Jessica Miller-Merrell | , , , ,| By
Seven Common Job Interview Questions
Ever been stumped with a question while on a job interview? Job seeekers need to prepare for the interview and spend time planning, practicing, and crafting their interview responses. Hiring managers and recruiters look at the interview not only to determine personality, professionalism, and qualifications, but also culture and job fit within the prospective organization. Your resume has already done the work. It’s gotten your foot in the door. Your job interview is a chance to learn more about the organization, get to know your hiring manager, and put those verbal communication skills to the test.
Prepare for These Frequently Asked Job Seeker Questions
- Tell me about yourself. First off, let me say that I absolutely loath this question. It’s so generic. Keep your answer professional and between 1-3 minutes. Highlight your education, job qualifications, and job history based on the qualifications and requirements of the job you are interviewing for.
- Why should we hire you? Once again, I hate this question!! Keep your answer professional and highlight your qualifications specific to the position you are applying for. Most often this question is asked to see how you handle the pressure. Be prepared to sell yourself.
- What are your weaknesses? This question is tricky and the fact that you work too hard is not a good answer. I recommend using the STAR interview method. Outline the situation, describe the action you took to improve your weakness, and the result. Hiring manager’s like to hear measurable actions like you increased your team’s productivity by 35% by attending a 8 week class on leading and inspiring others using the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
- Where do you see yourself in five years? Be very careful. You don’t want to appear to be overly ambitious and say something like, “Well, Bob. I’d like to have your job.” I recommend talking about expanding your knowledge and experience in a new product line or the fact that you will have finished your MBA by then. You want to be a team player and show that you are a great long term investment for company x.
- Why are you leaving your job? Tread lightly here. This interview question is designed for you to say something negative that paints you as a inflexible or irresponsible or over demanding employee. It’s obvious that if you are interviewing for a new job, you are not happy with your current one. Be honest. Maybe you didn’t like working every Friday and Saturday night or the commute was too great. Also consider the possibility that the interviewer knows your boss. You haven’t gotten this new job yet, and you don’t want to burn any bridges in the process.
- What’s your salary expectation? Tread carefully my friend. On one hand you don’t want to overshoot and bet out of the running because you want too much money. On the other hand, you want to be paid a fair salary. I recommend doing your research for the industry and position in your geographic area when beginning the salary negotiation process. Salaries can vary widely even in the same city as do the benefits and perks that companies offer their employees. Give them a range and ask if falls within their requirements. I am always upfront with candidates but not every recruiter or hiring manager is.
- Do you have any questions for me? Be ready with questions, I mean really good questions. Use the company website or your network to learn about the prospective company and the industry. Ask some questions about the number of employees you would be supervising or challenges one might face in the position. I recommend asking, “what do you feel is the most important skill or qualification for someone in the Public Relations Director position to be successful?” This allows the hiring manager to tell you what they want from their new employee giving you some insight. This way you can touch on your skills and qualifications one more time.
Job Interview Tips
The job interviewing and hiring process can be a long and drawn out one. Remember the job search is a marathon and not a sprint. Your best defense for an interview is preparation so that your best qualities and qualifications shine through. Preparation from your outfit to interview answers to a solid handshake are the best job interview tips I can provide. Learn more about the interview process and different types of interviews you may encounter as you begin your job search.