Answering the Interview Question

Answering the Interview Question: Tell Me About Yourself

How Much Do They Want to Know?

Some interviewers prefer to kick things off with a general question instead of something specific. Asking you to talk about yourself tells them two things: 1. How you handle being put on the spot and 2. Information about your experience they can use as a baseline for the rest of your interview.

Since the question is so general, it can be hard to figure out where to start. But the open nature of the question also allows you to create a unique answer that shows off your personality and experience. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

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Answering the Interview Question: Why Should I Hire You?

Do you have an answer ready?

This question is like the shark in Jaws. You never know when it’s going to attack. It could be at the beginning of the interview, or maybe in the middle. It’s even possible it catches you off guard at the end when you think you’re safe.

What’s so scary? It’s only five words. “Why should I hire you?”  You might also get “Why do you want to work at this company,” or something else along similar lines.

The scary thing is that answering these questions requires plenty of preparation beforehand. This is probably not an answer you can come up with right away (especially if you first consider saying “because I need money, duh.”)

Here are a few essential things to include in your answer.

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Answering the Interview Question: Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job/Company?

How honest is too honest?

This interview is going quite well. You’re pretty sure you’ve aced every question, and you can really see yourself working at this company. But then your interviewer turns to you, smiles, and asks the dreaded question: “One last question before you go: Why are you leaving your position at XYZ company?”

Your heart starts beating a mile a minute. Why are they asking this? Should you tell them your manager is terrible? Should you mention the toxic work culture? Maybe that’s not even the problem, and all you want is a change of pace—is that answer too boring?

If this situation sounds familiar, you’re not alone. In a recent Job Journey survey, 13% of respondents wanted help with this question. And it’s easy to see why—there are too many ways to answer it.

That makes it all the more important to come prepared with your answer well before you arrive for your interview. There is no one-answer-fits-all solution, but we’ve provided a few of our favorites below. Feel free to mix and match to find something that works for you.

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Answering the Interview Question: What Are Your Top 3 Strengths and Weaknesses?

Here’s a hint: Think outside the box.

This is a question that comes up A LOT. Interviewers use it not just to see where you fit into their company, but also to see how you react to the question. It’s not just your answer they’re considering; it’s how you answer.

So, you have to be confident and know what you’re saying. That means preparing beforehand.

There’s quite a bit of advice out there you’ve probably heard before: Start with your weaknesses. Finish up with your strengths so the interviewer remembers them instead of the weaknesses. (more…)

Poll Results: Answering the Hardest Interview Questions

Here’s what you had to say.

Recently we asked our Movin’ On Up readers the interview questions they need help with.

The top choice was “What are your top five strengths and weaknesses,” with more than 32% of the vote. “Why are you leaving (or want to leave) your current job/company” came in second with just under 13% of the vote, followed by “Why should I Hire You,” “Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years,” and “Other” with 9% each. The rest of the responses were as follows:

  • “Tell Me About Yourself.”—8%
  • “What Are Your Most Impressive Accomplishments to Date.”—5%
  • “Describe Your Perfect Work Environment/Company Culture.”—4%
  • “What Would Your Coworkers Say About You? Both Good and Bad.”—4%
  • “Why Do You Want to Work At Our Company?”—3%
  • “Do You Like to Take Charge of Projects and Situations or Would You Rather Receive Direction?”—3%
  • “If You Could Change Something about Your Past (Or Current) Job, What Would It Be?”—1%
  • “Describe Your Perfect Boss/Manager.”—1%

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Answering the Interview Question: Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Ideal responses for one of the trickiest interview questions. This one is right up there with “tell me your top five strengths and weaknesses.” In an ideal world, prospective employers would only ask about your workplace experiences (teamwork, job responsibilities, how you handled projects, etc.) and draw their own conclusions about you as an employee from there. But that doesn’t always happen. Some companies have set questions they ask potential employees to weed out undesirable candidates from the rest of the applicants. Asking where you see yourself  in five years is one of those questions. Your answer can tell them something about your drive, your desire to keep working at their company, and where you think this position fits into your career and overall life. Here are our tips on how to best answer. Focus on Upward Movement Most employers want an employee that plans on improving over time. They don’t want you to be content with the same responsibilities year after year. The expectation is that you’ll come to …