Ask any recruiter or business coach how best to handle a job interview and on the top of the list is to prepare and practice. International staffing firm, Finding Great People (FGP), has published a list of 10 questions applicants can expect to hear during an interview, along with tips for how to answer these questions. FGP recommends candidates prepare ahead of time to help facilitate “selling yourself” in the interview. Anticipating questions and thinking about how you would answer in advance of the interview will help you better recall past accomplishments.
For a seasoned professional, a career may span several years, even decades, so it may be difficult to recall their three greatest accomplishments on the spot. By carefully considering how to answer the most common questions in advance, job seekers can reflect on their entire career history and decide which accomplishments will be most useful with the new position.
Below are ten questions FGP says applicants should expect to be asked.
1. Tell me about yourself?
2. Why are you leaving your current position?
3. What do you like or dislike most about your current position?
4. What are your most significant strengths?
5. What are your most significant weaknesses?
6. What is your most significant career accomplishment?
7. How do you work under pressure and stress?
8. Why should we hire you for the position?
9. Describe a situation in which you failed.
10. What are your career goals?
FGP’s link includes advice for answering each of the questions and offers tips for the phone interview, which generally precedes the formal interview. The most important tip offered is to ensure you express a genuine interest in the position with a statement like, “I like what I heard and am interested in the next step.”
In the March 1, 2012 article, “10 unusual interview mistakes, and 6 that are all too common,” Kaitlin Madden of CareerBuilder says the combination and excitement of a job interview can cloud our judgment and lead to mistakes. The most notable mistake reported by Madden was that a candidate brought a "how to interview book" with him to the interview.
Preparation is key to having a successful interview. Your answers shouldn’t sound canned or too rehearsed but anticipating questions and considering your response will help lessen anxiety and prevent errors.