You spent hours perfecting your CV and resume and you’ve locked down the interview! So now what? At this point in the game, your potential employer has seen you have the necessary qualifications, it’s just a matter of seeing how you would fit in with the team.

Here are some common but essential questions that come up in every interview.

Q: Why do you want to work at _____?

This is going to be a question you get in basically every interview. The purpose of it is to see if you have a genuine interest in working for the said company. If they are going to commit to investing in you as an employee, they need to know you are making an equally committed investment in them. So how do you tackle this question? Make sure you do the research on the company. Have specifics about the company that you can refer to and that you genuinely like. Then try to make the connection of how the focus or values of the company align with your own interests.

Example: I like (x)’s values and goals, I think they are visionary, or I like the work-life balance culture that has been developed at (x).

Try to avoid things that are too general. You want to really wow your interviewer with how much you know about the company.

If you are an experienced professional you can tell them exactly what you want to accomplish at (x) organization. Identify areas you think you can improve and tell them how.

Q: So tell me about a time you displayed_____?

Usually the blank will consist of something like leadership, time management etc. These questions will most likely stem from the traits they are looking for in their future employees. Most people expect this answer and are able to recall on a specific story. Here’s how to go one step further.

After your story, make sure to link back how you could apply this experience to the job. For example: if you worked at a summer camp and you are currently applying for an HR position. Using your organizational skills you were able to keep track of 20 kids and plan activities and make sure they were present at all times. From what I understand about this position, I will need to be managing a team of 15. I believe I can use the skills I learned from my camp experience in keeping track of each member’s progress and tasks etc.

If you build the bridge for them they don’t even have to think if you would be a good candidate for the job. You are telling them: YES YOU ARE.

They are trying to see if you are a fit for a position, all you have to tell them is yes you are and here’s why.

Q: What’s your biggest weakness?

The “weakness” question is always a tricky one to tackle but there are ways to answer that actually make you more attractive to a potential employer.

However we should start by emphasizing to never mention a weakness that would be detrimental to the job you are applying for and avoid turning too much a good thing into a weakness. Like saying that you are a perfectionist or that you work too hard.

Everyone has some sort of weakness; the key is to identify one that would not impede your success in the position and to emphasize the steps you have taken to mitigate it. Employers know that no one is perfect and they can appreciate if you recognize this as well. Stating a genuine weakness may actually prove that you are more self- aware and understand how to overcome barriers that may exist.

Q: Do you have any questions?

ASKK!! When an employer asks if you have any questions, it is always best to ask.

Here’s why: There is no way you know everything about the company purely from their website or job description. Some good follow ups would be to ask more specific details about the job and what the companies upcoming goals and visions may be. Also it is important to ask questions to give yourself a better understanding of the company to identify if it’s really somewhere you want to work.

No matter what questions they throw your way, just remember that you are interviewing for something specific. Make sure you stay in the context of the organization or at least link your answers back if you get on a tangent.

But most importantly, SMILE, be friendly and practice beforehand. As I stated in the beginning of this article, they already know that you have the necessary qualifications. They just want to see if you would be a fit for the team a.k.a someone they wouldn’t mind spending most of their workdays with. So have fun and try to make a connection with your interviewer.

GOOD LUCK.

Featured photo credit: Image of human hand with pen during seminar or conference via shutterstock.com

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