Top 10 Interview Questions And Answers
No two situations are ever exactly the same, but as a general guide, these are the types of questions that could come up in a typical interview.
1. Why don’t you tell me about yourself?
This question, often the interview opener, has a crucial objective: to see how you handle yourself in unstructured situations. The recruiter wants to see how articulate you are, how confident you are, and generally what type of impression you would make on the people with whom you come into contact on the job. The recruiter also wants to learn about the trajectory of your career and to get a sense of what you think is important and what has caused you to perform well.
Check out our other blog post on this to help you in depth with preparing your answer.
2. How long have you been with your current (or former) employer?
This is a hot-button question if your résumé reflects considerable job-hopping. Excellent performers tend to stay in their jobs for at least three to five years. They implement course corrections, bring in new resources, and, in general, learn how to survive–that’s why they are valued by prospective employers.
If your résumé reflects jobs with companies that were acquired, moved, closed, or downsized, it is still viewed as a job-hopper’s history. Volunteer and go to events where hiring authorities may be found. Ratchet up your networking to include anything that exposes you to hiring authorities who can get past your tenure issue because now they know you. Your networking efforts have never been so important.
3. What is your greatest weakness?
An impressive and confident response shows that the candidate has prepared for the question, has done serious self-reflection, and can admit responsibility and accept constructive criticism. Sincerely give an honest answer (but not a long one), be confident in the fact that this weakness does not make you any less of a great candidate, and show that you are working on this weakness and tell the recruiter how.
4. Tell me about a situation where you did not get along with a superior.
The wrong answer to this hot-button question is, “I’ve been very fortunate and have never worked for someone I didn’t get along with.”
Everyone has had situations where he or she disagreed with a boss, and saying that you haven’t forced the recruiter to question your integrity. Also, it can send out a signal that the candidate is not seasoned enough or hasn’t been in situations that require him or her to develop a tough skin or deal with confrontation.
It’s natural for people to have differing opinions. When this has occurred in the past, you could explain that you presented your reasons and openly listened to other opinions as well.
5. Describe a situation where you were part of a failed project.
If you can’t discuss a failure or mistake, the recruiter might conclude that you don’t possess the depth of experience necessary to do the job. The recruiter is not looking for perfection. He or she is trying to better understand your level of responsibility, your decision-making process, and your ability to recover from a mistake, as well as what you learned from the experience and if you can take responsibility for your mistakes.
Respond that you’d like to think that you have learned something valuable from every mistake you have made. Then have a brief story ready with a specific illustration.
It should conclude on a positive note, with a concrete statement about what you learned and how it benefited the company.
6. What are your strengths?
Describe two or three skills you have that are relevant to the job. Avoid clichés or generalities; offer specific evidence. Describe new ways these skills could be put to use in the position you are being considered for.
7. How do you explain your job success?
Be candid without sounding arrogant. Mention observations other people have made about your work strengths or talents.
8. What do you do when you are not working?
The more senior the position, the more important it is to know about the candidate’s qualities that will impact his or her leadership style: is the person well-adjusted and happy, or is he or she a company zealot?
Discuss hobbies or pursuits that interest you, such as sports, clubs, cultural activities, and favorite things to read.
Avoid dwelling on any political or religious activities that may create conflict with those of the interviewer.
9. Why did you leave your last position?
At high levels, issues that relate to personality and temperament become more important than they might otherwise. The recruiter wants to know if you will fit in with the client company. The recruiter may also be fishing for signs of conflict that indicate a potential personality problem.
Be honest and straightforward, but do not dwell on any conflict that may have occurred. Highlight positive developments that resulted from your departure, whether it was that you accepted a more challenging position or learned an important lesson that helped you to be happier in your next job.
10. Why do you want to work in this industry?
Think of a story to tell about how you first became interested in this type of work. Point out any similarities between the job you’re interviewing for and your current job.
Provide proof that you aren’t simply shopping in this interview. Make your passion for your work a theme that you allude to continually throughout the interview.
If you need help with perfecting your interview skills, check out our Interview Preparation session for overcoming your obstacles. Contact us for a customized approach to your needs.