While there are infinite number of questions that employers can ask in a job interview, there are 7 common questions you should be prepared for. Here there is a list of those interview questions, along with advice on how to answer them.
1 Tell me about yourself
It is usually the first phrase that an interview starts. They use it in order to break the ice and to see how you can express yourself. Be careful, they don’t want to hear the story of your life, don’t share personal details. You can give an overview of your current position and professional background focusing more on what you have learnt or achieved. Explain them why you applied for the specific position and why you are a great fit for the job.
2 Why do you want to work for us?
Research the company, its products, services, culture and mission. Mention something that makes the company unique. Talk about the aspects of the company appeals to you and aligns with your career goals.
3 Why do you want to leave your current job?
There are a lot of reasons for wanting to leave your job. Some reasons are good like looking for a better opportunity, career growth or changing career path. However, they may be other reasons that maybe difficult to explain such as you don’t like your boss, your job or you are underpaid. So, instead of complaining or badmouthing your current employer, company or colleagues, try to explain the reasons why you are seeking a new job. You are looking for new challenges, new experiences or more responsibilities.
4 Why was there a gap in your employment?
If there is more than 6 months gap, they probably going to ask you about it. If the reason was a health issue, a pregnancy, taking care of a family member or traveling it is fine to say it. If you didn’t have any interview call even though you were searching for a job or you went at a few interviews, but you were rejected don’t share that with them. It is better to sound like you are being selective trying to find the perfect fit for you. You can also mention things you did during that gap in order to improve your skills. For instance, classes or volunteering.
5 Why you were fired?
Let’s first clarify the difference between being fired and being laid off. Being fired means that the company terminated your employment because of your performance or improper behavior. Whereas, being laid off means that the company terminated your employment because your department or position was eliminated so they won’t hire someone else in your place. In my opinion be honest, don’t say you were laid off if you were fired. Why? Because they can find out. They can call your previous employer for references or do a background check which is very common aboard. To conclude, if they don’t ask there is need to share with them the fact you were fired but if they do ask, give an honest, short, clear answer. Show them what you have learned from that experience and what have you done so it will never happen again. Here’s an example:
“I was let go from my past position because I was late twice. I was working 2 jobs then in order to pay my student loan and I had a difficult time to wake up in the morning. When I realized that my second job was affecting my first it was too late. However, I learned from that experience. I quit my second job and focusing at finding my dream job, which is more important for me even if that means to repay my loan later on.”
6 What’s your current salary?
Even though this question is illegal in some places, this question is still asked by many employers. So, you can either try to avoid answering by switching the conversation toward what you would like to be making depending in the market value (provide them with a salary range) or you can disclose your current salary and then make your case why you should be making more.
7 Why should we hire you?
Give them 3-4 reasons to hire you. Mention skills that you have in combination with experience. Provide them with example of your accomplishments.
To sum up, there are numerous of interview questions:
How would your coworkers describe you?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What motivates you?
What are your strengths/weaknesses?
What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
Tell me about the toughest decision you had to make in the last 6 months.
Tell me about a time that you disagreed with a decision. What did you do?
So, make sure you go prepared, study the company, the job description, your resume. Think possible answers to the most common questions and practice role playing with a friend, coworker or family member. Be positive and focus on the needs of the company that you are applying and not yours while answering the questions. You can do it!