1. Tell me about yourself.
The first and often most dreaded question hiring managers ask during interviews is also one of the most ambiguous ones. “Tell me about yourself,” can cause a certain level of anxiety for applicants as the question is up for interpretation rather than being directly related to a specific topic or point on one’s resume. It is easy to overthink what to tell a hiring manager about yourself, however this question gives you the opportunity to share your story and highlight who you are. Consider sharing details regarding your character and what your potential colleagues can expect from working with you such as what you believe makes a strong team, what skills you will bring to the table, and how those skills relate to the job you are applying for.
2. Why do you want to work here?
The question of, “why do you want to work here,” serves as a way for hiring managers to assess what your interpretation of the company’s goals are and what your current priorities are. A strong response to this question would be that you were drawn to the company’s mission or the specific responsibilities of the role you hope to secure. Alternatively, you can share your personal goals of skill-building and how you believe this company perfectly aligns with your own drive. Answers which would not garner a positive response include, “I need the money,” or, “One company rejected me so I hope to be approved for this position.” These replies do not bring about the best impression of you and would severely limit your chances of being hired since they do not prioritize the company nor your own positive attributes.
3. What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
Answering the question of, “what are your biggest strengths and weaknesses,” presents you an opportunity to inform hiring managers of what specifically you can contribute to a team along with where other team members can contribute in areas you may lack. It can be intimidating to think of a proper reply since it may feel as though you are leaving yourself vulnerable for criticism and possibly digging your own professional grave. The key to responding interviews is all in how you choose to phrase your answer. Phrases such as, “I can improve in this area,” and, “I am best at this area,” demonstrate a more positive attitude when it comes to how you assess your characteristics.
4. Tell me about a time you resolved a problem in the workplace.
When hiring managers ask you to tell them about a time when you resolved a problem in the workplace, they are especially interested in you discussing your leadership and collaborative styles. That specific combination of leadership and collaboration is essential as you are demonstrating that you have the capacity to be decisive while working well with others, particularly in group situations with multiple personalities and perspectives. Consider moments when conflict or mistakes were made and you sought to improve upon them on your own accord while still taking into account how those decisions impacted those around you.
5. What would you like to get out of working here?
The final question that can set you apart from other applicants is, “what would you like to get out of working here?” This interviews question allows employers to better understand what your ultimate goals are either short term or long term. If you wish to gain substantial and formative experience, it is helpful to word your response as an affirmation of your sincere desire to bring quality work to the team rather than gaining experience and then resigning immediately afterwards. Presenting worthwhile longevity prompts hiring managers to see the potential in your candidacy and look more closely at your skills, talents, personality, and possible contributions.