The Most Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them (Part 2)

The Most Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them (Part 2)

A few weeks ago, I published a blog about some of the most common interview questions. These dealt mostly with questions that require a specific example, and I recommend reading it if you haven’t had the chance.

Today, I’ll be going over more frequently asked interview questions, including a framework for answering them. 

A few things to note about your responses:

  • They don’t have to be long. Succinct and to the point is perfect.
  • Personalize all of these answers to your situation.
  • Practice with a friend until you feel confident in your responses. 

With these things in mind, let’s review some of the most common interview questions.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • This is when you pull out your elevator pitch—a short, two-minute “commercial” about yourself. An easy way to remember what to include is the acronym WHIMS:

    Who you are

    High-level background (work or university-related)

    Important skills

    Major accomplishment

    Statement of value (what you can add to the organization)

  • What do you know about our company?

  • Indicate a little of what you know (it’s essential to do some research on the company before the interview) and that you’re eager to learn more. You can also ask your own question if you have one prepared.

  • Why do you want to work for us?

  • Point out the specifics of the company you find attractive and how your skills and experience can help meet the company’s needs. 

  • Tell me about your last position.

  • Do not respond negatively, no matter how you feel. Instead, be neutral or positive. Mention what you learned and your accomplishments.

  • What are your strengths?

  • Relate at least three of your strengths that are relevant to the position. Be specific and cite accomplishments to bolster your claim.

  • What are your weaknesses?

  • Identify a minor weakness and what you have done to correct or improve it. For example:

    “I’m someone who likes to stay busy, which in the past has led me to occasionally take more onto my plate than I can reasonably handle. Over the past year or so, I’ve consciously made more of an effort to be more realistic with myself and my team members to ensure that every task gets done, even if that means I pass it on to someone else.”

  • Why should we hire you?

  • Because you can meet their needs, solve their problems, and contribute to their goals. Because you can add value to their organization. 

  • What do you find the most and least attractive about this position?

  • State that everything you’ve learned about the position so far is attractive, and list three to four examples. Ignore the “least attractive” part of the question unless the interviewer presses you, then mention one minor factor and say that you’re not concerned about it.

  • What salary are you looking for?

  • Until the job offer is made and negotiations are in progress, delay mentioning a specific figure. Instead, respond with something like, “I’d need to know more about the position and its responsibilities before naming a figure.”

  • What do you look for in a job?
  • Some things you can mention are that you:

    • Look for challenges and opportunities to grow, learn, and solve problems.
    • Gain satisfaction from doing a job well.
    • Enjoy having your contributions recognized.
    • Want to contribute to the success of the business.

    There are so many questions that I’ll have to do another part of this series. In the meantime, these two blogs should help you prepare for your interview.

    If you’d like more detailed and personalized help preparing for an interview, schedule a session with one of our career coaches.

    Happy prepping!