(Original Article by Emily, CO SavvySugar: http://www.savvysugar.com/Typical-Job-Interview-Questions-Answers-20280663)
First impressions are everything, and making a good one during a job interview can very well snag you the job of your dreams. Interviews can be nerve-racking, especially if it’s for a job you really want. The only way to calm your nerves is to do a lot of prep beforehand so you’ll be ready for your interview. Read on for 10 common interview questions.
This question usually takes about one to two minutes to answer and will be your elevator pitch. You want to give them a brief rundown of who you are as a person and show how you articulate you are. Don’t start rambling on about your personal history. Talk about highlights from job positions or schooling and how you can contribute to the company with your background and experiences.
Know what the company is looking for. If it prizes technical skills, play those up. Showcase the qualities needed for the job you’re interviewing for.
Before the interview, write down two to three notable achievements, and be sure to bring them up during your elevator pitch.
Think about what others have said about you when you’re trying to come up with a list of your strengths. Remember, always back up your points with an example.
Pick strengths that align with the company’s culture and goals. If you’re applying to a scrappy start-up, highlight your ability to multitask and to take initiative.
The most important factor when choosing which strengths to highlight is to make sure they relate to the position your applying to. For example, if you’re applying for a human resources position, talk about your interpersonal skills.
The weakness question is always the hardest to answer. Don’t give a clichéd answer such as you work too hard or you’re too much of a perfectionist. Try your best to stick to the truth and make sure you mention the steps you take to counter the weakness. Don’t disclose anything that will make you look like an incompetent employee, such as not meeting deadlines and getting into conflicts with co-workers. Put a positive spin on the weakness but make sure it doesn’t sound too practiced. An example of weaknesses can be impatience, which can mean that you want to get the job done. Another weakness can be time management but make sure you name the steps you take to beat that problem. You will look like a problem solver when you show them what you did to fix a flaw.
You don’t have to answer this question at the interview, and you can try to deflect this question until you’ve received an offer. Tell the interviewers that you want to hold off on salary talk until the both of you know that you’re right for the job.
Read up everything you can about the company, including the website, news articles, profiles of employees, and any tidbits on LinkedIn. If you or your friends know employees at the company, ask if they can speak to you about what the company is like.
Try to get a sense of what the company culture is and what its goals are. Once you’ve done your homework, you need to figure out how the company ties into your own career path and future.
Think about how you can move forward from the position you’re eyeing. Figure out the natural career track and tailor your answer to the company. Try to be honest but not to the point where you make yourself look like an unattractive candidate, such as saying you want to work for their competitor or something too personal like becoming a mom. Stick to professional examples; they don’t want to hear about your personal life plan.
Try not to spend too much time on this question and answer briefly. A simple yes and mentioning the fact that you’re open to opportunities will do the trick. You can also say that this particular job is your first choice. Remember, honesty is always the best policy, and don’t lie and say you’re interviewing at certain companies when you’re not.
What Can You Do For This Company?
There are several versions of this question, which also includes, “What will you do when you’re at [job position x]?” When you’re preparing for the interview, think about why you would do a good job at the position and what steps you would take to achieve that. Bring in new ideas and examples of what you have done in the past that has benefited your previous companies.
Why Do You Want to Leave or Why Did You Leave Your Current Job?
It’s understandable if you were laid off given the rocky economy. You don’t have to share the dirty details, but you should be truthful and mention that your company had to let go of X number of people or the department was being restructured.
If you are leaving because of a negative situation, be sure not to badmouth your old company or boss. It just reflects badly on you if you do. You can focus on the fact that you’re looking for growth and that you feel this company feels like the step in the right direction.
Asking good questions can reveal a lot of your personality and can be the most important part of the interview. Take some time into crafting very personal, well thought-out questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer.
Don’t ask questions that seem to be too assuming and that make you sound like you think you got the job. Don’t try to focus on pay, benefits, and getting promoted. Focus more on what you can do for the company and not what the company can do for you.
Use your judgement during the interview on how many questions are appropriate.
Be careful when your addressing this question and make sure that you’re not bitter or negative in your answer. You should always be positive because this reflects the fact that you take conflict well. Talk about a problem you faced (preferably not something you created), and detail the steps you proactively took to resolve the problem. The best examples will come from your past experiences.