Your Ultimate Guide to Basic Interview Questions

You just received a call for an interview. Congratulations! Now, you need to focus on landing the job. Where should you begin? Let’s start by reviewing these frequently asked interview questions.

Traditional Questions

What can you tell me about yourself?

Many interviews kick off with this open-ended and unstructured question. Don’t fall into the trap of detailing your life history or favorite hobbies. What employers are truly looking for is an answer to a slightly different question, “What experience, skills or knowledges do you have that are relevant to the job I am trying to fill?” (What Color Is Your Parachute? 2018) For more information on acing this request, read our blog post, Tell Me About Yourself. Well, Where Do I Begin?

What are your strengths?

Before the interview, review the job description and match three of your skills to those required for the position. Then, prepare to highlight an example of how you employed each skill in a work-related setting. Detail clear, measurable achievements and specific data. Facts and figures are more impressive and meaningful than general or vague statements. As with all interview responses, keep your answer brief, to the point and under the two-minute mark.

What are your weaknesses?

Hiring is risky, and turnover is expensive. One of the primary goals of an interview is to identify potential problems. Employers ask the weakness question to see if candidates will unwittingly admit to their shortcomings before they turn into a bad hire. Therefore, proceed with caution. A good approach is to mention something that is not critical to the position and you are working to improve. For example, for job not requiring public speaking, you might say, “I get nervous when giving group presentations, so I am taking a class to gain more confidence.”

Behavioral Questions

As candidates may rehearse and perfect the answers to traditional questions, many companies use behavioral interviews to gain a more accurate picture of how an employee will perform on the job. Behavioral questions may include:

Describe a challenge you faced at work. How did you handle it?

Give an example of a time you took on a leadership role.

Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment.

The nature of these inquiries is more difficult to predict. Your best tactic is to review stories and anecdotes from your experience that may relate to the position.

And, Finally…

Do you have any questions?

Interviewers often conclude with this question. Although your first reaction may be, “Thank goodness it’s over,” as you bolt for the door, don’t pass up on this opportunity. Interviews aren’t just about the company hiring the right person. You need to find out if this organization, this position and this culture are a good fit for YOU. Do some research so your inquiries are insightful and useful.

Ready to Land the Interview of Your Dreams?

At FirstStaff, we want to help you find a job you’re passionate about. To get your job search started, read our job searching blogs on a range of topics from resume writing to work history gaps. Or, search our available opportunities today.

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