Most Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them
It’s normal to feel anxious about job interviews, whether you’re aiming for your first job or trying to change or advance your career. Convincing a potential employer that you’re the right person for the job is never as easy as it seems. The competition for jobs is fiercer than ever. You wouldn’t want to miss the chance of getting a good job by making mistakes during the interview process.
The secret to acing a job interview is preparation. You can help yourself be more confident by learning some of the common job interview questions and how to answer them.
Here’s a list of questions that you can expect in most job interviews. If you can provide a good answer to these questions, you will most likely increase the chances of getting the job you’re seeking:
Tell me about yourself.
This is one of the most common job interview questions. When you are asked this question, the best response is to provide a general answer on why you would be good for the job. Talk about your experience or achievements and relate them to the job you are applying for.
What are your biggest weaknesses?
This is another classic question that you should prepare an answer for. The best answer is to cite something that isn’t really a weakness. For example, saying something like “when I start working on a project, I can’t focus on anything else until it is done”, shows that you are hard-working and dedicated.
What are your biggest strengths?
List down three attributes that you like about yourself and provide examples proving that you possess them. For instance, don’t just say you are a focused and dedicated worker, follow it up by talking about a recent project where you showed your commitment to the job.
Why should we hire you?
Give the employer a reason to hire you. This is another chance to tell the interviewer about any past experiences or achievements you have that show how you can be helpful to the company.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Provide an answer that is truthful but is general enough not to raise any doubts if you would be a good fit for the position. Emphasize that you are interested in a long-term career and show your enthusiasm for the job.
How did you learn about the job opening?
This is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you have done your homework and researched the company. Don’t just explain how you heard about the job opening, show the interviewer that you are keenly interested in the company and you know about the job because you want to work there.
Why do you want this job?
This is a chance to dive deeper into why you are a good fit for the position. Think of a specific example of a situation when you demonstrated your skills to show the interviewer how you could be useful to the company.
What is your biggest professional achievement?
Provide an answer that is relevant to the job you are applying for. Make the interviewer imagine you being successful in the position you are aiming for.
Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work. What happened?
Answer behavioral questions such as this by describing how you acted in a real-life situation. Use the STAR approach when answering questions like these.
- Situation: Explain the situation in a concise, positive, and constructive way.
- Task: Describe your role or responsibility in the situation.
- Action: Discuss the steps you took to resolve the issue.
- Result: Share the positive outcomes of your actions.
Describe your dream job.
Think of a concise and specific answer that shows your long-term interest in a high-level position without overshadowing your interest in the job you are applying for right now.
Why do you want to leave your current job?
When asked this question, the best way to respond is to never bad-mouth your current or most recent company, boss, and co-workers. Instead, focus on the positives such as what you want to learn or achieve in your career. Discuss your vision for yourself and the things you want to accomplish and relate this to the job you are seeking.
Describe your ideal work environment.
This is another opportunity to show the interviewer that you have done some research about the company and understand its culture. Highlight how the company’s work environment aligns with your values.
What is the most difficult decision you had to make in the last six months and how did you come to that decision?
This is another behavioral question that can be answered using the STAR method mentioned above. Cite a specific example that shows you are capable of making good decisions in tough situations. Discuss how you weighed the options then tell the interviewer the choice you made.
What is your leadership style?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question but the best response is to show the interviewer that you have figured out a leadership method or system that works for you. Describe your general leadership style then follow up with a specific example.
Tell me about a time you disagreed with your boss. What did you do?
This is another behavioral question that is best answered using the STAR approach. Additionally, emphasize the traits, skills, and experiences that helped you diffuse the disagreement.
What can we expect from you in your first three months?
When asked this question, impress the interviewer by showing that you have already put some thought into how you can make an impact in your first few months in the company. The interviewer would like to see that you have an action plan should they hire you.
What do you like to do outside of work?
With this question, the interviewer aims to see if you have interests that will determine how you will fit into a team. Answer truthfully and focus on activities that indicate growth, such as new skills you are trying to learn.
Do you have any questions for me?
