Your answers to four basic interview questions could make or break your chances of landing your dream job. Read on and learn how to flip your next interview from “flop” to “nailed it.”
1) Can you tell me a little about yourself?
Flop: “Well, I grew up in this city and have lived here my whole life. My house is on Cherry Street, and I live with my spouse, two kids and our pet cat. I love country music, bowling and hanging out with my friends.”
Nailed it: “I have a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Herzing University. To gain experience and develop professionally, I completed an internship in the marketing department at XYZ Company and currently volunteer for XYZ Organization managing their social media accounts. I’ve learned that my strengths are communication, creative thinking and multi-tasking.”
The trap many job seekers fall into is not considering this a “real” interview question. Remember that from the second you walk in the door, you are being interviewed. Set the tone for the rest of the interview by grasping this opportunity to highlight your qualifications. Impressing the hiring manager from the start is crucial. After all, first impressions are priceless.
2) Why are you looking for another job?
Flop: “I struggle to see eye-to-eye with my boss/coworkers, so I’m looking for a change.”
Nailed it: “My current job has been an excellent learning experience. Now I’m looking forward to further developing my career. I’m seeking new challenges and an opportunity to take on more responsibility.”
Speaking ill of your current boss, colleagues and company will never work in your favor. Remember that even tough employment situations help you develop and learn new skills. Dwell on the positive rather than the negative, and try to keep your response brief. This can help you move on from the topic quickly and get onto questions that let you highlight why you’re the best fit for the job.
3) What are your weaknesses?
Flop: “I don’t have any.”
Nailed it: “I tend to take on too much and - at times - can create extra stress, but it has also taught me to be an excellent multitasker. I’ve developed project management skills that have contributed to my team and our collective success.”
This question is a litmus test of how you react to a tough situation. The interviewer wants to see if you throw in the flag or rise up to the challenge. None of us perfect, right? But our mindset and work ethic can make all the difference in the world. Focus on that, and you’ll show the interviewer that you’re prepared to overcome any challenge.
4) Do you have any questions for me?
Flop: "No, I don't have any questions right now. Thanks for your time!"
Nailed It: “Yes, I do have a few questions for you…”
It’s important that you ask at least three questions to show your genuine interest in the position and the company. Ask your interviewer to describe their favorite aspect of working for the company. Show that you’ve done your research about the company values. Did you see that they actively support a community service organization? If volunteering is important to you, ask how you could get involved.
The next time you interview, don’t let these fundamental questions be your stumbling blocks. Being prepared with focused and strong answers will help you walk out of an interview with confidence and hopefully, that new job.
Herzing University’s Career Development Team is your resource for all things career. We’re here to help you develop attention-grabbing resumes and cover letters, hone your networking and interviewing skills, and discover internship and job opportunities. If you’re a current student or alumni, we’re at your service. Let us help you land the career of your dreams! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.