Friday Favorites – Common Interview Questions & Answers

For this week in Friday Favorites, we’ve rounded up five common interview questions. I’ve taken these five questions from this infographic. Chances are, you will be asked most, if not all, of these questions in an interview. Prepare yourself by picking out the perfect interview outfit and selling your personal brand, and then by reading these smart answers!

Tell me about yourself.

This is usually the first question interviewers will ask, and your answer will set the tone for the rest of the interview. Everyone’s favorite topic to talk about is themselves, so it sounds pretty easy to talk about yourself for a few minutes, right? It is easy…except you need to talk about the right things.

Thanks to Monster.com, they’ve provided a few helpful tips that I’ve narrowed down in this answer. Focus on a couple of your strengths that could help you get the job, then write them in a script that can be memorized easily. Practice, practice, practice. The better you know yourself, and the better you know the right answer to this question, the easier it will be to sell yourself.

Why did you leave your last job?

‘Interviewers generally ask why you left your former company so they can “understand your motives and gain insight as to how [you] handle work relationships,” says Duncan Mathison, author of Unlock The Hidden Job Market: 6 Steps to a Successful Search When Times Are Tough.‘ (From Monster.com) Interviewers ask you this question to see what kind of person you are, what integrity you hold, and how reliable and responsible you are.

Do be polite and state exactly why you left your previous job, but also bring it back and let the interviewer know that you are looking for a better fit and a challenge.

What do you know about our company?

Make sure you do a bit of background research on the company you’re interviewing with. Research about their history, their competitors, and the CEOs and other big wigs. The more you know about the company, its priorities and its needs, the more knowledgeable and confident you’ll come across.

Why do you want to work for us?

Okay, so we know you want a job. But why do you want a job with that specific company that you’re interviewing with? Is it the position you’re applying for, the great benefits, or that you strongly agree with their mission? Are you looking to gain experience or explore other opportunities? Decide what makes it a good fit for you and find out what’s motivating you to apply for that position. And don’t be afraid to show enthusiasm during your answer!

Tell me about your experience at ________________.

One reason why interviewers ask this question is to see how your previous jobs may prepare you for this job. If you’ve had the same job since you were 16, mention that. It will show that you have integrity. If you’ve volunteered at various schools, with organizations or for benefits, mention that. It will show that you have compassion. If you’ve had an internship, mention that. It will show that you are driven. Explaining your experiences, whether or not they are in your field of study, can hold a lot of power in an interview. Explain what you learned and how that will benefit you if you get the job you’re applying for.

Hopefully these answers to some of the most common interview questions will help you out in your next interview! What are some questions you’ve been asked, and how did you respond? I’d love to hear your stories. E-mail me at MediaCLD@uww.edu.

Photo by Victor1558.