4 Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer in an Interview
Interviewing can be a source of high anxiety for job seekers. The interview process requires you to show your best and authentic professional self in a limited amount of time and your performance has consequences: getting the job. The spontaneity of interviews is another source of stress. Most organizations don’t provide detailed questions before the interview to help the applicant to prepare, and that’s by design. Interviewers want to see how well applicants think on their feet and feel that they will receive more genuine answers if the responses are unrehearsed. Preparation for an interview is still possible even though you don’t know the exact questions that will be asked. There is a great diversity in how interviews are conducted across organizations, but there are a few items that are commonly asked during the process.
“Can you tell us about yourself?”
An opening question that allows you to share a “verbal cover letter” often happens early in an interview. You should always be prepared to provide a short (no longer than a minute or two) introduction as it sets the tone for the rest of the interview. For this question, you want to share one or two personal things that help the interviewer learn about your personality, reasons why you’re excited about the job, and a few profession highlights that are related to the position. This question can come in various formats, so having five or 6 different items to share can help you adapt on the fly.
Behavioral Interviewing Questions
Questions that require you to reflect on a previous experience to showcase skills, or behavioral interviewing questions, are very common in all types of interviews. These questions help the skills you listed on your resume come alive. Interviewers use these questions to look for evidence that you can actually do all of the things you claim you can do in your application materials. To prepare for behavioral interviewing questions, think of two or three work experiences that really showcase your skills. Create a short synopsis of the experience, and the highlight the skills that you used to achieve the goal in that example.
Strength and Weakness Questions
Asking applicants directly to talk about their strengths and weaknesses is out of vogue these days, but employers may still ask questions to allow you to show that you have strong self-awareness. To prepare for this type of question, consider some behavioral interviewing style answers to showcase times when your strengths shined and times when you were able to improve upon a skill that doesn’t come naturally to you.
“Why should we hire you?”
The “why you?”question is one that trips up even seasoned applicants. Practicing an answer to this question will allow you to find the balance between confidence and bragging. After looking at the job description, select a couple of skills that showcase areas where you have strong experience or expertise. This question also allows you to elaborate on what will make you a great colleague. Maybe you have a great sense of humor or the ability to think quickly and respond under pressure. Employers are looking for examples of fit, and giving them concrete examples of ways you “fit” the role can really help you stand out.