After sending endless resumes and job applications to various companies showcasing your skills and abilities, you finally get that breakthrough email or call that you have been waiting for! A huge sigh of relief follows as you can finally focus on the interview stage for the dream job. The day arrives as you prepare for the interview one last time before beginning the interview. You then walk out of it like you just hit the easiest free throw of your life. As time goes on, your confidence in the new opportunity begins to diminish, and a few days later comes the rejection email. It’s then back to stage one. What went wrong in the interview process?
Interviews can be stressful and anxiety-driven at times, especially if it is your first ever interview. Candidates tend to blank out and also ramble on without even noticing it. But with practice, you’ll be able to blow your interviewer away and land your dream job in no time! Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions among interviewers and how to prepare for them:
Tell me about yourself!
Many, if not almost all, interviews begin with this question. As a softball lob of a question it may seem, many candidates are unprepared for it and ramble on with personal life stories or old personal achievements. This is a way for interviewers to weed out candidates from the start if the question is not interpreted correctly. To better answer this question, start with a current version of yourself and let it flow into why you believe you are the most qualified candidate for the position. Include writing and verbal skills, working well with coworkers, etc. Remember, you want to match the qualifications of what an employer is looking for.
Why are you (leaving) or why did you leave this most recent position?
As a reminder, you should never badmouth your previous employer/boss/company, etc. Never be negative, as any stones you hurl will certainly backfire on your chances of landing your next opportunity. Especially when using “personality clash” or “didn’t get along,” this only raises doubt on the interviewer as to why they should hire someone with issues from the previous employer. Not only are they looking for an ideal qualified candidate to match their interview questions, but they also want to make the process as painless as possible. Why deal with all the extra baggage if they don’t have to? To best answer this question, make sure you are prepared with a brief reason as to why you are looking to move on with your current company to the next. The best reasons being more job opportunity, growth, less of a commute, shift in careers, etc. Be straight up with the interviewer even if you aren’t 100% committed to leaving your current job, as you have the high ground over someone who does not have a job. Be honest about what you are looking to find in the new role. If you are someone that doesn’t have a job, and that is a result of termination, layoff, or you quit, it is very important to be straight up with the employer when letting them know the details. Honesty goes a long way, and in certain situations, employers can contact previous jobs and learn the whole story either way. It’s better it comes truthfully from the candidate rather than the previous employer.
What are your greatest Weaknesses?
Questioning your greatest weaknesses holds more weight for the employer than discussing your greatest strengths. Employers will almost always set this question up as the eliminator question to cut down on the candidate list. Interviewers are observing closely for any signs of weakness or flaws that would kick the candidate out of the running for the position. Be sure to remain positive and unwavering when understanding this question and try not to show any negative emotions. A commonly used tactic is disguising a weakness as a strength. A potential weakness to the team might actually be greatness to the boss. For example, being a hard worker. Maybe your peers don’t like that you outwork everyone else while pushing the team forward, whereas the employer may see this as a strength that you work hard and get the job done no matter what. At the end of the day, both the employer and interviewer aren’t experts in each and every sector of the business. Everyone has a weakness. But if you are able to sidestep the question into explaining that your personal faults won’t interfere with the job at hand, you will be in a way better position than a candidate who lists all their flaws.
Interviews were never meant to be a walk in the park. They are designed to open you up to the employer to see if you are the right fit for the company, and it can be nerve-racking and tense at times. Keeping your composure, showing confidence and passion throughout each question, and being prepared go hand in hand in making an eye-catching impression. As stated before, the goal is to match the qualities and qualifications of the job to the employer. This will give you a greater chance than other candidates to move on to the next stage of the interview process. If you can do that with each and every round of the interview process, this should place you in the best position to land your dream job today!
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