It is very important that you understand the content on your resume inside and out. You need to anticipate questions the interviewer will have regarding any weaknesses in your resume—for example a short stay with a past employer or a period of unemployment. On the flip side, be prepared to discuss in detail the accomplishments listed on your resume.
Well-trained interviewers will be very conversational and ask questions about your past experience and how it relates to the open position. They will check your response by following up with direct, situational and behavior-based questions; however, even the most skilled interviewers will throw in some generic frequently asked interview questions.
I have listed 25 of the most frequently asked interview questions so you can think about your responses to these questions in advance. These questions are simplified versions of how the interviewer may ask them. Be prepared to hear these in situational and behavioral-based formats. The interview questions below are not listed in any specific order:
- Tell me about yourself.
Hint: Keep it short and talk about qualities that would help you succeed in the position.
- What do you know about our company?
Hint: State some basic facts. Make an observation of what you read and finish with an open-ended question for the interviewer. Refer back to Chapter 6 for more specifics.
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hint: Talk about being a valued and respected member of the company who has been asked to take on additional responsibilities.
- What are some of your weaknesses or areas that you need to improve?
Hint: Mention something that could also be looked at as a positive such as being too hard on yourself or taking your work home with you.
- Tell me about a tough work situation and how you overcame it.
Hint: Use situations that will demonstrate your ability to perform at this new position and have more than one ready. Be clear about what the situation was, action steps taken, and the result. Be specific and do not ramble.
- What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Hint: Make sure they are relevant to what the new position requires. Start with the strongest and end with the next strongest.
- Why do you want to leave your current employer? Or why did you leave your last job?
Hint: Keep it positive and do not talk negatively about past companies, managers or peers. Keep it brief and finish by discussing what interests you about their opportunity and company.
- What are your compensation requirements?
Hint: I would tell them what your past compensation was and let them know that if they like your background, experience and accomplishments that you are sure when appropriate the company will make you a fair offer. You do not want to negotiate money until later in the interview process when you have created strong interest in you as a candidate.
- Name one person you respect and why.
Hint: This can be anyone but make sure you can give well thought out reasons for your choice.
- Why should we hire you?
Hint: Make sure your reasons directly answer what they are looking for in a candidate.
- What do you like to do outside of work?
Hint: Make sure you give answers that show you are well rounded. My answer would be spending time with my family, writing, working out and coaching youth athletics.
- What was the last book you read?
Hint: Be prepared to discuss what the book was about.
- How do you like being managed?
Hint: Be careful how you answer this question because interviewers will make judgments on how well you will fit with the management style of the person you will report to. Be very generic until you know the manager’s management style. Make sure you communicate that you have worked successfully with different management styles.
- How do you handle criticism?
Hint: Let the interviewer know you try not to get defensive and instead learn from it.
- Do you like to work independently or as part of a team?
Hint: The correct answer is both.
- What drives you?
Hint: You should know the answer to this question well. Be sincere and clear with your answers.
- How long do you think it would take you to get up and running?
Hint: Be well thought out with this answer. Be ambitious but not unrealistic with your response.
- What are some of your strengths?
Hint: Make sure your answers are in line with what the position requires. This is your chance to sell yourself, but sound like you’re informing them, not bragging.
- Tell me about when you had a problem with a coworker and how you handled it.
Hint: Do not focus on the actual story; instead talk about techniques you used to solve the problem.
- How do you manage your time and organize your day?
Hint: Interviewers want to know that you plan your next work day in advance. I plan for my next day at the end of each business day. Interviewers also like to know you are taking advantage of scheduling software tools.
- What would people you have worked with say about you?
Hint: Keep it positive and provide information that reinforces your strengths in areas that are important for the position.
- What are the qualities of a good leader?
Hint: Sincerity, fairness, and leading by example are good answers.
- Why do you want to work for our company?
Hint: This is one of those times where your research on the company will come in handy.
- What are you short- and long-term goals?
Hint: Talk about your career goals. If asked about your personal goals, make sure they do not conflict with your career goals. Be careful not to make the interviewer feel threatened that you may be after their position.
- How do you measure success?
Hint: Through accomplishments, reviews and the satisfaction I feel inside.