1. Tell me a little about yourself?
The best approach to the first open-ended question is to simply be simple and brief. Start with outlining educational achievements, professional experiences, and any important skills in just a couple minutes. You should be bold, quick, and straightforward.
Once you have provided the outline, start asking questions to determine what the employer is looking to get out of hiring you. Remember, the interviewer isn’t wanting to know everything about your life and likely does not care about half of what you have done. If your answer is to long you risk giving to much information that the employer isn’t looking for and could be hinder you being hired.
What the employer is wanting to know is:
• Are you able to do the job, and have the skills?
• Are you a good fit for the team and be productive?
• Are you going to create issues, such as leaving shortly after, cause a lawsuit, or try to sue the company, or just be an issue to work with in general?
Pay attention on what it is you do, highlighting what sets you apart from others. Being able to differentiate yourself from the competition is a really smart way to get ahead.
2. What was the reason for leaving your previous job?
Life is all about change, but when it comes to employers, they are looking to understand why you decided to make the change in employment.
It is important that you remain positive, without responding negatively about the prior employer or co-workers. Your response should focus on the future rather than the past.
“I did not find my previous job to be to easy and not enough challenge. It did not motivate me anymore. I liked my boss and co-workers, but I found myself no longer motivated by the position. Based on the description of this position, I believe it will create new motivation for me.”
Employers know that every person that is responsible will have some type of goal. When being asked this from a recruiter, they are really just trying to find out if you have any goals or dreams. Although, how you respond is important too.
When answering, many tend to make a mistake, such as saying their dream is to have a business of their own. This is not a good response as companies are not looking to hire someone with the goal of leaving in a couple years to begin their own business.
Because of this, it’s best to mention personal goals, or if possible connect your future goals with the company in some way. Below are some good answers to respond with during an interview.
“My five year goal is to be a great manager and helping obtain exceptional results for my employer and the company. “
3.2. What weaknesses do you have?
Rather than define your weaknesses, it is important to redirect the focus to defining how you handle your weaknesses and overcome them, or improve them. The interviewer and employer are looking to hear that you acknowledge your weakness, but also know how to improve on them, this shows positive attitudes.
The second thing you should focus on is what weakness to respond with. You should avoid using a weakness that is required for the hire position. This isn’t very complicated and should be rather straightforward.
“I’m not a very patient person, which is obviously a bad thing. However, I have been working towards it daily by being more tolerant to others and controlling myself. It is not easy, but over the years I have made significant progress.”
3.3. What was your reason for applying?
The interviewer will attempt to understand motives and intentions, this can actually benefit you as well. By preparing great answer to the question, you may be able to convenience the interviewer that it’s worth spending time talking to you for the position, right from the start.
The may thing to remember is to talk about the company rather than yourself (explained later). Prior to the interview it is recommend that you take a look at their website, and the jobs description so that you are ale to prepare a better answer.
“The job description really stuck out to me and I liked the positions responsibilities. I believe I am a perfect match for the position, and a potential asset for the team and company. That is the reason behind submitting my application, and I have relative work experience as well.”
3.4. What is the reason we should hire you?
This can be one of the harder questions of an interview. However, if you prepare an answer that is convincing, it can lead to you being hired for the job.
This is where your USP (Unique Selling Point) comes into play, and should be your main focus. It refers to showing the interviewer something unique that separates you from the rest, something no one else is offering to the employer. At this stage, generalized phrases will not be effective. You will need to find something unique that you can provide.
I am able to fulfill all of the requirements of the position. Although, I’m sure there are others who can fulfill all of them too, but being a nice person I aim to create a great atmosphere in the workplace. This helps, especially when the team is stressed and beginning to be negative about reaching goals.
3.5. What’s your largest achievements?
Employers look at achievements as being more significant than experience, and everyone has some type of achievement. However, some people just don’t realize they have them, or they’re not able to talk about them.
When it comes to this question, both personal and work, tangible or intangible achievements can leave an impression on the interviewer. For instance, if you used to be a heavy smoker and quit, it shows that you have strong will power and determination.
Life has created achievements on it’s own, you just have to realize how and choose the best ones for answering this question.
“When I was the Sales Manager for XYZ Inc., sales increased 20% yearly.”
3.6. What expectations do you have for salary?
If you reach this question during the interview, it means they are considering you as a potential hire. However, you should never be the one that brings it up.
The correct way to respond is by making the interviewer aware that your deciding factor is not based on the salary. Although, you don’t want to respond with less than your lowest expectations. If responding with a number is required, the best thing is to have average salary statistics to back you up.
“Salary isn’t a deciding factor to me. I like the description of the position and would like the job. I can accept average salary for the position that’s in the $35,000 to $40,000 range, according to my statistical knowledge.”
3.7. Is there any questions you would like to ask?
During or after the interview you will be given a chance to ask questions. It’s a good idea to ask at least one or two questions, or more. This shows that you have a true interest in the company, and that you’re motivated for the job. However, what do you ask?
It is important not to ask about something that was previously mentioned or answered during the interview, or was already explained in the job description, the interviewer will take this as a sign you were not paying attention. Below are some question ideas:
• What will the next step be in the interview process?
• Can you provide more detail about the workplace environment?
• What are the company goals for the next year, five years, or ten years?
