Interview Questions: Common Questions And How To Answer

An interview is basically a formal dialogue where one person asks questions, and the other offers answers. In general, the term “interview” refers to a one-on-one conversation between an interviewer and an interviewee. The interviewer asks questions that the interviewee responds to. Hence, the interviewee usually offers answers to the interviewer— and that information can be used or provided to other people, in real-time or later.

The aim of a job interview is to know enough about the applicant to assess whether a long-term business relationship has the potential to be successful. This is an opportunity for a potential employer to get to know a candidate.

Since they tend to be ritualized, these are likely to reveal less “potential for relationships” than your typical blind date. The problem is the typical questions. Anyone who can go online will review lists of “hard questions” and plan “correct answers” to address them. This result is more like a stage play than a conversation. Nonetheless, interviews can still often be quite tricky. To help you, here are some questions that your interviewer might ask you and how to address them. 

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1. Tell Me About Yourself

There’s a lot you should already know if you’re the interviewer. The candidate’s resume and cover letter can tell you a lot, and more can be learned by LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google.

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An interview’s aim is to decide if the candidate is going to be excellent in the position, and that means assessing the skills and attitude required for that work. So, explain why you are going to job interviews. Explain why you chose your school. Share why you decided to go to college. Clue the interviewer in on what motivates you to make the decisions you do.

2. What Is Your Weakness?

Each candidate knows how to answer this question: select a theoretical weakness and turn it into a hidden power magically.

Choosing a real gap is a better approach, but only choose one that you’re working to improve. Share what you do to address this vulnerability. No one is flawless, but it is helpful to show you can genuinely self-assess and then search for ways to change.

3. What Are Your Expected Challenges In The Job?

For the interviewer, this question can result in information that you would never get from the job description. Such as that you’re going to have to deal with messy interdepartmental policies. Or that the person you’re going to work with most closely is hard to get along with, or you’re going to have to work on your program within draconian budget restrictions.

It can also create an opening for you to speak to your interviewer about how you have handled similar challenges in the past that can be encouraging. It is not recommended to ask questions just so you can follow up on your own with a sales pitch.

For the candidate, always show that you are willing to learn despite whatever challenges you expect. Tell your interviewer that whatever challenge you may face, you are ready for it. 

4. Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?

There are two primary ways to answer this question. Candidates try to show their immense determination by offering an extremely positive response, such as, “I will be working here!” Or they try to show their modesty by providing a meek, self-deprecating answer like, “There are so many talented people here. I want to do a great job and see where my talents take me.” 

However, we suggest not to use either of these answers. Instead, you should speak about the broader goals and aspirations you have. Tell the interviewer that you are interested in advancing in your career. Overall, make sure your plans match up with their values.

5. Why Do You Want This Job?

This is your chance to dig in deeper. Don’t just talk about why the company would be great to work for; talk about how the role matches well with what you’re hoping to achieve, both in the short and long term. Talk about what you could bring to the team, as well as what you hope to learn in the position.

6. Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job?

Don’t speak about how unpleasant your current boss is during an interview. Likewise, don’t talk about other employees about how you couldn’t get along. Focus instead on the positive things that a move will bring.

Talk about what you’d like to do. Talk about what you’re going to learn. Share the ways you want to grow, talk about things you want to do, and explain how great a move is going to be for you. Complaining about your current employer is a bit like gossiping, which will leave your interviewer feeling like you would do the same for them.

7. What Was The Toughest Decision You Have Had To Make?

The aim of this interview question is to evaluate the candidate’s ability to reason, as well as their problem-solving skills, judgment, and probably even willingness to take smart risks. It is a definite warning sign to have no response. Everyone, regardless of their position, makes tough decisions.

A good answer shows that you can make a difficult decision based on analysis or reasoning. A great response indicates that you can make a difficult interpersonal decision, or better yet, a difficult decision guided by data that involves interpersonal factors and implications.

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Conclusion

Interviews can sometimes be scary. Therefore, you must be prepared. For more interview tips, click here.

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