Interview questions can really trip you up if you aren't prepared ahead of time. Thankfully, there are so many common interview questions that all companies ask that it's pretty simple to get your answers together. Here are some of the questions you'll encounter most often and how to answer them.
This is supposed to be an icebreaker question where you have a chance to share information about yourself that isn't necessarily obvious from your resume. It helps the interviewer to get to know you a little better. Obviously, this is a loaded question. Do they want to know your life story? Definitely not. Just a few sentences is all you need to answer with: short, to the point, and memorable.
You can start out by sharing a few personal things, such as your favorite hobbies, but don't go into detail here. Remember: be precise! You have only a few sentences to introduce yourself, so make them count. Next, transition into your career path. Talk about how you ended up where you are today. An example answer would be, "Well, I enjoy playing soccer on the weekends. It keeps me fit and I enjoy hanging out with my friends from the team. Career-wise, I got into this industry straight out of college with my first job at ABC Corp. Then, I moved up to the producer position, where I had two people reporting to me. Now, I feel ready to challenge myself again."
It's expensive for companies to recruit, interview, and train new employees. The interviewer is trying to gauge whether you would stick around or if you see yourself working somewhere else in five years. They're also trying to see if you're an ambitious person.
Give an answer that aligns with your true goals. Include information like what job you'd like to have, what you hope to have accomplished during that time, and what skills you'd like to have developed. End the answer by stating that you've already worked out a plan to achieve those goals—as long as you really have, of course!
With this question, the interviewer is trying to discern if you've done any kind of research about the company. In other words, the interviewing party wants to know if you know what you're getting into. They'd like new hires to be as exited about joining the company as possible.
Your answer should reflect the due diligence you've done. Pepper your answer will little facts about the company. It can be something as simple as, "One reason I'd like to work here is because this company was rated number one for six straight years." Answers like this indicate that you aren't just applying to every company willy-nilly. You've given careful consideration to your next employer, and this is your dream job.
This is such a tricky question because no one wants to talk about their weaknesses during a job interview. Interviewers ask this because they want to see if you can be objective and honest about your limitations. There's a great way to answer this question that will make a positive impression on your interviewer.
Start talking about how you've gotten to know yourself better over the years. You've had to be really honest with yourself about your capabilities and your inabilities, even though it can be hard to admit them. Say that, like all people, you have many imperfections but that you've come to realize that it's okay not to be perfect. The only thing that isn't okay is not being willing to continue to strive for the best. Finally, you might say that your greatest weakness in the past was trying to be perfect, but you've since realized that is an unrealistic goal for anyone. Say that it's made you a better employee, a better person, and a better manager.
Here, the interviewer is trying to get some insight into how you solve problems. Do you ask for help? Talk to a supervisor? Run and hide?
Think of an example from your past that you can make a good story out of. The goal here is to really captivate your interviewer, just like you would if you were telling a juicy story. Describe the problem in such a way that the interviewer can't imagine how on earth you got yourself out of it. Right before you tell them how, pause in your story. Your goal is to get them to say, "So what did you do?" Then, with a dramatic flair, explain the miracle you pulled off. With luck the interviewer will say, "Wow!"
It might seem like this is the perfect time to bash your old boss or talk about what a poorly run organization you left. But this isn't the reason why the interviewer wants to know. Primarily, they're hoping to avoid hiring someone who won't like working there. They know what it's like. If you mention some traits that exist in the new company, it won't be a good fit and they'll be going through the whole hiring process all over again.
Acceptable answers to this question include: looking for more opportunities, lack of upward mobility, too far to commute, need better hours, looking to change careers, or something similar. Don't mention anything specific about the company, your boss, or your former colleagues.
The interviewer is hoping you'll mention some assets that this company can offer you. That's the only reason for the question.
Just be honest, but try not to make it all about you. For example, you might say, "I'm looking for a job where I'm challenged, and a place where my contribution to the company is valued." Avoid mentioning things like benefits, even if you really are desperate to get on a good health insurance plan.
If your interviewer asks you this, be aware that the job you're applying for is probably a high-stress one. If that doesn't phase you, let the interviewer know.
Tell the interviewer about any strategies or techniques you use to stay relaxed, such as meditation. Better yet, talk about the strategies you use to help others stay calm in a pressure situation. This will help the interviewer see you as a leader and a person who knows how to diffuse a tense situation.
Interviewers ask this question to give you the opportunity to differentiate yourself from other qualified candidates. This is an opportunity for you to boast a little bit.
Avoid making general, broad statements, like "I'm the best you'll ever get!" This just makes it look like you aren't taking the question seriously. Instead, list some unique skills or experiences that make you the better candidate. Mention something that no one else could. A good answer would be something like, "Back when Enron had that big catastrophe, I was one of the people working on their public relations team. People were frantic. I don't mind telling you I was nervous, but I kept my wits and came up with some front-facing copy that my boss loved. I'm the kind of person that you can count on when disaster strikes." The implication is that's why the company should hire you.
Although it seems like interviewers ask this so they can hire you for cheap, they really are trying to determine if they can afford you. If you get asked this question, it's fair to assume the interviewer is putting you at the top of the shortlist, which is awesome.
Don't box yourself in when you answer this. You'll be negotiating the actual salary later on, so there's no reason to give a definitive number right now. It's much better to give a range that you'd be comfortable with. Do your research ahead of time so you know what the average salary is for the position. If you're too far off, you'll come across like someone who's just guessing a ballpark figure. You could also price yourself out of a good position. So name a range that aligns with the position and your needs. There's no need to add that you're flexible. That's inherent in the fact that you cited a range instead of a specific number.