In the first interview realted article (click here to read it) I talked about different things you can do to improve your chances at an interview. I outlined that questions are important, but I didn’t mention what kind of questions you should prepare for. In this article I will outline the top questions most interviewers ask and how to answer them properly.
Questions employers ask:
Question 1: Why do you want to work for us?
This ties in to the research you’ve done prior to the interview. The aim is to add value to yourself through your answer. For example if you interviewing for a technology company you would say:
‘Ever since I was 5 I loved technological devices. I would open up anything from broken cameras to computers and try to fix them. I think technology is amazing and drastically on the uprise with things like self-driven cars and human robots becoming a reality. This is changing the world faster than ever and it’s something I would love become a part of. XYZ Technologies specializes in technology and I’ve noticed your one of the top growing company in (insert country/city here). I want to grow with your company and in unison contribute to a greater world through our technological innovation. That is why I would love to work for you.’
You can use this as a template for most companies and even go further by adding more specific information.
Question 2: What makes you the ideal candidate? /Why should we hire you?
Almost all employers ask this question. This is where you sell yourself. Make sure you check the companies advertisement and read the description of the candidates they are looking for. Then use is to tie it into your answer. The biggest mistakes people make is simply saying things like: “I am ambitious or I am organized”. Make sure you use examples like:
‘I am highly organized, in fact at home I file all of my personal paperwork alphabetically. I really hate when things aren’t in the right place, it literally gets under my skin. I am also very creative because I love to design cars on my spare time (go on to describe a bit further how you do it). I can bring these skills and attributes to your business so that it may grow in an efficient and effective way.’
Make sure you make yourself stand out by incorporating as many examples as possible. Also, don’t over do it, meaning, if it has nothing to do with the job don’t mention it. Don’t tell the interviewer how you won your dance contest in grade 8. To be honest, no one cares and you’ll bore the interviewer to death.
Question 3: How much do you expect to earn?
Depending on you experience you probably know what you expect to make. If you don’t there are many resources that can give you an industry standard salary for the job you’re interviewing for (google it, examples depend on country). Now, the key here is not to give an exact number. Use a range like: 40-55 thousand. Keep it in the 10-20 thousand range difference. This will give you the flexibility later on when negotiating. If you give an exact number that is too high it may even cost you the job. Too low and your going to get underpaid.
Question 4: I see you worked at XYZ Company, what did you do there?
Employers will usually ask about past employment. Whatever you do, do not bad mouth your previous employers, it looks horrible. Instead, even if it was the worse job you ever had, make is sound amazing. Make it sound like you where happy and avoid mentioning why you left unless asked. Here is an example:
‘At XYZ Company I was responsible for cleaning bath rooms. It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it. Even though it was repetitive I use time myself to see how fast I could get then done. Sometimes when I worked with someone we would compete to see who could so the fastest and cleanest job.’
An answer like that will make you look ambitious, competitive and humble. It shows your clearly not afraid of work and even have a creative side to you. It’s exactly the answer that will wow your interviewer.
Question 5: Why did you leave your previous employer?
A good general rule for this to say you weren’t happy with the salary or there wasn’t any opportunity to advance. Even if you hated you previous employer do not mention it. If you got fired, just simply say you were let go (do not say fired sounds awful). When asked for a reason, you can say that you don’t really know you thought you were doing a great job (yes it could be a lie, but anything else you say makes you look bad). If you have to state a reason make you follow-up with a solution that you’ve implemented so it doesn’t happen with future employers. For example:
‘I was let go because I was not organized enough. Since then I’ve started organizing things at home to start developing a better organization habit.’
Obviously, having been fired is not good either way you say it. However, this way it shows you’re willing to improve.
Question 6: Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?
No matter what your goals or dreams are your answer should include the company. No employer wants to hear how you want to actually be a pilot instead of a sales person or how you want to own your own company. The best answer here is to say that you see yourself as a manager or an advancement from the current position you are interviewing for within the company. No employer want to hire someone that’s already planing to leave. Each employee for them is an investment and they want to keep them for as long as possible.
Question 7: What are your goals?
This goes hand in hand with the question above. Your goals should align with the company or at least tie in with the company. For example:
‘One of my recent goals is to become more organized, so that I may become more efficient and neat in my personal life as well as work.’
‘A goal of mine is to get promoted in the first 12 months of starting my new job. I am willing to work hard and dedicate as much time as needed.’
Make sure you also mention how you plan to meet your goals. This is very important as it adds weight to your response and delivers a greater impact.
Question 8: What motivates you?
There are many answers you can give here. Even money wouldn’t be the worse answer. However, accomplishment is the best answer. For example:
‘I am highly motivated by accomplishment. What I mean is I like to finish what I start and do it well. The feeling of achieving the things that are hard pushes me the hardest and ultimately what motivates me the most.’
Question 9: How to you deal with stress?
There are many ways to answer this question. In my blog post: Stress – Don’t Push Me – 7 Ways to Manage it Like a Pro I outline 7 ways to manage stress. Pick one or two that best suits you and talk about them.
Question 10: How would you deal with a conflict between you and another employee?
The mistake most people make when answering this question is responding with: “I would talk to my manager about it”. Expecting your boss to settle your conflicts shows that you have no leadership or communication skills. You have to resolve your own problems, not depend on others to do it for you. So the proper answer is:
I would respectfully communicate my point and negotiate to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
You can expand from this anser, but that’s the general sense of what you should say.
How you answer these questions is critical to your success, so make sure you do your research and prepare. If there are any questions that an employer asked you and you didn’t know how to answer, leave us a comment. We will try to give you the best possible response to all your questions.