Not every interviewer will ask you every one of these questions.  However, if you are prepared to address these questions, you will leave the impression that you were prepared for your job interview, even if additional questions take you by surprise. Below are a few common interview questions.

What the interview is looking for:

Interviewer says: Tell me about yourself.

Remember, this is a job interview, not a psychological or personal interview. The interviewer is interested in the information about you that relates to your qualifications for employment, such as education, work experiences and extracurricular activities.  Use this question as an opportunity to tell a short story about yourself that describes the values you have and why you think they are important for the job.

Interviewer says: What do you expect to be doing five years from now?

The interviewer is looking for evidence of career goals and ambitions rather than minutely specific descriptions. The interviewer wants to see your thought process and the criteria that are important to you. The interviewer is not looking for information about your personal life.

Interviewer says: Why should I hire you?

Don’t make vague statements here. Show them that you have done your research by highlighting what problems they are facing. Then, provide specific examples of how you’re the right person to help solve those problems. Give them proof of your value and your answer will come across as clear, concise, and confident. Show them that you are passionate about the work and their company.

Interviewer says: What are your strengths? Only mention strengths that you can back up with clear proof. Prove your strengths with numbers and percentages, not generalized statements.

Interviewer says: What are your weaknesses?

This question is tricky for everyone. If you've done your research, you know what weaknesses would be unacceptable in the job, and you probably haven't made it to the interview stage if you have those weaknesses. If you say that you “work too hard” then no one takes the answer seriously, but if you say a real weakness then you look like a bad candidate.  Don't be dishonest and don't make up something that you think sounds good. Don't respond with a joke (that's just evading the question).Don't discuss topics that are personal in nature (like having a messy bedroom at home).

Don't be surprised by or unprepared for this question. It may be asked in other ways, such as "What would your greatest challenge be if you were in this job?"

In the best circumstance, the employer is asking this question to discern your self-awareness. We all have strengths and weaknesses.

There are a few strategies you can use to prepare:
1. Identify a weakness that you are working to correct and talk about how you are doing this.
2. Identify a weaknesses that is not relevant to the job. 
3. Show how you seek out and work well with others who have strengths in your areas of weakness.
4. Use your knowledge of your personality, showing both sides of the coin (pros and cons) making sure this is a match for the job. 

For example, if you have an introversion preference, AND the job requires solitary work, you can explain that you are energized by solitary work and have the stamina for it, while you may feel less energy from long periods of time working with customers (and obviously you would not say this if interviewing for a job that required long hours of customer contact). Balance that by explaining that you are always well-prepared for customer contacts, due to your workstyle and personality. 

For another example, you could say “Finance isn’t really my thing. I understand the big picture of profit and revenue, but small details and the mechanics of how it works — that’s just not how my mind works. So I would say that’s a weakness, but it’s also a reason I’m applying for this job in marketing. I know that it leverages my strengths and steers clear of some of the weaknesses.”

Interviewer says: Why do you want to work for our company/organization?  This is where you show that you did your research. Tell them what you know about the company, about the challenges they face and the opportunities they have, and how you fit in well with that overall picture.

Not having an answer is a good way to get crossed off the candidate list, and is a common pet peeve of interviewers. Research the employer before your interview; attempt to find out about the organization's products, locations, clients, philosophy, goals, previous growth record and growth plans, how they value employees and customers, etc.

Unfortunately it's very common for job-seekers to directly state, "I really want to work for your company/agency/organization/firm," but then to be unable to answer the question "why?" Without the answer to "why?" the initial statement becomes meaningless.  Why are you passionate about this company?  Why are you passionate about this position? How do your values match the values you will need to do your job? If the company sees that you LOVE the job, you will stand out from the rest. 

If you are ready to jump in and do what it takes to land a job, then contact Job Interview Services today.  We can help you!
 
 
 You have been called for a second interview. Congratulations!  That’s a great sign that a potential employer is interested in you. But it doesn’t mean you have secured the job, yet. You are likely one of two to three candidates asked to return for a follow-up interview, so don’t let down your guard.

