“Opportunities don’t happen; you create them.” — Chris Grosser.
The goal of anticipating interview questions isn’t to memorize responses but rather to get comfortable talking about these topics.
The key is to understand the purpose of the interview and how it fits into the hiring process.
Below, we’ve put together commonly-asked interview questions, including example answers to help you make a great first impression.
1- Tell me about yourself
This is probably the most common question used to start a job interview, and you’ll have to respond by giving personal information, details about your career, your skills, and your studies. It’s an open-ended question that can tempt you to share too much irrelevant information. So it’s essential to keep your answer focused on your career and abilities. The interviewer wants you to demonstrate your skills, job experience, future goals, and how you’ll fit in with the company culture. Prepare to say a few things about your accomplishments, strengths, and a quick summary of your career. Be sure to keep your answer brief with a 60 to 90-second answer.
Don’t answer: “I’m from Osaka. I have two brothers. I love to play the guitar. My favorite food in the world is sushi.”
Better say: “I’m an electrical engineer with ten years of experience in car building. After earning my electrician’s certificate at ABC Tech, I apprenticed with Toyota Motor Corporation, and then they hired me as a journeyman electrician. In 2018, I earned my degree in electrical engineering at Waseda University.”
2- Why are you interested in this job? / Why are you interested in working at this company?
The employer wants to know why you think this job is a match for your career objectives. Impress the interviewer by researching about their organization beforehand. This will show genuine interest in the role and the organization.
Take the time to describe how your qualifications are a match for the job. Highlight your skills and experiences concerning the company you want to join.
It’s important to focus on how your abilities and experience can benefit the company and position. You need to sell yourself as a business-of-one who can provide a service better than the competition. And, it’s in no way a chance to mention the benefits or salary or day-to-day tasks.
Don’t answer: “Actually, this job pays really well!” or “I’ve been unemployed for a long time, so I really need to get a job.”
Better say: “I’m very interested in the Sales Manager job. As you mentioned in the job listing, I’d be responsible for designing and implementing a strategic sales plan that expands the company’s customer base and ensures its strong presence. Also managing recruiting, objectives setting, coaching, and performance monitoring of sales representatives. I was responsible for all three functions in my most recent position as Sales Manager Assistant at Kontoor Brands Company. I recruited over 100 employees and led training for all new staff members in a department of 50 people in that role. I’m interested in this job because it would allow me to use my previous experience while continuing to develop my expertise in new areas of responsibility.”
3- Why are you leaving your current job / Why did you leave your last job?
Your response will say a lot about what you’re looking for in an employer, so answer this question honestly and objectively. Focus on a positive reason such as career growth and challenge.
Don’t answer: “The last company I worked for was a hell hole. I would do my best to never work for any bigoted employer.”
Better say: “I had been with the organization for several years and wanted to experience a new environment to continue growing.”
Wrong answer example: “The targets set at work were not realistic and hard to achieve.”
If you were fired, tell the truth but also be strategic in your response. Avoid any answers that reflect poorly on you. Make sure you never badmouth your former employer. Take responsibility, and don’t sound bitter or angry about the past. Show the interviewer what you learned and what steps you’ve taken to ensure this never happens again. Your best bet is to keep your answer short. Every situation is unique, so be sure to tailor your response to fit your circumstances.
Or say, “Actually I left involuntarily, the job wasn’t working out, so my boss and I agreed that it was time for me to move on to a position that would show a better return for both of us. So, I’m available and ready to work.”
4- Why should we hire you?
Your answer to this question should be a concise sales pitch that explains what you have to offer the employer.
Review the job description before the interview. Make a list of the requirements for the position, including personality traits, skills, and qualifications. Then, make a list of the qualities you have that fit those requirements. Select five to seven strengths that correspond closely to the job requirements, and use these as the core for your answer. It’s also vital to deliver specific examples. The more concrete examples you can give, the better you will showcase your value to the hiring manager.
Don’t answer: “I desperately need this job. I am an honest, hardworking, and responsible person. Also, I have a sick mom to support.”
Better say: “I am a superb consultative salesperson, never failing to surpass my quotas and break prior personal sales records because I truly enjoy working with customers. I increased their sales numbers by 24% at my previous company by integrating social media into their sales strategies. I will bring that innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to your company, and your success will be my top priority.”
5- What are your weaknesses?
Knowing your limitations and being willing to discuss them can portray honesty and a willingness to work on these limitations. When answering this question, focus on weaknesses that can be solved by implementing specific actions.
Don`t answer: “I am talkative, and that distracts me from work.”
Better say: “one of my weaknesses is my nervousness when it comes to public speaking. However, I have found that practicing breathwork and rehearsing my speech beforehand significantly helps reduce this nervousness.”
WEEKLY VOCABULARY 🗣
Self-assurance: confidence in one’s abilities or character.
Mistake: an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong.
Weakness: the state or condition of lacking strength.
Avoid: keep away from or stop oneself from doing (something).
Interviewer: a person who interviews someone, especially as a job.
PHRASAL VERBS ✍
Fit in “I think that I could see myself fitting in this company.”
Reach out “I reached out to you because I saw your job posting in the newspaper.”
Get into “How did you get into this kind of work?”
Follow through with “My boss told me he thinks I’m good at following through with long-term goals.”
Keep up “Well done, Charles. Keep up the great work!”
Like riding a bike: something that you never forget how to do.
Bad taste in one’s mouth: a feeling that something unspecified is wrong in a situation.
Don’t judge a book by its cover: not judging something by its initial appearance.
On the ball: doing a good job, being prompt, or being responsible.
A snowball effect: something has momentum and builds on each other, much like rolling a snowball down a hill to make it bigger.
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