Answering Interview Questions

How to Answer Job Interview Questions

Job interviews are stressful for just about all of us. It’s difficult to guess how the process will go and whether your potential employer will like you. Unfortunately many people go into job interviews without being properly prepared. While it may be tempting to think that going in fresh will make it more natural, it will only make it worse. Nothing is more important to a successful interview than being prepared.

Some people are unsure of how to prepare because they don’t know what questions they will be asked. While it’s true that every interview will be unique, there are some common questions that are asked during almost every interview. Once you can anticipate certain questions you can begin crafting your responses beforehand. Being rehearsed in this sense will make your interview more successful and cause you to stand out from the other applicants.

Common Interview Questions and How to Respond

Below are some examples of interview questions and how to frame your responses. After studying these you will be well on your way to successfully answering interview questions.

1. What is your biggest strength?
This is a question that requires you to be confident. While you don’t want to be narcissistic, your interviewer genuinely wants to know that you have self-confidence. You have to sell yourself with your response. A great way to answer this question is to mention one of your traits and explain how it led to one of your greatest accomplishments. Talk about how this specific skill of yours has led to personal success and has helped your previous employers. Make sure it is relevant to the job in question.

2. What is your biggest weakness?
Despite how this question is framed, you shouldn’t highlight the most negative aspect of yourself. What you should do in this situation is talk about a weakness you have overcome. For example, if you grew up shy, you can talk about how you used to struggle communicating with people. After this you can move on to talk about how you’ve worked to overcome that problem and you are now an effective communicator and personable colleague. Remember you want to sell yourself.

3. Tell me about yourself.
This is a vague request that often leaves interviewees stumped. The main things you want to highlight in your answer are your education experience, work experience, and some of your best skills. You want to keep your response fairly brief so don’t go into too much detail. What the employer wants is to get an idea of your qualifications and what makes you stand out.

4. Why should we hire you?
When presented with this question you’ll want to tie your skills and experience directly to what the employer is looking for. You should do some research on the tasks that are required under this position. Once you’ve done so, relate your skills to those tasks. This is a way of showing that you are uniquely qualified for the position in question.

5. Do you have any questions?
Your interviewer wants to see that you are engaged and curious about the company. This gives you an opportunity to ask some questions about the position. One smart question to ask is how others have succeeded in that same position. This will give you an idea of what the employer is looking for should you be hired and also shows them that you are eager to succeed. It’s not a good idea to ask about pay raises or vacation time. Don’t ask obvious questions that could be answered easily through your own research.

Final Thoughts on Answering Questions

While every job interview will be slightly different and there may be tricky questions that cause you to think on your feet, preparation is possible. Most interviews are based on the same types of questions so you can have a good foundation no matter what job you’re applying for. Don’t think you’re just going to show up and ace the interview without doing any planning. If you answer questions poorly you’ll be unlikely to get hired. Employers are looking for candidates who are ready, professional, and qualified.

Studying the questions and methods above will help you get a grasp on how to handle interview questions. Interviews really don’t have to be as scary as we make them about to be. You can get that job!

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