You passed the resume test. Now comes the scary part: the interview! Fortunately, for those who prepare for their interviews, you can predict the questions and be ready for them.
Here are 5 interview questions you very well may get:
1. Tell me about yourself
With an open-ended question like this, people tend to ramble. A Localwise pro-tip is to open with one sentence about what you are doing right now. For example, “My name is Michelle and I am a senior at Mills College majoring in literature.”
Follow up with 2-3 sentences about your previous experiences (professional, leadership, academic, volunteer, etc.) that highlight the skills needed for the job you wish to land. Make sure your answer is well thought out, concise, and sincere!
Lastly, tell the employer what brings you to the interview today. What is it exactly that makes you excited about applying to this particular position at his particular company? Connect your background to the future of the company you're interviewing for.
2. Tell me about a challenge that you faced and how you overcame it
The challenge question is an opportunity to highlight your history of being a team player! Start by explaining a relatively significant problem that you or others faced. Layout the scene so the employer is in agreement that there is a serious problem on hand.
Then, explain how you came up with a unique approach to solving the problem. Make sure to highlight how you helped others in the process. By emphasizing team over self, you'll present yourself as a team player.
3. Why do you want to work for this company?
In other words: did you do your homework? Companies want to know that you put the time in to research their company. When doing research, go beyond what the business does and figure out why the business exists in the first place. The mission statement and about page are great places to look for this information.
Next, demonstrate through a story how you embody the company's mission. Maybe you've helped the company's customers before but in a different way. Maybe you love the charity the company donates to. Maybe you've always admired this company because you've worked for a competitor.
Whatever your story, try to strike an emotional chord with the employer. By doing so, the employer will walk away understanding your motives because you've demonstrated cultural fit. You'll also be memorable!
Whatever you do, don't say that you just need a job or just want to make money. Answers like this show that you don't care about the employer.
4. What is your biggest weakness?
Probably the most common mistake when answering this question is choosing a weakness that actually isn’t a weakness. Being a perfectionist is not a weakness!
The best way to respond to this question is to honestly choose a weakness. Employers like to know that you’re self-aware and can admit your shortcomings. After you state your weakness, explain concrete steps you've taken to address it. This shows that you are not only self aware, but looking to improve.
5. Do you have any questions for me?
"No" is the wrong answer! Have unique, interesting, and thought-provoking questions for the interview prepared ahead of time. Even better: have a question that references something discussed in the interview. Both types of questions show that you've done your homework and are engaged.
Pro tip: ask questions that show you're eager to do the job well. Ask how you can prepare or climb the learning curve quickly. Avoid asking about how much the job pays, how much vacation time you get, what the perks of the job are, or anything else that assumes you're already hired. Save those questions for after the offer letter is in hand!
Interviews are tough, but also can be predictable. Practice, practice, practice, and you'll be just fine!