How to Answer Job Interview Questions
Get ready to face your interviewer! The best way to prepare yourself for an interview is to think ahead what will be your answers to the interviewer's questions.
Though we cannot predict all the questions you will face during an interview, we have collected for you the most common ones, and to make your life easier, here are some suggestions how to answer them:
Tell us a little something about yourself.
Though this is the most common interview 'question', most of the candidates do not know how to give a good answer. It seems to be an informal question. But it isn't. The interviewer isn't interested in the details of your personal life (like the name of your pet or how you hate to wake up in the morning). Rather you should sum up who you are, your major strengths and your recent career experience. Focus on those skills and experiences that are relevant to the vacancy in question and don't ramble. Keep your answer succinct and straight-to-the point.
Describe your dream job.
Don't say: "I'd like to stay home and get paid", but list those tasks that you would enjoy to perform and describe the work environment that you would like to work in. Mention if you love to work in a team or if you have good communication skills and you'd like to be part of a sales team. Think it through. The more accurate is your answer, the more probable you will enjoy the job you land.
What do you know about our company?
Even if you have applied for several different jobs, it is essential to research the company before the interview. Your answer will reflect how interested you are in getting hired. More information you gather, the better chances you have to stand out. It will also help you to ask questions later on.
What was the reason you left your previous job?
By asking this question, the interviewer wants to find out if you are only in it for the money or you're looking for a career. So your answer could be decisive. And one more thing. The interview is not the best place to trash your last boss and tell all your grievances. If you have fallen out with your boss, don't tell that he or she was intolerable and that you hate his/her guts. Say that you had disagreements. If the job was boring, say that though you value the knowledge you gained while working for your previous boss, you are eager to face new challenges. If you were fired or let go because of a necessary cutback tell them honestly but remember: don't talk negatively about any of your co-workers. Tell them you are focusing on your future and emphasize how your previous experiences would help you if you get this new job.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
To talk about your strengths is not that difficult. Just think through what are those characteristics that your previous bosses appreciated in you. But the other half of the question is trickier than it seems. Try to avoid cheesy answers such as "my weakness is that I am too much of a perfectionist". No one is perfect and the interviewer knows it too. What he wants to know if you are aware of your faults. The best answer is to mention some weakness that you have overcome. Perhaps your previous boss told you that you should work on your telephone manner. Than you can explain how you improved your communication skills. It is important to make obvious that you are open to positive criticism and constantly looking to improve yourself.
Why should we hire YOU?
This question is similar to 'What are your strengths?'. The only difference is that now you have to convince the interviewer that your skills and your previous experiences makes you the ideal candidate. Specify why you would be a great asset to their team and how could you contribute to the development of the company. You can also mention why you want to work for them. What is that made you to apply for the job and how it would make you the ideal employee if the opportunity is given.
Why were you unemployed for such a long time?
If you have been unemployed for a longer period this question is likely to pop up during the interview. Don't say that the interviewers didn't recognized your potential. Tell them that though you were actively searching, you didn't find the right job. You can also mention that you wanted a job you could turn into a career and that while you were unemployed you constantly worked on improving yourself. This is when you should mention if you attended any work related courses as well.
Where do you see yourself in five years now?
No one can know what will happen in those five years. But the interviewer wants to know if you have any long-term career plan and if yes, whether this job is only a stepping stone for you or you are ready to commit yourself to this career path.
It is understandable that they don't want to hire someone who will quit after a few months. So, your answer can determine the outcome of your interview. Think it through and avoid focusing on your personal life. It is nice that you want children but this is not the time nor the place to discuss it. Show that your long-term goals are related to the vacant position and to the hiring company.
What are your salary expectations?
First of all, have a realistic salary range in mind beforehand. How to do it? Use salary wizards to find out what to expect. Let them know if you are flexible and if you are ready to work for them for a somewhat lower wage until you prove your efficiency. But I would strongly advise you to try to avoid answering the question directly. If possible let them make the first offer.
What are you interested in, besides work?
Though it is a less formal question, take it seriously. Nowadays an interviewer meets dozens of applicants, so it is vital to make yourself memorable. If you are passionate about one thing or another, tell them. It will help you to stand out.
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