There are many questions that the interviewer will ask that may stump you or leave you in a scattered mess of confusion or despair. Here are some questions they may ask and how you should answer them:
Can you tell me about yourself?
An innocent and straight forward 6 words and 25-letter question – what could possibly go wrong? Allow me to advise you that this question can play its tricks and games that could get you talking about how you got really drunk at the bar last weekend. The reason interviewers use this question is to determine if you fit the culture of the company. Although you should include a little bit about your personal life, try to focus more on your educational background, career, and recent job experiences. These people want to hear how you can bring value to the organization – not how many beers you can drink in one night.
“How did you prepare for this interview?”
To answer this question the right way you need to research the company prior to the interview. By sharing this information it demonstrates that you care about the role and took the time to learn more about the company.
Researching the company before the interview also gives you the opportunity to mention the present trends in the industry and how you can make a difference and grow in the company.
“Why do you want to work here?”
This question involves a mash-up of the two above answers that show what you know about the company and if you fit the company’s culture.
Here is Arnie Fertig’s five possible answers on U.S. News that will impress your potential employer:
- “I’ve known several colleagues over the years who have worked at your company, and they have all said great things.”
- “I was excited to see on your website that your feature employees talk about how great it is to work for your company.”
- “Your company’s Facebook page is really engaging. I love how you [fill in the blank].”
- “Your company is known for making great products that help people do X. But on top of that, I know of your company’s leadership role in our community through your support of X, Y and Z events or causes. Your products and philanthropy show you to be a company that cares about both the bottom line and about giving back to society.”
“Why did you leave your last job?”
You have to play this one carefully or it too can lead you in the dumps. You never want to start badmouthing your former employer or company in an interview, and this question is a trap for that.
It’s important that you be truthful and honest – don’t focus on the negatives. Instead, detail what you learned from your previous employer or how the experience helped you grow. The reason that you left, however, was that it was time to explore new opportunities or push yourself out of your comfort zone.
“What are your salary requirements?”
When answering this question answer it truthfully and honestly. What is it that you expect to be paid? Know what you are worth – what skills do you have and how can you bring value to the company with this? Research and find what the average pay is for the position being applied for. Try to aim high! What’s the worst that could happen?
“What’s your biggest weakness?”
This is a very common question asked in any interview. It later follows the question, “What is your greatest strength?” When asked this question no one ever quite knows how to prepare to answer. This question has the power to determine whether you are a potential asset or a liability to a prospective employer.
So, the worst answer to this question is: “I don’t have any weaknesses.”
When you prepare for this question, you will want to pick a weakness that you are working to overcome. Everyone has an area in their life where they want to make improvements. Don’t choose any of the core responsibilities for the role as your weakness, but chose something that compliments your role or the company and show how dedicated you are to improving.
(Confession)”I feel that my greatest weakness is that I am very critical of my own work. I have always prided myself on producing excellent and error-free work. While this is beneficial to my job performance, it is possible to go to extremes.
(Recovery)”I have also found that I can easily waste time checking and rechecking. Now I am aware of what to look for in being such a stickler, so I am always making a conscious effort to trust my quality focus and myself more and not be so incredibly critical of my work. I know that there is a limit to proofreading.”
“Do you like to work alone or as part of a team?”
This question is basically asking if you are a team player or not. If your answer is with others, then the interviewer will think you can’t work alone and if you answer alone, then the interviewer may think you have some personality issues working with other people.
“I enjoy working alone when necessary as I don’t need to be constantly reassured of my work. But I would prefer to work in a group as I believe much more work can be accomplished when everyone is pulling together.”