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Being prepared is the key to success in the interview process. You must anticipate the questions that will come and practice on your responses. No memorization necessary! Knowing how to put together a strong answer to the most common interview questions is obviously key to landing a job. The art and science of creating great answers involves being strategic in crafting your responses as well as practicing until you’re as strong as possible. The best job candidates are not lucky. They spend a ton of time both on preparation, because they know how important that 30-60 minute interview can be to their entire career.
So tell me about yourself
Most everyone says the same thing, i.e.“I am hardworking”. Do you not think everyone says that? you will NOT stand out! In order to stand out you have to give answers that aren’t generic.
- Take the basic answer and turn it into something memorable.
- Say an interesting story. Something that separates you from others; maybe a personal connection to the company or a related experience that can make you stand out.
- Use a quick summary of your skills and talents!
- “I have always been competitive and hate to lose” (followed by an example). Maybe say “I am a difference maker, no problem working by myself but if there is teamwork, I want to be a leader.
Why should we hire you?
Again, you don’t want to use generic responses. Whatever response you give, make sure it relates to the job and its requirements, and follow that up with an example.
- I have extensive experience in the ??? environment.
- Relate to the stated job requirements.
- Stress what you have in terms of education background, skills and relative experience directly related to the job requirements.
- I work well in a team setting (followed by an example or why/how).
- I have ?? background and graduated with honors from ??.
- What makes you different?
What do you know about our business?
A big mistake we always see is people going into an interview without knowing much about the given company. Be prepared, it will make you stand out.
- Do your research on the company.
- Find out as much as possible on the industry, any notable accomplishments, etc.
- Future expectations in terms of market growth or industry challenges.
- Competitive landscape.
Why do you want to work here?
- Reference something from the company description or website or evaluations from internet. Is it growth potential, promote from within, culture, know someone who works there, the people and the culture.
- Industry growth? Proven development program?
- The position can allow me personal and professional growth.
What is your biggest weakness?
A lot of people say they have no weaknesses, and that is the wrong answer. Turn a weakness into a positive.
- Inability to say no and then struggle to balance priorities, you take on so many activities, it’s on your resume
- Sometime you focus on one thing a bit too much (notice this is a ‘weakness’ but it can be viewed positively as well).
Describe a problem situation and how you solved it. Example
Be prepared for this question. It comes often and plays into your ability to overcome challenges. Practice this before so you are not surprised when it comes up.
Do you have any questions for me?
- Always ask job related questions first that were not fully covered in the interview such as what would my typical workday look like?
- What advice would you give me if I was hired?
- What could be my career path?
- Where am I at in the interview process?