When going on an interview, there are always a few questions you should prepare for the night before. So far on our blog, we’ve covered how to address a career transition in addition to a variety of tricky interview questions. However, with so many interview questions to prepare for, what can you do to ensure you perform at your best?
While there’s no way to be be completely ready for every interview question, you can prep for the ones you’ll likely be asked by contemplating the trickiest of the classic questions designed to critically evaluate your personality, confidence, goals, and fit. Remember, the hiring manager’s intent is to gain an accurate representation of you, while seeing if your goals align with those of the company.
Here are three common questions often asked in an interview, and tips on how to articulately respond:
Why do you think you would do well at this job?
Like the question “Why should I hire you?” this question may initially fluster you. However, with a question like this, there isn’t any room for hesitation or vague responses. To prevent the interviewer from seeing you caught off guard, it’s important to think about this and prepare an intelligent response ahead of time, but make sure it’s catered to the specific role you’re discussing.
One good strategy for answering this question is to draw parallels between your own previous and current work duties and the tasks the job description asks for. By citing your transferable skills, this will back up your cause that you’re the right fit.
Finally, look to tie in your own personal interests, describe the character traits you feel make you a strong professional, and most importantly, be honest. Any person can embellish their answers and paint a flattering portrait of themselves, but if you tell a winning story and are actually picked for the job, the hiring manager is going to expect you to live up to your answer.
What’s your biggest weakness?
Every candidate hesitates when asked to name a weakness of theirs, and for good reason – nobody wants to reveal a tangible flaw when a job is on the line and their personal objective is to assure the interviewer that they are the best person to fill the role.
However, though it may seem difficult, coming up with a response that sufficiently answers the question while still keeping your professional integrity intact is, in fact, achievable; the strategy is to consider your professional flaws and settle on one that is honest, but not consequential enough to make you an unfit choice for the job.
After addressing your weakness, make it a point to discuss the ways in which you’re working to overcome the issue. As a final rule of thumb, you may want to first consider the qualities the job description asks for, so you can work to come up with a response that doesn’t cancel any of those traits out.
What is your best professional accomplishment?
A lot is at stake when asked to describe your best professional accomplishment, especially if you haven’t prepared for the question beforehand. There are many factors that may immediately come to mind, such as which achievement is the most relevant to the job at hand, which is the likeliest to impress the interviewer, and what exactly qualifies as an accomplishment.
If you considered those aspects, you’re on the right track. Your answer should meet the following criteria:
- Recent – You’ll want to respond with a noteworthy achievement that has occurred within the past year or two. If you share a professional accomplishment that was made, say in 2010, you run the risk of connoting to the interviewer that you haven’t added significant value to a company in several years.
- Relevant – You’ll want the accomplishment you share to be relatable to the job. A caveat to that is, of course, the fact that there is room for creativity. As long as you are able to parallel your greatest accomplishment with the work you’re applying for, you have the capacity to discuss a number of achievements, regardless of the field, station, or line of work.
- Noteworthy – A truly significant achievement will have resulted in praise, approval, or objective recognition of successful efforts on your part to improve business for your organization.
If you’re hitting a block trying to think of a standout accomplishment, consider looking into your written evaluations, endorsements, and your resume to mine for accomplishments that your supervisors may have noted, or ones that you yourself recognize with great distinction and pride. For the future, consider keeping a detailed list in which you store positive feedback you’ve been given, specific results you’ve achieved, and details on positive ways you’ve impacted the organization.
Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but with the right preparation, you can formulate articulate responses to a variety of questions that may be asked of you. By cross-examining your professional self beforehand, you’ll be able to tweak your answers, creating the perfect opportunity to confidently put your best foot forward when it comes time for the interview.