Interviews can be nerve racking and tortuous if you are not prepared. While the interviewer can ask anything there are always a few questions out there that are difficult to answer or can trap you into saying something you do not really mean. With a great sample interview question and answer you can prepare yourself for these tough points in an interview and come out looking like a star! So let’s look at these 8 great sample interview questions and answer them with style!
1. Tell me about yourself.
Often used as an opening to an interview and is scary because it is so open ended. You could keep the answer short, or long. You could be brief or detailed. You have so much choice of what you can put into this answer it can be confusing and flustering … which is exactly how it is designed. This is usually just the first question however, they have many more to come so putting everything in would be foolish. What the interviewer wants if a quick summary of why you are the best person for this position. Use it as an opportunity to sell yourself and humanize yourself to the interviewer at the same time. Keep it short and to the point and let the interviewer get the other information out of you by other questions.
2. What is your greatest weakness?
Don’t you hate this one! What do you do? Do you say you have none? Surely a sign of an out of control ego. Do you say you are a workaholic? Surely a sign of a liar or someone who considers working hard a weakness!? Fumbling with this question really shows a lack of understanding of what an employer is looking for. No person is without weaknesses and interviewers understand that, what they are looking for is some honesty and introspection. You can do this and still look like a great candidate for the job by presenting them with something that actually is a weakness of yours but also explain how you plan to fix this shortcoming. This shows honesty and a drive to better yourself and will make you look much better than any glib answer you can make up to avoid letting a weakness out!
3. What are your long term plans?
This can be easier for some than others, if you have a good long term plan for your career you can probably let fly with your prepared objectives. For some though the future can be less clear. However in either case what the interviewer wants to know is how is your long term goals going to help his business, not your own. If you’re long term plan is to own your own business that is not what he wants to learn, he wants a good employee with plans to improve his company. Always focus on a long term plan that is beneficial to your interviewer’s long term plans too.
4. Do you work well in a team?
No one in their right mind answers ‘no’ to this question but the interviewer is actually looking for proof of you being a team player more than a straight yes or no answer. Give the employer some examples where you have worked well in a team, especially focus on those times where working well as a team has given some success. Team sports, other workplaces working in teams, interest groups you may be involved in. If you name more than one or two it truly shows your ability and enthusiasm for working with others and being a sociable person which will be easily integrated into the workplace.
5. Have you ever had a conflict with other co-workers or your boss? How have you resolved this?
Conflict is always a part of life and is no different in a workplace. The interviewer wants to know your social problem solving skills but also wants to know if you are a combative person. Answering no to this usually encourage the interviewer to dig deeper looking for any conflict you may have had even if minor. It is best to pick a single example and show how you skillfully solved the problem to everyone’s advantage. It is best not to give too many examples lest the interviewer thinks you are a trouble maker however.
6. How would you describe yourself?
This is an interesting question and the tone of how you answer it often has more to do with the content of the answer. You want to appear friendly and confident without being too egotistical not too shy. Be honest with yourself and tell them your personality strengths not your weaknesses and present them clearly and quickly, you do not need examples unless they ask for them.
7. How has your education and previous work prepared you for this job?
This is a question where they want concrete examples of how you would fit the role they are offering. It is also important to show behavioral examples on how your general attitude would be good for their business not just your job specific skills. Give them a few examples that showcase your skills, attitude and work ethic. If you do not have much experience concentrate on your attitude and examples from life or study that could be modified to show applicable skills.
8. Why should I hire you?
This one can surprise many people with its directness. There is no room for doubt here you have to be confident that you ARE the best person for the job and don’t be afraid to show it. The interviewer is also looking for confidence, passion and commitment so you should give them a short powerful speech that shows these qualities without being over the top and obviously out of your depth.
While there are thousands of other sample interview questions and variants on each sample interview question as well these are some of the most asked and toughest questions you will encounter. Remember confidence without ego with good preparation is the key to success, no gimmicks or tricks can be used against a good interviewer.
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