Other interview questions:
II. Top 8 job interview tips:
1. Conducting Employer Research
Knowledge is an important fundamental for a successful job interview as it develops the foundation from the start. It is important to understand the job requirements, the employer, and if possible the background of those interviewing you. The more research you conduct, the more you will be able to understand the employer and be able to prepare great answers. Sources or information can include the company website, content that’s been published, contact networks, research tools and search engines.
2. Prepare Response by Reviewing Commonly Asked Interview Questions
This is another key factor to being successful with preparing your answers for the interview. The first step is to inquire what style of interview you should expect, this can be done by asking the organizations contact person. Your goal will be to prepare answers that are detailed, but brief. You should focus on certain examples and achievements. One method for remembering responses is to create story style format that you’re able to tell during the interview. However, there is no need to memorize your responses, and really best if you don’t, but you should at lest create talking points.
3. First Impressions are Important
One of the cardinal rules of the interview process: Be polite and positive, warmly greeting everyone you meet from the parking attendant and receptionists to the hiring manager. Employers tend to be curious about how the job applicant will treat staff members, and the job offer may be lost simply because you was arrogant or rude to any members of the staff. Remember, when it is interview time that first impressions are important, as the interviewers first few seconds can quickly determine the rest of the interview.
You should dress well to make a great first impression, arrive early, and greet the interviewer by standing and smiling, making eye contact, and give a firm handshake that’s not to hard or soft. Keep in mind that a positive attitude, and showing enthusiasm for the employer and position are important during the first interview stages; studies have indicated that the first 20 minutes of an interview often play a critical role in the hiring managers decisions.
4. Dressing for Success
Your outfit should be planned around the culture of the organization to achieve the most professional appearance possible. Keep in mind, it’s better to show up over dressed than under-dressed, wearing clothing that is clean and fits well. Jewelry and accessories should be kept to a minimum. Avoid smoking or eating just before an interview, and brush your teeth or use mouthwash if possible.
5. Arriving on Time
When it comes to an interview, there are not excuses to being late, besides maybe a disaster. You should aim to arrive 15 minutes prior to scheduled start time to provide time for any additional paperwork, and it allows you time to settle in. If you arrive early enough, you can also observe the workplace dynamics.
The day prior to your interview, gather and pack additional resume or CV copies, and a reference list too. If you have samples or a portfolio of prior work, prepare those as well. You should also pack several pens, and a note pad, and remember to turn off your cell phone when you get to the office.
6. Avoid Bad Habits, Remember Your Body Language
Your response to interview questions is important, but remember that poor body language can become a distraction, or even the cause for not being hired. Forms of body language that are effective include eye contact, smiling, active listening, solid posture, and nodding. The forms of body language that should be avoided include looking off, slouching, fidgeting, touching the face, brushing back hair, mumbling, and chewing gum.
7. Asking Questions that are Insightful
There has been various studies that indicate employers judge applicants based on their interest in the job by their questions. Therefore, even if the interviewer provided thorough answers regarding the job, and what is to be expected, you need to ask a couple questions.
It is suggested to prepare questions several days prior to the interview and adding additional questions as they arise during the interview process. For ideas on questions, look at our Job Interview Questions you can Ask, and our article, Use Questions to Leave Lasting Impression at Job Interviews.
8. Interview Thank You Letter
As mentioned previously, politeness and common courtesy play a big part during the interview process, including after it has ended. It is important to thank each person involved in the interview process. You should thank each person at the end of the interview prior to leaving, then write a thank you email and even letters shortly after the interview. This will not ensure you land the job, but it provides an edge over those who did not send out thank you notes.
Top 7 interview questions with answers
1. What have you done to improve your knowledge in the last year?
Try to include improvement activities that relate to the job. A wide variety of activities can be mentioned as positive self-improvement. Have some good ones handy to mention.
2. What experience do you have in this field?
Speak about specifics that relate to the position you are applying for. If you do not have specific experience, get as close as you can.
3. Describe a typical work week for you.
Interviewers expect a candidate for employment to discuss what they do while they are working in detail. Before you answer, consider the position you are applying for and how your current or past positions relate to it. The more you can connect your past experience with the job opening, the more successful you will be at answering the questions.
It should be obvious that it’s not a good idea talk about non-work related activities that you do on company time, but, I’ve had applicants tell me how they are often late because they have to drive a child to school or like to take a long lunch break to work at the gym.
Keep your answers focused on work and show the interviewer that you’re organized (“The first thing I do on Monday morning is check my voicemail and email, then I prioritize my activities for the week.”) and efficient.
4. What kind of salary do you need?
A loaded question. A nasty little game that you will probably lose if you answer first. So, do not answer it. Instead, say something like, That’s a tough question. Can you tell me the range for this position? In most cases, the interviewer, taken off guard, will tell you. If not, say that it can depend on the details of the job. Then give a wide range.
5. Explain how you would be an asset to this organization
You should be anxious for this question. It gives you a chance to highlight your best points as they relate to the position being discussed. Give a little advance thought to this relationship.
6. What is your greatest strength?
Numerous answers are good, just stay positive. A few good examples: Your ability to prioritize, Your problem-solving skills, Your ability to work under pressure, Your ability to focus on projects, Your professional expertise, Your leadership skills, Your positive attitude
7. Do you have any questions for me?
Always have some questions prepared. Questions prepared where you will be an asset to the organization are good. How soon will I be able to be productive? and What type of projects will I be able to assist on? Are examples.