From the straight forward to the ridiculous, some interview questions can be difficult to answer. And, apart from federal, state, and province prohibited questions – like inquiries regarding your race, religion, nationality, marital status, or age – the sky’s the limit for employers on job related questions to ask during an interview. To keep you on your toes and to learn more about your ability to be creative and thoughtful under pressure, some employers have even been known to ask hypothetical questions about what type of superhero or animal you would be. So, it can be hard to anticipate the types of questions you’ll be asked. But, preparing in advance by staging your own Q&A could help keep you from being caught off guard in your next interview.
While you can’t anticipate every question, there are a few questions you should expect to hear during an interview. They may be asked in different ways, but these common questions are a staple in every company’s interview process, so be sure you’re prepared to answer them.
Can you please share a little bit about yourself? Often the go-to opener for interviewers asking you to describe yourself, this question gives employers an opportunity to break the ice, ease into the interview, and get you talking. When asked, just give a brief summary of relevant facts about your education, work experience, and your reason for applying. Be sure to demonstrate an attitude of enthusiasm and confidence when you’re telling about yourself. Be engaging, positive, outgoing, and let your personality shine through.
What are your strengths? In your spare time, you may be an excellent baker or candlestick maker, but when asked, make sure you discuss strengths that would complement and benefit the job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re interviewing for an administrative position, expound on your organizational skills or your can-do attitude – and be sure to give specific examples of times you demonstrated those strengths at work or during a difficult situation. Potential employers need to know what you can do for their company and strategically sharing your strengths is a great way to communicate your abilities.
What are your weaknesses? Sharing your weaknesses is a little more intimidating than sharing your strengths, but you can still show employees your good qualities by being honest about your weaknesses and letting them know how you’re working to improve them. Make sure you pick only one or two weaknesses to discuss. Keep them brief and relate them back to your job. Avoid character flaws like anger issues or an inability to work with others, and remember to explain how you’re actively remedying your weaknesses.
Where do you see yourself in five years? For some, questions about future goals and plans can be difficult to answer. But, by putting some thought into your answer, you can show your drive, ambition, goals, and interests. Just make sure your answer also shows you’d be willing to grow with the company you’re interviewing with.
Do you have any questions? At the end of an interview, most employers will ask if you have any questions for them. So, be sure you do your homework and have some questions of your own prepared. Having thoughtful questions to ask your potential employer demonstrates your interest and enthusiasm for the position. And, it will help you close the interview with confidence. Not sure what questions to ask in your interview? Check out these seven great questions to get you started.
You can’t plan for every question you’ll be asked in an interview. But, you can practice answering common interview questions most employers ask to better prepare for your next job interview.