If you know a little about the most common interview questions and answers before you go through the application process of any company, your confidence level will rise dramatically and you will place yourself in a favorable position during any job interview. Some people go as far as even rehearsing how they will answer specific questions and I have no doubt this can work well as long as you have the ability to act natural while doing so. Still, it’s probably a better idea to simply be well-informed on what the most common interview questions are so you don’t get blindsided with an unexpected question you have no answer for.
Not Every Interview Question Is Actually a Question
“Tell us about yourself” and “describe a difficult situation you were able to resolve and explain what you did to resolve it” are two very common subjects an interviewer will expect you to talk about during the interview process. You should never walk into a job interview without having a response to these two suggestions in the back of your mind.
One of the most common interview questions that really is not a question is when you are asked to talk about yourself. Only highlight the positive aspects of your work life (not your personal life) and stay far away from anything negative. The idea is to talk about the your key skills that make you the perfect fit for their company. If the interviewer asks you a specific question in response to what you say about yourself, always paint that subsequent answer in a positive light. Most interviewers don’t want to hear about how your dog “Puffy” is the only faithful companion you can trust in the world and they certainly don’t want to hear about how you love to party till the wee hours on Friday nights!
When you are told to describe a difficult situation, you need to have a great response that shows your problem-solving skills. Avoid describing how the customer was “out of hand” or “completely out of control” and opt for descriptions like “the customer was displeased” and concentrate on a straightforward explanation that paints you as a patient, composed, dedicated, and talented problem-solver.
Here are 5 of the most common interview questions:
- Why do you want to work for us? Your answer should be tailored to how well your skills match the company’s philosophy as well as how your talent perfectly matches the position you are seeking. Also, talk about how the job can benefit you as well as how the company is going to benefit from your efforts and talents.
- Where do you see yourself in your career, 5 years from now? Whatever your response is to this one, NEVER say you don’t know. You need to be quick to respond to this one in a confident and hopeful manner as you describe how you are perfectly cut out for this job because you want to go from whatever position you are applying for to another one you have researched within the company. You can also explain how you are aware of the specific training offered or not offered by the company and how you plan on completing all the necessary requirements to get you there.
- What are your greatest weaknesses? Try your best to be as honest as possible by giving an example of a slight weakness you may have that perhaps a supervisor pointed out and explain how you have improved by (talk about what you have specifically done to improve in that area). You should never mention a negative trait that may completely disqualify you such as, “I have had a problem showing up to work on time” or “I sometimes have trouble working alongside others.”
- Why should we hire you? This is an excellent opportunity to highlight your work history and all of your skills and talents as they relate to the job you are hoping to land. This one should be easy but you need to take the time to research the job opening, and match all of your qualities to that position so you can explain it convincingly.
- Was there anything you didn’t like or that you thought was unfair in your last job? If you say “no” to this one, you risk appearing dishonest. Some interviewers throw this question out there to see if a job applicant is lying and many are convinced if a person says nothing negative at all, they are indeed not being truthful. When the interviewer asks this question he or she is trying to see how you handled the situation and they are also looking to see if you are either trying to shift the blame on someone or something or if you took responsibility for your problem.
The most common interview questions vary from company to company, so it’s impossible to forecast which ones they will ask. However, the above-mentioned questions alone can give you a distinct advantage over anyone else who hasn’t bothered to research this subject at all. Finally, be honest during your interview; experienced professionals can spot B.S. from a mile away!