You’ve done the work of submitting your resume to several companies.
Not just that, you made sure that your resume is tailored to meet the needs of your preferred companies.
You even hired an expert to review your resume. This is to make sure that you are putting your best foot forward.
After several days, and sometimes even months, the responses started coming in one after the other.
They have one thing in common: the interview stage.
Another recruitment hurdle you must scale through in your job search.
Depending on whether you used a recruitment agency or internal recruiter, you suddenly started having mixed feelings about the job.
Different questions start popping up on your mind.
What if the interviewer doesn’t like me? What if they don’t like my face? What if I start shaking? Should I smile or not?
Just relax. Calm down. It’s not always like that. I’ll explain.
The interview stage is often the most dreaded part of getting your dream job.
But with this comprehensive guide of common interview questions and practical answers, you’ll go in more confident, which will ultimately help you land your dream job.
1) What are your greatest strengths?
You must have already written a cover letter describing yourself with a word like result oriented or any other adjective with which you chose to describe yourself.
Use something in your academic or previous job history to back up that answer.
Examples of some soft skills to include are detail oriented, hardworking, managerial skills, quick learner, team player, interpersonal skills, creative, analytical, efficient, ask good questions, self-motivated, and organized.
Always describe yourself with one of this or another when writing a cover letter.
It will go a long way in giving your prospective employers a good first impression about you.
A little word of caution here, don’t say what you are not. It will come back to hurt you later.
2) What are your weaknesses?
Do not respond with something cliché like “I work too hard”. Instead respond with areas you’ve had problems but you have since fixed.
If you used to be disorganized, tell the interviewer steps you have since taken to make yourself more organized.
For example, some people are easily distracted by their phones when at work.
A good way to overcome this weakness is to put your phone in airplane mode until work is done for the day.
3) Why are you interested in working for our company?
You need to have done your due diligence on the company you are applying to.
You should know their vision and mission statement. You should know about their work culture, and their values.
Some common answers are: You believe in their mission. You have an interest in the industry. You like their brand. You believe your skill set can help the company succeed.
Tailor your answer to the specific company.
Tell the interviewer how important you believe their company is to the industry and how you believe you can help bring the vision to fruition.
Make sure you sell yourself as an asset to the company. No one wants a liability as an employee.
4) Why do you want to leave your current company?
There is no direct answer to this question.
The golden rule here is, never say anything negative about your previous employers. But be honest and stay positive.
Always talk about the things you love not the other side.
Even if you got fired, present it in a positive light. Don’t try to avoid the question.
Explain the situation as best as you can. Tell the interviewer you have since taken the step to improve and you are confident of doing a better job going forward.
If you are taking on a new challenge, explain that you felt the time was right to take up a new challenge and you believe your skill base wasn’t being used to its full potential.
You might say that you are leaving because of lack of growth opportunities in your previous role, and you see your new company as a place to improve your experience while adding value.
Make sure that you give a positive vibe when answering questions. You don’t want to be seen as a bitter employee.
In all you do, don’t try to avoid the question. It only shows that you have something to hide.
And most employers won’t hire anyone who dodges questions.
Be honest and diplomatic with your approach. It is possible to be honest and positive with your answers.
Your answer should reflect that you are a deep thinker and problem solver.
Prospective employers are mostly looking for how you’ll handle this question.
5) Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years?
With this question, they are simply trying to know if you’re here to stay or you want to use the company as a stepping stone.
Common answers include: You hope to increase your skills and learn more about the industry.
You aren’t sure exactly where you’ll be in five years, but you’d like to have worked your way up into a management position.
Avoid saying you have no idea. This is a bad idea in itself. (Pun intended).
Your answer your show that you are committed to your growth and personal development.
The value you add to yourself will directly or indirectly be felt by the company.
6) Why should we hire you?
You have actually been answering this question throughout the whole course of the interview. So it has a fairly simple answer.
Tell them how your history and work experience makes you an ideal candidate.
Reference the skills, abilities, and knowledge you have that is either directly applicable to the job, or transferable in some way.
Tell the interviewer that you hope to make their job easier by taking on as much responsibility as possible.
Before the interview, you should have done your due diligence on the role you want to fill in the firm.
Always tailor your answers to fit such roles as to why you are the best candidate for the job.
For example, if you’re interested in filling the role of an Online Editor, you can reference skills such as copy writing, writing, and search engine optimization. These skills are useful in that particular role.
And if you’re a published author, tell them how your experience will help you in your new job.
Like I said earlier, sell yourself. Don’t exaggerate your skills. At the same time, don’t sell yourself short.
7) Tell Us about Yourself
This can actually be used as a trick whereby you spill too much about yourself.
Older applicants can start talking about family history which helps the interviewers figure out what the real age of the candidate might be or decipher if they’ll actually be able to devote time to the job.
Answer like this:
Stick to talking about the job and why you are interested in it.
Talk about yourself in terms of interpersonal and communication skills.
Let them know you are a focused, goal and achievement oriented person.
The more you practice this interview sessions, the better you get at answering the questions.
So let a close relation or friend play the role of an employer and practice your interview Q&A.