You’ve applied to countless jobs, networked with connections in your field, and landed an interview.
But the work of job searching doesn’t stop once you have scheduled your interview.
Preparing for your job interview is an essential part of the job search.
While it is highly unlikely that you are going to know what questions will be asked during your interview, there are some common interview questions you can prepare for.
Preparing your answers for common interview questions can help you nail your next interview and get you one step closer to your dream job.
1. Tell me about yourself
This is often the first question asked in a job interview.
The interviewer is giving you a chance to summarize your background and discuss notable professional accomplishments.
Give a brief overview of your qualifications and experience, summarizing your work experience and including relevant achievements and future career goals.
Keep your answer focused on your professional history.
2. Why are you interested in this position?
While your resume may tell if you can do the job, an interviewer is interested in knowing if you want to do it.
Asking what interests you in the position is an excellent way for hiring managers to judge your motivation and interest level.
To answer this question, you need to go beyond just the job requirements.
Discuss how you can use your skill set in this position and relate it to your professional goals.
Focus on the work itself, rather than the benefits or salary.
Tie in aspects of the position and explain your interest in the work.
3. What do you know about our company?
Your interviewer wants to know that your interest goes beyond a paycheck.
Not only is this question used to judge your motivation, but it also used to judge your preparation.
Spend some time before your interview researching the company you are applying to.
Know their customers, their product, and their mission.
Show your interviewer that you have done your research on the company and that you are excited to be a part of their work.
4. Why are you leaving your current job?
Whether you are currently employed or not, this is an important question to prepare for.
This is not the time to air your grievances with your current or previous job.
Whatever the reason, try to structure why you are leaving your previous role in a favorable light.
With your answer, focus on your career goals and relate how this position can help you achieve those goals.
Highlight skills you learned in your previous role and explain how you could use them your next position.
5. What are your strengths?
If you have ever been in an interview, you have most likely heard this question.
And, believe it or not, it’s one of the best questions you can be asked in an interview.
This is your opportunity to show off what your strengths are and what makes you unique.
Focus on 1-2 strengths that are relevant to the position.
Give examples of how your strengths have helped your career and how you can use them in this position.
6. What are your weaknesses?
For many job seekers, this question, while familiar, can seem hard to answer.
Discussing your weaknesses can seem counterproductive to your job search.
Everybody has weaknesses, and the hiring manager knows that.
They want to know that you can be honest and admit to your faults.
Chose a weakness that doesn’t conflict with the job description.
Give examples of how you are improving on your weakness.
Avoid answers that are generic or cliche (e.g., “I care too much” or “I work too hard”)
7. How would others describe you?
At some point in your life, you have heard how others describe you.
Being able to call upon previous feedback from friends and colleagues and relate it to your work ethic is essential for an interview.
Focus on positive, appropriate examples. Don’t highlight negative or unprofessional comments about yourself.
Keep your answers relevant to the skills needed for the job.
If necessary, look at past performance reviews for examples of positive work feedback.
8. What are your salary expectations?
Discussing salary expectations can be a delicate question to handle.
It is best to be prepared ahead of time.
Research the company beforehand to establish a realistic salary range for the position.
Try to turn the question around to the interviewer and avoid answering first.
Use your research to provide a salary range you are comfortable with.
9. Why should we hire you?
There are likely other applicants out there with similar backgrounds and experience, but the interviewer wants to know why you are the one they should hire.
This is the time to show what makes you the best fit for this position.
Give specific examples of your skills and achievements as they relate to this position.
Avoid being overly modest or overly cocky.
Respond with a confident explanation of what you bring to the table and how you can help the company succeed.
As a wrap-up, interviewers often ask if you have any questions for them.
The answer should never be “No, I don’t have any questions.”
Interviews are conversations, and by asking questions, you are showing the interviewer that you are interested and curious about the position.
Before the interview, have a list of questions in mind that you can ask.
Pay attention to topics that arise during the interview that you can ask for more information on.
Make your questions thoughtful, relevant to the role, and reflective of your interest.