Always do your homework and research ahead of time. Ask legitimate and relevant questions that show you have done your research. Sample questions include “What opportunity for advancement does this position offer?” or “What do you expect me to accomplish in the first three months?”
Practical Tips to Improve Your Resume
A good resume is written, designed, and formatted to showcase your skills, experiences, and education. Its purpose is to land you a job interview. Bear in mind that the person reviewing your resume most likely has to look at hundreds of other resumes, so make sure yours stand out from the rest. Follow these tips on how to improve your resume.
Write a targeted resume
Tweak your resume and make it more relevant to the job you are applying for. You can do this by checking the job description and incorporating the skills mentioned there (if you possess them) in your resume. This helps increase your chances of getting an interview. Skip the objective section or summary as it is almost always skipped.
Highlight your achievements instead of duties
Most resumes just list down duties and responsibilities. Make your resume stand out from the rest by highlighting your achievements. For example, don’t just say you were a sales representative, add that you earned the “Top Sales Representative” award for exceeding your sales quota. Focusing on your achievements will make you look like a great match for the position.
Use action verbs
Make your resume more concise, dynamic, and direct to the point by using as many action verbs as you can. For example, don’t just say you “worked as a supervisor”, instead say that you “supervised a team of six sales agents who consistently exceeded their sales quotas”.
Make your resume easy to read
A well-formatted resume increases your chance of being noticed by a potential employer. Keep in mind that the hiring manager will most likely scan your resume in 10 seconds or less before making an initial up or down decision.
- Make sure your resume is easy to scan by leaving enough white space.
- Use at least 11 or 12 pt font size and margins of at least 1 inch.
- Use bullet points instead of paragraph style to list out your accomplishments.
Make sure your resume is professional-looking
The resume should show you in the best possible light. Here are some practical tips to make your resume look more professional.
- Use a professional-looking email address (Gmail, Outlook, or professional domain email address).
- Avoid putting your full address. City and State are enough.
- Always submit your resume as a PDF and never as a Word document, unless required to.
- Name your resume “FirstName LastName Resume”.
Proofread your resume repeatedly
Typos and grammatical errors in resumes are red flags. Not only do they look really bad, but it also shows that you lack the attention to detail. Just remember that your resume is a reflection of yourself. Make sure that there are no errors and mistakes before submitting it.
Ten Companies That Are Still Hiring During COVID-19
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt nearly all aspects of life around the world, many non-essential businesses have been forced close. The unemployment rate is expected to spike as workers across the US face extended furloughs and lay-offs.
However, there are plenty of businesses that are operational and are still hiring even in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. The pandemic has increased demand in a number of industries such as healthcare, online shopping, and delivery services. Essential businesses that are still open like supermarkets and hardware also need more staff.
Here are ten companies with the most job openings right now as listed by LinkedIn:
- 7-Eleven – The convenience store giant announced that it expects to add up to 20,000 jobs to meet increased demand during the pandemic.
- Army National Guard – Although the Army National Guard is not a private company, they are looking to hire more people to support the COVID-19 crisis response specifically in helping large-scale businesses with logistics and other demands.
- KPMG – As one of the largest business tax auditing and consulting firms, KPMG is expanding its workforce to help other businesses struggling with the challenges of our new economic environment.
- Amazon – The biggest online retailer in the world plans to hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers to meet the surge in online orders.
- Genentech – A biotechnology firm, Genentech is one of several companies working on therapeutic treatments for COVID-19.
- Lowe’s – Increased demand has prompted one of the largest hardware store chains in the country to expand its workforce.
- HCA Healthcare – HCA, which operates healthcare facilities across the US, is adding more workers to address the surge of incoming COVID-19 cases.
- Intuit – A major source of tax preparation and business management software, Intuit is looking for more workers in the development and support positions.
- Whole Foods – An Amazon subsidiary, Whole Foods is a pioneer in the world of supermarkets and is ahead of the curve in terms of curbside pickup and delivery options. Whole Foods is hiring more employees to meet up with an increased demand for food and supplies.
- Sherwin-Williams – A major supplier of paint, building materials, and manufactured goods, the company is currently hiring more workers to address the increased demand.