Many of the questions that employers ask at job interviews are some standard interview questions. If you give an interview frequently, you will be aware of the questions asked frequently. Since these questions will come up majority of the times, it's important to be prepared to respond to them.
You don't need to memorize an answer, but do review these common interview questions so you know what you'll be asked and have an idea of how you will respond. This advance preparation will help you feel more confident and less on the spot during the interview.
You walk into the interview room, shake hands with your interviewer and sit down with your best interviewing smile on. Guess what their first question is?
1) Tell me about yourself.
It’s strange that more candidates don't spend time to prepare exactly how to answer it as it’s such a common interview question. Perhaps because the question seems so disarming and informal, we drop our interest. Resist all temptation to do so.
Your interviewer is not looking for a 10-minute dissertation here. Instead, offer a razor sharp sentence or two that sets the stage for further discussion and sets you apart from your competitors.
Give them "your synopsis about you" answer, specifically about yourself. Give them an one or two sentence descriptions of who you are, your biggest strength and the major benefit that a company will derive from this strength.
The key is that you must lead with your strongest benefit to the employer. Be specific and don't wander about with too many lists of skills or talents. Be sure to put a monetary value on your work if at all possible and be ready with details when you're called upon.
When you walk into an interview, remember to always expect the "tell me about yourself" question. Prepare ahead of time by developing your own personal branding statement that clearly tells who you are, your major strength and the clear benefit that your employer received. The advantages of this approach are that you'll quickly gain their attention and interest them in knowing more. You'll separate yourself from your competitors. You'll also have a higher chance of being positively remembered and hired.
2) What is your greatest strength and weakness?
It may seem like one of the easier interview questions you'll be asked, but it is also one of the most important. The interviewer wants to know if your strengths align with the needs of the company and the qualifications for the particular job. Asking this question helps the employer decide whether or not you are the strongest applicant for the position.
When you are asked questions about your strengths, it's important to discuss attributes that will qualify you for the specific job and set you apart from the other candidates.
How to Prepare
The best way to respond is to describe the skills and experience that directly correlate with the job you are applying for. Be prepared to answer by making a list of the qualifications mentioned in the job posting. Then, make a list of your skills that match those listed. This list can include education or training, soft skills, hard skills, or past work experiences. Narrow your list of skills down to 3 – 5 particularly strong skills.
Next to each skill, note a particular example of how you have used that strength in the past. This will prepare you for when the employer asks you to elaborate on a particular strength.
Answers to Avoid
This is not the time to be humble. While you do not want to exaggerate your strengths, you should be comfortable articulating what makes you an ideal candidate. Creating a list of your strengths (as they relate to the job) will help you answer this question with confidence. Stay focused on a couple key strengths that relate directly to the position and the company. A focused, relevant answer with one or two examples will impress your interviewer.
I have an extremely strong work ethic. When I'm working on a project, I don't want just to meet deadlines. Rather, I prefer to complete the project well ahead of schedule. Last year, I even earned a bonus for completing my three most recent reports one week ahead of time.
There are several different ways to answer when you're asked during a job interview what your greatest weakness is. You can mention skills that aren't critical for the job, skills you have improved on, or turn a negative into a positive.Even though the question is about weaknesses, your answer should always be framed around positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee.
Discuss Non-Essential Skills
One approach to answering this question is to analyze the key skills and strengths required you are interviewing for and then come up with an honest shortcoming which is not essential for success in that job.
Mention Skills You Have Improved
Another option is to discuss skills that you have improved upon during your previous job, so you are showing the interviewer that you can make improvements when necessary. You can sketch for employers your initial level of functioning, discuss the steps you have taken to improve this area, and then reference your current, improved level of skill.
If you use this strategy be sure not to mention anything that you improved upon that is related to the job for which you are interviewing. You don't want your qualifications for the job to be questioned.
Turn a Negative into a Positive
Another option is try to turn a negative into a positive. For example, a sense of urgency to get projects completed or wanting to triple-check every item in a spreadsheet can be turned into a strength i.e. you are a candidate who will make sure that the project is done on time and your work will be close to perfect.
Being organized wasn't my strongest point, but I implemented a time management system that really helped my organization skills.
I like to make sure that my work is perfect, so I tend to perhaps spend a little too much time checking it. However, I've come to a good balance by setting up a system to ensure everything is done correctly the first time.
3) Why do you want this job? It's a good idea to prepare an answer for this common interview question.
Interviewers will be listening for a response that shows you've done research on the company. Your answer should also emphasize what you can contribute – what will you bring to the position? Be specific about what makes you a good fit for this role, and mention aspects of the company and position that appeal to you.
Even if it's true, do not mention salary, hours, or commute as the primary reasons you want the job.
4) Why do you want this job?
This is not only a fine opportunity, but this company is a place where my qualifications can make a difference. As a finance executive well versed in the new stock options law, I see this position as made to order. It contains the challenge to keep me on my toes. That's the kind of job I like to anticipate every morning.
This job is a good fit for what I've been interested in throughout my career. It offers a nice mix of short- and long-term activities. My short-term achievements keep me cranked up and the long-term accomplishments make me feel like a billion bucks.
5) What are your future goals? / Where do you see yourself five years down the line?
Employers hiring employees tend to ask question to understand your current aspirations better, to check if this internship aligns with your future goals and thus, ensuring that you will be motivated to learn.
For example :- After my Bachelors I plan to pursue a career in Management which would require strong inter-personal skills and the experience I intend to gain experience through this job, where I get to do surveys and interact with lot of people, will help me develop those skills.
A few other employers use this question to ascertain whether or not you will continue with the company if offered a permanent position.
6) Do you have any questions for us?
Yes. It should be a yes always. Not asking a single question will mean that either you have not researched much about the designation or the company or rather you are not very keen in this job. After all, the interview is also meant to facilitate your learning of the company and its employees. A few sample questions –
Can you explain me an example of a project I would be working on?
What are the typical career paths of employees of this department?
What will be my responsibilities as per my designation?
Will I get any sort of training?