While some recruiters take a fairly unusual approach to interview questions, most job interviews involve an exchange of common interview questions and answers.
Here are some of the most common interview questions, along with the best way to answer them.
1. Tell me about yourself
This question seems simple, so many people fail to prepare for it, but it’s important. The goal of an interview is to determine whether you will be outstanding in the job, and that means the recruiter is evaluating the skills and attitude required for that job. Prepare a self-pitch that is compelling and shows exactly why you’re the right fit for the job.
2. What are your biggest weaknesses
What your interviewer is really trying to do with this question is to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. However displaying all your weaknesses might not get you the job. Do your best to frame your answers around positive aspects of your skills and abilities and turn your weakness into strengths.
For example: “My biggest weakness is getting so absorbed in my work that I lose all track of time. Every day I look up and realize everyone has gone home! I know I should be more aware of the clock, but when I love what I’m doing I just can’t think of anything else.”
3. What are your biggest strengths
Here’s an opening to talk about something that makes you great—and a great fit for this role. When you’re answering this question, think quality, not quantity. Try to show the recruiter your strength, rather than tell. For example, rather than stating that you are an excellent problem solver, pick one story that shows how you have solved a problem.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years
If asked this question, be honest and specific about your future goals. A hiring manager wants to know if you’ve set realistic expectations for your career, if you have ambition and if the position aligns with your goals and growth. It’s okay to say that you’re not quite sure what the future holds, but that you see this experience playing an important role in helping you make that decision.
5. Out of all the candidates, why should we hire you
Since you cannot compare yourself with people you don’t know, all you can do is describe your incredible passion and desire and commitment. This is an excellent opportunity for you to show off what you know about the company and you can talk all day about how excited you are about joining the team.
6. Why do you want to leave your current job
Be prepared with a response to this question. You’ll need to give an answer that’s honest and reflects your specific circumstances but keep it positive. Even if you quit under challenging circumstances, now isn’t the best time to share what could be construed as too much information with the interviewer. The best way to answer the question of why you’re leaving your current job is to focus on the positive aspects you’re hoping to gain from a new position, rather than badmouthing any negative aspects of your previous job or company.
7. What questions do you have for me?
Don’t waste this opportunity. Ask smart questions, not just as a way to show you’re a great candidate but also to see if the company is a good fit for you — after all, you’re being interviewed, but you’re also interviewing the company.
It also shows the hiring manager that you’ve thought seriously about what it would mean to be employed in this role at this company. With the right questions, you’ll be able to illustrate your knowledge of the company and industry, along with your drive to excel in the new position.
Always remember to go to interviews prepared. Interviewers can often tell if a candidate was well prepared or not. It also reflects into their work culture.