Before landing your next job, chances are you will be subjected to multiple rounds of interviews. Over the phone, in-person or even online, these interactions can be stressful – especially if you’re not sure what to expect!
Luckily, we’ve compiled some of our top interview questions and put together our favorite tactics for answering them successfully.
Truth be told, these questions may already seem cliché depending on how long you’ve been on the job search, but the lessons learned by preparing for them can be invaluable on interview day. Employers will always be looking for problem-solving, forward-thinking candidates who are thoughtful participants in the interview process.
With that in mind, here are some common interview questions worth preparing for before your next interview:
“Can you tell me about yourself?”
Think of this as a short preview of what’s to come in the rest of the interview, not your life’s story! If your answer begins with, “I was born on a cool morning in September…” you might find yourself rambling on for minutes without even realizing it. Rather than trying to pack in too much information, try picking key experiences and personal or professional facts that will stick with your interviewer.
There’s no rule saying you need to follow a chronological structure, either! Rather than starting at the beginning, consider highlighting a few key moments in your career up to this point and how they’ve led you to applying for the opportunity at hand.
“What are your weaknesses?”
Are you really, “a perfectionist”? Is it truly a weakness that you, “just work too darn hard”? If you feel uncomfortable using these answers, the person of the other side of the table will be just as uncomfortable hearing them.
Rather than hiding from your weaknesses, focus on progress. Zero in on something you have actively worked to improve upon in your life and share the specific ways you are making positive changes in that area. Highlighting continued education efforts, independent research and a willing to learn new things might just help you make a lasting impression.
“Why do you want to work here?”
This question is aimed directly at the passion of the interviewee. In order to show that you really want the job, now’s the time to get specific. What drew you to this position other than the fact that you need a job? Connecting company values and culture to your own life is a great way to communicate why an opportunity excites you.
“Why did you leave your last job?”
In the words of Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!” Don’t let this question trick you into sharing negativity for your last job experience. Instead of blaming a mediocre manager or torching your former team, stay positive. By being brief but honest, then focusing on the lessons you’ve taken away from former roles, you can avoid taking the low road. Remember, the focus here should be on the impact you plan to make in the future, not on dwelling in the past.
Wildcard! “What type of animal/tree/ice cream would you be?”
You can prepare, review and repeat interview questions all you like, but once in a while there are interview questions that just stop you in your tracks. If you’re blindsided by a strange question that comes seemingly out of left field, do not panic. Whatever the actual content of the question, don’t let it rattle your cage.
Why? In the end, the interviewer is interested in hearing any answer, so be confident and share something that’s true to who you are. If you’re surprised by the question, be honest about it and do your best to relate your answer to the impact you can make by joining the team.
With more resources for job seekers than ever, many interview questions are no longer a secret. While these are some common questions, you need to be ready to answer whatever may come your way. Practicing through research, picking career highlights and sharing your personal passions and professional values will set you up for success, no matter what’s being asked!
What top interview questions did we miss? Share you favorites (or least favorite) below!