Now that you’ve completed the hard work of getting a job interview, you’re ready for the next phase: Preparing for your interview.
You should never enter a job interview without a little prior practice. Fortunately, employers tend to ask the same common questions, with some of their own mixed in, of course. But by studying these 6 common questions and preparing your answers in advance, you can boost your confidence and chances of succeeding.
1. Tell me about yourself.
This is one of the most popular job interview questions. Many employers use this question to learn more about your professional background, skills, and expertise.
This is your chance to introduce yourself to the interviewer and make a memorable impression. Talk about your education, experience, accomplishments, and skillset — anything that demonstrates who you are and what you have to offer.
Many job seekers answer this question in story format, which is a great way to introduce yourself engagingly and cohesively. Talk about the challenges you overcame and the accomplishments you had along the way. Highlight the value you’ll bring to the company. Sell yourself.
2. What are your strengths?
Employers ask this question to evaluate your level of self-awareness, your current abilities, and your suitability for the job.
Understandably, describing your own strengths can be challenging. Start by identifying one or two relevant strengths; that is all you’ll need to answer this question.
Job-related strengths can include:
- Willingness to take initiative
- Ability to work in a team
- Passion for continuous learning
When answering this question, provide examples of past accomplishments or tell stories of past experiences that showcase these skills.
3. What are your weaknesses?
An interviewer who asks about your strengths may ask about your weaknesses as well. This is not to embarrass you or put you down. Every professional has weaknesses, and if the interviewer asks you about yours, they’re just trying to identify areas of improvement.
Just as you did with your strengths, pick one or two main issues you are working on in your professional life. These may include:
- Being overly self-critical
- Shyness in meetings
Pair your weaknesses with a brief description of your plan to improve these weaknesses. You’ll impress the interviewer with your self-awareness and initiative.
4. Why should we hire you?
This question may seem intimidating. There are so many reasons to hire you, right? But what the interviewer really wants is a short elevator pitch highlighting your most relevant qualifications.
There are a few different ways you can answer this question, such as by focusing on your experience, your skills, your passion for the job, or all of the above.
Talk about your best skills and qualifications. The interviewer wants to know what you will bring to their company, so keep your answer relevant to the specific role.
5. What are your salary expectations?
This is a question you must prepare for in advance; don’t expect to think up an answer on the spot.
Before your interview, research common salary ranges for the role you’re interviewing for and the level of experience you have. You’ll only need to come up with a range, as this will be negotiated later.
And remember to hint at your value as you share your desired salary. You may want to phrase your answer somewhere along the lines of, “Based on my skills, experience, and the current industry rates, I am seeking around…” Fill in your desired salary.
6. Do you have any questions?
Yes! Asking questions about the company and the role is a great way to demonstrate your interest and passion for the job. So don’t pass up this opportunity to learn more about the position and impress the interviewer.
Some examples of good questions include:
- What are your expectations for me in this role?
- Can you tell me more about the team I’ll be working with?
- What skills is your team missing that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?
- What is your favorite part of working here?
- What is the company culture like?
- What are the company’s goals or plans for growth?
Make sure to phrase your questions as if you already have the job. For example, ask, “What would a typical day look like for me in this role,” instead of, “What would a typical day look like for me if I get this role?”
Remember to keep your answers brief and direct. Long, meandering, or disorganized responses will make you look unprepared and incapable of thinking clearly on the fly.
Job interviews can feel like a lot of pressure, especially when you’re going for your dream job. But with a little preparation, you will excel.
This article was written by Danielle Murphy.
Danielle Murphy is a content writer and copywriter with a passion for helping businesses meet their marketing goals with writing. When she’s not working (or writing for fun), she’s hiking or hobby farming around her home in New Hampshire.