Interviews are scary, you are put on the spot to talk about yourself, and let’s face it, that is hard!
You do not want to come off as robotic or full of yourself, but at the same time, this is your chance to sell yourself in 30 minutes. You do not want to say the wrong thing or not say enough about yourself. There is a fine line to walk and you want to make sure you are able to paint a detailed picture about yourself and your abilities.
Below are some of the most frightening questions and ways to answer them that are asked during an interview that can make or break you from getting the job.
Question 1: “What are you looking for in pay?”
This is one of the most dreaded questions for a job seeker. You don’t want to undersell yourself, but at the same time, you do not want to price yourself out of the position or sound unrealistic with your expectations.
Prior to your interview, it is important to break down your finances and figure out what exactly you need in pay to take this job. How much will it cost you in gas each week to go to and from work? Are there any tolls? Also, do research on similar positions in the area, sometimes employers will post what the pay range is for their opening.
Question 2: “Where do you want to be in 5 years?”
Structure this answer in the form of personal growth and stability. What are some areas involving your career and personal attributions that you can improve? Paint a picture of upward progression and tenure with your next employer.
Question 3: “Why did you leave your last position?”
- You were fired – Explain the situation that happened in a positive light. Do not put blame on anyone else and express what you are going to do differently so the same situation does not happen again.
- You quit – Tell them why you quit and make sure to let them know if you gave a notice. Be positive about your previous employer.
Question 4: “If we were to ask one of your references about an area of weakness, what would they say?”
Be honest and after you answer the question, give examples of how you have worked to better yourself on this weakness.
Question 5: “Do you have any questions for me?”
Spend a good amount of time prior to your interview researching the company and the position you are interviewing for. In a notebook, that you will bring with you to the interview, make a list of questions ranging from job responsibilities, managers’ expectations and style, KPIs, culture, announcements the company has made, what has made individuals successful in this role, growth opportunities, and anything else you can think of.
You should have 15-20 questions listed. This way, you will be sure to have questions to ask the individuals that are interviewing you. It is a major turn-off for employers if you do not have any questions for them.
Question 6: “Why do you believe you are a good fit for this role?”
Compare your previous experience as it pertains to the job whether soft or hard skills, your personality and drive, worth ethics, accomplishments in previous roles, and anything else you think is worth noting. Think of this as your closing speech, your last chance to sell yourself and wrap everything up in a package that was discussed throughout the interview.
Question 7: “What can you tell me about our company and the role you are interviewing for?”
Provide an overview of the position as you understand it, and combine information you gathered from the job description and research you have done on other individuals who are currently or who previously were in this role at the organization you are interviewing at (this is where LinkedIn comes into play). Regarding the company, drop hints that you did research on the company. Whether this means you mention things you saw on the website or in articles that you read about the company.
Question 8: “Do you have a gap in employment? What have you been doing since you left XZY Company?”
Be honest, if you took a couple of months off and spent it with your family or for yourself, tell them. But make sure to add in things you did to keep your skills relevant. Mention podcasts or webinars you attended or watched, articles or educational papers you read, or anything else that is relevant to your career. In this answer, make sure you state why you are ready to return to work.
Typically, all interviews are the same, you are going to be asked a majority of the same questions from company to company. If you are fully prepared to answer most questions thrown at you, the nerves you are feeling during the interview should settle. But remember, some curveballs will be thrown in some interviews. If you are fully prepared to answer a variety of questions, it will just come down to the right fit.