Have you ever wished you could wave a magic wand and miraculously arrive at an interview and know exactly what the hiring manager was going to ask you? We all need a Fairy Godmother, but with some practice you can save your wishes for something else. Here are 8 of the most commonly asked interview questions and suggestions on how to prepare to answer them:
1. Tell me about yourself.
The Hiring Manager is looking to see if you can put together a summary of your skills and experience and how they relate to the job. This should take less than 2 minutes, so make sure your answer is clear, concise, and only portrays work-related skills. This is something you can practice with friends or family and it should remain pretty consistent.
2. What do you know about our company?
The manager wants to see that you’ve taken time to learn about what they do, awards they’ve won, events they’re been involved in, office culture, and company leadership. These are also great questions to ask if you don’t see a lot of this information online.
3. What did you like best about your most recent role?
This is great place to outline additional strengths and projects you were responsible for that you haven’t already talked about.
4. What did you like least about your most recent role?
The key to answering this question well is you need to know about the role that you are interviewing for and not say any of those responsibilities. You never want to say that overcoming objections was your least favorite thing if you are interviewing for a Sales role. Instead, you may want to say handling the administrative tasks of the position was your least favorite thing because you’d rather be selling.
5. How well do you think your background aligns with this role? Why would you be successful?
Talk about how well your background aligns with the responsibilities that have been outlined. Don’t just start talking about random things you’re good at. Discuss how you’ve been able to learn in each role you’ve had, take on additional responsibilities, and grow professionally. Make sure they know you hope to do the same at their company.
6. What is your biggest weakness?
You always want to use something from a previous position that has no relevance to your current job search. If you are interviewing for an Executive Assistant, then perhaps your biggest weakness is when you worked as a Telemarketer five years ago and had to make cold calls. Whatever weakness you pick, just make sure it has nothing to do with the current job description.
7. Why do you want to work HERE?
Use the notes you’ve taken prior to meeting with the manager to clearly outline what you know about the company that really interests you. For example: “I’ve been working with Suzy in HR and she explained that you’re hiring for a Marketing Coordinator. I’ve always admired your company and I love your marketing campaigns. I’d love to join such an innovative and creative team. I also noticed that you have sample campaigns on your website and I really liked the Surf Shop promotion—the graphics are so modern and original.”
8. What questions do you have for me?
This is a crucial question in the interview process. Always come prepared with at least 3 questions to ask the manager. Even if your questions were answered during the course of the interview—the hiring manager doesn’t know that. Asking questions shows you’re taking an interest. If you’ve covered all aspects of the job, ask a culture related question like, “If you had to describe your company culture in three words, what would they be?”
The key takeaway is to be prepared for your interview. Practice makes perfect, so use these questions to help you. Find someone to role-play with you ahead of time and then give you honest feedback about your answers.
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