Imagine, you walk into the room for a job interview, your clothes are pristine, your hair sitting perfectly. You smile warmly and confidently and shake the hiring manager’s hand. Your well-structured resume sits on the table. Over the next 30 minutes, you know every question that comes your way, answering each one with intelligent, well-thought-out answers showing with, charm, and intellect.
It sounds like the dream. But it is entirely within your grasp. Find a balanced and professional resume template online, LiveCareer has plenty, then perfect your interview technique.
In reality, it is easy to predict the majority of the questions a hiring manager will ask. There are a clearly defined set of questions most hiring managers use in some form or another. There may be some industry-specific questions thrown in here and there, but the basic structure of the interview should follow a well-trodden path.
Why does this job appeal to you?
Hiring managers love this question because it tests so many different things. Firstly, it tests your interest in the position. They want to hear you say something about the position that aligns with your interests, not just that you need to move out of your parents’ house and need the first job you can find.
Secondly, they are testing your understanding of the role. They want you to say what aspects of the position you would enjoy. Speaking in detail about the role and how it fits with your interests is a good way of showing the interviewer that you have researched and understood the position you are applying for.
Thirdly, it is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you have taken the time to research the company. Saying something like “I have been interested in working for Subaru since the release of the 2018 Outback”, shows you have kept abreast of the company’s latest products and news and provides evidence that you have a passion for the role.
What has been your biggest accomplishment working for X?
This is a great opportunity to show off why you would be the best candidate for the job. To prepare for this question, look at the skills required for the role in the job description, then think about what accomplishments in your professional experience best correlate to these skills.
If the role calls for client generation, talking about a time when you increased business by 25% in your last job is a great way to go. If the position is looking for digital creativity, a time when you decided to save time and increase productivity by holding meetings by webinar instead of face-to-face might impress the interviewer.
What are your strengths?
This sounds like a straightforward question. Talk about yourself and why you are so wonderfully amazing. But many candidates come unstuck on this question because they don’t make their answers relevant.
The employer doesn’t need to hear about your great 3-point shot on the basketball court, or that you have completed every level of Candy Crush. They want 2-3 strengths that are directly linked to your ability to do the job.
For example, a candidate for a sales position may wish to say they are a great communicator, a persuasive talker, and a target-oriented worker. They might draw on examples of how they hit their targets every year in their last company.
What is your biggest weakness?
This is the question that keeps you up the night before your interview. It haunts our dreams. But it doesn’t have to derail the interview.
Be honest. It is okay to have a weakness as long as you can provide evidence of what you are doing to rectify that flaw. If you are not tech savvy and the job position does not require the use of computers, use this and explain that you are learning.
If you are often impatient with people who do not work efficiently, talk about a time in your last position when you had a private word with someone in your office and you worked with that team member to develop a strategy together for increased efficiency and productivity. As long as you can show that you are aware of your weakness and are taking positive steps to improve, it shouldn’t reflect badly on you, and could even paint you in a better light.
Why should we hire you?
This question often comes at the end of the interview and is an opportunity to summarise your experience, your skills, and why you stand out from the crowd. It is a chance to leave the interviewer with a strong image of you right before you walk out the door.
It should combine several answers you have already given into a short sound-bite summary. Talk about your previous professional experience that aligns with the job, your unique skillset which is perfect for this role, and draw on the strengths you mentioned before.
While every interview is different, most will involve some variation of these questions. The interviewer is probing your experience, skills, and strengths, and wants to see evidence that you have understood the role and know a little about the company you will potentially be joining. Take some time to prepare these answers and come interview day, you will have nothing to worry about.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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