The Interview Questions
How do I handle the question, “Tell me about yourself”?
When an interviewer asks that question “Tell me about yourself “, it can be so intimidating, and a lot of people don’t know what the interviewer is really looking for. Specifically, the interviewer is looking to see how well you answer that question, how well you can formulate a response, and how well you can keep to task. First and foremost you want to answer that question by giving them a brief overview of your professional background. Keep the answers focused on the task at hand, which is getting the job. They don’t need to hear your entire life story. What they are looking for are the most salient points of your experience; your expertise, your knowledge, and the skills you can bring to the job
How do I handle the question, “What are your greatest strengths”?
Your greatest strengths are things that you need to know about yourself before you even embark on the job search process. If you don’t know what your greatest strengths are, it might be premature to really start marketing yourself as a viable candidate for a position. And you might want to get with a career counselor who can help you indentify what those strengths are. But typically, employers are looking for people skills, technical skills; skills that are directly applicable to the type of position you are applying for.
How do I handle the question, “What are your greatest weaknesses”?
I love the question “What are your greatest weaknesses?” because it’s a trick question which traps a lot of people. A lot of people feel that they have to answer the question of where their weaknesses lie by stating things that they truly are not good at, and that’s not true. We want to spin this question around into a positive. So perhaps try saying things like, “One of my greatest weaknesses is that I don’t have a lot of patience for work that isn’t done in a timely manner, or work that isn’t done to very high levels of excellence, which I’m committed to in my own work.” So things like that will help to put a positive spin on what could be potentially a very dangerous question. So rehearse those questions and your answers very carefully ahead of time, before you even get into that interview.
How do I handle the question, “Are you competitive”?
The question “Are you competitive?” is another trick question in an interview. It’s one of those you’re darned if you do and you’re darned if you don’t, because if you say, “Well, I’m very competitive,” then you may be perceived as being highly aggressive and someone who may not have good people skills. If you say, “No, I’m not competitive,” then the interviewer may think that you are weak and that you’re not going to be proactive about getting the job done. So, once again, put a positive spin on how you answer this question. You can say things like, “I love the word ‘competitive’ in the realm of business, because I think that’s a very important component in terms of being successful. However, I would never be competitive to the point where it injured someone else or impacted someone else’s life negatively. Competition is fine in its place, but I prefer to refer to myself as being very excellence-oriented and performance oriented,” and that will really get the interviewer’s attention.
How do I handle the question, “What do you think it takes to be successful”?
Success is very subjective, and we all have our own definitions of what it takes to be successful. However employers have usually their own recipe for success; they’re looking for candidates who are going to be very performance driven, people who are committed, who are loyal, and who are both task-orientated and people-orientated. So if you can display those traits for success in the interview and if you can speak to those qualities for success in the interview, you will be far ahead of the competition.
How do I handle the question, “Why did you leave your last job”?
Why did you leave your last job? is another semi-tricky question that most interviewers ask and it’s a valid question for them to ask. They have a right to know why you did leave your last employer, or your last job. If you left your last employer on terms that weren’t the most positive, then downplay those issues and tell the interviewer that you left your last position because you were seeking a better opportunity. You’re not lying, that’s the absolute truth and hopefully the position for which you are now interviewing is that better opportunity. If you left your last employer on good terms, then there’s absolutely nothing that can get you into trouble with that answer. Once again, you can just put a positive spin on it and say I was looking for an opportunity that would allow me to stretch and grow even more than my last job provided for me.
How do I handle the question, “Why should I hire you”?
I love the question “Why should I hire you”? That’s the best question that any interviewer can ask. And, it’s your opportunity to really nail that interview. You have the opportunity to now bullet point your greatest strengths and all the things that you can best do for this company in that position, give them real reason to hire you. Make sure you know your key messages that will make them want to hire you before you start the interview process. What are the three strongest things that you can bring to a company? What are your three greatest skills? What are your three greatest accomplishments? If you can memorize those things and be able to constantly refer back to them during an interview, that’s perfect. Be sure and tell the employer why you’re different, so they should hire you. Why are you different from everybody else? Everything about you on your resume and in your interview has said, “I’m different, I’m unique, I’m better than everybody else”.
How do I handle the question, “Why do you want to work here”?
Answer the question “Why do you want to work here?” with a very simple response, and that is: “I want to work here because I feel that this is the environment where I can best make the most contributions utilizing my skills, my unique areas of expertise, everything that I have been developing in terms of my career up until this point will be best served in this company.” Also be sure that you have researched the company, that you know what they do, that you know what their mission statement is, you know what their short and long-term goals are. If you are armed with that information, you can really answer any question that they ask you from that vantage point, and that’s absolutely critical. So, tie your experience and skills into what this company is looking to do and how you can help them achieve their objectives. That’s really what the interviewer is looking for when they ask why you want to work there.