The 5 Basic Interview Questions Job Applicants Need To Nail
Job search expert, author Land the Job You Love, blogger and podcast host
Got a job interview coming up? If so, ask yourself the following: How certain are you that your responses will make the grade? How can you build rapport, speak to your abilities with confidence and leave a favorable impression? How might you best position yourself as a knowledgeable insider — someone who can be counted on to hit the ground running?
In order to present yourself well at a job interview, it goes without saying that you need to prepare in detail. You have to thoroughly research the company, the needs of the hiring manager and the principle goals of the organization. Once you’ve done that, you will want target your responses to the specific skills and attributes they are seeking in a future employee.
But there are some shortcuts. You can count on several basic questions coming up — in one form or another — in almost every job interview. And fumbling your answers to these frequently asked questions can really trip you up. If you don’t take adequate time to prepare and target your responses, you will swiftly be eliminated from the candidate pool.
The following are five basic questions you absolutely need to nail:
1) Tell me about yourself…Not only does your response to this interview opener form your all-important first impression, it can often set the tone for the follow-up questions your interviewer will pose.
Earlier on Huff/Post50:
How To Nail A Job Interview With Social Anxiety
If youre diagnosed with social anxiety, there are some things you cant control easily. However, you can focus on the stressors that have nothing to do with your actual interview performance, such as clothing, getting lost, or not arriving on time.
These details depend solely on your decisions and nobody elses. Therefore, figuring out how to approach them may lead to an increased sense of control over the given situation.
If you feel you need more than just tips and tricks and wish to learn a coping mechanism as one of your job interview techniques, thats completely fine. You can consult a therapist or a doctor, and seek professional advice prior to the interview.
Nailing The Job Interview: 10 Popular Questions And How To Answer Them
Acing a job interview can make the difference between receiving an offer and being relegated to the virtual resume pile, quite possibly never to be contacted again. Even if youre not the most qualified candidate, impressing an interviewer with insightful answers and thoughtful questions can make you the one the CEO wants to meet.
Often up against a limited time frame to fill a role, human resources managers stake a lot of their decisions based on how well candidates express themselves, assuming that a candidate who shines in a high-stress interview will also deftly handle challenges in the workplace.
These 10 questions have withstood the test of time, because they assess candidates general mettle, what motivates them, how they perform under pressure, and the lessons they take from failure and success.
1. What Are Your Weaknesses?
This question may feel like a trap, but its not. The interviewer is actually trying to find out how well you dealwith your weaknesses.
Do not make up a fake weakness like, Im a perfectionist or, I get upset when others lack dedication. Admit a real weakness your honesty will demonstrate self-awareness. Then, spend most of your time explaining what you do to fix, counteract or work around that weakness in the workplace, offering tangible examples from your current or previous roles.
2. Why Are You Interested in This Role/Company?
7. Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake.
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This Is How To Nail The Interview Like A Pro
Several years ago, in a previous career, I needed to hire a project manager for my team. So, after sifting through a pile of resumes sent to me by HR, I narrowed it down to a manageable list. Those who knew how to nail the interview with me would have the best chance of being hired. The first round included an interview with me, followed by an interview with other project managers on the team whom they would be working alongside. The second round included several of my peers whose judgment I trusted. Once I gathered all the data from the various interviewers, I would make my decision.
There was one gentleman I interviewed, lets call him Joseph whose qualifications and work experience made him a pretty good candidate to move on to the second round at least on paper. When he interviewed with me, the interview was okay it wasnt anything special, but it wasnt a train wreck either. Although there was one red flag that gave me pause he referred to himself in the third person. He said: Joseph can teach you a lot. Hey, I am always open to learning from everybody, but someone telling me they could teach me a lot and by referring to themselves in the third person was a bit of an odd thing to say at an interview. But whatever, I thought maybe he was nervous and gave him the benefit of the doubt and he moved on to interview with the team.
Ask Questions To Each Person You Meet
Ask questions to each person you meet. Find out what they like about working there, how theyve progressed, and the challenges theyve faced. It helps if you can check out their LinkedIn profiles prior to the interview, so you can ask some relevant questions. Also, make it clear to each person why youre the best fit for the position without aggressively overselling yourself of course.
