It is important that you take the time to properly prepare for a job interview. Being well-prepared will boost your confidence and lower your anxiety. Draft answers to the most common interview questions and practice speaking them out loud. You also should read up on the company with which you will be interviewing and prepare some questions of your own. This lets the interviewer know that you are truly interested in the company and the position.
Although every interviewer is different and questions vary from industry to industry, there are some questions that are common across the board. Reading through the following questions and developing your own answers is a good place to start in your preparation. Once you have done that, remember practice makes perfect! Nothing impresses a potential employer like being ready for whatever is thrown your way.
Why should we hire you?
Here’s the chance to really sell yourself. You need to briefly and succinctly lay out your strengths, qualifications and what you can bring to the table. Be careful not to answer this question too generically, however. Nearly everyone says they are hardworking and motivated. Set yourself apart by telling the interviewer about qualities that are unique to you.
Why do you want to work here?
This is one tool interviewers use to see if you have done your homework. You should never attend an interview unless you know about the company, its direction and the industry in which it plays. If you have done your research, this question gives you an opportunity to show initiative and demonstrate how your experience and qualifications match the company’s needs.
What are your greatest weaknesses?
The secret to answering this question is being honest about a weakness, but demonstrating how you have turned it into a strength. For example, if you had a problem with organization in the past, demonstrate the steps you took to more effectively keep yourself on track. This will show that you have the ability to recognize aspects of yourself that need improvement, and the initiative to make yourself better.
Why did you leave your last job?
Even if your last job ended badly, be careful about being negative in answering this question. Be as diplomatic as possible. If you do point out negative aspects of your last job, find some positives to mention as well. Complaining endlessly about your last company will not say much for your attitude.
Describe a problem situation and how you solved it.
Interviewers want to see that you can think critically and develop solutions, regardless of what kind of issue you faced. They want to see that you are responsible and can think through situations on your own.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Try to be specific and select an accomplishment that relates to the position. Discuss a professionally relevant accomplishment. Think of the qualities the company is looking for and develop an example that demonstrates how you can meet the company’s needs.
What are your salary expectations?
This is one of the hardest questions, particularly for those with little experience. The first thing to do before going to your interview is to research the salary range in your field to get an idea of what you should be making. Steer clear of discussing salary specifics before receiving a job offer. Let the interviewer know that you will be open to discussing fair compensation when the time comes. If pressed for a more specific answer, always give a range, rather than a specific number.
Tell me about yourself.
While this question seems like a piece of cake, it is difficult to answer because it is so broad. The important thing to know is that the interviewer typically does not want to know about your hometown or what you do on the weekends. He or she is trying to figure you out professionally. Pick a couple of points about yourself, your professional experience and your career goals and stick to those points. Wrap up your answer by bringing up your desire to be a part of the company. If you have a solid response prepared for this question, it can lead your conversation in a direction that allows you to elaborate on your qualifications.
Above all, smile and try to relax. The best job interviews are a two-way sharing of information. Let the interviewer get to know you, and sell them on the value you offer. And then, of course, do not forget to follow up immediately with an email or hand written note. Best of luck in your job search! We are here if you need us.
Trish Thomas founded The Resume Resource in 2009 to help people develop the tools, strategies and confidence to build satisfying careers. As a Career Coach and Resume Writer, she helps her clients articulate their unique value to stand out from the competition, and guides them through the job search process to make it less overwhelming and more successful. Contact us to see how we can help you build a more rewarding career. www.the-resume-resource.com