that explains why you are looking for new work, but in a positive light. For example “After 5 years there, I no longer felt a challenge in the workplace. I am looking for a chance to grow and contribute more to a company’s goals.”
- Tell me about your work ethic. This is important. They want to know how you work, to see how you will benefit their company. Accentuate the positive. Mention your working traits like being a dedicated worker, organized, etc… For example “I believe that while the work I do may be under the company’s name, it still is representative of me. I want to do the best job possible and have pride in my work, as that is pride in myself as well.”
There are many more questions that may come at you in the interviewing room. The only way to be ready to answer them is to make sure you have done your homework. Make a list of possible questions that you may be asked, and then make a list of answers that you will use. Read over the answers and make sure they are the best and most professional representation of you. If they are, commit them to memory. If they aren’t, work on them until they are, and then practice them, so you’re ready when it’s time for the real thing.