We’ve all heard them before. Many times. Those inevitable interview questions that are asked time and time again. It’s difficult to take them very seriously and even more challenging to come up with genuine answers. But don’t just “phone it in” when it comes to answering them. Well-thought out, uniquely-you answers can help you ace the interview and stand out from the other candidates.
Here are the five most popular interview questions with some prompts on how to give stand-out answers:
1. “What is your greatest weakness?” / “What is your greatest strength?”
(Okay, that’s two questions… but they are almost always asked hand-in-hand and your answers should be complementary to each other).
- Weakness: Focus on the steps you have taken to improve a professional trait — don’t mention personal qualities — you felt was lacking
- Strength: Highlight one (of your many) that you know they need.
2. “Why should we hire you?”
- Succinctly summarize your relevant experiences.
- Specifically address how your unique combination of abilities and experiences can help the company — immediately.
- Point out other skills and experience you have that will help the company meet it’s goals for the future.
3. “Why do you want to work here?”
- Show that you are being selective in your job search: you have researched the company, it meets your criteria, and you are enthusiastic about its mission.
- Reference how your specific strengths align with their specific needs.
- Address the culture of the company, why it appeals to you, and why you would be a good fit.
- Emphasize your commitment to becoming an integral part of the organization.
4. ”Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years?”
- Clearly state your commitment to the job for which you are interviewing and your commitment to supporting the organization in its mission.
- Share the professional skills you would like to develop (especially those that are relevant to the company’s growth and success).
5. “Why are you leaving (or have left) your current job?”
- If you were let go, address that head on and emphasize what you learned from the experience.
- If you are looking for other opportunities, focus on what appeals to you about this company and the position (not on what you don’t like about your current job).
- In either case, focus on the future and detail how this position fits what you are looking for in the next step of your career.
Do your research about the organization and the job and map out your answers to these most common interview questions. A strong performance will truly make you stand out from the crowd.