Addressing Common Interview Questions

interview2For beginners and seasoned job hunters alike, interviews are always stressful. Although you can never eliminate the stress that comes with being interviewed for a job, you can always reduce it by being one step ahead. Here is a list of seven of the most common questions asked in job interviews, along with tips on how you could properly respond to them:

Question: Tell me something about yourself.

How to answer: Focus on the things that are work-related. Your employer doesn’t want to hear about the time you broke your leg, or the time you buried your cat. Only say relevant stuff like education and work background.

Question: Why did you apply for this specific job, and why in this specific company?

How to answer: There is no single template to respond to this question. The key is to research well on the company you are applying for before coming in for the interview. Look for the qualities they are most known for, and make sure you market yourself on the grounds of those qualities. For instance, if the company you are applying for is best known for their good customer service program, be sure to point out your extraversion in dealing with different kinds of people. Also emphasize that you are interested in personal growth, and that you think working for this specific company will help you achieve your long-term goals and career plans.

Question: How do you cope with pressure?

How to answer: A typical answer to this would be that you work well with pressure, but your interviewer would be expecting that. You can still say it, of course, but back it up by concretely discussing a story about how you once successfully completed a very stressful project.

Question: How much salary are you expecting?

How to answer: Now, this is one tricky question. The best way to answer it is not to answer it. Just say you’d rather discuss the responsibilities associated with the job first before you discuss salary. Be creatively sneaky.

Question: What do you think is your greatest strength?

How to answer: Again, research is crucial. Know exactly what they are looking for in an employee, and discuss at least five strengths related to the position you are applying for. Employers are tired of hearing stuff like, “I work well with pressure,” or “I pay great attention to detail.” What they actually want to hear at this point is your experiences. Bring up past projects that you have successfully accomplished and discuss specific situations where your strengths proved to be useful.

Question: What do you think is your biggest weakness?

How to answer: Now this is crucial. Again, employers will see right through it if you said you didn’t have any, or if you answered classics like, “I work too hard sometimes that I forget to spend time for myself.” Never, ever respond like that. The best way to answer this question is to tell the story of how you once made a small mistake on a project you were doing, and how you turned it around by doing this or that. The goal is for you to present yourself as someone who makes mistakes, but is able to immediately fix the situation.

Question: Why should we hire you?

How to answer: This question is usually the closing question, which makes it your last chance to make an impression. My advice on how to respond could be credited to a certain Haymitch Abernathy: “Make sure they remember you.” Emphasize how you are a better pick than other applicants without sounding arrogant by just reiterating your related experience and qualities.

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