Job Interview Questions
Congratulations, you’ve got your resume in the “interview pile,” and a hiring manager has contacted you to set up an interview date and time, now it’s time to prepare.
Scroll down to find the “Do’s and Dont’s” for top interview questions typically asked by hiring managers.
Any answer in a job interview should ultimately end up describing what YOU did in the scenario explaining how YOU went over and beyond.
You’ve made it this far in the job application process, now it’s time to really take any answer you provide to the next level. You want to give that “WOW” factor of an ‘outside-the-box’ forward-thinking response.
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QUICK TIPS Direct from a hiring manager: Whether your job interview is in person or virtual, here are a few essentials for a successful job interview.
- Be on time: Don’t be too early or late.
- Be prepared: Have your resume and cover letter handy to deliver if they ask for another copy.
- Be positive!
No matter what question you are presented with, remember to provide what “YOU” did in the question scenario to make it awesome – see examples below.
Just as there is no “one-size-fits-all” resume, there is no job interview that is the same either.
With that in mind, to best prepare for your job interview begin with knowing the job description in and out, as well as being informed about company details which may include executive leadership, processes, culture, public recognition, etc.
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Interview Question #1: Why did you leave your last job?
You may have many reasons for leaving a job. Whatever the reason, the interviewing want to hear a definite goal. For example, if the reason for leaving a job is negative, your answer should be based on what positive outlooks you have for your next job. Forward thinking is the best answer.
DON’T SAY: “I didn’t like my boos.”
DO SAY: “I learned how to [fill in the blank] from my last job and feel I can improve the needs of customers seeking [fill in the blank] with a more structured work environment.”
Interview Question #2: Tell me about yourself.
When a job interviewer asks “Tell me about yourself,” they don’t mean what you had for breakfast, or maybe they do want to know what you ate depending on the type of job interview. But seriously, this question best answered is by touching lightly on your hobbies and interest avoiding controversial topics such as politics, of course, unless you’re interviewing for a political job position. The goal of your answer is to be share just enough about yourself without giving too much personal information which could indicate to the interviewer that you are not 100% committed to the job.
DON’T SAY: “My family and I go on a lot of vacations throughout the year. I also have a part-time job that I’m keeping, which I’m on call 24/7.”
DO SAY: “On the weekends, my family loves to find new hiking trails. We also enjoy trying new restaurants in the area.”
“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.”
– Abraham Lincoln
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Interview Question #3: What is your greatest weakness?
When hearing the word “weakness,” it’s likely one thinks of negative impacts. The trick to landing the answer to this question is by turning your “weakness” into a positive skill strength. Take your “weakness” and describe how it can be positive by recognizing a weakness and explaining how you’ve worked to improve.
DON’T SAY: “Sometimes I spend too much time on projects because I’m a perfectionist.”
DO SAY: “My greatest weakness is perfectionism. I believe every project should be accurate and complete. I’ve learned balancing accuracy and time efficiency is the key to completing any project successfully. ”
Interview Question #4: Describe a difficult work situation or project and how you overcame it.
The question, “Describe a difficult work situation or project and how you overcame it,” is mind-boggling enough to answer, but trying to remember a good example may be even more challenging. It helps to explain any challenging question by first refreshing your memory by scanning your resume and recollecting past difficult projects.
QUICK TIP: It’s okay to kindly ask the interviewer for a few moments to review your notes before answering. A hiring manager would rather hear a well thought out, put together response rather than a jumbled up B.S. answer.
DON’T SAY: “I worked with three other people on a project and they never wanted to do any of the work. I did it all myself.”
DO SAY: “I remember a project where three other colleagues and myself, worked together to recreate a travel budget with the primary goal of reducing costs. I headed the project, but together we found the best way to minimize the budget was to limit travel times. The travel time for assignments was two weeks. We found the same task could be completed in less time. However, our decision was split. Two project members voted to reduce travel time to one week, and two voted to minimize travel time to four days. Stumped with no end but a deadline in sight, I created an open dialogue where each person had three minutes to explain why they chose either one week or a four-day travel time reduction. With this open dialogue, we were able to effectively work together and make a group decision benefiting both our company travel budget and our client’s needs.”
Interview Question #5: Why should we hire you?
Another version of this question may include, “Why are you the best candidate for this job?”
From your job search to resume revamping, you’ve put in a mass amount of your time and sweat (maybe some tears too?☺) to get to this point in the job application process so you definitely want your answer to be the “right” one.
Explaining why you are the right choice, is the question you should be prepared and waiting for the hiring manager to ask.
Now is the time to put your salesperson cap on. In a perfect sales pitch, while being confident, not conceited, highlight your best assets. Describe, in detail, what assets you bring to the job and how YOU are the best applicant choice.
DON’T SAY: “I’m obviously the best choice because I can outsmart anyone and I can complete any project faster.”
DO SAY: “I am the best choice for this project management position because my experience and professionalism are sure to be long-term assets to [company name.] I bring over six years of successful project management experience with multiple project management awards including the [fill in the blank] award.”
Prepping for any job interview is the best approach for success. If by chance the job interview didn’t go well you may be interested in reading our post “6 Things to do After A Bad Job Interview.”
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