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8 of the most commonly asked questions in a job interview and how to answer them:

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 8 of the most commonly asked questions in a job interview and how to answer them:
 
We’ve mentioned in our previous blog the importance of practicing commonly asked questions in a job interview beforehand. In this blog we will be presenting some of the most commonly asked questions in almost every job interview and the best way to answer them. While we don't recommend having a model answer for every interview question (in fact, please don't), we do recommend spending some time getting comfortable with what you might be asked.

 

1) “Tell me about yourself.”

 

Translation: Tell me why you’re the right fit for this job.
This is usually the first question asked by interviewers, and the one question you’ll for sure be asked in a job interview and it’s also the perfect opportunity to showcase your professional accomplishments only. Being asked to talk about yourself isn’t an invite to recite your life story. 
Talk about yourself in summary because your detailed work history can be found in your resume. So, talk about things you want to highlight rather than go through everything.  
It is okay to discuss your personality and what ambitions you have. It would give the interviewer a positive insight into how you would fit in as an employee. A good way to tell more about yourself is to talk about why you took certain jobs. Explain why you left, and why you chose your college. Discuss why you took a year off to travel the world, and what you got out of the experience. That way when the interviewer looks at your CV they will know not only what you did but why you did it. 
 
2) “What do you know about the company?”

 

We’ve talked in our previous blog (link to blog) on the importance of doing your research on the company. The interviewer here wants to know if you were interested enough to work in the company or care enough about its mission to do your research. Also, in addition to doing your research on the company think about how the company relates to your interests and experiences and blend them in your answer. 
3) “What is your greatest strength and weakness?”

 

If the topic of your greatest strength comes up in an interview, it’s important to talk about a skill that will qualify you for the job and could set you apart from the other candidates. It is also important to be accurate share strengths you do have and that is relevant to the job, following up with examples. 
While talking about your weaknesses don’t mention something that could harm your chances of getting the job. Instead, identify a weakness that you can improve. If you didn’t have the opportunity to develop certain skills at your previous job, explain how eager you are to gain those skills in the new job. For example you can say: in my last job I didn’t have the opportunity to develop my team work skills, I would like to work in a place where I can become a better team player. Or just pick any weakness and magically transform that flaw into strength in disguise, without giving yourself a backhanded compliment by saying something like “My weakness is I work too hard”. 
Whichever way you choose to answer this question you should show that you’re working or willing to work on the weakness.    
Remember  “What are your weaknesses?” question other than to determine your weakness is to determine how self-aware you are. Therefore, don’t try to avoid answering this question and avoid saying “Nothing, I don’t have any weaknesses, I’m perfect.”

 

4) “Why should we hire you?” or “What can you add to the company?”

 

This is also a common question that is easy to answer when you’re prepared for it. If you think you are the best candidate for the job, be prepared to say why. Explain concisely what you have to offer the employer, and why you should get the job. All a candidate can do is describe his incredible passion and desire and and ... well, basically beg for the job. The best way to answer this question is to give examples of what you have achieved in the past and how you can apply them in the future, connecting them to the employers goals.
By doing that you are showing the employer that you have the skills necessary to do the job. 
 
5) How do you handle stress and pressure?  
 
What do you do when things don’t go smoothly at work? Have you ever worked on a project where everything went not as planned? Again the best way to respond to this question is to give an example of how you have handled stress previously in your professional career. Give an answer that shows that you can meet difficult situations head-on. 
6) Describe a difficult work situation or a project and how you overcame it.  
 
The interviewer asks this question because he wants to know what you do when you face a difficult decision, and how do you handle unexpected situations and conflicts. He wants to know if you are a problem solver or not. As with the question about stress, be prepared to share an example of what you did when things didn’t go as planned, being sure to focus on how you handled the situation professionally and how you solved the problem. 

 

7) “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

 

Be prepared. This question is designed to find out if you’re going to stick around or move on as soon as you find a better opportunity. Keep your answer focused on the job and the company you’re interviewing with. If this position aligns with your career goals you can say something like “I’m really excited by this position because in five years, I’d like to be seen as someone with deep expertise in my field. I’m also really excited to take on more managerial responsibilities in the next few years, and I know I have the opportunity to do that here.”
Ideally, try to keep your ambitions within the company you are applying for because this tends to go down better. But, if this position is not a one-way ticket to your professional aspirations, show humility, it is okay to say you don’t really know what the future holds, and that you don’t have a five year plan. 

 

8) “Why do you want to leave your current job?"

 

Let’s start with what you shouldn’t say. Don’t talk badly about your boss, or how you don’t get along with other employees and don’t bad-mouth the company. That will only make you look bad. 
Instead, keep things positive. Focus on the positive aspects this move will bring, new goals, better opportunities. Talk about the way you want to grow, career wise and how this move will be a great way to accomplish that.  And if you were let go? Keep it simple, say “Unfortunately I was let go.”

 

Conclusion: 
It is good to be well prepared for as many questions as possible in an interview. That way you won’t be caught off guard by any questions, or regret answering a question in an unideal way. Remember to come up with your own answers to these questions to practice and good luck.
 
 

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