Being unemployed is tough. Job seekers spend hours every day searching Indeed, Monster, Craigslist, and countless other websites for their next chance at securing a job. Even after you’ve submitted your resume and cover letter to countless different sources, getting an interview while competing against dozens of other candidates can be an uphill battle. When you have finally made it to the interview process, you still have to make a great impression on the interviewer in order to secure your dream job. Job interviews might seem easy, but it can always be difficult finding the right answers to difficult questions. Here are a few incredible ways to answer common job interview questions:
Question: Tell me about yourself.
Answer: It might be tempting to just go over your resume and all of the things you did, but it’s a better idea to come up with a catchy pitch that highlights your best work. You can still go over some of the items on your resume, but don’t give into the temptation of summarizing your whole work life. An article from The Muse gives an easy formula: the Present-Past-Future formula. Start by talking about what you’re doing now and then mention your past experience and how it’s helped you. Finish off by talking about the future and why the job position at the company is exciting to you.
Question: Tell me what you know about the company.
Answer: This question is always a test. A truly passionate worker will know all about the company and its history. Even if you hadn’t heard about the company before the day you applied, it is always good to do some preliminary research. Read the company’s website or even its Wikipedia article and prepare a short summary of what the company does. It can be as little as “This company provides a point-of-sale service for over 10,000 businesses.” However, more is always better. See what you can find out about the company’s history, mission, and its founders. The interviewer will be even more impressed if you can present some little-known information about the company.
Question: What is your greatest strength?
Answer: While this one is pretty open ended and usually easy to answer, you still want to say something impressive. The best way to answer this question is by presenting something that proves you are a fit for the job. For example, if the job description says you have to “wear many hats,” make sure to emphasize that you’re great at multitasking. If the job requires very detail-oriented work, make sure to say that you have great precision and accuracy.
Question: What is your greatest weakness?
Answer: Now this question is one of the toughest ones. Nobody wants to admit a weakness, especially when the wrong answer might cost you a shot at your dream job. Be careful what you say when you answer this question. Be honest and think of something that you need to improve on and then talk about how you’re trying to improve that weakness. Everyone has flaws, but it shows true character for someone to talk about how they are trying to fix those flaws. The interviewer wants to know how you are working on self-improvement and how you are going to overcome your weaknesses.
Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Answer: There are many ways to answer this difficult question and what you say can reveal a lot about you. One thing you should never say is something like “I want to be in your position in the next five years.” Instead, you should talk about different positions or fields you would like to get into. You should also talk about how you want to grow in the position and how you will help out the company’s bottom line. One good idea is to talk about gaining skills and how you might achieve career growth by helping out other departments.
Question: Why did you leave your last job?
Answer: This question is another tough one. Just remember to keep everything on the bright side and try and keep negative comments to a minimum. Badmouthing your previous employer might just look bad on you and that’s something you definitely don’t want. Try talking about how you are looking for bigger and better opportunities or something along those lines. Spin every negative comment into a positive one. Instead of saying “I didn’t like my co-workers or the company culture,” say, “I am looking for something that’s a better cultural fit.”
Question: What are your salary requirements?
Answer: The best way to answer this question is by doing thorough research beforehand. Find out how much someone in your position usually makes and account for factors like location and years of experience. Also make sure to give a range rather than focusing on a single concrete number. Make sure to say that you’re flexible and willing to negotiate your terms.
The Bottom Line
Job interviews are never an easy process. It takes dedication, time, and a good amount of effort to make the right impression on whoever you’re interviewing with. Be sure to print out a list of possible questions you might be asked and come up with various answers to those questions. Treat it as if you were studying for a final exam in college by making sure that you know all the right answers in your head. If a job interview doesn’t work out, don’t be afraid to ask what went wrong and what you can improve on. It takes work to get a job, but it’s always worth it in the end.