Since today’s job market is more competitive than ever, you need to be prepared to wow an interviewer as soon as you walk in the door. Differentiating yourself from your competition is crucial, whether you are applying for corporate attorney jobs or fast food fryer positions. A key step to preparing for an interview is having appropriate responses ready for common interview questions. Below are five common interview questions that almost every interviewer asks, as well as suggestions for appropriate responses:
- Tell me about yourself. This is more of a statement than a question, but it is a standard request for which you should have a prepared answer. Focus your answer on the aspects of your career that are on point with the job for which you are interviewing. Do not recite your job history … hit them with your best shot! Don’t ramble, and keep it fairly short.
- What is your greatest weakness? This is probably one of the most common interview questions that interviewers ask – and it is kind of a trick. Don’t think you can fool the interviewer by disguising a positive as a negative, e.g. “I spend a lot of time paying attention to details, but I just like to make sure all of the Ts are crossed and the Is are dotted.” This will be taken as self-serving BS. Instead, cite a real negative but one that you are working to overcome. Example: “I used to be afraid of public speaking but I went to a Toastmasters course and now I am much more comfortable with it.”
- Why do you want to work for this company? This is a popular one with corporate attorney jobs – you need to know what about the company is different than its competitors, and the only way to do that is to do some homework. Find something unique about the company’s corporate culture or business model, and make sure it is nothing obvious that lots of interviewees will also cite. Again, you want to stand out from the competition, not blend into it.
- Why did you leave your current position? Whatever you do, do not hint that it had something to do with not getting along with your bosses or co-workers. Try to frame it in a positive way, if you can. Don’t talk poorly of your previous employer, no matter how badly you hated your job.
- Do you have any questions for me? This is probably the most important out of the common interview questions you’ll be asked. We recommend that you actually ask questions at the beginning stages of the job interview … things like the mission for the position, the immediate challenges and so on. Show that you know a great deal about the company and its competitive environment by the nature of the questions that you ask. Do not ask questions about compensation or benefits … this will come later when you are discussing an offer. The time you invested in researching the company and developing good questions could be what lands you the job.