First Published : January 3, 2019
Date Updated: February 19, 2020
It's hiring season once more and with all the job openings in the market, it's important that you prepare how to answer interview questions that will confidently get you the job.
In my years of experience, there’s nothing like going through interviews where the candidates were struggling to answer. Never mind the lack of eye contact, dressing casually and even nervous tone - for me, it’s the meat of the answer that matters the most.
And without preparation, your confidence as the applicant will dwindle away and you will start to panic.
The last thing you want to happen is to have an anxiety attack in front of your future boss. (Oh no!)
So, before you go to that interview, read through these questions and think through how you’ll answer them. I suggest not rehearsing your answers because you may sound like you practiced it verbatim.
Believe me, seasoned interviewers will see if you've over-practiced because you will sound unnatural.
These questions and tips on how to answer is a guide. Not the verbatim answers. So proceed with caution.
1. Tell me about yourself.
This is one of my favorite questions because this gives me perspective on how the applicant will describe himself/herself.
Oftentimes, they start with their name and their age. Please do not do this. We know your name and we don’t want to know your age.
Keep the answer short. Be concise on describing yourself and provide information that is relevant on the job that you are applying.
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2. Why do you want this job?
When answering this, please DO NOT EVER say it’s about the money.
Your future boss will not appreciate it. Everyone has needs and financial aspirations.
But we all know that it’s not all about the money, right?
So, think through why you really want the job. Be genuine on why the job will help you achieve more learning or get more exposure or how it aligns with your goals on being an expert in the industry etc.
Look beyond the money and expound on that when answering this question.
3. What do you know about the company?
Part of your preparation before the interview is to research about the company. If you are a referral, then make sure to talk about what you’ve learned about the company from that person.
It’s important to say something about the company that you’ve researched on. This shows that you did your homework and will impress the interviewer.
You don’t need to launch into a whole list of accomplishment of the company but make sure you have 2-3 sentences that you can talk about.
4. Why should we hire you?
I find that this is hard to answer for a lot of people because they feel they need to brag or put another applicant down to get the job.
Remember that employers are looking at how well you know your skills and abilities when they are asking this question.
Focus on what you can contribute and why your skills are best for the job. Be confident in talking about the skills you’ve acquired over the years and how the company will benefit from it.
No need to put down anyone or reference your competition.
Focusing your answer on what you can bring to the table will show your future employer/boss that you are aware of your abilities and that not hiring you means that the company will be missing out on your talents.
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5. What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
This is a tough one for most people because they feel like they need to be perfect in every way to get a job.
This is not true.
Employers understand that nobody is perfect. What this question is about is your self -awareness and honesty. If you say you don’t have weakness, that’s simply lying.
One good answer I recently came across with is this applicant’s fear in public speaking.
He said that he recognized that he needed work on this skill, so he offered to be the one to host their meetings where his colleagues were there to witness him speak.
It helped his confidence, so he is better now in speaking in front of a crowd. He humbly accepted that he would still like to get better at it so he recognizes that it’s still a weakness.
This answer nails this interview question because the applicant recognized his opportunity, worked on it and still in progress on addressing this skill.
Some red flags on this though is time management, getting along with people and tardiness. Please do not mention any of these as this creates a bad impression to your future employer.
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6. What are your strengths?
Focus on your professional strength. This could be exceptional people skills, attention-to-detail, operational rigor etc.
Customize your answer depending on the position your are applying for.
If you are applying for a people manager role, then focus on your experiences handling people. If you are applying for an individual contributor role, then indicate your experience working in a team and contributing to a project success.
If one of your strengths is that you are a good listener, then mention that as well.
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7. Tell me about an experience you had where you had a conflict with one of your co-worker. How did you handle it?
For these types of questions, always use the STAR Method. See below for details:
Set the scenario and give details of your example. Think of this as a story. Set the background before you dive in.
Describe how you fit in the situation and what your primary responsibility is.
Explain in detail the steps you took to address the situation. Be detailed in discussing this as this is where you showcase your abilities, leadership and initiative.
Share the outcome of your actions. The results will speak for the actions you described so make sure that you share results that are relevant and will be something that will interest the interviewer.
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Keep in mind that questions like this does not have a right or wrong answer. The employer is looking at your thought process and initiative.
Conflict will always be there in any professional environment. Your level of maturity will come out depending on your answer.
This is why you need to pick the scenario carefully and follow through the STAR method.
Remember that preparation is key in any interview.
The more you practice on how to answer these questions no matter how simple, will make you more confident in the interview and get you a callback.
Happy job hunting!
About Daisy Casio
Daisy Casio is a Passionate Operations Leader with over 16 years of work experience in various leadership roles. She has run diverse teams in multiple locations and has built teams from the ground up. She is the Founder of ChampLeaders Blog dedicated to transforming leaders to Champions. She writes about leadership, management, productivity, career tips, team engagement and many more.