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Commonly Asked Interview Questions
Being prepared for an interview is essential to put yourself above the competition. Knowing what the interviewer(s) will ask and how to answer the questions are what will help you get a second interview and possibly the position.
- Tell me about yourself.
What the interviewer is looking for is a couple of minute’s dialogue of your work history. You should show how your career has taken a logical progression (noting how your education helped if relevant) to where you are now.
- What are your greatest strengths?
This set of questions should be the easiest, but people often are hesitant to ‘toot their own horn’ so to speak. Have a couple of examples ready to talk about.
- How did you use your strengths in solving a problem?
- Would you have done anything differently?
- What are your weaknesses?
You should always have more strengths than weaknesses. Have one example to cite and how you work on turning it into a strength.
- How are you working to overcome them?
- What were your major contributions to your last position?
If you can show you were valuable in your previous positions, it’ll help the interviewer see that the company can expect the same kind of results from you. You’ll want to have a couple of examples, both quantifiable and qualifiable.
- How do you feel you can contribute to this company?
- How quickly will you be able to contribute to this company?
- Cite specific examples of how you positively affected your last company.
- How did you help your department?
- What are your career goals?
The interviewer is looking to see how logical you are in your career goals and how you plan on attaining them.
- How does this position fit into your goals?
- How does your current skill sets fit within these goals?
- How have your career goals changed over the years?
- What are some of your most significant accomplishments?
You should elaborate on some of your key accomplishments that are already on your resume.
- In your past job?
- In your career?
- How do you work under pressure?
The interviewer is trying to see how much work you can handle and how you deal with it. As with your ‘turning weaknesses into strengths’, you should put everything in as positive a light as possible. One example would run along these lines: I had a lot of work on my plate and was unclear on the priorities. I talked with my manager and he/she clarified my duties in order of importance. This shows you aren’t afraid to ask for help and when to ask for it.
- How would you delegate work that needed to be handed out?
- What would you consider your management style to be?
- What difficulties do you have managing people?
- How do you handle pressure?
- How do you handle several projects at the same time with high deadlines?
- How would others describe you?
Try to be as honest, yet positive, as you can.
- Your colleagues?
- Your boss?
- Do you consider yourself to be a team player?
As always, being able to work with others is extremely important. Show how you worked within a team and contributed to it.
- Do you work well with your colleagues or do you prefer working independantly?
- How do you feel about your current/last position?
The interviewer is looking for relevant experiences you have with your current position, including the management style, and how it relates to the position you’ve applied for. Talk about your experiences with your duties, how you worked with others, etc.
- What do you like about it?
- What do you dislike about it?
- Why are you leaving?
- How did you feel about your boss?
- Why should we hire you for this position?
Employers are looking to hire the best candidate for any position. This person would need to work well within the framework that is already established with the company as well as show they will work the hardest for them. Let the interviewer know how you went above and beyond the call of duty in your career. Focus on your experience, your work ethic, and how you relate to your peers.
- What skills will you bring to this company?
- What are your analytical skills?
- What are your problem solving skills?
- Are you more intuitive or logical?
- What computer/equipment skills do you have?
- What attracted you to our company/the position?
List the items that you found interesting in the position and the company you are applying to.
- What interests you the most?
- What interests you the least?
- How do you hope to benefit from this company/job?
- What characteristics do you think is required for this job?
- Why are you changing jobs/careers?
Potential employers like to know why you’re leaving your current position or changing careers. It helps them to determine any risk factors there may be in hiring you. It’s important to stay upbeat and positive.
- What do you look for in a job?
- What other positions are you considering?
- What type of salary would you expect for this type of position?
The salary question is always the touchiest question. There are a couple of schools of thought regarding this. Some say that salary shouldn’t be discussed at the first interview and if it’s brought up, answer in such a way to express that you’re finding out about the job and what kind of a fit you would be. Others say you should know what the salary range is for similar positions within the industry, and if they still want to know what you expect, give them the industry standard range. You should deal with this question in a way that is comfortable for you.
- Do you have any questions for me regarding the company and/or the position?
You should always be prepared to ask questions about the company, the position, and/or the industry to show you’ve done your research.