No matter how many you’ve been on, interviews are nerve-racking. You want to positively represent yourself, but there are so many variables that can affect how you’re perceived. That’s why we like to be as prepared as possible and have thoughtful answers to common questions at the ready. Here, five you should always be able to nail.
1. Walk me through your resume.
This is your chance to make a good first impression. It’s not the time for a ten-minute-long monologue about everything you’ve ever accomplished. Be concise and tailor your response to the job you’re applying for; mention only relevant aspects of your career and life.
2. Why do you want this job?
Your answer to this question shows two things: Whether you’re passionate about the job and whether you’ve done your research. Bring up work the company has done in the past and stress the ways you’d be able to make an impact. Obviously, try not to come across as desperate, but also don’t play it so cool that you seem blase.
3. What do you like to do outside the office?
Basically, the interviewer wants to know if they’d be OK chatting you up during a three-hour flight. Again, don’t ramble, but definitely have a few hobbies and interests at the ready.
4. What do you consider your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
Yes, it’s kind of annoying, but it’s frequently asked so you might as well be prepared with an answer that’s honest yet still flattering. In other words, don’t say your biggest weakness is that you’re always late and don’t go overboard with something hyperbolic for a selling point. Instead, choose a more moderate shortcoming, like “I don’t like confrontation, so at times I’ve made unnecessary compromises instead of standing my ground,” and a strength that could apply to the current position, like “I’m really good under pressure thanks to my time at a daily newspaper.”
5. Do you have any questions for me?
The answer should always be yes. This shows that you’re interested and curious. But that doesn’t mean the questions you ask don’t matter. For example, if you’re interviewing for an advertising position, don’t ask, “Who are some of the clients you’ve worked with?” Instead, say something like, “I really liked the recent campaign you did for Amazon and was wondering how the team landed on that particular slogan.” Obviously, stay away from questions about vacation time and working from home… unless you really don’t want the job.