A second interview may involve the same people you met during the first interview, and will undoubtedly involve additional people – your supervisor's boss, the president or division manager, potential coworkers, etc. You may meet with these people in a panel or individually. Each person will be assessing you on the following points:
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Can you do the job?
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Do you fit with our culture?
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Does our team want to work with you?
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Are you someone the hiring manager can manage? 

Be someone your potential manager and coworkers can imagine interacting with on a daily basis.

The more you invest in preparing for a second interview, the better positioned you will be to stand out from your competition and convince a prospective employer that YOU are the right person for the job.

Here’s how to prepare:

ANTICIPATE MORE INTENSE QUESTIONING

Second interview questions will delve more deeply into your knowledge, skills, and experiences, and how qualified you are for the position. The interviewers will also be gauging your interest in the position and company, as well as assessing how much you learned during the first interview. Prepare to answer questions such as “What have you learned about us so far?” and “How would you proceed if you were hired into this job?” Share how your background and expertise relates to the company’s challenges.

Review what you learned from your first interview about the position, the company, its products and services, and any challenges facing the person who gets the position. Study any business terms that were discussed – company product names, technologies
they use, competitors’ products/services, etc.

Review the organization’s website and any articles you can find on them. Consider how you would approach the job if hired. Also, continue to prepare stories of your past accomplishments, making sure they relate specifically to the job for which you are interviewing. You want to encourage confidence in your skills and abilities and reaffirm how closely they match the position’s and company’s needs.

PREPARE FOR A BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW

Behavioral interview questions are designed to assess your future performance based on how you handled specific past situations, and are common during second interviews. Questions that begin with,“Tell me about a time when...” or “Describe a situation in which...” may be asked.  It will be important to familiarize yourself with this interview style and prepare your answers to these potential questions to ensure you do well on the second interview.  Practice answering using the STAR method (describe situation, task, action you took and the result). 

ASK INSIGHTFUL QUESTIONS

During the first interview, you asked questions that indicated your interest in the job and reflected your knowledge of the company and its products. In a second interview, it’s imperative to build on this impression by asking more insightful questions, such as what you will be accountable for achieving in the first 3-6 months, how this position interacts with other departments in the company, and what the company’s plans for the future are. It is not yet time to ask about salary or benefits, unless HR or the hiring manager has already broached these subjects. Instead, focus on issues relative to performing the job effectively.

DEMONSTRATE THAT YOU ARE A TEAM PLAYER

Second interviews are often used to determine if you will “fit” into the organization or with other members of the team. Chemistry plays a crucial role in hiring decisions, so you’ll want to be sure to put your best foot forward. Make sure you’re conveying your success stories and expertise in an articulate and concise fashion.  At the same time, be enthusiastic and easy to talk with. Maintain good eye contact with your interviewers and smile when appropriate. 

SHOW ENTHUSIASM FOR THE JOB

A second interview can be a long ordeal, sometimes lasting an entire day, and can be draining for even the most energetic of interviewers. Although you may find yourself tiring as the interview goes on, do everything you can to remain upbeat and interested in the job. If you’re in need of a break, ask if you can use the restroom so you can take some deep breaths and rejuvenate. Be prepared to answer the question, “Why do you want to work for us?” and continue to convey your enthusiastic interest in the job.

SEND THANK YOU LETTERS

As after a first interview, it is imperative you send a thank you letter to each of the people you interviewed with within 24 hours of the second interview. A well written thank you letter gives you an additional opportunity to “sell” the company on your skills and expertise. 

MAKE SURE THE JOB FITS YOU

Although your primary goal is to convince your interviewers that you are right for their company, another critical component of the second interview is your own evaluation of whether the job and company are a right fit for you. Where your first interview introduced you to the job, the company, and some of the players, a second interview will allow you to better assess the job responsibilities, the hiring manager’s style, the company’s culture, and the dynamics between the people hiring you. This is the time to ask questions that will help you get a better sense of whether this is an opportunity that excites you and whether the job will make use of your greatest strengths and abilities.