We all hate interviews [especially me], but it’s the standardized process that we all must go through in order to get the job.
Some of us have been to so many interviews, we know the common questions and exactly how to answer the question. However, if you’re new to the workforce and not familiar with the common interview questions, here’s 6 common questions and the best way to respond:
- What can you tell me about yourself?
“Well I love anything Sci-Fi [loved Stranger Things] and enjoy staycations…” no no no. STOP! This is not a question to talk about nothingness or ramble about random likings. This is your opportunity to give a brief background of your career timeline, how you came to where you are in life but still remaining relevant. You can highlight achievements and success stories.
- What are your strengths?**
Oh I hate this one. Unless you’re really self-aware, this question is always hard to answer. Especially if you want to give a genuine answer, other than the cliche “I’m a hard worker.” Normally you have to think deep about areas that you’re strong in. For example, perhaps you read really fast. This would be a great skillset for someone applying for a job as a Paralegal. Analyze your overall skills and choose 2 to 3 of the strongest ones that may best fit the role you are applying for.
- What are your weaknesses?**
Hate this one even more. When candidates get this question, they get stuck. Most people don’t want to tell a potential employer that they have weaknesses. But the reality of it, we all do and employers know that. So to say that you don’t have any weaknesses would more than likely put you in the “not a right fit” pile. Your best chance here is to be honest. However, I do suggest shining the light on a weakness that has little bearing or wouldn’t directly affect the job. For example, stating that your computer skills are not the strongest but the position requires only 10% computer usage. You can then state that you’re taking classes to become more computer savvy. This shows determination and seriousness about your professional growth.
- What do you know about our company?
Don’t get caught out there, do your research! Most of us apply to open positions all willy-nilly without doing our homework. Some companies are serious about their mission and the work that they do. They want to ensure that the person that they bring on board shares the same values. When applying for a position, check out the company website. Google the company name and see what comes up in the search. Look for recent events or new happenings. You will get some insight about the company culture and further validation from the information provided during the interview. Remember to tie your response back in with why you’re the right person for the job.
- Why are you looking to leave your current position [or why did you leave your last position]?
I HATE MY BOSS is not the right answer. However, 9 out of 10 times this is definitely why most employees quit their jobs. Unfortunately, telling your interviewer this is not a good a idea. Candidates who discredit their previous employers, might be considered a risky hire. Try “I’m looking for a more challenging position as my current (or last) position doesn’t allow me to challenge myself.” You can follow-up with an example of how you’re not being challenged, and what you’re looking for in a new role.
- Do you have any questions?
YES! Asking questions is a must, it shows interest. If you haven’t been provided with salary information, don’t let that be your first question. Try asking questions such as “what do you enjoy most about working with XYZ”, “what opportunities are available for professional development”, or “what does a day or week in this role look like”? Those are great questions to ask. Usually, the interviewer covers most areas but try to ask about 3 to 4 questions.
** You should become familiar with your strengths and weaknesses because it provides self awareness. But most importantly, interviewers expect you to give an answer that outlines you as person. No one is perfect, and they know that. The goal of the interview process is to get the right person for the job, so it’s helpful that you understand where you perform high and areas where you may need improvement.