Answering Classic Interview Questions With Confidence and Personality
Preparing for an interview entails picking out your wardrobe, researching the company you may be working for and practicing your answers to some of the most common interview questions. By taking the time to prepare your responses, you can complete your interview with strong self-esteem, professional responses and enough personality to make you stand out from the other applicants.
Hiring managers ask many questions for many reasons. First of all, they want to see how quick you are to reflect on a question and create an answer that is succinct, honest and confident. Job recruiters are also trying peel away the layers of application paperwork and discover the skills that qualify you for the job. Anyone can fill out a piece of paper, write a cover letter and send in a resume or CV detailing their job history. What really matters though, is how you portray your strengths, weaknesses and ability to think when under pressure, especially when talking with your potential manager.
To help anyone entering today’s competitive workforce, here are some guidelines for answering some of the most common interview questions as well as some basic do’s and don’ts for replies.
Before you can begin preparing answers and practicing how you give those responses, you need to have knowledge of the most prevalent questions asked by hiring mangers and job recruiters in today’s employment sector. To help you prepare, take a look at the following questions and get ready to practice those public speaking skills.
- Tell us about yourself and describe your personality.
- What reasons did you have for leaving your last job?
- What do you do well? What are your strengths?
- What do you find difficult and where do your weaknesses lie?
- How have you dealt with conflict in the workplace?
- Why did you choose this career field?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What do you like to read outside of work related writings?
- How would a good friend describe you?
- Why should I hire you and what qualifies you for this position?
As you can tell, these questions, and many others not even mentioned, are asked to give your hiring manager a well rounded view of your working skills, personality and drive for your life beyond the office. To start preparing your answers, discuss these questions with a trusted friend or past co-worker. Sometimes talking with another person about your past job, acquired skills and personality can bring out pieces of yourself that you may not always remember are there.
Basic Do’s and Don’ts
The first thing to remember when answering these questions is to remain focused and true to yourself. Your answers need to be professional but also create a true reflection of your job skills and personality. You want to be confident without coming across as haughty and arrogant. You want to be short and concise, giving specific details that use powerful words. It helps to look up clichéd words and phrases in a thesaurus so you are not sounding like a broken record of previous applicants. Keep in mind that your answers need to be given with a firm voice that has enough volume to be heard by everyone in the room, but not the receptionist down the hall.
When you answer your questions, do not slouch, fidget with your clothes or mumble when you are unsure of your answer. If a question catches you off guard, take a moment to think and remember that your interviewer is not looking for the perfect answer, but only wants to see your capabilities of answering questions you may not have prepared for. You also do not want to give lengthy answers that dredge up tales from your weekend job in high school when you had to deal with cranky hotel guests at 7 in the morning. Finally, do not ever tell your recruiter that you do not know how to answer a question. If it is something you have not encountered, just tell them that you have not experienced that issue in the past. Then, give them an example of what you would do if it occurred.
Preparing for your interview using these common questions and answering skills will help you become more confident and professional in your next interview. Remember to be honest, sit up straight and always answer with an excited and warming smile.