Interviews tend to stress most people out. But they can actually be a fun exercise in practicing your communication skills and finding out if you really belong with the company. Whether you're sitting down for an in-person interview or utilizing a digital interview platform, here are five common questions you should know.
Tell me a little about yourself.
When an interviewer asks to get to know you, she's asking about your professional background rather than your personal one. Unless your personal hobbies and interests influence your professional life, skip the mini-bio. Think of this question as an opportunity to sum up why you're the right fit for the company.
What are your long-term career plans?
For this question, you may be asked about a specific time frame such as five or ten years. Where do you hope to be in that time? This question can also help you realize how you want to spend your professional life. Come up with some concrete goals you hope to accomplish, and tell the interviewers how their company will help you achieve those goals.
What made you leave your previous job?
An interview helps both job seekers and interviewers determine if people will work well in the company's environment. Be honest and positive, and don't throw former management under the bus even if it was their fault that you left.
Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.
People get tripped up over this question, but it's not meant to be tricky. Choose three examples of your strengths as an employee and two examples of areas where you need improvement. Don't try to slip in a positive as a negative. For example, “I finish projects too quickly” is not a weakness. The goal of this question is to find out how insightful an employee is about his own performance, so answer honestly.
Why do you want to work here?
This is a question you should ask yourself, and if you don't have a good answer then maybe it's time to apply elsewhere. Interviewers know you want a decent salary and benefits. Beyond the monetary gain, tell them why you chose this company and what you can bring to the table.
Interviews are scary enough as it is. If you have some answers prepared for commonly asked questions, it will help you manage part of this stress as well as help you perform better in your interview.