How to Answer the Most Commonly Asked Interview Questions

Posted: 03/27/14 | Category:

Not every interview question requires you to calculate how many golf balls can fill a 747.  Here are a few tips to prepare for the most commonly asked interview questions.

Tell me about yourself.

By far the most open-ended question that you will hear during the interview process.  This is not the time to go on about your personal life.  Instead, this question requires you to know yourself, your goals, and your skills inside and out.

Imagine you are standing in line at a coffee shop and you wanted to convince a person to hire you before it was your turn to step to the register.  You would have no more than a minute or two to make your case.  This is the interview pitch.  It should start with the relevant skills that you have to offer the company and end with how you got to this point in your career.  Most importantly, you should explain why this company is the next place you want to be.

Why did you choose this company?

This interview question will rely heavily on the research that is essential to conduct before any interview.  Simply responding that you are here to collect a paycheck obviously isn’t going to cut it.  How will your skills mesh with what the company does?  Make yourself an undeniable asset that simply must be added to the team.

Where do you want to be in five years?

To answer this question, take what you know about the company’s goals and compare it to your personal career goals.  The closer you align yourself with its future, the better.  By asking this question, the interviewer is trying to ascertain whether or not you will be a good investment for the company.

What’s your greatest weakness?

This is a tricky interview question because it requires you to essentially badmouth yourself while trying to convince a hiring manager to bring you onboard.  The key to answering this question is not to choose a weakness that is detrimental to your ability to do the job.  Most importantly, you should add extra emphasis to your efforts for improvement.  What are you doing to overcome this weakness?

What are your strengths?

This is your opportunity to really sell your skills to the company.  Don’t bother blathering about skills that aren’t relevant to the job.  Instead, pick two or three examples that best represent what you can do to help the company reach its goals.

By Kevin Withers

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