1) Tell me something about yourself.
How hard can it be to talk about yourself? We do it on a daily basis without much thought to it.
However, recruitment managers are not looking for your whole life story, your third-grade achievements, or what you had for dinner last night. Instead, they are looking for a pitch.
This is usually the first question asked in an interview, so it acts as your introduction. Make sure your answer is relevant to the position you are applying for. What you should be aiming for here is to present yourself as the ideal candidate for the job.
A good rule of thumb is to structure your talking points as follows:
- Briefly introduce yourself: What’s your name? How long have you been working as [profession]?
- What do you love about your job?
- What are your top 2-3 achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for?
2) How did you hear about this position?
Although at first glance this might seem like a straightforward question, you should grab any opportunity you can to show your interes in the company.
Even if you haven’t been continuously refreshing the company’s website for job listings, make it seem like you have (in a professional way, of course). Show excitement and curiosity.
If someone inside the company told you about the position or recommended that you apply, definitely make sure to mention that.
You’ll have a much better chance at getting hired if someone credible can vouch for your skills.
So, mention his/her name and his/her position inside the company and give their reasoning for inviting or recommending you to apply for the position. Tell the hiring managers what excites you about the job opportunity or what exactly caught your eye.
3) Why did you decide to apply for this position?
Through this question, the interviewers want to assess how passionate you are for the position. And no, the answer isn’t:
“Well, I’m very passionate about not starving to death.”
“Well, I needed the money, and you guys tend to pay a lot.”
What the interviewer is looking for here is to see how passionate you are about the job or the company. After all, job performance is directly linked to job satisfaction. The happier you are about your position at the company, the more productive you’ll be.
And here’s the kicker – your passion will be very evident during the interview.
When you’re talking to a person that’s passionate about something, you can pretty much feel them glow as they talk. And if you’re an HR manager who’s interviewed hundreds of people, this is a very good sign to hire the candidate.
So, use this knowledge to your advantage.
When asked this question, your answer should include 2 things:
- What motivated you to apply for this position, specifically.
- Why this company? Have you heard of them before?
4) What are your biggest strengths?
There are two answers you could go for here: what your actual strengths are, and what you think the hiring manager or HR representative wants to hear. We would most certainly suggest you go with the first answer.
For this question, you would want to narrow your answer down to at most three strengths. Pick 1 or 2 skills that would help you really excel at the job, and 1 or 2 personal (more or less unrelated) skills.
5) What is your biggest weakness?
Ah, this is always a tricky one!
After all, you don’t want to mention your flaws during an interview, so it’s guaranteed to be a tough question.
The trick to answering this one is realizing that the interviewers don’t expect you to be perfect. Everyone has flaws, weaknesses, and things to improve on.
When asking this question, the HR manager is actually seeking to learn:
- Whether you have the right skill s for the job. If you’re applying for the position of a server in a busy restaurant, and you say your biggest weakness is performing under pressure, then you’re definitely not getting a call back.
- If you’re self-aware and really know what your sticking points are.
And NO: fake humble-brag weaknesses don’t count as weaknesses. You can’t just say that your biggest weakness is that you work too hard, or that you’re a perfectionist.
The key here is to mention a weakness that’s real, but not something that would get in the way of you doing your job. You wouldn’t want to say you’re bad at math if you’re applying for an accountant position, would you
It’s also good practice to mention how you are working towards overcoming this weakness and realizing how it affects you negatively. If you can, just balance it with a positive side effect: treat it like two sides of the same coin.
6) What are your salary requirements?
This is always a tricky question. You don’t want to lowball yourself, but at the same time, you don’t want to be told “No” because you gave such an outrageous number.
When answering, keep these 3 things in mind:
- What’s the average salary for someone of your skill-level?
- How much does the company pay employees of your skill level? GlassDoor should be super helpful here.
- Finally, how much are you getting paid in your current company? In most cases, you can probably negotiate a pay bump from what you’re currently getting.
The final number you tell them should incorporate all 3 of the points we just mentioned. Do you know for a fact that the company is doing well (and compensates employees accordingly)? You’d quote a higher salary.
Is your skill-level above average? This should be reflected in your salary.
As a rule of thumb, you can figure out 2 numbers: what’s the “good” scenario, and what’s the “best” scenario?
Answer the interviewer with your “best” pay, and worst case scenario, they’ll negotiate it down.
Or, you can also answer with a range, and chances are, they’ll pick the number somewhere in the middle.
7.Do you have any questions for us?
You’ll hear this question in every interview you will attend.
While there isn’t a right answer, there IS a wrong answer:
Nope, all good! Thanks, I’ll go show myself out.
Instead, with this question, you want to show your enthusiasm about the company. Imagine they’ve already hired you and you’re starting tomorrow – what would you like to know about them?
Keep in mind, though, that the questions shouldn’t be too easy (So, what does your company do?).
Other than showing the recruiter that you’re really interested in working for them, this is your opportunity to really find out more about the ins and outs of the place.
The answers you get from the interviewer could also be an indicator of whether you really want to work there or not.