Sure, there will probably be two or three unique questions in your interview that you couldn’t have anticipated beforehand. But there’s also that handful of standard questions that employers use in nearly every interview despite the job position. You know which ones I’m talking about: “Why should we hire you?”, “Why do you want this job?”, “What are your strengths?”, and many more.
The last thing you want to do is stare at your potential employer with that deer-in-the-headlights look after being handed one of these freebie questions. Preparing for these questions before the interview is a must. Doing so will impress your potential employer and show that you really want the job.
Here are some tips on answering three of the most common interview questions:
- What is your greatest weakness? Use this question as an opportunity to show the interviewer that you are able to identify and work on your weaknesses. As an example you could say “I sometimes struggle with organization, but I am combating it by spending time at the end of each day cleaning up my desk and preparing myself for the next day. This has greatly helped.” This example shows that you have great self-awareness and are proactive about your professional improvement. Lastly, if possible, avoid naming a weakness that is a skill required to be successful in the job position.
- Tell me about yourself. The employer is not interested in hearing about your social or personal life, so keep your response strictly limited to a summary of your professional life. Include previous professional employment, skills, and other professional experiences. Take advantage of the broadness of this question by highlighting how these skills and experiences would relate to the position you are applying for and make you an ideal candidate for the job. If applicable also talk about any learning initiatives you are taking on to learn new skills.
- Why do you want to work here? In order to successfully answer this question, you must do your research on the company beforehand. Carefully read its website to gain a fuller understanding of its mission, philosophy, and employees. Use this information as a starting point to incorporate your personal career goals into that of the company’s. Finish your response by noting that the position would create a mutually beneficial relationship between yourself and the company. To do so, describe to the employer the relevant skills and strengths that you have to offer.