You would think that candidates have their answers to the most common interview questions nailed down, right? I have found the opposite to be true. Most people do not even know the proper way to handle this simple statement: “Tell me about yourself…”
The truth is all of us can have a tendency to be a little lazy when in comes to interview preparation. We would rather just take the questions as they come and hope we can think of some good examples of the top of our heads. My goal today is to give you a few simple answers to the most common job interview questions.
Most Common Interview Questions and Answers
- Tell Me About Yourself. Most people mistakenly get on a long rabbit trail on this one. They start with their childhood and work all the way through their life. Meanwhile, the hiring manager pretends to be interested. Don’t ask “What would you like to know?” They want to see where you are going to go with the question. The best answer you can give is to assume they mean work-related. Prepare a one minute answer ahead of time that highlights your work experience.
- What Are Your Strengths? Never give them anything related to being a good team player, fast learner, or being a dedicated worker. Those are all subjective. They are looking for more then that. Instead, refer to anything to improved a process or increased the bottom line. Pull out an example from an accomplishment you might have on your resume.
- What Are Your Weaknesses? Do not tell them that you cannot think of any. Bad answer! Also, do not air out your dirty laundry. Use something that can be both a strength and a weakness. For example, tell them that at times you have a tendency to worry. That causes you to work long hours because you want to make sure things are done right.
- What Are Your Salary Requirements? Worst Answer: I wouldn’t consider less than….or I need at least x amount of dollars to pay my bills. Instead a good answer can be “I am sure you will pay a competitive salary and I am flexible. What have you budgeted for the position? make sure it falls within a normal accountant’s salary.
- What Are Your career goals? Do not tell them in a round about way that you want their job nor do you want to tell them that you really do not have any goals. Instead, tell them that you love to beat performance objectives and want to learn new skills that can benefit the company as a whole.
- Why Did You Leave Your Last Position? Do not use this as an opportunity to speak negative about your former employer. Hiring managers do not like negativity in any form. Instead use words like downsizing, reduction in force, a number of jobs will eliminated and so on.
The best thing you can do is to practice by performing a mock interview and flesh out whether you are answering these questions correctly. Many times we can become frustrated with the lack of job offers and the problem may lie in the simple mistakes we are making with the most common interview questions.