Interviews

6 Questions You MUST Be Prepared To Answer During Interviews

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Increasing your chances of getting the job are pretty simple if you’re well-prepared for your next interview. If you’re ready to answer some of the most common interview questions, you’re a step ahead of your competition.

Related: 4 Tips To Answer Tough Interview Questions Correctly

Here are six questions you must be prepared to answer during interviews:

1. Why Don’t You Tell Me About Yourself?

Approach this question as it relates to the job for which you are applying. Develop a 30-60 second personal branding statement that touches on your work history, your education, and briefly highlights your accomplishments. Practice this a bit – if you’re going for a sales or client facing job, the employer wants to make sure you’re more than just a capable communicator.

2. What Are Your Greatest Strengths?

For this particular question, you’re going to want to provide tangible skills. Don’t waste your time or the employer’s with, “I’m really a great team player,” or “I have excellent communication skills.” Instead, describe your ability to bring new clients on board or talk about your knack for increasing sales, even in highly competitive markets.

Here’s an example, “While I was in a sales internship with ABC Company, I increased sales by 29% in March and had the highest sales in the department five months in a row.”

3. Tell Me About Your Weaknesses.

I remember an old boss of mine once told me right before a routine corporate audit that I should just answer the question. That meant volunteering no additional information. I’ve used that strategy on more than one occasion and it has worked well for me. In this case, do the same.

A good tactic is to talk about a weakness you had and show how it has since worked to your benefit, “There was a time when I was a bit impatient with co-workers who weren’t able to complete their work by the required deadline. I have come to realize that my personal standards and expectations are different from my co-workers and it is no longer an issue for me.” Remember, you don’t have to mention your every quirk, tic, or foible.

4. What Are You Looking For In Terms Of Salary?

If you are in your first interview, you really don’t have a clear sense of what the job entails. At this point, defer by saying, “I don’t have enough information about the job yet; what are your expectations in the first 90 days? 6 months?” Another approach is to ask if the employer has a range in mind for the position. As a last resort, you may decide to give the employer a broad range based on past salary, bonuses, and other benefits.

5. Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

There are all kinds of reasons for leaving a company; however, you really need to be truthful with your answer. That said, you should carefully craft your answer to ensure it is appropriate. If your company downsized, mention it. If you made it through seven rounds of downsizing and were one of the last to go, by all means mention that, too!

Maybe you did everything you set out to do with your company and there was no real room to grow. Then, “It was time for me to find a position where I could further hone my skills and continue to grow.”

6. Why You? What Do You Bring To This Job That No One Else Does?

If you’re a salesperson, this is the time to show what you’ve got. Formulate your answer as it relates to their job requirements and clearly demonstrate how your expertise is a perfect match for their every need.

Do your homework and be well-prepared for your next interview. If you can answer these six questions easily, you’re on your way to the job of your dreams.

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Patricia Erickson

Patricia Erickson is a seasoned career management expert and certified professional resume writer with more than twelve years of national executive recruiting and coaching experience.

6 comments

  1. This is a great article. That will help better prepare me for my first interview. I totally agree just to be honest . Companies downsizing is common in todays economy. This is not necessarily a negative and the interviewer can always find out the reasons you left a company on their own.

  2. Curious, how does one answer why he/she left a job when he or she specifically got terminated unexpectedly and for no clear reason rather than a downsize or restructure?

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