Being well-prepared for your job interview will boost your confidence… and lower your anxiety.
What is the single best way to prepare for any interview?
Draft answers to the most common interview questions. Although every interviewer is different and questions vary by industry, there are some questions you’ll likely encounter in most every job interview.
Practice speaking your answers out loud. Then practice again… and again. Nothing impresses a potential employer like being ready for whatever is thrown at you.
Here are those most common interview questions, and how you should consider answering them:
Why Should We Hire You?
Here’s the chance to really sell yourself. Briefly and succinctly lay out your strengths, qualifications and what you can bring to the table. Be careful not to answer this question too generically, however. Nearly everyone says they are “hardworking” and “motivated”.
Set yourself apart by telling the interviewer about qualities that are unique to you. Hint: this would be a good time to deliver your elevator pitch.
Why Do You Want to Work Here?
This is one tool interviewers use to see if you have done your homework. You should never attend an interview unless you know about the company, its direction and the industry in which it plays. If you have done your research, this question gives you an opportunity to show initiative and demonstrate how your experience and qualifications match the company’s needs.
What Are Your Greatest Weaknesses?
The secret to answering this question is being honest about a weakness, but demonstrating how you have turned it into a strength. For example, if you had a problem with organization in the past, demonstrate the steps you took to more effectively keep yourself on track. This will show that you have the ability to recognize aspects of yourself that need improvement, and the initiative to make yourself better.
Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?
Even if your last job ended badly, be careful about being negative in answering this question. Be as diplomatic as possible. If you do point out negative aspects of your last job, find some positives to mention as well. Complaining endlessly about your last company will not say much for your attitude.
Describe a Problem Situation and How You Solved It
Interviewers want to see that you can think critically and develop solutions, regardless of what kind of issue you faced. They want to see that you are responsible and can think through situations on your own.
What Accomplishment Are You Most Proud of?
Try to be specific and select an accomplishment that relates to the position. Discuss a professionally relevant accomplishment. Think of the qualities the company is looking for and develop an example that demonstrates how you can meet the company’s needs.
What Are Your Salary Expectations?
This is one of the hardest questions, particularly for those with little experience. The first thing to do before going to your interview is to research the salary range in your field to get an idea of what you should be making. Steer clear of discussing salary specifics before receiving a job offer. Let the interviewer know that you will be open to discussing fair compensation when the time comes. If pressed for a more specific answer, always give a range, rather than a specific number.
Tell Me About Yourself
While this question seems like a piece of cake, it is difficult to answer because it’s so broad. The important thing to know is that the interviewer typically does not want to know about your hometown or what you do on the weekends.
He or she is trying to figure you out professionally.
Pick a couple of points about yourself, your professional experience and your career goals and stick to those points. Wrap up your answer by bringing up your desire to be a part of the company. If you have a solid response prepared for this question, it can lead your conversation in a direction that allows you to elaborate on your qualifications.
Above all, smile and try to relax. The best job interviews are a two-way sharing of information. Let the interviewer get to know you, and sell them on the value you offer. And then, of course, do not forget to follow up immediately with an email or hand written note.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at The Resume Resource!
About the Author: Trish Thomas of The Resume Resource is committed to helping people improve their lives through rewarding careers. A Professional Resume Writer and Career Coach, she delivers a full range of services to help job seekers establish clear career goals and develop tools and strategies to achieve those goals. What differentiates Trish from other career services providers is the time she takes to get to know each client and their individual needs to position them competitively in today’s job market. Follow Trish on Twitter!