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Dress Appropriately For The Job Interview
In Australia and many other countries, most job interviews are now done online. This has been a major pandemic shift and one that both candidates and interviewers are still getting used to. There has been great uncertainty about what to wear to a job interview when you are, in fact, comfortably sitting at home and not getting ready to attend it in an office setting. Some organizations now send candidates a dress code for video interviews, which is a helpful strategy.
In any case, remember to dress appropriately for the industry and the occasion, even if the interview is being held in your living room via Zoom! Executive presence means you are neat and well-groomed, and you know what you wear for the job you are going for. If you are not sure, that’s part of your interview preparation!
For example, if you dress in a suit when meeting operations people at a factory, that may not be the best attire. While the suit might have the right dress code for a meeting at head office, it will make you stand out negatively in the factory setting. Your interviewer may read it as “he didn’t really understand our culture, and that was a key part of this role.” So even if the interview is done online, find out who is interviewing you and dress for them.
Bring Enough For The Entire Classer Panel
As a student of The Interview Guys, you should already know you should bring along a fresh copy of your resume and business card, and going to a panel interview simply means bringing more copies.
Ask ahead of time how many people will be interviewing you and make sure you have enough so each person can have one. Its a good idea to bring more than you think youll need as theres always the possibility for last minute additions and changes to your panel.
Giving each panelist a copy of your resume and having extras shows them that not only are you prepared, but that youve taken into consideration the possibility for change and that youre adaptable.
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List Your Skills Relevant To The Job Description
After all that research, it is time to prepare a list of things that you will be bringing to the table. Your skills should strictly be relevant to the role you have applied for. After reading the job description, highlight the important parts and jolt them done on a paper. In front of each point, write parts from your CV or past experiences that are relevant to each point.
Show your employer how you can be a beneficial addition to the team. It will also prove to the employer that you are a team player. Prepare these points and read them over and over again so you can deliver it with relevant examples during the interview.
Tips For Acing Your Interview
It can be nerve-wracking to go into a final interview, since you’ve gotten so far along in the process. Take heart in knowing you must have performed well in the initial phone interview and during in-person interviews to get to this point.
Here are five tips to keep in mind to help you ace your final interview for a role.
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Treat Everyone You Meet As Your Interviewer
Make sure that youre polite and friendly to everyone you come across in the interview process. From greeting the receptionist, to the people you share a lift with, to walking through an open-plan office to reach your meeting-room These are all touchpoints with your potential future employer, and co-workers will often share their impressions of visitors afterwards, so you want everyone who comes into contact with you to see you in as positive a light as possible.
Set The Stage For A Distraction
Choose a location thats free from the distractions of children, roommates or pets. Hang a sign on the door asking mail carriers and package deliverers not to ring the doorbell.
Make sure the background is free from clutter and embarrassing items like laundry piles. Set up lighting thats bright but not glaring, illuminating your face from the front. Natural light is best.
Turn off email, text and social media alerts, software updates and other notifications that may pop up on the screen during the interview. Turn off programs that might interfere with the webcam, and close browser tabs.
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Make The Best First Impression
Making the best first impression is about how you present yourself and how you highlight your adaptability. To start with the best possible first impression, you must professionally present yourself. Make sure you are making eye contact, smiling at appropriate times, firmly shaking the employer’s hand at the start and end of the interview, and dressing appropriately for the interview. Ask your employer ahead of time what the expected dress code is. If the expectation is business-casual, be sure not to overdress. It is important to note that it’s better to overdress than under dress if you’re not sure.
What Did You Like And Dislike About The Job
Why they ask it: Theyre asking you this because theres a chance that they want to compare your notes to previous employees who had your role, or they may rethink the position.
How to answer it: Talk honestly about what you liked and about what you disliked, but keep things professional. Or, feel free to make a small joke about your dislike. I really like the amount of training I received over the years. I learned a lot about the strategic aspects of marketing and will be able to use those skills wherever I go. I disliked the coffee. But, seriously, there wasnt anything I disliked, but I do wish the company offered more remote and flexible work options.
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For A Panel Interview:
Take a pause. The combination of several people on a video call, slightly different devices, and the potential for short time delays, is a recipe for interrupting and talking over one another. Keep this to a minimum by leaving a brief pause between their question and your answer. That gives any other panellists the chance to add their thoughts, and you an extra second to collect your own.
