As a rising senior in college, I applied to a variety of jobs in different industries. After landing various interviews I spent a lot of time preparing for all possible interview questions I could get asked. After interviewing, I discovered that there is no way to predict exactly what you will be asked in an interview.
I found that I could be prepared for every interview by having responses and stories to these top 5 interview questions:
Tell me about yourself
This is typically the first question you will be asked in an interview. When answering this, be sure to talk about yourself in relation to the job and company.
You can prepare for this question in a similar way you will prepare for these questions:
Why are you a good fit for this role?
What value could you provide to this company?
You will feel prepared for these interview questions if start by responding with your elevator pitch. If you need help creating your elevator pitch, meet Gina your personal pitch coach.
Prepare a story about one of your experiences that relates to the job. To do this, find a requirement for the job or aspect of the company that you have experience in and choose that experience to discuss in further detail. You can also talk about some personal interests you have to show you are a well-rounded person.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
When you are asked this question the most important thing to remember is to prove your skills through relevant experiences and the outcomes from those experiences, instead of simply stating them.
You should prepare for this question in a similar manner when planning for these questions:
Tell me about a time you learned something.
Tell me about a time you failed.
Tell me about one of your greatest achievements.
You should plan for this set of questions by having stories about times you failed, you learned or improved certain strengths and weaknesses, and when you were successful.
The key aspect of all these responses is that you want to end each one positively.
If you are talking about failure, express what you learned from your mistakes and your plan for preventing that failure from reoccurring. If you are speaking about a weakness, be sure to emphasize what you have done or are doing to improve.
Why should we hire you?
The general answer to this question is because you are a great fit, but you want to explain why you are the best fit. The way in which you answer this question will be similar to the following questions:
Why do you want this role?
Why do you want to work for this company?
What do you hope to learn or gain from this experience?
What do you like most about the company/role?
Why do you think you are a good fit for this company/role?
When answering these interview questions you’ll want to show the hiring manager that you believe in the company’s mission, why you are fit for the job and the company’s culture.
Here are some talking points to consider when answering these questions:
- Know exactly what the company does
- Have 2 specific aspects of the company that you find most interesting and why
- Know about the company culture and how you fit well into it
- Have 2 specific aspects of the role that make you a good fit and experiences to show why
- Prepare what skills and exposure you plan to gain from this experience and how
How did you hear about the position?
This is a common question that catches people off guard when applying to a lot of jobs. Instead of literally answering this question by saying something like, “I stumbled upon the job on LinkedIn” you should think of the question in terms of what made you attracted to the job posting or company.
You may also be asked this question in the form of:
What initially drew you to this company?
This is your chance to talk about any networking you have done prior to the interview. If you spoke with any current or former employee you can name drop that person and discuss your conversation with them. Reference specific things the person talked to you about and how it aligns with your goals and interests.
If you have not spoken with anyone about the company or job then conduct research on the company and find a different way to explain what drew you to it. Find articles that the company was featured in or employee reviews that you can reference.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Your response to this question can be similar to your responses to the following questions:
What is your dream job?
How does this position fit with your long term professional goals?
Many people have no idea where they see themselves in 5 years or what their dream job is, but that is ok. When answering this question your response should be partially personal and partially aligned with the goals of the company.
If you do not know exactly where you see yourself in the future or your dream job choose aspects of the job that you hope to work on throughout your professional career. You can also describe a company culture you would be most motivated to reach your highest potential in.