How to answer interview questions
How do you manage to answer all the questions thrown at you in an interview. Perhaps a little unprepared, a bit overwhelmed! Yes, an interview can be daunting, we always want to say and do the right thing. Besides doing research on the company (prior to the interview) be prepared for some of the more general questions that are (always) presented.
Kirsten Glen: Resource Recruitment gives some well honed clues on how to answer the top five most frequently asked interview questions:-
QUESTION ONE: WHY DID YOU LEAVE A POSITION
Any good interviewer will ask you this about your previous and current position. Prepare your answers upfront, so that you don’t loose a position unnecessarily. Firstly, answer honestly- if you say you left because you did not enjoy the accounts, they may regret you for the position because their position has accounts in it. Secondly, don’t talk down a previous employer. There are always two sides to a story- and it may make the interviewer suspicious that there is another side to the story and you are not that innocent. If you were dismissed- tell the truth and use the interview to give your side of the story- they will find out anyway when they do a reference check! Try and stay neutral and unemotional when giving reasons for leaving. Try your answers out on someone, and ask them what they think.
QUESTION TWO: WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST STRENGTH
This is the easy one of the pair to answer. But don’t blow this opportunity to sell yourself by being unprepared. You will get the question at most interviews, so think of the answer before hand and try and pair it to the position you are applying for, e.g. you are applying for a sales position, so your strength could be your ability to close deals, follow through with deals, people skills etc.
QUESTION THREE: WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS
The most common answer I get for this is “ I don’t know” or “I don’t have any”! We all have weaknesses, and saying you don’t either shows you are nervous or you don’t know yourself- but either way it is a wasted question. The answer to this question can also be positive, “I am a perfectionist and don’t like to cut corners”, ‘I take work too personally and often take it home to the detriment of my family”, “I am stable and don’t like change. That is why the next position I go to I want to stay with as long as possible”… the list is endless. They are all weaknesses your next employer would love!!! Again, prepare the answers to these questions and you can really stand out from the rest!
QUESTION FOUR: WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS
Where do you see yourself? Have you thought about it? Are you applying for positions aimlessly or do you have a destination in mind? Make sure that this question does not clash with the job you have applied for, e.g. “I see myself living overseas”, or you are applying for an accounts position and you answer “as a successful sales representative”. Show the interviewer that you have goals and they are in line with what they are offering.
QUESTION FIVE: WHEN YOU LEAVE THIS INTERVIEW, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED?
If you have sat down and prepared- you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you know where you want to be in five years time, you know what part of work you enjoy the most, you should have come across in the interview the way you want other people to see you. This is an opportunity to summarize who you are to the interviewer and reiterate your strengths.