Many people think that one cannot prepare for job interview questions. Thus, they often relied purely on fate for the outcome of their interview. This is definitely not the way that it should be.
If you have attended several job interviews at one go, you would realize that there are certain common questions that job interviewers always kept asking. And if you have prepared for these questions earlier, wouldn’t you have improved your chance of success in interviews?
Here are the 6 most commonly asked interview questions I’ve surveyed and gathered. Take note of the sample answers below each questions and try to modify and remember them so that you would be much better prepared the next time you enter the interview room.
Question 1: Why Don’t You Tell Me About Yourself?
The interviewer does not want to know your life history! Instead, he or she wants you to explain how your background relates to doing the job. Following is how one person might respond:
“I grew up in the Southwest and my parents and one sister still live there. I always did well in school, and by the time I graduated from high school, I knew I wanted to work in a business setting. I had taken computer and other business classes and had done well in them. The jobs I’ve had while going to school have taught me how many small businesses are run. In one of these jobs, I was given complete responsibility for the night operations of a wholesale grocery business that grossed over $2 million a year. I learned there how to supervise others and solve problems under pressure.”
This answer gives a brief personal history and then gets right into the job seeker’s skills and experiences. A different job would require you to stress different skills. Your personal history is unique, but you can still use the three steps to answer the question for yourself.
Question 2: Why Should I Hire You?
This is the most important question of all! If you don’t have a good reason why someone should hire you, why will anyone? This question is not often asked so clearly, but it is “the” question behind many other interview questions.
The best answer shows how you can solve a problem for the employer, help the business make more money, or provide something else of value that the company needs. Think about the most valuable thing you can do for an organization. You should probably include that information in your answer. Here is a sample response from a person with recent training but little work experience:
“I have over two years of training in this field and know about all the latest equipment and methods. That means I can get right to work and be productive almost right away. I am also willing to work hard to learn new things. During the entire time I went to school, I held a full-time job to help earn the tuition and support myself I learned to work hard and concentrate on what was important. I expect to do the same thing here. Since I won’t be going to school now, I plan on putting in extra time after regular work hours to learn anything this job needs.”
Question 3: What Are Your Major Strengths?
This is a direct question with a little hidden meaning. These are the skills employers are most concerned about. Here is one answer from a person who had little prior work experience:
“I think one of my strengths is that you can depend on me. I work very hard to meet deadlines and don’t need a lot of supervision in doing so. If I don’t know what to do, I don’t mind asking. In high school, I got a solid B-plus average even though I was very involved in sports. I always got my assignments in on time and somehow found the time to do extra credit work, too.”
Question 4: What Are Your Major Weaknesses?
This is a trick question. Most job seekers don’t handle this one well. If you discuss what you don’t do well, you may not get the job. If you say you have no weaknesses, the interviewer won’t believe you. Ask yourself what the interviewer really wants to know. He or she wants to know that you are aware of your weaknesses. The interviewer wants to know that you have learned to overcome them so that they don’t affect your work. Using the second step of the three-step process would result in a response like this:
“I do have some weaknesses. For example, in previous jobs I would get annoyed with coworkers who didn’t work as hard as I did. I sometimes said so to them, and several times I refused to do their work when they asked me to.”
You have answered the question, but the response should not end there! Using step three of the three-step process would result in a statement like this:
“But I have learned to deal with this better. I still work hard, but now I let the supervisor deal with another worker’s problems. I’ve also gained some skills as a supervisor myself I’ve learned to motivate others to do more because they want to, not because I want them to.”
Did you notice that this weakness isn’t such a weakness at all? Many of our strengths began in failure. We learned from them and got better. Your answer to any interview question should always present your positives.
Question 5: Why Are You Looking for This Sort of Position and Why Here?
Employers know that you will do better in a job you really want. Employers want to make sure you know what you want. They also want you to tell them what you like about the job, and what you like about doing the job in their organization. The closer you come to wanting what they have, the better.
The best answer for this is the truth. You should have a clear idea of the type of job you want before the interview. You should also know the sort of organization and the type of people you want to work with. You gathered all of this information earlier in this book. If you are interviewing for a job you want, in a place where you think you would enjoy working, answering this question should be easy.
Question 6: How Does Your Previous Experience Relate to the Jobs We Have Here?
This one requires a direct response. The employer is really asking, “Can you prove you have the experience and skills to do the job?” The question is directly related to the employer’s expectation on skills and training. In some cases, other people with better credentials than yours will want the job you’re after. You can even mention this, and then explain why you are a better choice. Here is an example of how one person answered this question:
“As you know, I have over five years of experience in a variety of jobs. While this job is in a different industry, it will also require my skills in managing people and meeting the public. In fact, my daily contact with large numbers of people on previous jobs has taught me how to work under pressure. I feel very able to deal with pressure and to get the job done.”
Remember to go through and familiarize yourself with each of these questions before you go for your interview. They will proof to be useful in one way or another.
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