Tag Archives: interview questions

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: Which Interview Questions Do You Need Help With?

Interviews can be tough.

When you sit down with someone you’ve never met before, answering personal questions about your work history and experience can be awkward.

The key to acing an interview? Being prepared for those rough questions.

We want to write articles perfectly matched to your interview question concerns. So take our poll and let us know what questions you want help with! We’ll use your responses when creating content for 2019. (more…)

Nervous in an Interview? Get Rid of the Butterflies with These Three Tips

Job interview anxiety got you down? We’re here to help.

Being nervous isn’t a bad thing. It’s your body’s fight-or-flight response trying to protect you. But sometimes that normal response can be overpowering, causing you to doubt yourself and flub questions.

Luckily, it’s possible to reduce those nervous feelings with a few techniques.

Prepare

The best way to reduce interview question-related anxiety is to already know the answers to any questions your interviewer could ask. Although you might not be able to figure out every single topic they could quiz you on, a quick online search can teach you quite a bit about your potential employer.

Research everything you can about the company. Know a bit of the company’s history, the company culture, and see if you can find any information about your interviewer.

Next, find out where you fit with this company. What is it that you can do in this position that nobody else can do? Come in with specific statistics if you can (for instance, increased page views by ___%, reduced customer service call time by ___%, increased product turnover time by ___$, improved your safety rating to ___ level, etc.).

Prepare answers to the most frequently asked interview questions, like “where do you see yourself in five years?

For company-specific questions, check out Glassdoor. Users upload questions for their interviews so you can be sure to impress.

Practice

Great, now you’re prepared! The next step? Putting all that hard work into practice.

If you haven’t been to many interviews (or haven’t interviewed in several years), you might not be comfortable with the process. Being alone in a room with some person you’ve never met quizzing you on your life and experience can be awkward.

That’s where practice comes in! Grab a friend or family member and go over questions and answers together. Practice your handshake (it should be firm but not threatening), your eyeline (look them in the eye but don’t stare at them the whole time), and your timing. Make sure your responses don’t go on for longer than 60 seconds or so, unless you’ve got stories that can really capture attention.

The more you go through the interview process, the more comfortable you’ll become with yourself and your answers. And that’s the version of yourself interviewers want to see!

Calm Yourself

Obviously, this is easier said than done. On the day of the interview, you have a billion thoughts swirling in your head. Will they like me? Am I even good enough for this position? What was my name again?

Psychology Today has several techniques to cut down on these thoughts.

These include breathing (“try breathing for a count of 4, hold for 2, and breathe out for a count of 4”), sighing (“take a breath and let it out like a sigh. You’ll probably feel your shoulders relax”), self-compassion (“focus on these words: Wisdom. Strength. Warmth. Nonjudgement), and, interestingly, getting outside of yourself.

What does that last one mean? Caring about others. Anxiety makes you think about yourself and how your own personal world is going to end for one reason or another. That’s why Psychology Today recommends you “make a point of focusing on others and being empathetic.” Talk to people about their day and how they’re feeling, from the receptionist to your interviewer to texting friends and family. Realize you’re not alone out there!

You’re Ready!

That’s it. You’ve done everything you can do to get rid of that pesky interview anxiety. Odds are, there’s still a little bit nagging at you under the surface. But you’re the one in control. You’ve prepared your answers and interview style, know the company, and are as calm as you can be. Get in there and show them why you’re the best person for the job!

Have you ever been nervous in an interview? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments section below!

Asking Relevant Questions After an Interview

Does your interviewer keep answering your questions before you can ask them? We’ve got you covered.

Last month we asked what parts of the job interview process you need help with. You all agreed that asking relevant questions was your top pick, so that’s what we’re covering today!

During your interview preparation journey, you’ve no doubt come across the tip that you absolutely must ask questions at the end of an interview. This is true. Asking great questions shows your interest in the position and helps you stand out against the competition. However, what do you do if your interviewer already answered the questions you had prepared?

The key lies in your question preparation. You need to come up with multiple insightful questions so you have backups at the end of the interview. However, avoid asking questions just to ask them—everything you prepare should be relevant to the position.

We realize it’s hard to come up with these questions on your own, so we’ve prepared a few of our favorites. Feel free to customize them to suit your unique interview situation.

