Interview questions Part 1

Common Interview Questions and How to Handle Them- Part 1

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Would you rather go to the Dentist or to a job interview?  Hmmm… at least the Dentist can’t reject you…! 

Some would choose a dentist over a job interview!

We discussed in another post about how to handle a job interview after being fired. Now we’ll cover some of the common interview questions you may encounter.

Job interviews for most people seeking jobs is an extremely unpleasant experience.

Whether you are looking to start your career or to find your dream job, a good interview with a potential employer lies between you and your goals. 

It is best to prepare enough beforehand to deal with all too common pre-interview nerves.

Even if you don’t know exactly what questions are being thrown at you, this article can give you a better sense of what is needed and a greater sense of confidence about your big day. 

So we’ve got you covered with some helpful information below if you’re wondering where to start.

Below are some of the most common questions for interviews that hiring managers may ask along with suggestions on how to best answer each of these questions. 

1. ‘Can you tell us a bit about yourself?’

This question is a famous opener since it gives recruiters the opportunity to break the ice with those questioned.

Although it may seem like an easy question, it is vital that you prepare a reply that summarizes the key facts about you.

Starting from birth is not a good idea.  Keep the conversation to work topics. 

Remember that they may have many candidates to choose from, and you have only a short time to make a good impression (or not). 

Choose from your work life a few key moments, such as your graduation, your most important work experience, and all other memorable accomplishments.

Your response should be brief but convincing and cover various areas of your career (including your current role, past positions and plans for the future).

Make sure the company is tied into your response and explain what you have brought here.

2. ‘What is your greatest weakness?’


Because this is the time you really want to put your best foot forward.  You want to appear perfect right now and you don’t want to let on to your potential boss that you even have any weaknesses at all. 

BUT! that’s the main reasoning behind this question: The hiring manager knows that not only you’re not perfect, but no one else is either.  This is an attempt to bring you down to earth, so they can see you more clearly.

You acknowledging your faults shows that you know yourself and are honest about areas that need improvement. But be careful here and keep your wits about you…

The key here is to mention a weakness that WILL NOT directly make you fail in the position you’re applying for.  Your answer should include a deficiency you are working on, and you should include evidence to support your argument.

Remove canned answers like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I work hard,” because these are not very valuable to the conversation at hand. Give an example that can be related to explain how you try to mitigate it.

3. ‘What is your greatest strength?’

The hiring manager is here challenging you to showcase your best qualities to the company and this is an excellent chance to do so.

You should talk about your talents, personal characteristics, knowledge or experience.

However, you need to weigh which of these qualities are the most important to your position when developing your answer.

Resist blanket statements like’ I’ve got great skills’ or’ I’m a great team player.’ And don’t try to just recite general qualities you think sound good to the hiring manager. 

Choose one of your key strengths instead and provide a direct and reliable response. Then follow this with an example that shows how you have displayed this attribute in a real-life situation in the past.

4. ‘Why do you want this job?’

Managers well know that people who like to do what they do produce the best results for the good of the company.

This question, therefore, provides an excellent opportunity for managers to learn about your professional goals and especially your motivation.

You must provide solid reasoning for your interviewers and make sure you match your answer to the job description and qualifications listed.

Is the job in line with the needs of your goal path? Is there an exciting cause you feel related to the job? Do you have extensive industry experience?

You must show that this position is for you and for the company a unique opportunity, as you have some valuable skills to give them.

5. ‘Why should we hire you?’

Don’t be surprised by this question; it’s your duty to provide an impelling response and employers will want to know what makes you different from other candidates.

This might also seem like an odd question to ask, but it is actually a perfect opportunity for you to display your enthusiasm for the work. The best way to address it to discuss how your experience will benefit the company and produce excellent results.

Speak about how you would fit into the organization’s team and community.

Do not be frightened to show your enthusiasm to work in the company or to fulfill the specific role you’ve applied for. 

Remember to also keep your answer professional. The more genuine and honest you are, the more unforgettable you will be. Recruiters like candidates who do not give robotic responses.

6. ‘How did you hear about this position?’

While this may sound like an easy straightforward question to answer, you should take many things into account. Let’s think about the reasoning behind the question. 

Think about this:  Employers are more interested in those who want to proactively work for their business than in those who just search for jobs that are available.

This is also an excellent chance to highlight your passion for the company and the specific role. You should chat about and express your excitement once you learned of the position. 

For example, if you learned about the position by means of a friend or the corporate web site, relay your enthusiasm about it.   

Even if you did find the position from a job website, describe how it suited you well as your professional goals.

7. ‘What is your greatest professional accomplishment?’

This is the ideal time for you to demonstrate that you deserve the position you’re applying for.

With this in mind, it is important to think about what is appropriate for the job subject at hand. So, think of an achievement that will prove you are the perfect candidate.

On your previous job, what have you done that is relevant? Have you ever been acknowledged by your boss for a difficult task or accomplishment? Have you specifically improved sales or sold a product? How exactly did you go about that?

This is the important stuff employers are listening for. You can bolster what you say by referring to statistics and figures that serve as evidence when mentioning your achievements.

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