5 Common Interview Questions
It always pays to be prepared. Before going to your job interview, plan ahead and think of what questions you are likely to be asked. Employers often throw curveballs beyond what you would expect. Here are a few examples of questions to consider before walking through the door:
1. “What are your weaknesses?”
This can be a scary question, as the whole purpose of the interview is for you to demonstrate how good you would be at this job. Be honest in this, and don’t try to fool your potential boss. Answers like “I work too hard” are clichéd and unrealistic. Instead, spin your weaknesses as things that you look forward to learning in the company. For example, “In the past I’ve had trouble with web design, but I understand that your team is quite good at it and I’m confident that I can learn quickly.”
2. “Give an example of an employee conflict and how it was resolved.”
Thinking back to previous jobs and problems you might have had there gives your future problem the chance to evaluate how you might interact in similar situations here. Again, honesty is key. But at the same time, avoid pointing the finger at coworkers. You won’t be seen as a good team player.
3. “What was your last boss like?”
Careful! If you hated your previous employer, this is probably not the time to say so. Your interviewer will think of what might happen if you ever leave his or her company, and what you will say at your next job interview about them down the line. If you had problems with your last boss, say that you “had professional differences” or that you felt their management style was not receptive to employee input.
4. “Describe one project that you’ve completed in the past.”
If you are applying for a job with a lot of autonomy and responsibility, where you will be expected to develop original reports, products, or campaigns, this may be your chance to shine. If you can point to specific examples of previous successes in other jobs, describe them modestly but completely. This is an excellent way to distinguish yourself from other applicants to the position.
5. “Do you have any questions for me?”
The turnaround is a classic. Your interviewer is testing your ability to ask intelligent, directed questions. You should know a lot about the company you are applying to work at and your specific position, but this is a great time to ask specific and insightful things about either topic. Never lead by asking about money, time off, benefits, or other things that make you look like you’re only interested in what you can get out of the employer. Instead, ask things about the staff you will be working with, what an average day in the job would be like, or the company’s future direction.
With a little bit of preparation, you have a much better chance of acing your interview. Good luck!