Career Corner: Conquering Common Interview Questions

You are sitting in a reception room awaiting a hiring manager who will welcome you to an interview. So many things are probably running through your head. Did I remember everything? Am I properly dressed? How will I answer their questions?

If you are well prepared, there will be no reason to feel uneasy the next time you have a face-to-face interview. One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to compose answers for common interview questions. Also, planning a mock interview with the career center will make you more than ready to take on anything the interviewer may throw at you.

The initial meeting between the employer and you will say many things about yourself and your future with the organization. Will your hiring be a good fit for both parties? How well will you be able to communicate with each other?

There are a few types of interview questions that you can expect to hear in any job interview. This week, we delve into those inquires so that you can conquer common interview questions.

  1. Tell me about yourself

When you answer this question, you want to be confident. At the same time, you should not pretend you are someone without flaws. Aim for your answer to be between one and three minutes. If it goes over this amount of time, you are probably going to lose the attention of the interviewer and sound too self-centered. Some things you may want to bring up are where you grew up, education, and relevant work experience. Your answer can be a short version of your resume that focuses on things relevant to the interview.

  1. What makes you qualified for this job?

When answering this question, do not focus on things like your GPA and the school you graduated from. The interviewer would much rather hear about your skill set and accomplishments. They want to know what makes you valuable and how you will benefit their organization. For example, you could talk about leadership positions you have held in college. Tell the employer what you have learned from those experiences and how you will apply them to a job.

  1. What is your greatest weakness?

This is definitely one of the toughest questions an interviewee can be asked. However, if you anticipate it being asked, you will be more than ready to give a good, thorough answer. Avoid cliché answers like “I work too hard” or “I have trouble leaving tasks unfinished.” If you say something like everyone else would, there is a good chance you will not be remembered. Make your answer truthful and memorable. For example, if you are not a particularly good public speaker, you could say that you are working to improve that area by taking speaking classes. Interviewers want to know that you are self-aware and willing to improve.

  1. Do you have any questions for me?

The answer to this question should always be YES! Show the employer that you are curious and eager to learn more. You could ask “what would be some of my day-to-day responsibilities” or “what are some of the abilities and skills needed to be successful in this position” to name a couple of examples. By doing plenty of research beforehand, you will be able to think of questions specific to the interview.

Of course, these are only a few of the many questions you could be asked. Sometimes, there is no way to predict what questions you will face. That is why the most important thing in an interview is to have a strong sense of who you are, what you have accomplished and what you are capable of doing. With the right amount of confidence and self-awareness, you will do an amazing job at your next face-to-face interview.


Josh Karlheim

Staff Writer for The Mountain Echo

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