If anyone has ever described their first-ever job interview experience as something like sitting in a smoking-hot seat, they were probably right, especially if they failed to adequately prepare for it. Mind you, the adequacy of your preparation depends hugely on if you’re prepared for the right questions or you prepped for the questions that are less likely to be asked.
And as The Career Development Center of Occidental College writes, the purpose of an interview (from the viewpoint of an employer, and regardless of the industry) is to choose the candidate with the relevant qualifications, career goals, skills, and background required to discharge the duties attached to the position you’re being interviewed for.
Now, there are some generally asked interview questions in all industries and organizations. These are the questions you should prepare for to feel confident before zooming in on the more specific ones. And that’s why I have created this guide of the 6 common interview questions and how to answer them to win that job.
Let’s get started with…
Question #1; Why Do You Want To Work Here?
Mostly at the early stage of your interview, your employer would ask why do you want this job and why should we hire you. The purpose of this question is to understand if your career goals align with the company’s mission and the overall interest of the clients and the team. So, instead of bluntly answering with “I am here for the paycheck”, Robert Half suggests that you should;
- Do your research to understand the company, its culture, team, achievements, and any other useful info you can lay your hands on.
- Access both your long-term and short-term career goals to highlight the ones that align with the company.
- Create an answer to showcase your relevant career goals, visions, and interests.
A sample answer; thank you. The company’s goal to transform the communication sector through the adoption of virtual and augmented reality resonates with me. I have always wanted to lead or be a part of such an initiative that brings people closer together in the most effective way but most especially, my long-term goal is to do this alongside a dedicated, hardworking team like yours and work in a healthy environment.
Question #2; What Are Your Strengths And Weaknesses?
It’s easy to babble on about our strengths but being honest about our weaknesses can be a gloom that we are uncomfortable to allow to sink in. As written by The Balance Career, when the recruiters ask what are your strengths, they want to identify if you possess the required strengths to execute in your role with the company. In that light, Better Team suggests to;
- Frame your answer according to the job description while avoiding revealing too much.
- Mention only the strength (read as skills) that can be supported through real experience.
- Reveal only the weaknesses that are not a major concern to the position or company.
A sample answer; I am an earnest, hardworking data analyst, a self-motivated, and well-organized tech nerd with impeccable communication skills, and the ability to keep a good work-life balance even when working in a challenging workspace. What I lack in leadership skills I make up for with superb collaboration quality that empowers me to get along with everybody.
Question #3; Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?
This is a delicate one, of the 6 common interview questions. And according to The Balance Career, the purpose of it is to confirm that you;
- Leave your previous job on good terms.
- Are a good fit for the company’s culture.
- Can easily get along with other members of the team.
- Understand how to be diplomatic even when discussing the toughest subjects.
- Are capable of working with the company for a long period.
For this reason, Micheal Page writes that one should avoid negativity and try not to launch into the grievances you had with your previous boss/team (such as sleights on your ability and broken promises).
A sample answer; after 4 years of working with the company, my job is beginning to become unchallenging and I am ready for new challenges that will take me out of my comfort zone. Though I feel it’s hard to leave behind the lovely, hardworking, and brotherhood-like team, this is a choice I must make.
Question #4; What Interests You About This Role?
Quite similar to “why are you leaving your current job”, the interview question “what interests you about this role” or “why are you interested in this role”, according to GlassDoor, is designed to reveal if;
- You understand the full scope of the job.
- How interested you’re in the role.
- You’re aware of the exact experiences, skills, and knowledge required to perform.
- You’ll ever make a significant positive impact on the company.
In your answer, Bellinda Fuller says you should mention the development opportunities (in skills and knowledge) promised by the job, discuss the areas of the role in which you excel, and point at your preference (ideally 3 things you like about the role).
A sample answer; taking the responsibility of a public relations officer has always been my interest as it’s sure to allow me to display my impeccable communication skills, ability to prioritize and plan effectively, excellent IT skills, and a mix of creativity and initiative.
Question 5; How Do You Handle Stress?
Work stress is inevitable, especially in some periods of the year. That’s why recruiters want to understand if you’re capable of keeping your head above water while outperforming in your duties. This question is similar to another popular interview question “how do you maintain a good work-life balance”. And according to the career advice expert team of GlassDoor, you should;
- Reflect on ways with which you’ve handled stress in a similar job.
- Showcase real-life examples of how you handle stress.
- And display that you’re capable of multi-tasking.
A sample answer; stress is a major motivator for me as it allows me to sharpen my prioritizing skill, expand my emotional intelligence, and push myself to acquire new skills and knowledge. Through my 3 years of working as a project manager with my previous employer, I have learned the importance of morning meditation, discovered new meditation techniques for effortless multitasking, trained on how to use cutting-edge AI-based tools to automate repeating tasks, and amplified my organization ability.
Question #6; How Do You Define Success?
In Mike Sampson’s post on The Interview Guy, he points that this is a personal or rather tricky question of which answer can be hard to put to words, therefore he suggests following the 3-steps guide as highlighted below;
- Define and show with examples (preferably one or two) what success means to your career path.
- Be quantitative in your response by using precise numbers.
- And, finally, align your definition of success to that of the company.
A sample answer; To me, success is not limited to the achievement of the goals we have set. It includes the transformation brought by the challenges to the team and its members and the new things we learn through the journey. I have come to this definition