How to Answer Common Job Interview Questions (With Examples)
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- Job interviews include questions about your strengths, weaknesses, and why you want to work there.
- Your greatest strength should match the employer's needs and be explained using an example.
- Your greatest weakness shouldn't raise any red flags and should be fixable.
- You should be genuine when talking about why you want to work for the company.
Prepping for a job interview can sometimes be fun and exciting but overwhelming. It's easy to feel in over your head when trying to remember your talking points and control your nerves.
BestColleges is making an effort to break down and simplify the preparation process. We've compiled a list of tips to help you feel more confident in your next job interview.
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Vetted by career experts who know what it's like to be both the interviewer and interviewee, these tips focus on three of the most common interview questions:
- "What is your greatest strength?"
- "What is your greatest weakness?"
- "Why do you want to work here?"
"What Is Your Greatest Strength?"
Interviewers often ask about your greatest strength to see if it aligns with what you'll need to do on the job. Career experts recommend choosing a strength that ties into what the employer is seeking. Using storytelling and examples of how your strength solved problems in the past can help you give the best possible answer.
- Look at the job requirements and make a list of your skills that fit the criteria. Then choose one of these skills you could tell a story about.
- You can tell a more compelling story with a problem and a solution. Think about when you were really engaged in your work and how your greatest strength was tested.
- Your final goal should be to relate your strength to what the employer is looking for. Explain how your greatest strength solved a problem you expect to face if you're hired.
"I love to look at complex problems that need to be solved, and I use my strength of analytical thinking to see what possible answers arise. For example, I could see we needed a new way to share data throughout our teams. I decided to create an internal Wikipedia-style database with links to various how-to and status documents, which saves our division countless hours of time and money."
Read More: How to Answer "What Is Your Greatest Strength?"
"What Is Your Greatest Weakness?"
Hiring managers ask about your greatest weakness to see if you have self-awareness. Having a strong sense of self-awareness means you have the potential to grow into a well-rounded worker. Experts recommend choosing a weakness that you can work to fix and won't make you seem like a risky hire.
- Explain how you're working on overcoming your weakness.
- Avoid a weakness that makes you seem like a risky hire.
- Don't try to pass your weakness off as a strength.
"A weakness I tend to struggle with is being a procrastinator. I push things back and back until I'm forced to complete them without much time for wiggle room. But, I've figured out some good ways to improve. I use apps to create task lists and set reminders for myself when I need to complete those tasks. The app pings me when I'm falling behind, so I know I need to stay on top of my tasks. Plus, I like to give myself a reward if I complete everything ahead of time, such as a chai tea from my favorite coffee shop."
Read More: How to Answer "What Is Your Greatest Weakness?"
"Why Do You Want to Work Here?"
Hiring managers ask this question to see if you're informed and enthusiastic about working for the company. You can impress your interviewer if your answer is well-researched and genuine. You can prepare ahead of time with talking points, like the company's ethos or its latest project.
- If you're unsure what to bring up in your answer, use talking points like the company's reputation or reasons you admire their work in the industry.
- Keep your answer brief. It doesn't need to be overly long or detailed. Simply mentioning a few key points about why you want to work there will suffice.
- Focus on the interests that motivated you to apply in the first place. Think about your career goals, why the position suits your plans, and how you can benefit the company.
"I feel that my work style suits the company and its culture because I'm a team player, and I want to work with other people who are energized by strong team dynamics. I was also really excited to learn during my research that I'd have the chance to work directly with the marketing team. That's an area that I was hoping to have more exposure to and grow my skills, so I'd be thrilled to have the opportunity to do that."