1. A question asking for more information about the job.

For example: If I were hired for this position, how would my performance be measured?

This question shows that you’re interested in the intricacies of the position beyond the job description. It also shows that you’re goal-oriented and are already thinking about how you can be the best employee possible.

2. Something specific about the company’s culture that wasn’t covered online.

For example: What factors were considered when designing your logo? How did you settle on your current mission statement?

Although this question will change depending on the company, showing an interest in the company’s culture is always a great idea. Such a question displays your passion and interest in the company as something more than a place where your job is.

3. A question specifically tailored for your interviewer.

For example: I saw on LinkedIn that you oversaw [project name]. What was that experience like?

Or: Have you ever had an experience at [company] that really made you think ‘this is what it means to work at [company]? What was that like?

These questions show that you’re curious not only about the company, but about your interviewer as well. A slightly more personal question can get an interviewer to lower their defenses and see you as an individual, not just a job applicant. You can also get great answers from these questions that provide a behind-the-scenes look at the company. Just make sure not to ask about any failed projects or hard financial times.

4. A question regarding the recent history of the company.

For example: I saw that the company recently overcame [problem]. Would it be alright if we discussed how that was achieved?

Be careful with this one. Although showing that you’re interested in how your skills can solve a past company problem, you don’t always know how an interviewer is going to react. Some companies keep these problems close to their vest, while others love to see brave interviewees take on problems before they even get an offer. Research online, get a feel for the culture, and only then decide if you want to take the plunge. Avoid any emotional issues like layoffs or company reorganization.

5. And if it wasn’t covered, always ask:

What will the next steps look like?

This one is more for your benefit than the interviewer’s, but it does show that that you care about what happens next. And you’d be surprised how many interviewers fail to cover it during the interview!

Have any question you’ve had success with in interviews? Let us know in the comments section below.

Scary Interview Questions in Time for Halloween

Are you spooked by interview questions that are difficult to answer? Interviews can be scary, but they don’t have to be. Take a look at these common interview questions and click each link to discover tips for answering them with ease.

Why are you looking for a change?

What are your greatest weaknesses?

What is your desired salary?

Why should I hire you?

Have you ever failed?

Why is there a gap in your work history?

How do you answer scary interview questions? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

COM15_ScaryInterviewQuestions

3 Interview Questions That Should Never Stress You Out

interview_questions_stress_webBefore a job interview, it’s common to feel anxious about what you could be asked and wonder what kind of curve-ball questions might be thrown your way. However, as a Forbes article reveals, “it turns out, most companies will ask more common interview questions.” And that means during your prep time the night before your interview, you can prepare yourself for many of the questions that could be asked.

Realistically, it would probably take too much time and effort to practice answering all the common interview questions. But, when Forbes, U.S. News, and Monster published their most common interview questions lists, there were three questions that consistently appeared near the top of all three lists. So, if you want to make a good impression and take some of the stress out interviewing, make sure you’re at least ready to respond to these three questions.

Why are you leaving your current job?
Yes, it may be the all-time most dreaded question, but you better have your answer ready. Monster recommends that your response focuses on what you’re looking for in this new position. For instance, the article suggested, “After two years, I made the decision to look for a company that is team-focused, where I can add my experience.” U.S. News advocates that you can also cite new challenges that you’re seeking, a recent move, financial instability at your former employer, and other true reasons. They suggest avoiding badmouthing employers or complaining about work. The same applies if you’re unemployed and the interviewer is asking why you left your previous job. The number one thing to remember is to stay truthful and positive.

Why do you want to work here?
While this one might seem easy to answer, you want to answer it well. Simply saying you just need a job, paycheck, or health insurance isn’t going to impress the potential employer. “Your answer here should focus on what about the substance of the role most interests you,” U.S. News explains. “Interviewers want to hire people who have carefully considered whether this is a job they’d be glad to work at every day, and that means focusing on the work itself, not what the job can do for you.” So, as you prepare your answer to this question, think back to the key tasks and responsibilities listed in the job description and specifically pinpoint what piqued your interest.

