Right now, the job market is supposed to be highly in favor of the applicant. There are literally thousands and thousands of job openings that are going unfilled. So it’s not difficult to do a search, find positions you’re interested in, and even get the first interview. But it’s the interview that’s going to either open doors for you, or get you a “we’re sorry . . .” email that says you didn’t make the cut. And while there may be plentiful jobs, the interview questions can be just as challenging as they ever were.
Here are three of the most common interview questions that are designed to get you talking. And give you the chance to shine, or fall flat. They’re almost cliches, but don’t let their seeming simplicity fool you.
Tell Me About Yourself
Often one of the first questions you’ll field, the way you answer this question can set you up for a positive, or negative, interview outcome. While you might be tempted to think it’s just an ice breaker, it is not. Don’t go down the path of telling personal stories or sharing details about your personal life. What the interviewer wants to hear is your achievements and what value you can bring to their company. So talk about your problem solving skills, your leadership accomplishments, and other facts and attributes that shows why you’re the candidate they want.
Why Do You Want to Work Here?
While there are many reasons you may want to work for a given company, including a paycheck, focus on the company itself. This is where you have the opportunity to demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and know what they’re about, their industry, and their reputation. And of course, you’ll want to mention how you see yourself fitting into and contributing to their company culture and mission statement.
Why Should We Hire You?
This question may sound similar to “Tell me about yourself.” But it most often comes at or near the end of the interview. It’s your chance to carry the interview across the goal line, and leave yourself on the top of the best candidates. With a dash of humility, you’ll want to bullet point exactly what it is that you bring to the table. Think of it as a professional, polished closing of the sale. During the interview you demonstrated why you’re a good choice. Now, concisely summarize why you are THE best choice.
In terms of the interview, little has changed from pre-pandemic times. You MUST be prepared. If you find you just can’t shake the jitters going into an interview, consider using a professional mentor to help you ace even the toughest interview. Remember, one misstep in the interview can mean the difference between getting an offer, or getting the boot.