First impressions are everything, and making a good one during a job interview can very well snag you the job of your dreams. Interviews can be nerve-racking, especially if it's for a job you really want. The only way to calm your nerves is to do a lot of prep beforehand so you'll be ready for your interview. Here are 14 common interview questions — and how to prep for them.
Tell Me About Yourself
This question usually takes about one to two minutes to answer and will be your elevator pitch. You want to give them a brief rundown of who you are as a person and show how you articulate you are. Don't start rambling on about your personal history. Talk about highlights from job positions or schooling and how you can contribute to the company with your background and experiences.
Know what the company is looking for. If it prizes technical skills, play those up. Showcase the qualities needed for the job you're interviewing for.
Before the interview, write down two to three notable achievements, and be sure to bring them up during your elevator pitch.
What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?
Think about what others have said about you when you're trying to come up with a list of your strengths. Remember, always back up your points with an example.
Pick strengths that align with the company's culture and goals. If you're applying to a scrappy start-up, highlight your ability to multitask and to take initiative.
The most important factor when choosing which strengths to highlight is to make sure they relate to the position your applying to. For example, if you're applying for a human resources position, talk about your interpersonal skills.
The weakness question is always the hardest to answer. Don't give a clichéd answer such as you work too hard or you're too much of a perfectionist. Try your best to stick to the truth and make sure you mention the steps you take to counter the weakness. Don't disclose anything that will make you look like an incompetent employee, such as not meeting deadlines and getting into conflicts with co-workers. Put a positive spin on the weakness but make sure it doesn't sound too practiced. An example of weaknesses can be impatience, which can mean that you want to get the job done. Another weakness can be time management but make sure you name the steps you take to beat that problem. You will look like a problem solver when you show them what you did to fix a flaw.
What Salary Are You Looking For?
You don't have to answer this question at the interview, and you can try to deflect this question until you've received an offer. Tell the interviewers that you want to hold off on salary talk until the both of you know that you're right for the job.
Why Do You Want to Work For Us?
Read up everything you can about the company, including the website, news articles, profiles of employees, and any tidbits on LinkedIn. If you or your friends know employees at the company, ask if they can speak to you about what the company is like.
Try to get a sense of what the company culture is and what its goals are. Once you've done your homework, you need to figure out how the company ties into your own career path and future.