How to Tackle Common Interview Questions

Posted on 02 November 2018

​Conquering an interview is a tough feat, but it can be done. 

If you're a nervous person, it can be nerve-wracking walking into the unknown. Interviews are the opportunity to sell your personality to the employer (or hiring manager). They've already looked over your resume and have decided to call you in for a face-to-face interview. Therefore, you look great on paper, but how do you handle vocalizing your skills and qualifications? Here are a few tips to help you overcome the common but complex interview questions.

Common questions, professional answers, and tips: 

1. Why did you leave your previous employer?

This is a touchy question, and most interviewers pay attention to how you respond to this question. As mentioned in the "So, You Want to Quit Your Job…" article, it's important to leave your past position on good terms, so you can answer this question easily. In the case you did not leave your previous employer on good terms, explain the situation. However, do not bash your previous boss or employees in your response. For example, say, "I loved my past job and the responsibilities I covered. Unfortunately, the work environment was no longer healthy for me, so I decided to look for positions in other avenues." It's short and doesn't specifically mention your previous employer or coworkers. 

2. What is your target salary?

Salary is another question that is tough to handle. It's better not to give an immediate salary rate unless directly asked for a specific number. For example, say, "I'm more looking for the experience and the chance to learn. I'm open with the salary."

3. What are some unique skills you can bring to this position? 

It's time to talk about yourself! This is your chance to highlight your best skills. While prepping for your interview, decide your top three skills, along with a small description for each.

4. What do you know about the company?

Do. Your. Research. It is vital that you know vivid details about the company before you arrive at the interview. Here are some basic facts about a company that you should know before you interview: when the company started, how the company began, the scope of practice of the business, and who is currently working at the company (read the "About Us" page). Google is a powerful tool, be sure to use it!

5. Explain your daily tasks at your previous job.

You are most likely interviewing for a similar role from your previous position, so it's best to line up the tasks you did in your previous job with the role you're interviewing for. 

6. What are a few of your strengths?

It's time to talk about yourself again! Only you know your strengths, so explain them to the interviewer in the most concise, detailed way possible. 

7. What are a few of your weaknesses? 

When it comes to weaknesses, only scratch the surface. Discuss flaws that are easy to fix and that you're currently working to overcome. 

8. How did you hear about this position?

This would be a simple question if you applied through popular job boards such as Indeed and Glassdoor. However, this can be an opportunity to slide in a contact if you were referred to apply by someone who already works there. 

9. Are you comfortable working with a small/medium/large (dependent upon the business) company?

Whether it's a small or large company, you will always be interacting with someone (unless it's remote), so the simple answer is "yes." 

10. Why should we hire you? 

This is typically a closing question; therefore, this is your last chance to make a long-standing impression. If you happened to miss any key points that you wanted to make during the interview, this is the perfect time to do so. 

Remember to breathe and take your time answering the questions. You've got this!

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