Here are several go-to questions that you can review to be better prepared for your next interview.
1. Tell me about yourself.
While worded as a statement, this is really a question you can use to describe your work background and qualifications. If you capitalize on this opportunity, you may subtly describe why you’re the best candidate for the job. This is the time to outline your professional (not personal) journey. What you’ve learned along the way and what you may value at a job. Tailor this to the job you’re interviewing for, and you’ll not only impress the HR person but give them some valuable info.
2. Why are you leaving your current job? or Why were you fired from your previous job?
While this may seem like a tricky question, it’s one that you can easily manage if you give it some thought. In a way that doesn’t bash your previous boss or coworkers, explain your reasons for moving on, but phrase them in a positive way. Talk about the growth opportunities at this job or, if you were laid off, explaining the bad economy at your job is okay too. Be honest about the reasons for your firing. But also tell what you’ve learned from the experience and what you’ve done to address the issues your boss had with you and your performance.
3. Why do you want to work with us?
This is where you show your research about the company (which should be done before the interview). Be able to explain the benefits of working in that environment, with those opportunities. Bring up specific examples you’ve researched. In this way, you show that they’re not just another company, but a place you have a strong interest in.
4. What is your greatest strength?
Another great opportunity to address the job’s specific needs, you can really shine on this question. Relate them to your abilities and how they can fix the problems that the company is encountering. Be able to express your unique strengths and qualities specifically, but keep it brief.
5. What is your greatest weakness?
This is the question that often paralyzes people. Don’t go for one of the trite answers, like “perfectionist tendencies”. Those are insincere and don’t really give the HR person any idea of what your weaknesses might actually be. Choose something that you’ve been working on, or was an issue in your last job. Try to find something that doesn’t specifically relate to the issue in the position you’re applying for.
6. Why should we hire you?
Though another potentially intimidating question, this opens up the floor for you to explain what is unique about you. This is your opportunity to share what made you think you’d be suitable for the job in the first place. Remember, researching the company to know their specific needs will be very helpful to you. Tell how you’ve solved a similar problem at a previous job.
7. Do you have any questions for us?
The vast majority of people say “no,” so saying yes will immediately catch their attention. Come prepared with thoughtful questions you’ve considered ahead of time that address the company’s values or concerning the job itself.