You’ve landed the job interview, but you have mixed emotions. You’re both excited that you made the cut and anxious about how to answer the interviewer’s questions.
While it’s normal to feel this way before an interview, being well prepared and confident in providing answers that position you as the best person for the job will help you get it. One way to appear confident and well prepared is by making sure you know how to answer those important questions.
While interviewers ask questions geared to specific positions, most also ask several general questions at nearly every interview. This means you can actually prepare for these questions early, and with some tweaking, tailor them to your current job interview. These broad questions help companies learn a little more about you, determine if you are a fit for their culture, and see if you are qualified for the job.
Tell me about yourself.
This is your elevator speech. Usually the first question, it is intended to break the ice. Provide a brief recap here of your work experience and any applicable education and make sure to highlight the experience that specifically pertains to the position. Wrap up by mentioning what you like to do outside of work. Be careful not to give too long of an answer and use up all your interview time with this one question. Three to four minutes is a good amount of time, so rehearse this one with a stopwatch.
What is your greatest strength?
This is one of the easier questions. Determine two or three of your strongest skills and draft some responses. During the interview, reply with the skill most appropriate for the job’s qualifications. Wrap up your answer with how that strength has helped you succeed in the past and how it will help you effectively perform this job.
What is your greatest weakness?
This usually follows “What is your greatest strength?” and can be harder to answer. There are a couple ways to answer this. Try turning a negative into a positive. For example, you might get frustrated when team members try to outshine each other and jeopardize an entire project. Explain how you work to improve upon this trait and what this has taught you about yourself. Another option is to answer by mentioning a skill that is not essential to the job. Again, follow up with what you’ve learned and how you have tried to improve. It’s important that employers know you are open to continually improving your job skills.
Why are you the right person for the job?
If “Tell me about yourself” was your elevator speech, then this one is more likely a sales presentation. Look over your resume and find the two or three skills or attributes that make you a perfect fit for the job at hand and compose an answer that directly links these attributes to the job requirements. Convince the interviewer that you have the right skills, that you would be a great fit for the company culture, and that you can succeed in the job.
What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Draft one or more responses for the accomplishments you are most proud of and, again, link them to the job’s requirements. If you can provide evidence of how your employer benefited from your accomplishments, it could be your ace in the hole.
Hopefully you’re feeling a little more confident about those looming interview questions. Now it’s time to get to work and start preparing for your next interview. Good luck!
Is there a different question you are often asked during job interviews? Tell us what it is and how you answer in the comment section below.
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