Ten Interview Questions You should Always be Prepared to Answer, and How to Make Your Answers Stand Out
According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder.com less than half of the candidates that apply for an average job make it through initial screening to a phone or in-person interview. For those who have passed this initial hurdle, here are some tips on how to impress with the Ten Interview Questions You should Always be Prepared to Answer.
1) Tell me about yourself.
- This is your first opportunity to break the ice with the prospective employer. You want to tell them enough about you personally that they can identify with you, while integrating in how your skills and experience can serve you in the open role you are interviewing for.
2) Why do you want to leave your current employer?
- Be honest, but edit wisely. For example, if you don’t like your boss do not badmouth them. You might say you are not comfortable with the current management style in your position, and are looking for something with more or less direction.
3) What do you know about our company and its culture?
- Do your research before you get to the interview. Spend time on the company’s website to familiarize yourself with its projects, footprint and current customer base. Make sure you have questions prepared for the interviewer on this subject.
4) What is your greatest strength?
- Make sure you can give quantifiable examples with your explanation. If you can’t prove your strength, then why should they believe you.
5) What is your biggest weakness?
- This is the hardest question for many interviewees, and most people have a generic answer that can also be “turned to their advantage.” The interviewer has heard this answer hundreds of times. Put some thought into what can actually be perceived as a weakness in this new role, and be ready to answer with ways you will be working on improving it as well.
6) Why are you interested in this job or company?
- This should be easy after you have researched the company. If you didn’t find something about the product/service, company or its values that you could identify with then you shouldn’t be interviewing for a job.
7) How do you handle conflict?
- Cater this question to the job environment. For an executive type role you should be capable of resolving your own conflicts, as well as those between others fairly. A lower level type role would need to fully understand the dynamic of the team.
8) Tell me about a time when you failed.
- Your response here should be a productive example. Be honest about a project or problem that wasn’t resolved, and how specifically you led to that failure. Then explain what you learned from the mistakes, and how you will prevent their reoccurrence.
9) Are you a strategic thinker?
- Use your research here as well. Be ready to demonstrate that you are forward thinking, creative and a problem solver. Have an example of how you used these skills in a prior task.
10) What salary are you looking for?
- Don’t overreach. The company will ask how much you are earning in your current role, and they understand the market better than you do. The average pay increase when changing jobs is 8-10%, unless there will be a cost of living adjustment or relocation assistance required.