Job Hunting- The Most Essential Interview Prep Questions

Job Hunting- The Most Essential Interview Prep Questions

In the buildup to an upcoming job interview, many of us may experience nausea, headaches and gastro-intestinal discomfort. No matter how well you’ve prepared, you never know what the interviewer will throw your way come interview day.. Is it so? Not quite. In fact, questions at the interview can be quite predictable. The recruitment folks at HR frequently tailor interview questions to a specific position, so as to reveal as much insight about the potential applicants, and quickly identify those persons who fit the job. Moreover, interviewers do prune through resumes, and thus one can only expect to be asked to expand on competencies and experiences highlighted in the resume. In this sense, conveying real information in our Curriculum Vitae is vital, since it contributes to the “predictability” element of the interview.

More importantly, the HR representative also has a general set of questions that are posed to each candidate. Preparing these questions beforehand will not only make a good impression on your future potential employer, but also increase your chances of landing the job.

Here are the most common interview questions.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT OUR COMPANY?

This question features in almost every job interview. And any potential candidate must be prepared accordingly.  Still, not all applicants put in the time to research the firm at hand, due to lack of time, laziness, life.. And this is where you get to shine. By showing you know what the organization is about and what it aspires to achieve, you can demand respect, establish a connection and attract the eyes. It is then your task to leverage your skills and link them to the job at hand.

The ideal candidate knows what the company does and is aware of what it can offer. Think about experience and skills in relation to the position offered. At the interview, you have to prove how much you can contribute to the company if hired. A good starting point is checking out the company’s website or Linkedln profile before the interview itself.

WHY DID YOU APPLY FOR THIS POSITION?

This is another question that comes up very often at a job interview. Here, try to be very specific in your answer. Highlight your key strengths that make you the ideal candidate for this position. Also, don’t be afraid to answer in a personal and honest way, i.e. what you like about the job, what type of tasks make you happy/fulfilled or what interested you in the company profile.

WHY SHOULD WE HIRE YOU? WHAT DISTINGUISHES YOU FROM OTHER CANDIDATES?

This question comes in many forms and flavors. You can be sure to expect it at the interview. The interviewer may ask, for example, what your strengths are, what you can bring to the organization/business or why you are the right candidate for the position.

In order to do well on this question, you need to come prepared. Have you heard of an elevator pitch? You must know what your strengths are and try to describe them with specific examples, instead of simply merely mentioning them. Avoid adjectives such as creative or hard-working – almost every employee has such “attributes”. Instead, try to present 2-3 arguments that will speak in your favour and demonstrate previous work experiences where you developed a strategy to solve a problem or learned how to manage your tasks. You can also mention awards received, completed projects. Basically, try to show, not tell.

WHY DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE YOUR CURRENT JOB?

This is one of the trickier questions that an employer can ask. Everyone is aware that situations in companies and work teams are different. Convention has it that one must not trash former employers. Weird, right? Even if the atmosphere at work is/was bad or even toxic, we still have to keep it to ourselves. Let’s use this to our advantage. Instead of criticizing a former boss, salary dissatisfaction, unhealthy work atmosphere- let’s focus on what you took from your previous job, and what you look for in a new job. . Maybe you want to transition your career to a new field, or to utilize certain recently acquired skills..

CAN YOU SAY A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOURSELF?

This question provides wide opportunities to prove yourself, as well as the freedom to showcase your talent and personality in a unique manner. However, it is well worth preparing for it in advance, especially since such a question may come up at the very beginning of the meeting.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR GREATEST ASSET?

Do not badger the employer with a rehearsed list of features and special powers. Let’s focus on one or two and discuss them at length. Demonstrate how they will affect your ability to perform effectively in a new company.

WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?

Recruiters have much to learn from this question. Is the applicant able to self-assess? Is the applicant humble to admit certain limitations, and is the applicant motivated to learn and improve going forward? Is the applicant capable of fitting within a team? After all, there are no perfect employees. Your reply can vary widely, but could also roll along the lines of “I am eager to develop/improve in this/that area”..

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS?

The employer wants to know whether they can invest in a potential employee. Nobody is interested in an employee who has been bouncing from one job to the other. This question also tests your ambition and ability to set realistic goals.

WHAT ARE YOUR FINANCIAL EXPECTATIONS?

We can be almost sure to get this question at the interview, around the end of it. Our answer will help the employer determine whether we are willing to work at a proposed rate that is agreeable to both parties. If you possess skills that are that are in demand, then you may have higher leverage to demand better remuneration. Otherwise, your demands may turn employers away.

It is very difficult for many people to demand a specific amount. Questions about financial expectations are often associated with an awkward atmosphere and outright embarrassment. You don’t want to look greedy at your interview, but you also won’t work for free. When negotiating your compensation, you must first of all take into account your most important skills, certificates and professional achievements. This will be your major argument in the negotiations. Without them, it might be hard for you to defend yourself on the negotiating table.

Check our article relating to workplace evolution here.