Passing a job interview is not as easy as before. Today, you need to do more than just offer a firm handshake to your interviewer, make eye contact, and nod pleasantly now and then. You need to prepare a dynamic application letter and resume and research the company. Plus, you need to present a confident image and develop the ability to answer tough questions on the spot.
Although no one can predict the questions your potential employer will ask, you can think about how you’d answer some of the commonly asked ones. Here are ten questions for you to consider and a few hints about how to answer them:
Tell me about yourself
Your employer doesn’t want to know how much you weighed, when you were born, when you learned to tie your shoes or how much you had to drink last night. He wants to know how you would fit into the company and what your relevant job experience is.
With that, you might want to talk about yourself and why you’ll be a great addition to the company. You might also want to explain why you’re a team player. Be sure to tell your whatever you think might be important to this particular company.
Why should we hire you?
Even though five people may be waiting outside, you need to sound confident, calm, and capable. Explain how your experience has prepared you for the job. Emphasize the qualities you think the employer is looking for, such as your outstanding work ethic or the fact that you’re a fast learner.
What is your worst characteristic?
Some human resource specialists suggest that you make a virtue sound like a flaw. “I tend to be a perfectionist” or “Everyone says I work too hard.” Or you can mention a minor flaw such as, “I think I’m too outspoken at times, but I’m working on it.”
Where do you want to be five years from now?
Let the interviewer know you’re looking for job stability and that you aren’t planning to use this job as a temporary stopping point in your quest for a better position. You
could say, “I’d like to be employed in a small company like this one, where I can learn,
contribute, and advance.”
Why did you leave your last job?
Never put your former employer or your co-workers in a negative light. Don’t blame them for your departure. Give a positive reason, such as you left to take advantage of another opportunity that was better suited to your skills.
Tell me about a problem you had in your life and how you solved it
Be prepared with a short answer that shows how resourceful you are. You can say, “I really wanted to go to a private university, but my parents didn’t have the money. I went to a community college for two years, worked part time and saved my money so I could attend the last two years at the college of my choice.”
Have you had difficulties getting along with supervisors or co-workers?
You’d have to be a saint to have had no problems with the people you worked with. You might answer, “Nothing major. I try to get along with everyone.”
How do you deal with stress on the job?
The employer wants to know if you’re going to run out the door when things get stressful. Ask yourself if you thrive on working with deadlines or if you need creative time to function more effectively. Think about how you handle stress and be honest. “I focus on the work I’m doing” or “I make time to work out at the gym.”
What salary do you want for this job?
Rather than stating a definite figure, tell the interviewer you’d expect to get somewhere in the standard range paid for this position.
Do you have questions for me?
Always have a few questions that’ll show that you researched the company. For example, you can ask about a current issue the company is working on or how their recent layoff in another department affected company morale.
Remember, the job interview is a two-way discovery process. By doing your homework and answering interview questions intelligently, you’re striving to prove you’re the person for the job, On the other hand, you need to decide- sometimes in the midst of the questions- if the position you’re applying for is what you want to do and if the company is where you want to spend most of your time for the next few (at least) years.
Written by Mary Ann Gauthier, a writer and an adjunct instructor of English in a private college. She helps her business students with job application letters, resumes, and interview questions and is working on a book on the therapeutic aspects of journaling.