Are you ready to ace your upcoming job interview? It’s always important to be prepared to respond effectively to the questions that employers typically ask. Since these questions are so common, hiring managers will expect you to be able to answer them smoothly and without hesitation.
1. Tell Me About Yourself. This is one of the first questions you are likely to be asked. Be prepared to talk about yourself, and why you’re an ideal candidate for the job.
What They Want to Know: The interviewer wants to know why you’re an excellent fit for the job. Try to answer questions about yourself without giving too much, or too little, personal information.
2. Why Do You Want This Job?
Why are you a good fit for the position? What would you accomplish if you hired? This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer what you have to offer the company, and what you would achieve if you got the job.
What They Want to Know: This question gives you an opportunity to show the interviewer what you know about the job and the company, so take time beforehand to thoroughly research the company, its products, services, culture, and mission. Be specific about what makes you a good fit for this role, and mention aspects of the company and position that appeal to you most.
Construction design is in my blood—both my dad and my grandad were home builders who owned their own construction firm. From the time I entered college, I knew that I wanted my architecture career to be focused on sustainable, green design practices, so I earned my certification as a LEED Accredited Professional. Greenways Construction is the most respected sustainable design firm in Texas. I’ve been following reports of your LEED Certified projects in Journal of Green Engineering, and I wrote my capstone project on the energy modeling you pioneered for the ACME Business Park and the ABC Tech campus. Working here really would be my dream job, since your mission aligns perfectly with my goals as a sustainability specialist.
3. Why Should We Hire You? – Make your response a confident, concise, focused sales pitch that explains what you have to offer and why you should get the job. This is a good time to review the qualifications and the requirements in the job listing, so you can craft a response that aligns with what the interviewer is looking for.
What They Want to Know: Are you the best candidate for the job? The hiring manager wants to know whether you have all the required qualifications. Be prepared to explain why you’re the applicant who should be hired. You should hire me because my experience is almost perfectly aligned with the requirements you asked for in your job listing. I have seven years’ progressive experience in the hospitality industry, advancing from my initial role as a front desk associate with Excalibur Resort and Spa to my current position there as a concierge. I’m well-versed in providing world-class customer service to an upscale clientele, and I pride myself on my ability to quickly resolve problems so that our guests enjoy their time with us.
4. What is Your Greatest Strength? – When you’re answering this question, remember to “show” rather than “tell.” For example, rather than stating that you are an excellent problem solver, instead tell a story that demonstrates this, ideally drawing on an anecdote from your professional experience.
What They Want to Know: This is one of the questions that employers almost always ask to determine how well you are qualified for the position. When you are asked about your greatest strengths, it’s important to discuss the attributes that qualify you for that specific job, and that will set you apart from other candidates.
5. What is Your Greatest Weakness? – This question is an opportunity to show the hiring manager that you’re well qualified for the job. In addition to learning whether you’ve got the right credentials, the hiring manager wants to know whether you can take on challenges and learn new tasks.
What They Want to Know: Another typical question interviewers will ask is about your weaknesses. Do your best to frame your answers around positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee, turning seeming “weaknesses” into strengths.
You can also share examples of skills you have improved, providing specific instances of how you have recognized a weakness and taken steps to correct it.
My greatest weakness used to be procrastination. Friends who knew my work style would tease me, saying, “Panic precipitates performance.” In college, I was the person who pulled all-nighters to finish their essay right before deadline. This isn’t as irresponsible as it sounds—from the moment I’m assigned a project, I’m thinking about it. Most of my first and second drafts get composed mentally, so it’s only a matter of writing down the final draft. And, since I have an excellent command of grammar, I don’t have to spend much time proofreading or revising.
However, after I landed my first job as a content writer, it became clear that while this process worked for me (I’ve never missed a deadline), it made my editor extremely nervous. And so I’ve learned to set “early” deadlines for myself, at least 24 hours before the actual deadline, so that my projects now always arrive with plenty of time to spare.