Times have shifted and that has impacted the way companies now hold interviews. However, whether an interview is via phone, Skype, pre-recorded video, or in person, the questions have generally remained the same. Here are the top five most commonly asked interview questions and the best ways to answer them.
- Tell me about yourself.
Interviewers and hiring managers have already reviewed your résumé, cover letter, portfolio, and/or social media accounts to get an understanding of who you are professionally and how your skills relate to the position they are hiring for. The best way to answer this questions is to use the SHE (succinct, honest, and engaging) method. Before coming in for the interview, review the job description and identify a few of the requirements that are relevant to your skills and personal experience and use them during the interview.
My mother was an art teacher for 20 years, so from a young age I was exposed to how art influenced people’s emotions and their decision-making process. My career goal is to contribute to society and your company by designing innovative products that are focused on the user’s experience, which in turn will affect user’s daily life in a positive way.
- What is one of your strengths?
The key to answering this question is to plan ahead. By doing some research on the company’s work culture, you can effectively provide a response that fits right in with their day-to-day operations. Is the company business professional or casual? Are you applying for an analytical or creative position? If the role you are interviewing for is professional and/or analytical, be sure to mention that you are trustworthy and reliable. For a more casual and/or creative position, highlight your ability to collaborate with others and be proactive.
I work really well with others because I understand that it takes a team of people to bring a vision to reality.
- What is one of your weaknesses?
As tempting as it might be to say you don’t have any weaknesses, in reality, no one is perfect and the interviewer knows that. Instead of trying to avoid the question, conquer it by using your weakness to highlight another one of your strengths, which could be problem solving.
I learned that I sometimes struggled with prioritizing and trying to complete multiple projects simultaneously. However, I created a time-management system for myself using online tools such as Trello at work, and the calendar app on my phone for personal use. By using these tools, I found that I was able to better organize my tasks and meet my deadlines without any issues.
- Why did you (want to) leave your last/current job?
Whether you were fired, let go, or quit, avoid saying anything negative about your previous employer regardless of the truth behind it, as well as discussing salary. Instead of casting blame, focus on explaining your desire for personal growth and how the company you are now interviewing for can fulfill your needs.
I am looking for a job where I can grow with the company. I see your organization has been around for over 50 years, expanding to multiple locations across the nation, which makes me believe there is plenty of room of growth and endless possibilities.
- Do you have any questions for me?
The answer needs to always be yes! At this time, it is imperative to show you paid attention to the interviewer and did your research. Ask questions that directly reflect your interest in the actual position and not just becoming employed. Avoid inquiring about health benefits, vacation time, and other questions that will be answered during an orientation once hired. Also, do not ask questions that were previously answered during the interview as the interviewer will recognize that you were not paying attention or listening. Always end the interview by inquiring about the next steps in the process and an expected time frame.
Can you tell me what the typical day is like for this position?
Does the company offer training opportunities?
How long have you been with the company?
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
Job interviews can be intimidating, but if you come prepared to answer these questions, you may actually find it quite enjoyable. First impressions are everything so remember to be on time, dress appropriately, speak clearly and properly, and most importantly, don’t forget to do your research.
Written by: Sheena Roman