Interviewing for a new role can be nerve-racking, to say the least. It’s like going on a first date – trying to find a balance between saying the right things while simultaneously being yourself. It’s important to feel as prepared as possible to alleviate your angst and (hopefully) conclude the interview with a potential job offer. A great way to put your best foot forward is to have a general idea of the interview questions that could be asked and mindfully prepare your answer ahead of time.

We’ve compiled a list of common interview questions, followed by appropriate answers to give yourself the best shot at success!

Q: Why are you looking for a new role?

A: Simply saying you are “seeking a challenge” is not sufficient. You cannot be too thorough with this answer. What does a challenge look like for you? It will otherwise be left to assumption and may not align with your definition of “challenge.”

If you’re seeking a new role because you can’t stand your boss and your co-worker Tina is getting on your last nerve, now is a good time to refrain from being too specific. No time is a good time to speak negatively of previous (or current) employers or coworkers. That’s a major red flag and will likely turn your interviewer off. They will know what you mean by simply saying, “I no longer feel my current role provides a good culture fit.”

Lastly, if you are not employed at the time of the interview, explain why at your discretion. Don’t feel obligated to get too personal, but know that no explanation will be perceived as you attempting to hide something (like a termination or resignation) which can also be a red flag.

Q: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

A: An employer is asking you this to determine whether you’re qualified for the job. It’s important to “show” your strengths rather than “tell.” For example, rather than stating that you are good at multi-tasking, tell a story that demonstrates your ability to multitask. Your answer for weaknesses should always be framed around the positive aspects of your skills and abilities. For example, mention a skill you may have improved on, or turn a negative into a positive.

Q: Why should we offer YOU this job?

A: This question is really asking about your characteristics as an individual. What sets you apart? Your answer should include something that they cannot get from reviewing your resume. Most candidates applying for the same job likely have the same educational credentials as you so reiterating your Master’s Degree won’t cut it. This would be a good time to incorporate something you may have learned about the company that you can relate to like making an impact within your community. It will show the interviewer that you did your research and are eager about the role.

Q: What are your long-term career goals?

A: Be sure to cater this answer to the position at hand. Meaning: if you’re applying for a Legal Assistant role, you shouldn’t be going in-depth about your dream of becoming a dentist and your plan to attend school the following year. A potential employer is looking for a long-term investment. If your intention is not to grow with the company long-term that should be previously discussed. This is not to encourage falsifying your answer as the interviewer is likely trained to see right through lies.

Additionally, answering this question with “I’m not sure,” is a strike against you when deciding between you and other qualified candidates to fill this open role. You don’t need to know exactly where you will be in 5 years, but having a general idea of what your goals are will show that you move with intention and will provide the employer with an idea of how they may help get you there.

Q: Do you prefer working independently or on a team?

A: You can expect that most work environments will have some team aspect. Some positions will require daily collaboration, while others may require you to work independently. When answering this question, be sure to highlight your personality traits and how they correlate with the job requirements. Example: “I enjoy a blend of the two. I like having a team to strategize with, but I am also comfortable taking on assignments that require me to work independently. While I find I do some of my best work when I can focus alone, I value collaborating with my teammates to achieve success.”

Q: Of the position listed on your resume, what has been your favorite, and why?

A: This is inadvertently asking what you value the most within a role. If your answer is “I liked working at (name of business) because I really enjoyed the team I worked with” it is safe to assume that culture is important to you. If you enjoyed working at (name of business) because you received unlimited PTO then it is obvious that flexible scheduling and benefits are of utmost importance. Be sure to answer this question honestly while also maintaining a level of professionalism. Refrain from saying (name of business) paid me the most. Instead, try, “I really enjoyed working for (name of business) because I felt they compensated me for my worth and it showed me they really valued me as an employee.”

These are just a handful of common interview questions, though we can guarantee you will come across one or more of them in your next interview. Doing research on the company you are applying for and thoroughly understanding the job responsibilities is the first step in appropriately answering interview questions and increasing your chances of a job offer.

For assistance in your job search or your search for qualified candidates, please contact us at (518) 275-4816.