We’ve all been there: You have an interview for a new position, and your mind is anxiously reviewing all the possible questions your interviewer might ask. While there are a handful of questions that are asked in almost any job interview, employers also like to get a sense of a candidate’s ability to think on their feet by throwing them some curveballs.
The best cure for pre-interview jitters is preparation and practice. To help put your mind at ease, here are 10 common interview questions and some tips for responding to them:
What do you know about the company? Employers are looking for someone who can not only tell them technical details about the company, but also understands and cares about the purpose and mission behind the organization.
What are your strengths? Be as specific as possible and focus on professional strengths that are relevant to the position you’re applying for.
What are your weaknesses? Above all, this question is intended to get a sense of how honest and realistic you are about your abilities. Don’t be too self-critical but give them an example of an area in which you are striving to improve.
When did you encounter a challenge in the workplace, and how did you resolve it? This is a big one. Employers are looking for a specific story from your professional past that will illustrate your problem-solving skills. Have one in mind beforehand and rehearse the details before you go into the interview.
What are you looking for in a job? The more you can describe the position you’re interviewing for when responding to this question, the better.
Why did you leave your last job? When answering this question, try to not smear your past employer(s). Instead, highlight the fact that you weren’t being challenged enough in your last position and you’re looking for new, more engaging opportunities.
Can you explain why you have a gap in your employment history? If you took time off from your career, employers want to know you did not spend that time just twiddling your thumbs. Without making up stories, be sure to emphasize any self-improvement activities – such as international travel, classes or volunteer work – that you engaged in during that period.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Let them know you have professional goals, ambition and a plan, even if it’s a loose one.
Why should we choose you for the role? This one makes most people’s hearts beat a little faster, but this is the perfect opportunity to indulge in some self-salesmanship. Highlight the skills, experience and personal qualities that make you a great fit.
Why do you want this position? Be honest! If you’ve applied and are now interviewing, chances are you’ve got some passion for the job. And if there’s one thing employers are looking for, it’s passion.
If you’re ready to begin searching for your next exciting opportunity, check out our careers page.