Dont forget, youre always on show. When youre one of several people on a call it can be easy to forget that youre the focus. Whether youre speaking or not always remember youre being evaluated. Use non-verbal cues to show that youre actively listening to whats being said and eliminate any potential distractions, such as mobile phones.
Have a strong close. With a video interview the end can be more abrupt. Theres no shaking the hand of each panellist or opportunity for small talk as one guides you back to reception. So ensure you have a strong close prepared. Thank each panellist by name, clarify next steps and reiterate how grateful you are for the opportunity.
Have more questions? Then why not join me on my next Coffee and Connect event. Taking place live every Thursday youll have the chance to ask me anything you like on preparing for your next video interview, as well as having the chance to win a 1:1 coaching session. I look forward to seeing you!
Brush Up Your Resume And Cover Letter
Fernández-Aráoz says you should go out of your way to find a mutual acquaintance to mention in your cover letter to grab the readers attention. You might also want to highlight that youve worked in high-pressure environments before, since most companies priority right now will be weathering the crisis and will be looking for people who can contribute to that effort. Of course, its good practice to keep your resume updated at any time, but is especially important when youve just lost your job or expect you might soon. And the classic advice on how to draft a cover letter and resume still holds true.
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Putting It All Together
To someone facing a panel interview for the very first time, it can be an intimidating and terrifying experiencebut it doesnt have to be. By doing proper prep work and practicing your potential interview responses, you can transform any panel interview from what feels like an interrogation into a positive, rewarding experienceand hopefully the next step towards the job of your dreams.
So, remember, the next time you walk into a room for an interview and see a whole group of people lined up ready to ask you questions, yesit really is all about youin the best possible way.
As always, good luck!
Create A Strong First Impression
First impressions are important. During the first few minutes of your interview, make eye contact, smile confidently and shake the interviewer’s hand firmly. Project an attitude of enthusiasm and energy. Find out what the dress code is so you can match your style to that of the company you’re interviewing with. If the dress code is casual, you still want to show that you take the interview seriously. In these situations, it’s best to dress in business casual attire.
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Point Checklist How To Nail Your Interview
According to Statistica.com, in developed countries, around 90% of the working population is still employed by someone else. This means that they have a boss. So, anyone who wants to land themselves a well-paid and interesting job with a secure future needs to be able to navigate the interview process successfully.
When you are called for a face to face interview you need to be properly prepared. You must make a good first impression. Successful candidates come across as confident, but not so much that they appear to be arrogant. They know how to dress appropriately, communicate effectively and display positive body language.
Every employers goal is to hire the best candidate. So, making mistakes during the interview process is not an option. One mistake can lead to your not getting the job.
Fortunately, Empire Resume is here to make sure that you do not make any mistakes. Use our ultimate interview preparation checklist to nail your next interview.
Read Through The Job Description
You must carefully read the job description to understand what the employer is looking for and identify relevant keywords that the job entails. Pay particular attention to the qualifications, skills and experience they need. Compare your skills and qualifications to the ones listed on the job description and work out how youre going to present them, during the interview.
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Youll Get The Information You Need To Know If The Job Is Right For You
Instead of rattling off a list of generalized questions job hunters are supposed to ask, be mindful of what you would really like to know before accepting a position. Its OK to ask the tough questions.
- What are common issues that crop up?
- How do your teams function? What does collaboration look like here?
- How do your teams handle conflict?
- What constitutes success in this job?
- What are the unwritten rules about working here?
- Whats the day-to-day life like here?
Be Prepared With Questions
Be prepared for the interviewer to ask you what questions you have at the end of the interview. Always have two or three questions, whether about the position specifically or about career development, upcoming projects or what makes them a great organization to work for. Ask questions that will help you determine whether the company is a good fit for you. Remember that you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you.
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Smile Smile And Smile
Smile is like a flu. If you smile when talking to other people, they wont help their smiles. And you want the recruiters to smile, dont you?
With smile everything goes easier. Job interview is no exception. So leave your bad mood at home. When lifes not at stake, nothing is. Show them that you are enthusiastic about life and your future. Show them your beautiful smile!
And when things do not pan out, keep smiling. You learned something, you met someone interesting, and you improved your interviewing skills. If not this time, they will hire you in the next one