10 Interview Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer

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Wouldn’t it be awesome if you had all the interview questions your potential employer was going to ask you in your next job interview?

Well prepared and confident, you could then give the recruiter an element of surprise, wowing them with your wit, experience, and charm. The truth is, we already know what they are going to ask you. That’s because a vast majority of employers tend to ask very similar questions that follow an objective evaluation system.

While we don’t recommend giving a practiced response to each interview question (please don’t), spending some time getting comfortable with what you might be asked can set you up for success. That said, here are the ten interview questions you should be prepared to answer.

  1. Tell Us About Yourself

Often asked at the start of each interview, this question is commonly used as an icebreaker. How you answer it will make your first impression.

Don’t give your full employment or personal history. Instead, give a brief, concise description of who you are and your key qualifications, skills, and experience. Make sure to tailor your answers to the role you’re being interviewed for. For example, if you’re being interviewed for an accounting role, you could explain how you became a CPA without a bachelor’s degree. While it’s possible to become a qualified certified public accountant without a degree, it’s a challenging process with stringent experience requirements. Describing your accountancy journey can show your determination to succeed.

  1. Why Do You Want to Work for this Company?

When a recruiter asks this question, they not only want to know why you want to work for them, but also what you know about the company. Do your homework to find out as much information about the company as possible. When answering the question, frame your answer in a way that will portray your strengths and how passionate you are about the work they do.

  1. What Are Your Weaknesses?

Hiring managers ask this question to test whether you’re qualified for the job. They want to know whether you can cope with challenges and learn new tasks. The trick here is to structure your answers around positive aspects of your skills in a way that will seemingly turn weaknesses into strengths.

  1. What Is Your Greatest Strength?

Your greatest strength, in this context, is a skill that’s valuable to the company. On that note, don’t choose something unrelated to the job, like mastery in Solitaire (unless it’s a game tester role). Instead, pick a skill they need help with most. For example, if the recruiter is a realtor, you could point to impeccable negotiation skills as your greatest strength.

  1. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

This question aims to figure out if you’re able to set realistic goals. If you plan to work with this company, make sure you understand the organization’s hierarchical positions and the potential for career growth the company offers. Focus on your career goals, and ensure the answer you give aligns with the position you’re interviewing for.

  1. Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job? 

The essence of this question is to test your character (honesty, perseverance, etc.) Even if you left under challenging circumstances, do not say anything negative about your previous or current employer. Instead, focus on what you want to achieve in the future.

  1. How Do You Respond to Working Under Pressure?

The interviewer wants to know how you handle workplace stress. What do you do when things are not going according to plan? The trick here is to reveal your problem-solving skills. Give an example of a time when you were faced with a stressful situation and how you successfully managed it.

  1. What Is the Most Difficult Situation You Have Faced at Work?

Similar to the question about how you handle workplace stress, you will want to exemplify your impeccable problem-solving skills here.

  1. What is Your Greatest Accomplishment?

Consider this question an invitation to brag about what you have achieved in your career. Much like the question about your greatest strength, the answer to this question should align with what the employer needs. Focus on your recent career achievement and demonstrate how it can be of value to the company.

  1. What Are Your Salary Expectations?

This can be a tricky question to answer. You don’t want to underprice yourself or place yourself out of a job offer. Research the company well to know where they peg their employee salaries, then quote a figure that is commensurate with your skills.

Once you’ve mastered these interview questions and prepared yourself accordingly, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition.

Author Bio:  Bryce Welker is an active speaker, blogger, and tutor on accounting and finance. As the Founder of Crush the CPA Exam, he has helped thousands of candidates pass the CPA exam on their first attempt. 


Did Coronavirus Send You to the Unemployment Line? How One Candidate is Bouncing Back

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Adam has spent the last 10 years building a successful career as an innovative Information Technology Manager for a major Tier 1 automotive supplier.  Due to the Coronavirus pandemic hindering our country’s automotive industry, Adam is currently on furlough, receiving unemployment benefits to help make up for some of his lost income, and is truly wondering if he will even have a job to go back to when his organization reopens, or if it will reopen.

While Adam knows that he is well-liked by his current employer, he still needs to prepare himself for the fact that his furlough/unemployment status may become permanent, and that he will probably have to start looking for a new job.

Knowing that he will be joining hundreds of candidates looking for new jobs in a competitive field, Adam will have to go back through his 10+ year career and start strategizing his way to a successful job search.

