You have already taken the time to refine and polish your resume in preparation for getting that dream job. Now that the prospective employer knows who you are on paper, get ready to tackle the job interview by honing your answers for 10 of the most commonly asked interview questions!
1. Tell us about yourself.
This question lets the prospective employer know more about who you are at work, as well as outside of work. Try to answer without giving away too much about yourself, or too little. Employers are looking for prospective employees who will not only be productive, but also a good match for the workplace environment and culture.
2. Why should we hire you?
This is your chance to shine! Be confident in your answers, without coming across as conceited. Use this question to reaffirm that the skills and abilities you have meet the requirements for the position you are applying for. Deliver a clear, concise sales pitch as to why you are the best choice for the position.
3. Why do you want this job?
Take the time to research the company to which you are applying. Learn about its products or services, the company culture and mission. This information will better prepare you to answer the interviewer about what aspects of the company that you like the most; and whether you will be a good fit into the role for which you are applying.
4. Describe a difficult work situation or problem, and how you handled it.
The answer to this question can offer a potential employer an important insight into several key areas of your personality. You will want to share details about your example that make the story more believable and engaging. Avoid talking negatively about other people or previous colleagues. The purpose of this question is to highlight how you may deal with workplace stress, your problem-solving skills; as well as your potential leadership ability.
5. What are your strengths?
Use this question to demonstrate to a potential employer how your strengths will be a positive impact to the business. Your prior research into the company’s background will give you the knowledge to how to best tailor a description of your strengths into what will be the most attractive to that employer. A company makes a hire to carry it forward, not backwards.
6. What do you feel is your biggest weakness?
This question has a silent follow-up question attached to it. The silent follow-up question is, “…and what do you do when confronted with a situation that may expose that weakness?”. We all have weaknesses. Telling an interviewer that you don’t know what your weaknesses are may demonstrate a lack of personal awareness that could be troubling in the future. Knowing what your weaknesses are; and further being able to explain how you address them, shows a level of personal awareness and responsibility that is very refreshing to a potential employer.
7. What are your goals for the future?
Remember that the task of the person interviewing you is to find the best possible candidate for the long term needs of the company. If you give the impression that you only plan to stay around until a better opportunity comes along, then prepare to be passed over. Keep your answer focused on the position and company you are interviewing with. When asked by the interviewer if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask about opportunities for professional growth and advancement within the company.
8. What motivates you?
This question gives an employer insight into your personality. Be prepared to further explain your answer, as the employer will be interested to know how what motivates you will translate into future success for their company.
9. What do you expect from a supervisor?
Unless you are interviewing for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) position at a company, you can expect to have a direct supervisor. This question can serve a dual purpose. It can tell the interviewer what type of employee you will be to supervise, and it can also identify you as a future leader within the company.
10. Do you have any questions for me?
As referenced in Question 7, this question gives you the opportunity to show that you have thoroughly prepared for the job interview by researching the company, its structure, culture, and mission. Asking questions about a pertinent detail of the company structure, processes, or benefits program shows that you have invested the time to learn about the company. That level of due diligence shows a potential employer that they will have an employee invested in helping the company to succeed; not someone just interested in showing up and collecting a paycheck.
While the order and phrasing of these questions may vary from job interview to job interview, taking the time to think about your potential answers may be the crucial difference between making it to the next step or being passed over. Make it a point to self-reflect and learn about who you are, as a person and as a potential employee. Knowing who you are makes it much easier to tell an interviewer who you are. Practice delivering your answers to a friend or family member, and ask for honest feedback. As always, dress for success and prepare for success!