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!
 


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