As we have worked with professionals like Adam for years, here are some key steps Adam will be taking as he begins a new job search:

  • Start with the basics – a resume that is written by a professional resume writer. Years ago, resumes were just a piece of paper that outlined a candidate’s career history; today’s resumes are strategically-written marketing tools that don’t just document each job worked, but are more focused on targeting specific jobs and industries, using a candidate’s accomplishments, experience, and skills. And yes, many employers will still want a cover letter to accompany the resume. Hiring a professional will save Adam time as well as will ensure that his career documents are up to par with other candidates who will be competing for the same jobs.
  • Establish a presence on LinkedIn and start networking. LinkedIn provides job seekers endless ways to market themselves, find jobs, and connect with specific companies and industry leaders. Adam needs to ensure that his profile is current, appealing, and contains the right information to position him for IT jobs in markets not only in the automotive industry, but in other industries, as well. Tip: recruiters wouldn’t be using some of LinkedIn’s premium search features if they weren’t finding quality candidates for their clients through the site.
  • Expand the search by looking for jobs/companies outside your current industry. IT candidates are needed in almost every industry in today’s professional world. Adam will need to be open to using his skills and experience in a field outside the automotive market.
  • Brush up on interview skills. Chances are when Adam does get called for an interview, it will be done via Skype or Zoom, or some other teleconferencing system. Even in a remote setting, he will still want to prepare for this interview as if it is a “in-person” meeting. Having a resume, list of his biggest career achievements, and answers to common interview questions by his side during the interview will help him to be able to speak confidently and with ease as he uses solid details to communicate why he is the best candidate for the job.

Whether our current economic crisis has you currently unemployed, furloughed, or preparing for a potential job loss in the near future, you can use the above tips to ensure that you, like Adam will be ready to take on whatever lies ahead in your career, and will find a job and success in your professional life.

What is Your Biggest Weakness?
In the list of most hated interview questions, the question “What is your biggest weakness?” has got to be number one. You go into an interview attempting to showcase your strengths and they want to hear about your weaknesses. It’s a question that is designed to throw you off guard and put you off balance, and it works very well at accomplishing both. However, there is a third reason that the question is asked: To find out how well you know yourself. It’s a character question and most people fail miserably at answering it well.
When job seekers know that they are likely to be asked about their faults or weaknesses, they prepare a pat answer that attempts to turn a negative into a positive. The most common answer is also the worst answer: “I tend to be something of a workaholic.” This is the wrong answer because that shows you to be unable to strike a balance between work and life. Without that balance you are more prone to stress, being difficult to work with, and a candidate for making mistakes.
So what is your biggest weakness? Everyone has one and all most people need to do is think back over what types of criticisms they have gotten to find one. I tend to ask a lot of questions and over analyze everything. This can be annoying to some people, but it’s also an asset in my line of work. Figure out your biggest weakness and look for a positive angle on it. Then you will be ready to answer the most hated interview question of them all, and turn your most feared weakness into a selling point during the interview.

"Why Did You Leave Your Last Position?"

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Why Did You Leave Your Last Position?
A common question asked during an interview is “Why Did You Leave Your Last Position?” A friend of mine who worked in Iran during the 1979 revolution offers an easy answer: his resume always says “civil unrest.” While that is a concrete and completely honest answer, most of us don’t usually have such a perfect answer when asked that question during an interview. Futhermore, the answer can be even more difficult if you are still in your current position and interviewing for a new position at another company.
If the questions “Why did you leave your last position?” or “Why do you want to leave your current position?” come up during an interview (and they will), your answers should be brief and honest. Simply stating that you are looking to advance your career or enhance your skill set are easy answers. You want to talk about using your skills, especially new ones you might have acquired through additional education or on-the-job training. You could also mention that you are looking for a position with more advancement opportunities and responsibilities.
What if the reason you are leaving is because of harassment, horrible policies, downsizing, or that your last boss was a complete jerk? Pretend it never happened. Under absolutely no circumstances are you to mention anything negative about you supervisor, your company, or anyone you have ever worked with. There is no possible way to complain without looking bad to the interviewer, so avoid it at all costs. If for some reason the interviewer knows that there was a situation at your last job, answer his questions truthfully, without giving a lot of detail, and direct the focus of the interview back to your qualifications for the job he is interviewing you for.
When interviewing, you want to leave the impression that you are ambitious, hardworking, and the best candidate for the job. Before you interview, take the time to rehearse concrete answers as to why you’re looking for a new job and how your skills, experience, and work ethic make you the best candidate.

