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Answering Common Interview Questions

A woman participates in an interview.You finally scored that interview and are ready to dazzle and amaze the interviewer. How do you prepare? One way is to formulate answers to the most common interview questions. There are quite a few out there, but here are 10 of the most popular ones:1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.While this is the interviewer’s attempt to put you at ease at the start of an interview, it is not an open invitation to blather on and on about your childhood or to recap your resume. This is, however, your chance to highlight your experience, expertise, and skills, and how they relate to the position for which you are interviewing.2. Why did you leave your last job?Be honest. Whether you quit, were laid off, or fired, you need to be honest and upfront about it. But be brief and as positive as possible. Complaining about your previous experience will not leave a good impression. Conclude by saying that you are looking forward to new and rewarding work experiences.3. Why do you want this position?This is your chance to align your career objectives with this position. It is important that you display passion and excitement for the job and what you bring to it. And when discussing your qualifications, ensure that they align with the job description provided.4. Why do you want to work here?This question may seem similar to the one above, but there’s a fundamental difference. The previous question was asking about the position. This question is asking about the employer for which you might be working. The interviewer is interested in learning what you know about the organization and whether or not you value what it has to offer you. Be sure you’ve done your homework. What do you find appealing about this particular employer? If you can’t answer that question now, you should be prepared to do so before the interview.5. Why should I hire you?Some people feel uncomfortable selling themselves in an interview, but this is exactly what you need to do. And this particular question is begging for you to tell the interviewer how you can benefit their organization. What strengths do you have and how will they work to strengthen the company? As always, be sure that your points align with the job description.6. What’s your greatest weakness?The last thing you want to do is share your greatest weakness and leave it at that. Or worse, tell the interviewer that you are unaware of any personal weaknesses (This is a definite red flag: everyone has weaknesses, and if you claim to be unaware of them, you’re either lying or delusional and arrogant). This is your chance to demonstrate how you have acknowledged a weakness and worked to overcome it. For example, if you’re too detail-oriented, explain how you have worked to step back and see the big picture. Or, if you procrastinate, explain what you have done in order to motivate yourself to slowly work towards completing projects on time and on budget.7. What are your salary expectations?This is another question that requires a little research. Considering your experience and expertise, what is a realistic salary range? Search on the Internet to find out. And do a little research on the company as well. Is it reasonable to expect them to pay top dollar? Or should you expect a more modest salary range from this employer? But before you answer this question in your interview, ask if the interviewer can provide a salary range with which to base your response. If not, answer the question based on your research.8. What do you like in a boss or supervisor?This isn’t a trick question. The interviewer wants to know whether or not you are a good match for the individual supervising this position. I remember being shocked at an applicant’s response that he liked being micromanaged. And because I was not the type of supervisor who could micromanage my employees, and because he would not have felt comfortable working independently, it was exactly the answer I was looking for. So be honest (and positive) as you describe your ideal working arrangement.9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?Regardless of your desire to be independently wealthy and touring Europe in 5 years, you should answer this question in regards to your career goals. The person asking this question is interested in knowing whether you have any goals and how ambitious you are regarding them.10. Do you have any questions for me?The answer to this question should always be “yes.” It shows that you have been attentive throughout the interview (unless, of course you ask a question that has been answered through the course of the interview) and know enough about the company to compose thoughtful questions. It also gives you the chance to illustrate your interest in the job; if nothing else, ask about the next step in the selection process. Will they be conducting second interviews? If not, when could you anticipate finding out whether or not they will be hiring you.Note: If salary has not already been discussed, this is not the time to ask how much they pay; at this stage, when you focus on compensation it looks as if that’s your primary concern.While job interviews can be stressful, you can prepare for the most common questions. Going in with positive, thoughtful, and genuine responses will give this potential employer a good impression of you and your abilities.

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