After months and months of searching, you finally get a job interview. Now, are you ready to make the best impression possible? You only have one chance to nail it. Make sure you know how to stand out in the job interview by being extremely prepared. This requires hours of time spent gathering data and stories that clearly show the value, impact and expertise you’ll bring to the job. It’s important to demonstrate your self-confidence, your interest and enthusiasm for the work you are applying for and your positive attitude. This is the time to bring your best self to your potential opportunity.
Two Most Critical Questions to Ask in a Job Interview
Tips for job interviews often focus on the questions you will be asked, but knowing what to ask the interviewer is just as important. The two most critical questions to ask in every interview are:
- In your opinion, what is required for success in this position?
Ask this before answering any questions. This specific question ensures you understand and can address the hidden expectations of each interviewer (they all have separate expectations for each job).
- Do you have any concerns that would keep you from recommending me for this job?This is hard to ask, but do it always. Most often, you’ll want to ask this question toward the end of the job interview. It gives you the one chance to address an objection.
Here are five more important questions to ask in a job interview.
- What are the expectations of the person to whom I would report?
- What kind of a person are you looking for to fill this position?
- What are the priorities of the position?
- What are the main problem areas that need attention in this position?
- Where do we go from here in the interview process?
Twenty Potential Job Interview Questions you’ll Encounter
When preparing for job interviews, one of the most obvious steps to take is to familiarize yourself with common interview questions, prepare answers for them, and practice speaking the answers aloud, preferably with the help of a partner so you can get feedback on your performance. Here are 20 questions you should be prepared to answer.
1.Where do you see yourself in five years?
One of the reasons employers ask this is to see if you’re likely to stick around or are just looking for a jumping off place.
The best way to answer this one is to let your interviewer know you are looking for a long-term commitment and are confident the company is fair in its promotion practices.
2.What are your greatest strengths?
Be careful not to toot your own horn to the point of sounding arrogant. But don’t be shy either. This is a question where preparation comes in handy.
You should try to assess what the interviewer is really looking for before you answer. Tailor the list of strengths you have reviewed before this job interview to what those needs are.
3.What are your greatest weaknesses?
Watch out for this trap. It’s a favorite and will knock you out of the ballgame if answered wrongly. One method is to disguise a strong point as a flaw. To say, “I’m not good at delegating and take on too much.” This shows your employer that you’re a hard worker.
However, the best way to stay in the game is to assure your interviewer that everyone is human and has flaws, but there is nothing you can see that would stand in the way of you doing an outstanding job. Then reiterate some of your strengths.
4.What interests you most about this job?
The interviewer is checking to see if you’ve done your homework. Make sure you have, and dazzle him with facts about the company.
Check annual reports, the Internet, archived articles, web site, etc. Of course, you’ll also want to use this question as a platform to highlight how your superior skills are a perfect match for this position.
5.Why should I hire you?
This question is the whole purpose of the interview.
Hopefully you were listening closely enough to uncover what the employer considers important qualities to that position. Then you can shine.
By the way, whether or not it is actually spoken, you should make all attempts to bring an answer to the interviewer’s attention.
6.What kind of experience do you have for this job?
This is a great one to turn back around on the interviewer. Find out what projects they have in mind for the first six months for this position. Then tailor the delivery of your skills to be a perfect match for their position.
Keep in mind they are looking for someone to contribute to the company quickly in most cases, a quick study who won’t drain their resources.
7.What could you contribute to this company?
Another good one to turn the tables on. Ask them to help you answer this question by telling you what they would expect during the first six months in this position. Then spoon feed their answers back to them.
8.Tell me about yourself.
A classic. This appears to be an ice-breaker, and it can be. But many candidates will ramble on or bring up issues they shouldn’t. Practice ahead of time.
Start with the present go back briefly, highlighting accomplishments you think the interviewer will look for in filling this position.
9.Why were you fired from your last job?
If you were fired, never lie about it. It will come back to haunt you. Practice being able to describe your situation from the company’s point of view without any anger or bitterness. You’ll make big marks as a professional.
10.Why are you leaving (or did you leave) your present position?
Never talk badly about your previous boss or company. It’s unprofessional and speaks volumes about what kind of person you are to the interviewer. If you haven’t decided whether or not to leave your current position, it’s okay to admit it.
Again try to find out what the employer is looking for in a new hire and give it to him. The best reasons for moving on are opportunity, responsibility, growth or more money.
11.Aren’t you over-qualified for this position?
The interviewer is concerned that you’ll be bored and move on. The best way to address this one is to reassure him that this is the work you’d be happiest doing.
The opportunity is more important to you than title or money.
12.Tell me honestly about your former boss.
(strengths and weaknesses)
Remember NEVER be negative. It can be tempting, but it will make you look bad. Besides, the interviewer doesn’t really care about your other boss.
He’s testing your loyalty.
13.How do you feel about reporting to a…
(younger person, woman, minority, etc.)?
Of course this won’t make a difference to you and you will let the interviewer know so in no uncertain terms. You might add that you appreciate a company that promotes and hires on merit alone. That’s the kind of company you want to work for.
14.Who has inspired you in your life and why?
This one can catch you off guard. Fortunately, you’re reading about this now and have time to think back to an inspiring fellow.
You might want to have several options bringing out different qualities you admire depending on the circumstance.
15.Would you ever lie for the company?
In the war of loyalty versus integrity, integrity rules. Assure your interviewer that you would never do anything that could hurt the company.
16.How do you feel about working nights and weekends?
Well, how DO you feel about working nights and weekends?
You have to be honest about that to yourself as well as in any potential job. If you’re a workaholic who gets the majority of life’s needs from work, tell the interviewer. If, on the other hand, you have a family to get home to, ask what the schedule norm is for the top people at the company.
The best answer is to let the interviewer know that you do exceptional work regardless of the time constraints.
17.Are you willing to travel or relocate?
Again, are you willing to travel or relocate? If so, of course, let the interviewer know. If you have reservations, you can try one of two options.
The first is to say, yes, you are willing so you don’t get knocked out of the competition if you’re really interested in this job.
The second is to let the interviewer know you have reservations about travel or relocation, but would consider it for the right opportunity.
18.Why have you had so many jobs?
The interviewer is concerned you may leave quickly. Your best bet is never to lie or be negative. Instead describe how each position helped make you the qualified candidate you are today for his company.
19.If you won the lottery, would you still work?
This question investigates your work ethic. If you say you’d never set foot in an office again, you look like a slacker. A Pollyanna answer about how you’d always want to work no matter what will make you look silly. Acknowledge that it would be great to have all the flexibility of more funds, but that you get the most satisfaction out of a job well done.
20.Describe your ideal job.
The only answer to give in this case is to describe the position and company you’re interviewing with. Be sure to throw in any specific benefits or facts you know about the company.
Knowing the answers to these job interview questions will provide the necessary tips to help you be the one who gets the job offer.