Continuing again with my list of interview preparation steps, the next several posts will be about what interview questions to expect and how to prepare for them. Let’s start out with discussing the most frequently asked questions.
Actually, there are dozens and dozens of common questions you may be asked in an interview. It’s certainly enough to make you wonder why Hiring Managers aren’t more creative! I’ve listed at the end of this post the ones asked most frequently in my experience, regardless of the job.
I’ve asked many of these questions myself, as a Hiring Manager. I’ve also been asked many of them when I’ve interviewed for a job. While it simply isn’t possible to give you the perfect answers to each question (and you really shouldn’t want me to, as the answers should be yours, not mine) I can give you some general guidelines to follow.
The first and most important guideline is to practice how you’ll answer these questions. You don’t need to memorize answers – just the general concepts you want to get across with each one.
Next, be sure your answers address your qualifications and accomplishments as they relate to that specific job. Remember: it’s one thing to say that you have experience; it’s another thing entirely to give examples of how you’ve been successful in that experience. Be sure to have some good examples of your work and your accomplishments that are applicable to that specific job.
Give each of the common questions below some thought, write out an answer and then commit the gist of the answer to memory so that you don’t hesitate if they are asked in an interview. Each answer should relate in some way or another to some aspect of the job description, or to some aspect of the company that you learned from your research. Always try to personalize your answers in this way. And yes, this means you’ll need to personalize them differently for each interview (sorry!).
Here is a list of what I consider to be the common questions asked in any interview. These are the ones for which I recommend you be most prepared. In my next post, we’ll begin tackling how to answer those unusual and difficult questions.
• Tell me about yourself.
• What are your strengths?
• Why do you want this job?
• What attracted you to this company?
• Give examples of ideas you’ve had or implemented.
• How would you describe your work style?
• Tell me about a time where you had to deal with conflict on the job.
• What would be your ideal working situation?
• What did you like least about your last job?
• What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
• What do you know about this industry?
• What do you know about our company?
• Give me an example of a time that you felt you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.
• What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it?
• What’s the most difficult decision you’ve made in the last two years?
• Why are you leaving your present job?
• Give me an example of a time you did something wrong. How did you handle it?
• How would you go about establishing your credibility quickly with the team?
• What techniques and tools do you use to keep yourself organized?