Job-seeking individuals have long found themselves slightly unprepared for the long process of finding a job. When submitting the initial resume, it eventually becomes lost among the vast amount of others submitted for the same position. So, when applying for a job, what can you really do to stand out?
If your resume makes it past the first stage, you may be called for an interview. It is common to get cold hands or feet before the interview, but signs of nervousness are usually noticed by the potential employer. To prepare for your interview and avoid having restless feet, you can practice answering a few questions beforehand. Here is a short list of 10 common interview questions and how to answer them in ways that will impress your potential employer:
- 1. Why do you want to work here?
Employers typically receive plenty of resumes and inquiries whenever there is a job opening. To find the best fit, they tend to ask questions that will reveal whether you have applied because of an interest or simply because there is an opening. Most people apply to jobs they would typically not be interested in to gain a new source of income. To set yourself apart from the rest, think about whether this position aligns with your future aspirations and current goals. If you have a genuine interest in the job, be sure to mention that.
- 2. Why should we hire you?
When you are asked this question, you might find yourself a bit confused about how to answer. Listing our good traits can be difficult, especially in the presence of a stranger. Take a moment out of your day to introspect and look back at all that you have accomplished. If you feel that any of your achievements are worth mentioning, be sure to say it. When asked this question, your potential employer is listening to hear about the experiences and achievements that make you a great addition to their team.
- 3. Why did you leave your job?
No employer typically hires a person who badmouths his/her former employer. Maintaining a positive reputation is important to all businesses. If your previous experience was negative and you left or were fired for whatever reason, be sure to mention it in a positive manner. Instead of claiming that you were fired, speak in a more optimistic way and state it without a hint of distaste. How you handle yourself in this situation is extremely critical in deciding whether you will be an addition to the team.
- 4. What are your weaknesses?
One of the most common, but unfortunately the most difficult to answer, this question has long haunted job-seeking individuals. Instead of mentioning personal qualities, it is best to stay professional and only speak about qualities, such as leadership. Be sure to emphasize your strengths while talking about your weaknesses. For instance, if one of your weaknesses is communication, speak about what you are doing or have done to work on improving that aspect.
- 5. What are your goals?
When you are asked this question, be sure not to stray too far into the future. Most employers will want to hear about your current and immediate goals, rather than long-term.
- 6. What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
Answering this question can be difficult, especially if you have not taken time away from your daily tasks to introspect and look back on all that you have achieved. To make this question easier to answer, try listing out your accomplishments on a piece of paper. Be sure to include the most important ones and highlight any that are relevant to the position you have applied for. When you are asked this question in an interview, be sure to mention those accomplishments and give examples based on your experiences.
- 7. When were you most satisfied in your job?:
When your employer asks this question, he/she is wondering what it is that motivates you. Think about a time in your past job when you were most excited or felt a need to perform better. This will give your employer an idea of who you are and your preferences.
- 8. If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?
An unorthodox question, most employers will ask questions such as this. The reason for this is that they would like to see how well you can think out of the box. Sometimes, they may even have their own ranking system that would summarize your temperament and determine if you are a good fit for the company. These questions are often psychological and assess your personality accurately.
- 9. What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?
It is now time to brag about your experiences in the workplace. Maybe your previous boss has always commented on how clean your workspace is or even complimented your dependability. Be sure to mention these comments to your potential employer because it is a great way to show your credibility.
- 10. What salary are you seeking?
It is best to prepare for this question by researching the common rate in your area beforehand. When you are asked the question, ask if your employer can provide a range. You can then give a generic salary based on your skill set and experience.
It is easy to get lost in the pile of resumes and hundreds of applications received for a new job opening. If you have a genuine interest in the position, you might feel as though you are the best fit for the job, but while you know that, your potential employer most likely does not. By answering the above questions efficiently and to the best of your abilities, you will be highlighted in their long lists of potential employees. To further gain credibility, provide your interviewer with the contact information of your previous employers with whom you have had pleasant experiences.