No matter how many you go on, job interviews can always be nerve wrecking. You put on your nicest clothes, print out your resume, and remind yourself to smile real big -- and just when you think everything is going well, the interviewer hits you with a curveball question you aren’t prepared for.
Luckily, you’re not going to let that happen again and you’re planning ahead to ace this interview. The best way is to do your research ahead of time, which is where we come in.
If you’re preparing for a big interview in the near future, prepping beforehand with these 10 interview questions will help you get one step closer to that dream job.
1. Tell me about yourself?
First impressions are everything and most interviews start with this question. How you answer it will either make the interviewer interested to hear more, or zone out for the rest of the session. If you aren’t quite sure what to say, it can be viewed as a lack of confidence in yourself. If you start listing all your greatest accomplishments and talk too much, you might sound cocky and scattered. You need to find a good balance between being confident, but not pretentious.
The best way to prepare for this question is to prepare a personal elevator pitch. Give a few sentences about your career path and how you ended up applying for this job, as well as why you are a great fit. You don’t need to be too detailed, there are plenty of more questions coming. You just want to leave enough curiosity that the interviewer gets excited to learn more about you throughout the interview.
2. Why do you want to work for (Company)?
When a hiring manager asks this question, not only do they want to know why you want to work for them, but they also want to know what you know about the company. This question shows how well you know what the company does and how passionate you are about the work they do. So make sure you know the company well and can speak truthfully about your desire to work there.
3. Tell me about something on your resume.
Everyone has something on their resume that they’re really proud of where they can talk at length about the subject. What’s most important is that you can talk at length for all points on your resume. Be careful not to have any fluff or space filler on there. Also, don’t have irrelevant points to the position you’re interviewing for. A sales position for a physical product is most likely not interested in hearing about your programming skills for a cloud software.
4. Why are you looking for a job? Or, why are you looking for a different job?
This question might seem unimportant, but this is how interviewers determine if you were fired from your last position, or have a high turnover rate meaning you won’t be sticking around for too long. You should focus on the positives and be specific. Think about why you are looking for a job: did you just graduate and this will be your first real job? Are you switching career paths? Are you leaving a current job for this one?
If you are currently working somewhere, you should also be prepared to answer, “why do you want to leave your current job for this one?”
5. Why should we hire you?
When asked this question, keep in mind that the recruiter is looking to hear what skills you have that you’re going to bring to their team. Don’t give a vague answer like, “I work hard and am determined.” Instead, be specific about your work history and achievements, and use numbers when possible.
For example, name some of the accomplishments you made at your last company. The more specific you can be about what your skills are and how valuable of an employee you are, the better the interviewer will be able to picture you working there.
6. Where do you see yourself in five years?
This can seem like a deep question during an interview, especially when you haven’t prepared for it ahead of time. Since you’re in an interview setting, you don’t need to go into all the details about what your personal life goals are for the next five years. Focus on your professional goals and be realistic.
If you plan to work at this company for five years, make sure you understand who would be working above you and what potential career growth there is. The hiring manager asks this question to find out if you set realistic goals, if you are ambitious, and to confirm that the position you are interviewing for aligns with these goals and growth. You believe this position is going to help you navigate yourself in the right direction and don’t be afraid to explain why.
7. Tell me about a conflict you faced at work and how you dealt with it.
This question is important to ace because it helps an interviewer understand how you deal with conflict. It also helps test how well you think on your feet. So if you prepare ahead of time with a specific example, you’ll avoid any awkward moment of silence while you try to think of an example.
Once you’ve thought of an example, simply explain what happened, how you resolved the issue in a professional manner, and try to end the story with a happy note about how you reached a resolution or compromise with your co-worker. Try not to play the blame game, whine about past coworkers, or say anything that would make the interviewer apprehensive to have you as a coworker. This sentiment flows into the next question.
8. What do you expect out of your team/co-workers?
This question is meant to understand how you work on a team and whether you will be the right cultural fit for the company. To prepare for this answer, make sure you research the company ahead of time. You can always tell what a company’s culture is like by looking through their social media profiles or reading their reviews on Glassdoor. Putting in the time to do the research will pay off big.
9. How do you deal with stress?
Answering this question will help hiring managers identify any potential red flags you might have. Similar to the conflict question above, it’s good to have a specific example from your past where you successfully dealt with stress. You want to show that you can handle stress in a professional and positive manner that helps you continue working or won’t stop you from accomplishing your goals. Moreover, be specific and explain what you actually do to deal with stress–like taking a short break to take a walk outside, or crossing items off on a to-do list, etc.
10. Do you have any questions?
The last question you will always be asked during an interview is whether or not you have any questions for the interviewer. This is your chance to really stand out -- so don’t blow it by saying you don’t, or that your questions have already been answered. Even if you don’t have any questions–there’s always a question you can ask at the end of an interview.
Keep a list of at least three to five questions in the back of your mind so that no matter what, there are at least two questions you can ask at the end of the interview. Recruiters say they actually enjoy getting to answer some questions at the end of an interview -- they did just listen to you talk about themselves, so ask about them for a change. Once this part is over, you can rest easy and walk out of the interview knowing you aced it!