Have a job interview coming up? Congrats! Your application has made through to the very top of the pile. Now you just need to keep things from turning into a hiring manager’s bad interview story. They typically follow a formulaic question outline, so make sure you stay on track by familiarizing yourself with the most commonly asked job interview questions — and how to answer them in a way that shows off your #girlboss skills.
“Tell me about yourself.”
Don’t tell your life story. Absolutely no one is interested in a rambling monologue from you. You might get nervous and feel compelled to overshare — this is not a good look on a date, and it certainly isn’t a good look in an interview. You want to showcase your strengths and relevant experience with your answer.
Do tell your why. A lot of hiring managers will look at your experience and judge you off that alone. It is up to you to transform who you are as a candidate through your words. Use them wisely and edit yourself. No matter where you are applying, this question is guaranteed to come up. Practice beforehand by videotaping yourself. You’ll see what is compelling and what you can cut.
“Are you applying anywhere else?”
Don’t admit you are playing the field. Every company wants to believe you only have eyes for them and them alone. They are looking for employees who see this role, this company as the only place they want to work.
Do focus on them. Companies want to be the belle of the ball. Flatter them! Show you have done your homework by complementing a new product, service, or process. Help them to understand why you are the best person for the position and why this particular role would be a perfect partnership.
What is your biggest weakness?
Don’t BS your interviewer. Everyone has something they needed to work on from time to time in their careers. Answering with trite pseudo-flaws like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I’m a people-pleaser” only knocks points off your overall interview score.
Do highlight how you fixed a flaw. For instance, imagine you realized during meetings that you had a hard time presenting your reports eloquently. You can then explain how you enrolled yourself in a public speaking course to learn the basics, gain confidence, and become a better communicator.
Why are you leaving your current job?
Don’t admit to hating your boss. Never bad-mouth your old coworkers, company, or clients — and especially not your old boss. No matter how justified your opinion is, no one wants to work with someone they see as a Debbie Downer who always deflects blame onto other people. Hiring managers are looking for people who can play nice and work well with their team members.
Do explain you want a change. You are most likely job hunting because you are in need of a change, whether there is no growth potential, you’re bored, or maybe you really do hate your boss. Remain positive and focus on your desire to work on new projects. Shift your focus toward the direction this company is heading in.
Do you have any questions for me?
Don’t say no. Seriously? You don’t have any questions after a 30 minute interview where you need to sell yourself? Never ask about vacation time, working from home, bonuses, start time/end time, if you can bring your dog to work, or other HR-type questions that turn the focus onto what you’re getting from the employer rather than what they’re getting from you. These are all things you can address once you received a job offer and employee guidelines.
Do show off your research skills by asking questions. Always have at least three well-researched questions to ask with answers that will be more complex than a “yes” or “no.” Even if the interviewer might have touched on the response before, circle back and add some insight. It’ll show you were thinking critically, and it might be able to open a more natural conversation flow.
What’s the weirdest question that you’ve ever been asked in a job interview? Tell us about it @BritandCo!
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