Typical job interview questions and answers
· Tell me about yourself (try to hold your response to 2 minutes)
This is often the first thing an employer will say to you. It’s an opportunity to give a brief summary of what you’ve been doing recently, what your interests are, and what type of person you are. You should keep your response under 2 minutes. You can choose how you want to answer this question so make sure you choose wisely and talk about your good qualities that would be good for the job. It’s good to mention your interests and your goals. You should always be trying to answer in a way that somehow would make you look good for the job. For example, if you love to exercise, mention that because a healthy person should be a better worker. If you love to go to the bar, say you like meeting new people, don’t say you like to drink. Always answer with the positive side of things. Talk about how you love to learn and improve yourself, make it seem like you are interested in many things. Don’t say you like coming home after work and watching TV for hours, even if you do like it. I admit, I like it sometimes.
· Why should we hire you?
This is another common question that you need to be prepared for. It might be slightly different like, “Why do you think you would be a good employee here?”, or “Why do you think you would be good at this job?” These questions are essentially the same. When you answer this question you want to tell them what your strengths are and how they relate to the job. Think about this question before you go to the interview. This is your chance to show why you can do this job well. If you are going to be a sales person, think of some good characteristics that you have that relate to being a salesperson. You can show your selling capabilities even if you have no sales experience. Are you outgoing? Do you like meeting new people? Are you very persuasive? Then, if you say you like meeting new people for example, think of a real life example that shows this. Maybe you joined a local chamber of commerce recently. You also want to mention some of your accomplishments in past jobs in past jobs or other areas of life. If you can, try to use real numbers. It’s better to say something like, “In my last sales job, I exceeded my targets by over 30% every time and I was the highest in sales for 3 different months” than to say something like, “In my last sales job, I was able to sell a lot of stuff and people always told me they thought I was good at it”. Specific is much better.
· Why do you want this job?
Interviewers love to ask this question because they want to see if you truly are interested in accepting the job. Many people go to job interviews knowing that even if they are offered the job, they won’t take it. They are also hoping to see that the job position challenges you and interests you. Talk about your motivation and what excites you to perform really well. People who like what they do work harder. Don’t say something like, “it’s an easy job and I’m lazy”. Or, “the money is really good and I want to buy a house”. Tell them what interests you about the actual job.
· Why did you leave your last job?
An interviewer would like to know this because they are hoping to find someone who would only leave for a good reason. They don’t want to hire someone who might quit really soon. A good answer to this question would be something like, “Well, it was a really tough decision for me to leave my last job, but I realized that it was no longer challenging me and there was no room in that company to move up. I really enjoy challenges and improving myself and that job didn’t offer me that anymore”. Never say something bad about your previous boss or other co-workers. Don’t say anything bad about the company either.
·Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This question gives the interviewer to get a feel for what goals you have for yourself. They want to know how motivated you are to improve in the company. They also want to see if you see yourself staying with that company.
· What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Think of some achievement that demonstrates a skill you have relating to the job. You can choose any achievement here. The important thing is that you are able to show how the achievement will make you a good candidate for the job. If you are most proud that you did well in school and got into a top university, be able to explain how that is useful. For example, you might say something like you set a goal to get into a certain university, you made a detailed plan for how you were going to achieve that goal and finally you achieved it. It was the first time in your life you realized that you could do anything you set your mind to and you’ve been setting goals and achieving them in many areas of your life ever since.
· Can you work well under deadlines or pressure?
You must somehow show that you will be able to work in all situations. It’s good to say that you work well under pressure. If you really don’t, then you might say something like you don’t perform your best under pressure, that’s why you are extremely organized and get all your work done much sooner than it is needed.
· Would you be willing to take some additional courses to advance your career?
If they ask you this question they are certainly hoping that you will say yes. If you say no, you’d better come up with some good reason why not. I can’t think of a good one though.
· What are your career goals?
Here you should talk about your future with the company and how you plan on always improving. Even if you want to stay in the same position forever, explain how you will keep improving at it.
· What are your strong points?
This is where you need to talk about what you are good at. Again, you need to pick things that you will be able to show how they relate to the new job.
· What are your weak points?
You need to be prepared for this question. You must answer it. Everyone has weaknesses. The key here is to pick weaknesses that can also be seen as strengths. Also, be able to explain what you are doing to overcome your weaknesses. It would be good to say that you are sometimes too stressed because you put too much pressure on yourself to succeed. You have been trying to relax more by taking yoga classes. That weakness looks ok because it shows that you like to work hard. Don’t say, my weakness is being lazy.
· Are you willing to travel or relocate?
You should think about this question before you go in. Obviously they are hoping you say yes if they ask it, but don’t lie. You could ask how much would be required, or explain that you have a family and would prefer not to travel too much. Don’t simply say no though.