If you’ve been to a lot of interviews, you’ll find that there can often be a pattern in the questions you receive. Here are 12 of the most common interview questions you could receive.
Tell Me About Yourself?
I’ve noticed that this question is sort of fading out. I don’t remember the last time someone asked me or a client this question in an interview. However, I talk with Career Coaches who say this is still a big one; it’s hit and miss for me..
You can go anywhere you want with this question. The hiring manager (HM) wants to see how you think, and where you will go when asked an open question. You can’t go wrong with telling them a few personal interests of yours, and then spending the majority of your answer on a summary of your career, and what you are searching for in your next opportunity.
What do you know about the company?
This is usually one of the first few questions asked, but incredibly important. Research is the most powerful tool you have in your arsenal. You need to have conducted immense research on the companies you are applying to, otherwise you look unsure of your career goals and it could appear that you aren’t making an informed decision. This doesn’t mean you have to know everything about the company, but you will most certainly raise red flags if you don’t know the basics (company overview, service scope, mission statement, etc). If you drop the bomb on this question, it’s not going to be a smooth interview for you or the HM.
Why should we hire you?
You’ll always get asked this question! The HM wants to see if you know yourself, and can provide an honest appraisal of your skills and aptitude. Make sure to advocate for yourself… You have so much to offer to your next employer!
Why are you/did you leave your last job?
This question will be pivotal for your success. Be sure to have an idea of what you would like to say beforehand. Many candidates will lie on this part of the interview if they think the real answer is not favorable. Take my advice, and always tell the truth! A smart and thorough company will most certainly find out if you are withholding any pertinent employment information… Take the high road and be honest, even if your situation isn’t ideal. There is lots of HM out there who would be impressed that you were honest and upfront with your situation. You’ll never get hired if they had to find out at a later date.
What is your greatest weakness?
Again, the truth is important but tread carefully! It’s all about how you answer this question. The HM is trying to see if you can provide an honest assessment of your character with what you need to work on. If you cannot provide an adequate answer, it will raise many red flags. Give an honest answer, and let the HM know what you have done specifically to overcome your weakness, and how you will continue to improve in the future.
What are your salary expectations?
You can unintentionally trap yourself here quite easily. There are countless companies that want the best for the cheapest, and it never works out. If you give a price range when they ask, this can also be an issue. Let’s say you tell the HM your salary range is $60,000-$80,000. Well, guess what… The problem is the HM is thinking 60K, and you are thinking 80K. It’s best to let the HM know that you’ve conducted research on your end, and you are familiar with industry averages based on your experience. You are simply looking for a fair offer.
Why do you want this job?
This is one of the most important questions on the list. This is the one question where one good answer could outweigh five bad ones. Businesses hire employees who have passion, drive, and can accept constructive feedback. You can’t fake passion. If your “why” is good enough to want to join the company, you will be highly favored over other candidates that didn’t have a solid answer. Spend a lot of time pondering on this. Tell the HM a story if you can.
How do you handle stress?
Being able to handle stress is such an important skill. If you can’t handle stress in the workplace, it could have a direct ripple effect on the other people you work with and create a weak culture. Reflect on a few things you do when you are upset, sad, or stressed. For me, I listen to music and play with my Rubik’s cube.
Describe a difficult work situation or project, and how you overcame it?
This is your chance to paint a terrific picture for the HM. Spend time prior thinking about a tough situation you have experienced at work, and what steps you took to resolve the problem. There is a popular systematic approach used in the United Kingdom (UK) called the “STAR” method that offers proven results. This method will give your answers more credibility and makes it easier for HM to follow your story and score your response higher than other candidates.
S – Situation:
This is no more than one sentence. EX: “I was asked to develop a new CRM Process for the sales department.”
T – Task:
Provide a brief summary of what you had to do. How did you go about creating the outputs of the task? What did success look like, and what were the exact steps that you executed? Make sure you start from the macro level and then continue to move down to the micro level.
A – Action: What challenges were presented that you needed to overcome? What resistance did you face? What were the causes and effects of making the decisions that you did? In what areas did you have to arrive at a compromise?
R – Results:
What were the outcomes for the organization and your employees? Did you meet your goals? Did you miss your goals? Remember, it’s not a bad thing to share a story about how you missed a target goal as long as you effectively articulate what you learned and how you have/will deal with the same problem again!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This question can throw a lot of people off. Think about where you want to be in the company in the next 5 years, even if it’s in the same position. That is completely fine! Tell the truth and you can’t go wrong on this one.
How do you stay organized?
Come up with a few things that you do daily to keep yourself organized and successful. Do you keep a calendar on your phone? Do you have a planner that you hand write in? Are you an expert in Microsoft Excel?
What would your last boss say about you?
Give them 3 positive things your boss would say about you. Also, give the HM one thing that you know they would say you should work on. After that, tell the HM what you’ve been doing to work on that specific thing.
Call me at (509) 944-0494 if you have any questions! Good luck!