It is important that you prepare for each and every interview, but knowing what kind of questions you will likely be asked can put you in the driver’s seat and give you added confidence. Some questions will be specific to the job in which you’re applying, while others will be more generic.
Here are 10 of the most commonly asked interview questions, followed by a brief explanation of why and what the interviewer is trying to get out of you by asking you that question in particular:
“Tell me about yourself…”
This question is an icebreaker. The interviewer wants to learn a little more about you on a personal level, but not that personal. Briefly describe any hobbies or interests, talk about any relevant past work experiences, or mention any training or education that you’ve recently completed. Keep it light.
“Have you ever done this type of work before?”
Here, the interviewer is trying to determine if you are qualified for the job. If you have any relevant experience this would be a good time to describe your experiences and some of the skills you’ve acquired.
“What are your greatest strengths?”
We’ve all got them: strengths. This is your big chance to toot your own horn! Just remember to keep your cool and only talk about those qualities that relate to the job at hand.
“What are your weaknesses?”
And you thought talking about your strong points was hard? Try talking about your weak points. For this question, the interviewer want wants to know if there is anything that may prevent you from doing the best job possible. Mention one or two of your weaknesses and then back them up with an explanation as to what you have been doing to challenge yourself in overcoming them.
“Give me an example of a time when you worked under pressure…how did you handle it?”
Employers need to know how you handle stress and how well you work under pressure. Show up at the interview armed with at least one scenario where you’ve had to work under pressure and be prepared to talk about how you worked your way through it.
“Why did you leave your last job?”
This question requires a certain amount of tact. You don’t want to say anything negative about your last job, so make sure that you explain your reasons for leaving as positively as possible. For example, maybe you left to further your education or to pursue other challenges.
“Where do you see yourself five years from now?”
This one is pretty obvious. Here, the interviewer wants to know if you plan on sticking around. It’s best that you approach this question with a few goals in mind. If the job you’re applying for doesn’t really fit in with your long-term goals, then explain the advantages of gaining work experience as part of your career goals.
“Why do you want to work here?”
This is where your research pays off. Employers want to know that you’ve done your homework and that you’re interested not only in the position, but also the company. Mention as many positive features as you can and don’t forget to mention why you are the BEST CANDIDATE for the job.
“When can you start?”
If you are currently unemployed, your best answer would be “right away.” If you are working, however, you should explain that you would need to give your present employer notice of your leave. (Find out how much advanced notice you would need to give!) Keep in mind, that notice is a courtesy and not a requirement. If you are in school, find out when your school year ends and how many part-time hours you’ll have available.
“Do you have any questions?”
This is not the time to ask about hours or salary or benefits (wait until you’ve been offered the job to ask). Rather, be prepared to ask at least one question relating to the position. This is further proof that you are interested in the job.