How to Answer the 6 Most Common Job-Interview Questions
“Here are six interview questions that are so common you’d be foolish not to prepare for them.
1. ‘Tell me a bit about yourself.’ … It means ‘give me a broad overview of who you are, professionally speaking, before we go deeper into specifics.’ Your interviewer is looking for an answer that’s about one minute long and summarizes where you are in your career and what you’re especially strong at ….
2. ‘What interests you about this job?’ … Interviewers want someone who’s enthusiastic about doing whatever the person will be spending most of their time on.
3. ‘Why are you thinking about leaving your current job?’ … Your interviewer isn’t looking for a detailed accounting of your problems with your boss or a log of everything you don’t like about your office’s culture. They’re looking for a short explanation that makes sense and doesn’t raise red flags about your professionalism or ability to get along with others. It’s fine to give a fairly mundane answer like, ‘I’ve been here five years and am ready to take on something new,’ or, ‘We’re having layoffs and I’m looking for something with stability.’ ….
4. ‘Tell me about a time when …’ Good interviewers will ask multiple versions of the question, filling in the blank with situations and skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. For example: ‘Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult client’ … ‘Tell me about a time when you had conflicting deadlines’ … In preparing your examples, structure them by first talking about the challenge you faced, then what you did to respond, and then what outcome you achieved. …
5. ‘Tell me about your biggest strengths and weaknesses.’ … Talk about what would make you really excel at the job. … don’t just make subjective pronouncements that the interviewer would need to take on faith (like, ‘I’m great with people,’ or, ‘I’m very organized’). Instead, give an example or two that shows that’s really the case. … What have you genuinely struggled with at work? … talk about what you’ve done to ameliorate the effect of that weakness on your work. But make sure you resist the urge to answer with something that you secretly hope will sound good to the interviewer like, ‘I work too hard,’ or, ‘I’m a perfectionist.’ ….
6. ‘What salary are you looking for?’ … The only way to nail this question is to do some research beforehand: Check salary websites, talk to recruiters or professional organizations in your industry, and bounce figures off of people in your field. … This question is too important to wing in the moment; do your research beforehand so that you’re confident about your answer and don’t leave money on the table.”