Whether you’re an entry-level candidate looking for your first job or an experienced professional looking to switch gears, the job interview process can be one of the most intimidating and frustrating steps in securing that perfect position. Oddly enough, many interviewers stick to a standard list of questions, regardless of the position being applied for. This standardization can be used to your advantage, as it allows you to prepare and even rehearse your answers to typical interview questions.
Here are ten of the most common job interview questions, and some tips for handling them.
Job Interview Questions and Answers #1: Tell me about yourself.
A lot of less-inspiring interviewers start off with this cookie-cutter icebreaker. It’s a pretty easy one to field: tell them about yourself. Just make sure to think before you speak. Don’t ramble; don’t say anything incriminating; don’t be offensive.
“I love to drink tequila and watch porn,” is probably not appropriate information, no matter how true it is.
If possible, try to tie in some elements that explain why you, an an individual, are a great fit for the company or the position. Interviewing to work with an all-terrain vehicle manufacturer? It might be worth mentioning that you’re an outdoors and motorsports enthusiast.
Job Interview Questions and Answers #2: Tell me about your last job.
This is another question that often comes at the beginning of interviews; it can be a bit tricky to answer. Your goal here is to explain why this new position is better suited to you than your last job without whining or bashing your former company. Potential employers are extremely wary of anybody who has an overabundance of negative stuff to say about their last job.
As an example, let’s say you used to work at an insurance company’s call center, and you’re trying to move into a quality-control role. “Those dumb bastards didn’t have a clue,” is probably not something you want to say about the insurance company.
Instead, try something like, “I enjoyed the customer service element of my previous position, but there simply wasn’t enough problem-solving to keep me engaged. That’s why I decided to look for a position with a little more responsibility that draws upon my technical skill set.”
Job Interview Questions and Answers #3: Tell me about a difficult situation you’ve had with a customer/client and how you handled it.
This can be a very tricky question for entry-level candidates who don’t have a whole lot of formal work experience. If you don’t have a good answer, admit it, and instead try drawing on an experience you had with a friend or family member. Basically, the interviewer is looking for proof of your people skills, so just tell a story about a time when you were able to make an unhappy person happy.
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