Interview Questions to Prepare for Now!

September 19th, 2009 | Interviewing | No Comments »


Tell me about yourself
Make a short, organized statement of your education and professional achievements and professional goals. Then, briefly describe your qualifications for the job and the contributions you could make to the organization.

Why do you want to work here?
Few questions are more important than these, so it is important to answer them clearly and with enthusiasm. Show the interviewer your interest in the company. Share what you learned about the job, the company and industry through your own research. Talk about how your professional skills will benefit the company. Money is never a good answer. Remember that during the interview, your goal is to demonstrate why you are an asset to the company, not why you need a job.

Why did you leave/leaving your last job?
The interviewer may want to know if you had any problems in your last job. If you did not have any problems, simply give a reason, such as: the company relocated, the company went out of business, you were laid off, you want a position that is better suited to your skills, etc. If you did have problems with your past employer, be honest. Show that you can accept responsibility, regardless of who is at fault, and learn from the past. Avoid too much detail and avoid negative comments about your last employer. Demonstrate that you are not a person who is caught up in the past or one who holds grudges.

What are your best skills?
If you have sufficiently researched the organization, you should be able to imagine what skills the company values. List them, then give examples of where and how you have demonstrated these skills.

What is your major weakness?
Be positive and up-front about areas that you would like to improve. All of us have some sort of weakness. Briefly state an area where you are striving to improve, and what actions you have been taking to improve in that particular area. Demonstrating that you are aware of some areas that need improvement and are taking action to improve in them, shows that you are aware of your abilities. Avoid the standard answer, “I work too much.” It is either a lie (in which case you have lost all credibility) or it is the truth (in which case improving upon the weakness means you will work less).

Do you prefer to work by yourself or with others?
The ideal answer is one of flexibility. However, be honest. Provide an answer, then follow-up the answer with brief descriptions of times you have worked successfully both alone and in a group.

What are your career goals? Or, what are your future plans?
The employer wants to know if your future plans match the company’s future plans. Let the employer know that you are ambitious enough to plan ahead. Relate your answer to the company and position, not that you want to open a restaurant or relocate in the future. Talk about your desire to learn more, improve your skills, contribute to the company and create a rewarding career.

What are your hobbies? Or, do you play any sports?
The employer may be looking for evidence of your job skills outside of your professional life. For example, hobbies such as bridge or chess demonstrate analytical skills. Reading, music and painting are creative hobbies. Sports show determination, teamwork, stamina and competitiveness.

What salary are you expecting?
You don’t want to answer this question directly. Instead, deflect the question back to the employer by saying something like: “I am open on salary; what were you planning on paying for the right candidate?” or “I want to earn as much as I am qualified to earn. What would you offer someone with my skills?” or “I am currently making $_______ and would like to earn more than I have in my last position. What kind of pay were you thinking for this position?”