Good Interview Etiquette

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Good Interview Etiquette
Job interviews are unlike any other social interaction. An interview is one of the few places where you go into it knowing that you are going to be judged and that how you perform in front of those judging you will have a direct impact on your professional future. Job interviews will also have their own expected manners and behaviors that you should follow in order to make the best impression you can. If you do that, then you can relax after your interview knowing that you did the best you could and no matter what happens, you can move on without too much disappointment.

  • Dress Your Best: Wear an outfit appropriate for the interview. Make sure it is not too tight or revealing. While you need to be comfortable during the interview, you also want the interviewer to be comfortable, and not distracted by your attire.
  • Smile: This is imperative. It seems simple, but a smile will put your interviewer at ease and will help you appear more confident.
  • Do not interrupt: This also seems simple and obvious, but you would be amazed at how many people do not understand or follow this rule of etiquette. In other social interactions you may be able to get away with interrupting someone, but you can’t get away with it in an interview and also get the job. Wait until you are sure your interviewer has finished speaking before answering questions or giving your input.
  • Look interested: Even if you are not interested, make the effort to look like you are. Make eye contact with the interviewer and others in the room who may be speaking to you regarding the job. If your interviewer feels you are not interested in them and what they are saying, they will be turned off and will return the favor by not being interested in what you have to say.

Following these common sense tips will help to ensure you are putting your best foot forward during your interview. They don’t take extra effort, you just have to think about what is happening and what you are doing in order to make sure you are following good interview etiquette and ultimately leaving the interviewer with a great impression of what you can offer in the workplace.

Mock Interviews – A Great Way to Prepare for the Real Thing

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If you are the type of person who gets very nervous during a job interview, practicing your interviewing skills in a mock interview setting may be for you. A mock interview is when you have someone such as a career coach, a counselor or a friend act as an interviewer to let you practice answering interview questions.
Most people are so nervous during an interview that they forget to listen for related questions. For example, the question “Tell me about your strengths” is related to the more challenging question of “Why should we hire you?” If you can list your strengths, you should be able to answer the second question by showing how your strengths and expertise would add value to the organization. Another interview question that throws people is, “Tell me about yourself.” Many people do not expect such an informal question. If you wrote a cover letter for this position in which you told the reader about your background, then use the cover letter as a starting point to answer the question. Highlight your skills and accomplishments and share why you would like this job and how you would be a good fit for it.  Be careful that you are not confusing “Tell me more about yourself” with “tell me about your personal life”. The employer wants to hear about what your will bring to the organization professionally-not what is going on in your personal life.
Videotaping a mock interview is especially helpful because it can show you your body language and the unconscious messages it is sending. For example, raised or hunched shoulders may signal you are afraid,  while excessively shifting your weight around and fidgeting may indicate that you are very nervous or have something to hide. Seeing how you act on video will allow you to eliminate distracting behaviors and concentrate on providing solid answers to the interview questions. Practice the answers to the mock interview questions and monitor your body language until you feel comfortable enough to do a real interview and you will see how calm and collected you will be the next time you are sitting across the table from a hiring manger.

Hints & Tips For a Successful Job Interview

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Firstly, if you have gotten as far as the interview stage of a job application, then well done! There are many people who will also have applied for this job and who haven’t been as successful. It is a fantastic feeling when you know that a company likes the sound of you enough to invite you to an interview and now is the time to really showcase yourself. One of the most important things to do is not to panic. It is easy to worry about a job interview and let nerves build up; this can ruin the whole experience for you and make it much harder to showcase yourself as much as you could.

There is a famous saying: “fail to prepare and you prepare to fail.” There is not a situation that relates to this more than a job interview. If you do your homework and preparation when leading up to a job interview, then you are going to be in a much better position to give yourself the best chance of success.

What you do need to make sure you do is read up about the company that you are being interviewed for. Being able to ask relevant questions about the company or drop in facts that you know will really please the person that is interviewing you will put you leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Knowing everything that the company does and all about them will also put you in a great position to be able to answer any questions that they ask you with the relevant answers.

When you are attending a job interview, it is obvious that you need to make sure that you create the right impression. This means you need to dress to impress, turn up with everything that they may have asked you to bring and make sure that you are on time. Show willingness at the interview and be keen when they are talking to you. Remember that it isn’t just being able to do the job that matters, but you also need to show them why they would enjoy working alongside you and how you are going to fit in amongst their already formed team.

One of the most important things that you can do when it comes to attending a job interview is to ask questions! Making sure that you attend the interview with a number of questions in mind will really help, so make sure that you have these in mind ahead of your job interview. This will help to impress the person interviewing you and will give you the best chance of being successful during your job interview.