October 09, 2022
Job interviews can be some of the most unpredictable situations a professional might find themselves in their career. Companies do their best to challenge prospective employees to make sure that they have the right people to offer their jobs.
As such, interviews can be rather daunting, especially for those who haven’t taken many in the natural course of their career. But a sound understanding of what interviewers ask and what they’re looking for from candidates can help you prepare for them the right way and get you the dream job or position that you covet.
Here you can find the seven most commonly asked interview questions and how you should go about answering them to make sure you ace it.
This question might seem easy and one that you may find comfortable to go on and on about but answering it the way interviewers expect to hear can be more challenging than you think.
More often than not, interviewees either resort to taking this opportunity to talk about the skills that are already mentioned in their resume or speak too broadly in buzzwords that ultimately don’t mean much to an interviewer who has likely heard the same from many candidates already.
Instead, take this opportunity to speak about practical qualities that you wholeheartedly believe you possess and try to tie it to achievements in your life that may be relevant to the job you’re gunning for.
This conveys to the interviewer that you were able to take your natural strengths and apply it to the tasks that were entrusted upon you, which is exactly what they hope from you if they take you on.
It can be difficult and awkward to talk about your weaknesses in a setting where you’re expected to put your best foot forward and impress people with your best qualities. But when answered appropriately, it can leave a better impression on interviewers than your responses to many other curveballs that they may throw your way.
Instead of going with the same old answer of how you’re a perfectionist and how you ought to stop being so hard on yourself, take the time to reflect and find some flaw that may not necessarily affect or influence your performance at the job you’re interviewing for.
However if you’re adamant on talking about something relevant, Andy Teach of FromGradToCorp suggests that you must never talk about a real weakness unless it’s something you have already overcome. Be mindful of what the interviewer might expect from you before you choose a weakness to go with.
When interviewers ask this question, what they’re really looking to understand is twofold: Have you done enough self-assessment and career planning to know where you want to go, and how do you see the job they might offer connect with the plan that you have devised for yourself? It’s anyone’s guess as to where you’ll actually end up in five, ten or twenty years from when you’re giving an interview so it’s untenable to gauge whether you can indeed achieve what you hoped for but interviewers can make a reasonable judgement of your character and ambition from asking this question.
Keeping this in mind, prepare for this question by pinpointing where you want to go in your career and how you want to climb the corporate ladder, and create a connection to that dream position to the job, company and industry that you’re interviewing for.
Yet another question that interviewers hope to judge your character by is regarding your motivation for leaving your current job and company.
Interviewers are smart and experienced enough to spot you if you come off as someone who only seeks to make more money with their company or use them as just another stepping stone on the way to what you really want to do.
Therefore, before your interview, question yourself sincerely as to why you’re really leaving. Is it because you hated working under a particular boss? Is it because you found the work unfulfilling? Were you fired or laid off for any particular reason? As soon as you come up with the right answers, express them in a tactful manner that doesn’t leave a negative impression.
Explain how you weren’t the right fit for your previous job and lead into why you think you’re a right job for the one you’re interviewing.
While most questions in an interview require you to have done your homework in researching about the company and industry you hope to work in provided you succeed in your interview, this common question expects it much more so than them all.
Why? It is because interviewers are conveying their expectations of your having done that explicitly with this question. Do not take this opportunity to flatter them into accepting you (which never works) or wax rhapsodic about how great their company is.
Instead, convey to them all the ways in which you find yourself to be the right fit for their company and the industry they are a part of.
Go into what drives and motivates you to get up every morning and do what you do and let them know how much the job they’re considering you for can achieve what both you and the company hope to achieve. Synergy is key.
While this question is not quite as common as the other ones, it’s still important to be prepared for it because if you happen to not give an adequate answer when you are asked a variant of it, it could spell doom for your prospects of working at the company you’ve applied for.
When interviewers ask this, they want to know how much you understand the tasks and duties that will be required of you once you take on the job in addition to how well versed you are about the company you want to work for and what industry they’re operating in.
The best way to answer it is to read and understand the job description thoroughly and think of ways you can contribute to achieving what the company hopes to do.
Last but not least, interviewers may ask you what your hobbies are. On occasion, they may be asking this question out of genuine interest but more often than not, what they hope to know is how developed your personality and social life is and thereby to know how good of a qualitative addition you will be to the team you’ll be working with.
Companies seek hard workers, not over workers and contrary to what most people think, they’re not too keen on hiring workaholics because burnout is real and workaholics often end up in a situation where they’re less productive than someone who works smart even if they clock in fewer hours on the job.
This question is an opportunity to unleash your creative side and go into what makes you unique outside of your work life.
It’s easy to underestimate how challenging interviews can be when you haven’t taken one before or in a long while and an underprepared interview often ends up being a failed one. Understand what interviewers expect from you, reflect on how best you can answer their questions and present yourself in the best light to them and you’re sure to ace your next one!
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