While you will never know exactly what to expect in a job interview, that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared.
Based on our experience in the staffing industry, we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions and paired them up with a little insight into what kind of answers the hiring manager is looking for.
1) Why Do You Want This Job?
Ideally, you will know the answer to this one. Employers are looking for people who are passionate about what they do. This is your opportunity to speak to that. If you have done your homework about the company, you might mention how much you admire some of the things they are doing, whether it’s about activism, innovation, or the general company culture.
2) Why Should We Hire You?
This is your chance to sell yourself. It’s about your skills and experience, but it’s also about your ability to get the job done, the value you will bring to the company, and how you’ll fit in with their workplace culture. Keep it concise and to the point, showing confidence and humility.
3) What Are Your Greatest Strengths?
Stick to the facts here, don’t just tell the interviewer what you think they want to hear. Be accurate, keep it relevant to the job, and be specific. For example, don’t just say you’re a “people person,” tell them that you are focused on building relationships.
4) What Are Your Weaknesses?
This is a question that often trips people up, but it is meant to gauge your self-awareness. Don’t be self-disparaging, but don’t tell them you’re perfect, either. Talk about a challenge you have that you are actively trying to improve.
5) Tell Me About a Challenge You Faced at Work and How You Overcame it
This is yet another behavioral question, but it’s an important one. Your prospective employer needs to know how you deal with conflict. To keep it focused, apply the STAR method:
• Situation: briefly explain the situation and all critical elements
• Task: what was your role in the situation?
• Action: the steps you took to address the situation
• Result: the outcome of your efforts
6) Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?
Be honest about your answer, and don’t second-guess the interviewer. What they really want to know is whether you are realistic about your expectations, if you have the drive and ambition to reach your goals, and whether the job you are applying for aligns with your statements.
If the job you’re interviewing for isn’t exactly your dream job, it’s okay to say that you’re not sure what the future holds. It might also be a good idea to tell them that you feel the experience you gain with their company will influence the next phase of your life and career.
Ultimately, every interview is unique. The way you respond often dictates the direction it will take. Be clear about your intentions, be prepared, and go with confidence, and you will always have a shot.