No matter how impressive your job application is, what matters the most is your performance during a job interview. Only after can a recruiter assess the true level of the candidate’s key skills, as well as whether they will be a good fit for the company’s team.
Although paying enough attention to your resume is crucial as well. Make sure it’s written very well, includes relevant keywords and depicts your strengths. If writing isn’t your strong side, you might want to get professional help and to ask a professional resume writer for advice to ensure recruiters can’t tear their eyes away from the text.
Checking Teamwork Skills: 7 Most Common Interview Questions
One of the worst things anyone can do during a job interview is get lost and answer “I don’t know”. Luckily enough, most questions recruiters ask are generic. So, you can prepare your answers in advance to always have an ace up your sleeve, which would also boost your confidence.
Here are the 7 most common questions job seekers hear during an interview.
1. What Can You Tell Us About Yourself?
This question is the first one that interviewees hear in 99% of cases. It’s meant as an ice breaker to ease them in and make them feel comfortable, so preparing a 5-minute speech on your life story isn’t a good idea.
Instead, think of the answer as an elevator pitch where the idea you sell is that you’re the perfect fit for the position. Aim to come across as modest but confident.
Describe your most recent work experience and the most impressive responsibilities that came with it. Then, mention your overall experience and key accomplishments. Remember to quantify them as much as possible. Finally, explain why you’re looking for a job and why you think this opportunity can be beneficial for both parties.
2. How Would You Describe Your Previous Work Experience?
The formula is the same in this case: provide the job titles, the main responsibilities they entailed, and the key skills and accomplishments acquired or achieved thanks to them. It’s always a good idea to finish lengthy answers with a recap summing up your career and professional competencies.
If you have a gap between two positions on your resume, chances are high the hiring manager will ask about it. Keep the explanation honest and straightforward. Remember: there’s no need to get defensive over it.
3. What Are Your Main Strengths and Weaknesses?
Listing strengths is a piece of cake for most candidates. Just remember to make them relevant for the particular job opportunity and provide specific examples.
Being open about one’s weaknesses isn’t as easy. The most common piece of advice out there is to present a strength as a weakness (e.g.: “I’m a perfectionist”), but such answers come across as pretentious and insincere.
Instead, choose one or several weaknesses and describe what you’ve already done to improve upon them. This will paint you as a person who is open to criticism and willing to grow personally and professionally.
4. Could You Tell Us About Your Greatest Accomplishment?
This is the best “softball” question there is. However, some candidates get too shy to use this opportunity to prove their qualification lives up to what’s written in the resume.
Overcoming this barrier requires practice. Along with it, learn to use the STAR structure until it becomes a reflex. STAR stands for Situation – Task – Action – Result. In practice, this means giving the background information, explaining what the issue was, describing what you did to solve it and what the results of your actions were.
5. Why Have You Decided to Look for a New Job?
Any company wants to be sure their potential employee is willing to sign up for a long-term commitment. To avoid raising some flags, don’t throw a tantrum about your former or current boss or colleagues. Instead, focus on how this job opportunity can help you grow as a professional.
In case you were laid off, state as much. If you were fired, be careful with your answer: share the reason and explain what you’ve done to work on the issues that led to it. Finally, if you decided to quit, avoid trash-talking; focus on your desire for professional development and/or a better working environment instead.
6. Where Are Your Plans for the Next X Years?
There are several variations for this question, including the ones about the candidate’s plans for the future in general or the next five or ten years. What recruiters usually mean by it is “Do your plans align with a career at our company?”
Treat this question as a professional one and say whether you expect to be working in this field in the future. If you’re not sure this is the case, there is no shame in explaining that there is no way to know what the future holds and that you hope (instead of “plan”) you will do this and that.
7. Do You Have Any Questions?
A person who answers “no” is going to seem uninterested in the job opportunity. So, prepare a list of questions you would like to ask potential employers. Here are just a few ideas:
– What are the next steps in your recruitment process?
– What challenges should I expect from this position?
– How would you describe your corporate culture?
– What are the career prospects that come with the position?
In Conclusion: 5 Time-Proven Tips to Land a Job
Just preparing answers to the questions above is hardly enough to land your dream job on its own. In addition to giving a healthy amount of thought to the interview questions, there are 5 more things any successful applicant should do:
– Practice. Prepare a list of possible questions and ask your friends or family to play the role of the hiring manager. This will help you learn how to deal with potential anxiety and how to project confidence, too.
– Learn from previous interviews. Most job seekers don’t feel they aced a job interview after it’s finished. It’s fine as long as they learn from such experiences and use them to get better at being interviewed in the future.
– Make your resume impeccable. Besides being visually stunning, a successful resume has to be interesting to read, too.
– Keep your answers sincere, specific, and personal. Avoid giving generic answers that don’t mention the specifics of the job opportunity or potential employer’s activities. Also, instead of saying what you think the recruiter wants to hear, speak from the bottom of your heart.
– Always follow up after the interview. Write an email to the recruiter thanking them for their time and giving a couple of reasons why you enjoyed speaking with them (if that’s the case, of course).