Why should we hire you?
This question is your chance to sell your skills and experience to the employer and to convince them that you will benefit their organization. As U.S. News amply explains, “If you don’t know the answer to that, it’s unlikely that your interviewer will figure it out either.” Of all the questions, this is the one you must be ready to answer. By combining your “elevator speech” with the specific details you know about the employer and position, you should be able to present your abilities and experience as a solution to the company’s needs.

There are plenty of reasons to feel nervous about a job interview, but being anxious because you’re unprepared for the questions shouldn’t be one of them. And, Monster agrees – “Too many job seekers stumble through interviews as if the questions are coming out of left field. But many interview questions are to be expected.” So spend a little time thinking through potential questions and formulating your responses. Not only will you be more likely to impress the interviewer and move on to a second interview, you’ll also be less stressed and better able to spot the signs that the interview has gone well.

How do you prepare for common interview questions? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

How to Show Confidence in a Job Interview

Interviews can be nerve wracking. They can make your heart race and your palms sweat. But, it’s important not to let your nerves get the best of you. When interviewing, employers are seeking those who exude confidence and are able to present themselves as professionals. Confidence is a belief in yourself and your abilities. So, here are few tips to help give you some extra confidence before your next job interview.

Be prepared: Before every interview, take time to prepare. Visit the company’s website and get a good overview about the company and its philosophy. Also, if you can, find out general information about the person interviewing you. You don’t necessarily have to know everything about the individual, but definitely know their job title and how to pronounce their name correctly to help ensure you create a good first impression. Be sure to know the details about the job you’re applying for and be able to speak about it. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be. So make sure you do your homework and know about the employer researching the company.

Arrive early: Being late to an interview can make you feel flustered and stressed – not a great start for exuding confidence. So, be sure you arrive early to your interview to give yourself plenty of time to locate your interview location and familiarize yourself with the environment. And if you’re early to your interview, you’ll also have time to review your talking points and calm your nerves.

Know how to answer common questions: Be prepared to answer questions an interviewer is likely to ask. Go over common interview questions until you can answer them flawlessly. Ask a friend to pretend they are your interviewer and practice answering those questions in various ways. By practicing common interview questions, you’ll be better prepared for whatever questions come your way. Knowing that you have practiced in advance and that you have good answers prepared will definitely boost your confidence. Also, most interviewers like it when you can give them examples of past situations that can give them insight into your work ethic and professional demeanor. So, give examples of scenarios in your career or life when trying to explain a point. For example, if the interviewer wants to know about your strengths, give them an example of when your strengths enabled you to excel in a task.

Ask questions: This is where a lot of interviewees choke. Expect that an interviewer will ask you if you have any questions for them. Instead of replying no, prepare some questions you want to ask. This shows you’ve put some thought into your interview and you think it’s important. It will also show a potential employer your confidence and that you’re not afraid to ask questions. 

Dress appropriately: You can boost your attitude and self-confidence just by the way you dress. When you’re dressed well, you feel good about yourself. If you’re applying for a professional job, consider wearing a suit. If you’re applying for a construction job, a nice pair of slacks and a polo shirt might be more appropriate. In order to make a great first impression, choose professional attire which includes button down shirts, conservative shoes, and solid suits.

Be aware of nonverbal cues: Maintaining eye contact is probably one of the most important nonverbal cues you can have in life and definitely in an interview. This shows the interviewer that you are interested and paying attention to what they’re saying. It shows you’re engaged in the conversation. Be sure you look at them when giving your answers. But, you don’t want to stare them down. It’s OK to break eye contact and look around. Also, before you allow shyness to overwhelm you, sit up straight. Good posture communicates that you’re alert and excited about the opportunity. Slouching sends the impression that you’re bored and don’t care. Finally, mirror the nonverbal cues of your interviewer. Lean forward or sit back when they do to demonstrate that you’re engaged in the conversation.

Be confident even in your weaknesses: Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Letting the interviewer know your strengths will definitely show what you are capable of. But, it’s also ok to mention your weaknesses. Actually, interviewers prefer to know that you have some and that you are aware of them. After all, nobody is perfect. But, be prepared to talk about how you are trying to work for them. By telling the interviewer how you’re working to improve on those weaknesses, you will show your willingness to be better and how you’re trying to turn your weaknesses to strengths.

Confidence can easily set you apart from others applying for the same job, so be sure to be eloquent, clear, and concise when speaking. Follow these tips to help make your next interview a success.