Part of the reason that job interviews can seem so intimidating is that we don’t always know what to expect. If you don’t know what questions you’ll be asked, it’s difficult to prepare. Thankfully, many interviewers use a lot of the same questions. So, here is a guide to how to answer some of the most commonly asked job interview questions.
- Tell me about yourself.
Interviewers use this question to set the lay of the land for your interview. It’s a great way for them to find a good starting point. To answer this question in a job interview, you should include information on your past experience, what you are doing currently, and what you would like to be doing in the future. The future segment is a great way to tell your interview why you would like to work at their organization. For example, if you are interviewing for a position at NASA, you should tell your interviewer that in the future, you’d like to see yourself working as an aerospace engineer and that that is why you are interested in working for NASA.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
This question can be asked in two different ways. If you are asked for both your strengths and weaknesses at the same time, you should start your response with weaknesses and end with strengths so that you can end on a positive note and keep your positive attributes more fresh in the interviewers mind. If your interviewer asks these questions separately, you can end your answer about weaknesses by telling the interviewer how you are working on your weaknesses or how you manage your weaknesses. This way, you can still end your answer on a positive note and let the interviewer know that you are self-aware and working to improve yourself.
- Describe a time that you overcame a difficult work situation.
By asking this question, the interviewer is looking to find out about your work style and how you respond to demanding situations. It’s your job to let them know that you know how to handle stressful or difficult situations. You can do this by choosing a story and thinking about the following questions in advance of your interview: How did you overcome this obstacle? What did you learn from this experience?
- Do you have any questions for me/us?
This question is a great opportunity to learn more about your potential role or about the company’s culture and priorities. It’s also an important opportunity to show your interest and enthusiasm. There are a few different things you can ask your interviewer for: the company, the job, and your own qualifications. Here are some examples of questions you can ask:
- What challenges is this company currently facing? What is a big priority for the company right now?
- Can I hear more about what the day to day would look like for this job?
- What skills or traits would make someone most successful at this company/in this role?
If all else fails, you can always say something along the lines of, “I can’t think of anything at the moment, but I will be sure to email you if anything comes up! When can I expect to hear back about the next steps?”