The key to a successful job interview is to plan ahead and be prepared. This will help you feel more confident and generally perform better. A great way to prepare it to ask someone to give you a mock interview, using common questions and then feedback on your answers. Here are some questions you’ll most likely be asked during a job interview.
Tell us a little about yourself
Think of this as your elevator pitch. Be engaging and interesting, without oversharing and really think about what will bring value to the conversation. For example, rather than giving your entire work and education history, you could say something like “I’m a recent graduate in X, and I’ve been working in Y, but I’m now looking for something to really sink my teeth into in this industry.” It’s okay to add some personal tidbits such as “I’m a father of two” or “I am originally from Boston but moved to the area recently,” but the interviewer probably doesn’t want to hear about your favorite bar or movies.
What do you know about the company?
It’s essential to have researched any company that you are interviewing for and ensure you go further than just the “About” page. Remember, they are looking to see if you are right for the role, so something like “I know that your mission is XYZ which really resonated with me because of ABC.” Show your knowledge and your suitability for the role.
Why do you want this job?
Although often the answer is “I need the money,” that’s not really an appropriate answer. A great response to this would be that you love the industry that the company is in, and the way they work (give examples here!), and you want to be part of it.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
It can be hard to talk about how great you are, but it’s essential. Make sure you are accurate and honest, but without coming across as arrogant. Descriptive words are not enough, ensure you back it up with relevant examples too. For weaknesses, choose an example such as “I find public speaking very daunting” and follow it up with how you are working on it, or how you have been improving – for example, “however I have recently been volunteering myself to lead on presentations in my current role to become better at this”. It shows self-awareness and a willingness to work on yourself.
Why are you leaving your current job?
The key to answering this question is to avoid any negativity about your current employers – this will not come across well. Instead, say something like “I feel I’ve developed a lot in my current role, but now it’s time to take the next step into a company such as [insert name here].”
Ask different people to test you with these questions, and spend time in the shower, or on your commute thinking of answers and examples so that when it comes to the interview, you feel as prepared as you can be. Good luck!