Unemployment leaves you with a lot of uncertainty. From income insecurity to pin-pointing a new passion, this is a time to ask, and answer, some tough questions.
Along the job hunt, employers are no different. They are interested in filling their teams with individuals who not only fit their culture and have a skill set that matches the needs of their available positions, but also know it and can communicate their competency confidently.
This is where the job interview process becomes extremely important. When the time comes, you will need to be prepared to demonstrate why you’re the best candidate for the given opportunity. The interview process gives employers extra insight into your story, and lets you learn more about a company’s culture and potential fit.
Here are a few questions you’re likely to encounter when searching for your next job, and some ways to prepare for success:
“Can you tell me a little about yourself?”
This question is deceiving in its simplicity. Your interviewer may be asking a question like this in hopes of learning more about your background. However, you will not have time to retell your whole life’s story when responding. In this case, it’s important to pick a specific area of your background – for example, educational experiences or industry-specific involvements – and zero-in on how these moments have shaped you up to this point. Pick a few short and specific stories that illustrate how you’ve gotten to this point, and what your goals are ahead.
“Why did you leave your last job?”
Whenever discussing a former employer, it is important to stay positive! Bad mouthing those you have worked with in the past only weakens your own credibility. Stay honest, of course, but try and focus on the constructive things you took away from your last job. An optimistic outlook can only have a positive effect on your interviewer.
“Why are you a good fit for this position?”
Keeping your responses vague, using cliché phrases like “I am a team player!”, won’t help to get you to the heart of this question. Rather, try focusing on the specific skills you can bring to this new opportunity. By citing experiences you have had, special training or other details that make your contributions unique, you can set yourself apart from the pack.
“What are your weaknesses?”
Similarly, using tired phrases such as, “I just work too darn hard,” can get you into trouble; employers can see right through this and will most likely find it lazy! Instead, try being truthful about an area of your skill set that you would like to build on. For example, maybe if you’re in a tech heavy role within the world of healthcare, you can mention your goals of earning additional certifications. A dedication to continuous education and self-improvement can go a long way for interviewers.
“Do you have any questions for me?”
This might be the most important question of all, and sometimes it isn’t even said! Be ready to turn the tables on your job interview and ask some questions yourself. Make sure to research the company and position thoroughly before interview day. Then, craft a few specific, targeted questions to ask during your session. After all, asking questions might be the most important thing you do during a career transition.
Do you have any other job interview questions to share? Post them below!