So you have a job interview, that’s great! But you can’t go in without your arsenal ready. The thing about job interviews is that more often than not the same (or similar) questions get asked; which means, preparing is actually way easier than you think. Still, those questions can be tricky, which is why thinking about them pre-interview is majorly important. To help with that upcoming interview, let’s chat through five very popular interview questions, and some great ways to answer them. The one thing you don’t want is to find yourself speechless.
1.Tell me about yourself.
If you had to put money down, you could bet on this being the first question asked. While your mind might suddenly go blank (in the same way it does when someone asks what you do for fun) the important thing here is to have an answer prepped. Basically what the interviewer is looking for is a jumping off point: They want to hear a broad overview of your life and your professional experiences. The best thing to do is to prepare a one-minute response. Use your minute to summarize where you are in your career, how you got there, and the strengths you flexed in your last job. If you’re still early in your career, talk about your studies, your passions, and how your interests landed you at this here job interview. Everything you say should highlight why you are totally right for the job. Practice this answer out loud. Feel confident in it. You can almost guarantee it will be asked.
2. Why are you leaving your current company?
The most important thing here is to never throw the old job, the old boss, or the old coworkers under the bus. All that does is make you seem gossipy or disloyal, and nobody wants that. That said, this question can feel scary. If you got fired or let go you need to come clean. Tell them what you learned from the experience, how you grew, and move on. If “downsizing” or “budget cuts” were involved, those are issues that everyone understands. If you left (or are leaving) of your own accord, make clear that you’re leaving to grow and pursue new challenges and opportunities. Definitely make it clear that you think this new company is a good place for both of those things to happen.
3. What is your greatest weakness?
Saying “perfectionism” is just a straight up no. The thing about this question is you can be fairly honest, as long as (a) your weakness doesn’t happen to be a key part of the job, and (b) you show that you’re taking steps to improve it. Here the interviewer wants to gauge your level of self-awareness. Maybe you can say something like, “talking on the phone, but I’ve recently made it a goal to swap one e-mail for a phone call daily.” For example, your weakness can’t be “meeting deadlines” but it can be something like, “getting nervous while speaking in front of a crowd.”
4. What salary range are you looking for?
Money is awkward! Get over it. This question requires a little homework, and make sure to do it pre-interview. Visit sites like PayScale and Glassdoor and do a little recon. You’ll likely wind up with a pay range, and our tip is to mention the highest number in that scale. Odds are you won’t get exactly the figure you ask for, but hopefully you will meet at a number both parties are comfortable with. Shoot for the moon!
5. What questions do you have for me?
It’s shocking how many people say something to the effect of, “no you covered everything!” While that’s nice to hear, this is really an opportunity to show your level of interest and engagement and also to get some deets about your potential future workplace. “Can you tell me what a typical day would be like?” is a great question. Ask them about office culture, ask them about future projects, ask them about their favorite part of working there, or the next steps in the hiring process. This is a moment to both get and give information, and to interact in a more human way. This can final question can make the situation feel less like an interview and more like a natural conversation between coworkers. End on a high note! Ask away.