You have landed an interview, congratulations! Candidates often find themselves preparing for interviews without knowledge of the culture of the company they have applied for. This is the number one mistake that interviewees usually make. More than often, candidates remain clueless on what will be asked by the interviewer or how to respond to their questions. More companies are now interested to introduce “behavioral questions” on their interviews to see if selected candidates “fit” their company’s culture.
Most common interview Questions
Why are you interested in working with our company?
Answer: Give examples on why this company is the “best” place for you; either to reach your professional goals or because it is the only company that has more opportunities opened for your career of choice.
Are you currently employed? If yes, why would you want to leave that company?
Answer: Let the interviewer know how you have completed your time at your current job and want more of a challenge in their company. NEVER disclose personal reasons or disclose sensitive information that pertains to your current employer. DO speak towards certain goals you have completed and how you see yourself doing even more for their company.
Why should we hire you?
Answer: Although this may seem as a very strong question, the answer is easier than you think. Let the interviewer know your passion for the company and certain traits that fit the job description that you possess.
Note: Remember that these traditional interview questions may not be asked in person. Companies are now hiring recruiters to do basic “phone screens” where these questions may catch you off guard BEFORE being invited to the actual interview.
Candidates are now being asked more “behavioral questions” within their traditional interview for two purposes: to understand how you manage yourself within a company and to see if your actions will fit their culture. These are examples of behavioral questions often asked:
How did you handle a difficult situation at work?
Answer: Give a specific instance of a difficult customer/co-worker/supervisor that you handled as best as you could. Provide examples of how you managed on your own to professionally deal with the situation and feedback apprasing your job, if any.
How do you prioritize difficult tasks?
Answer: Depending on the job environment that you are applying for, examples can be set. Don’t be afraid to ask for examples in regards to a general question like this one. For instance, if you’re applying for a retail environment, let the interviewer know that customers are your top priority. If you are replenishing the floor with merchandise, let the interviewer know that your priority will be the front of the store or the highest selling item for the store.
What goals have you accomplished?
Answer: Another general question as this one can be answered easily. Examples of personal goals you have achieved (ie. Overcome a difficult situation – do not get overly personal, helped someone in need, became part of charity work) or professional goals (ie. Graduated high school, graduated college, a difficult task completed at work or school)
Other Interview Questions to Prepare for
Now that you have the most basic traditional and behavioral interview questions at hand, it is imperative that you are familiar with other questions that the interviewer may ask you:
Key words: What, Why, Where, When, Who, How
- What are your goals in this company?
- What will your current/former supervisor say about your work ethics?
- What is your work style?
- What is your greatest strength?
- What is your weakness?
- What type of work can you perform?
- What do you feel it takes to be a part of this company?
- What does your availability look like?
- Why would you be successful in this company?
- Why do you feel you will be the right fit for our company?
- Why did you choose this career path?
- Why did you choose to submit an application in this company?
- Where do you see yourself five years from now?
- Where do you see yourself in this company?
- Where else have you applied for employment?
- Where would you be willing to relocate?
- When will you be ready to start working in this company?
- When do you feel is appropriate to step in and handle a difficult situation as a supervisor?
- Who has been your greatest inspiration?
- Who referred you to this company?
- Who do you feel will provide us a good character reference of you?
- How did you hear about our job opening?
- How do you feel about working alone or as a team?
- How is your management style?
- How have you handled disappointment/frustrations in the past?
- How often do you conduct employee reviews?
- How often do you call off/ do not show to work?
- How do you think we should manage you?
- How complicated is your work ethic?
- How did you release/fire another employee? How did you feel?
The method of the five W’s and one H, are your keywords for any job interview. This method has been used over time and has become the traditional method of interviewing; this is not to intimidate candidates, but to find out how the candidate responds under pressure. Although this method is the most common, a new method has risen over the years for the companies to test. This new method makes the companies seem more inviting and “relaxed” during their interviews. Instead of using the five W’s and one H, the new “trend” is to use a “story telling” method. For example,
Traditional Method→ How do you handle difficult customers?
Story telling Method→ Tell me about a time you handled a difficult customer and the outcome.
Either method used, the questions are the same; however, in the “story telling” method, the interview does not seem as intimidating to the candidate. It is best to answer with examples and with your personal experience, that way the interviewer can see your sincere reaction to certain situations.