Interview Questions to Anticipate
In addition to specific questions about the information included in your resume, you can expect to be asked a wide range of questions for which there is no right or wrong answer. The interviewer is trying to get a sense of who you are and how you will fit into the organization.
The following questions are frequently asked of candidates. You'll find them easier to answer if you think about how you would answer them and jot down your answers beforehand.
Tell me about yourself.
Remember that one-minute elevator speech you worked on? Here's your starting place.
What can you offer us? Why should we hire you?
Make a list of your qualifications for the job. Include years of experience, education, special training, technical skills, inside knowledge of a product or market, etc. Are you a customer of this product or service? List transferable skills like communication, leadership, organization, attention to detail, and work ethic.
Review the list objectively. Which items are most valuable to the employer? Use this information to write a brief "sales pitch" that describes your qualifications for the job. Structure the information in a logical fashion and then practice saying it aloud until your delivery is smooth, natural, and confident.
What are your strengths?
Provide context and scope when answering this question. By elaborating on your strengths, it's easier for the employer to see where and how you excel.
Think about your noteworthy and unusual achievements or experiences. What did you do to accomplish them? What kind of preparation did they require? Why are they unique?
Think about performance reviews. Have you won awards or received positive feedback from others in the organization or from a happy customer? What were the reasons for the positive attention?
If you are a student or recent graduate with limited professional experience, think about your papers, reports, projects, or group assignments. Think about the assignment and what you did to complete it. The same strengths that helped you academically will also help you succeed professionally.
What are your weaknesses?
Remember that employers are human and would appreciate honesty. It's okay to acknowledge your weaknesses and explain steps you've taken to address them. It's also fair to point out how you've turned a weakness into a strength.
Where do you see yourself in three to five years from now?
Think about your personal goals and answer as genuinely as possible. This is a good opportunity to ask the interviewer about the opportunities available to a person who succeeds in this job.
What attracted you to our company?
Draw from your research and personal knowledge of the company to answer this question. Keep in mind that this interview is about what you can do for them, so answering that you're attracted tot he free snacks in the break room won't score any points.
Tell me about a time you were under pressure to meet a deadline and what you did.
When did you find pressure at school or work because something was due? Describe the problem, the actions you took, and the outcome. Choose examples in which you received positive feedback.
What will former employers say about you?
Be honest. Think about the positive things they will say about you.
What salary are you expecting?
This is a landmine question and one you'll almost certainly face. Typically a company has budgeted a certain salary range for a position and will do their best to stay within it. A general rule for salary is: He/she who says the first number loses. Ask what the salary range is and where the interviewer sees you fitting into that range.
You owe it to yourself to find out what the salary range is for a comparable position in the geographical region. You can learn this through your network or an online salary search.
These happen to the best of interviewees. The only wrong answer to an impossible question is "I don't know." Hiring managers are looking for employees who think through tough challenges. They want to know if you keep your cool under pressure, if you can think on your feet, whether you BS or maintain your credibility, and how you respond to the unfamiliar. So show them: think aloud.
Talk about what you know about the problem; work out the process in front of them. You are not only being judged on your ability to solve problems, but also on your intelligence and potential. There is no potential in "I don't know."
It is fine to ask questions of the interviewer. If you are truly stumped, make a note of the question and follow up with an emailed solution the next day. Interviewers are very impressed by candidates who not only care about learning and developing, but who also follow through.