Interviews can be tough for a number of reasons but one of the main preoccupations most interviewees have is on how they answer certain questions. Although what you say is important, also how you say it will leave a lasting impression on your interviewer. Here are a few tricky questions that can come up during your next interview, along with some helpful tips on how you might answer them.
Question 1: What is your greatest weakness?
In asking this question, your interviewer’s goal is to find out whether you can truly identify and recognize your faults. This question can definitely be described as a trap question- there really is no perfect answer for it. However, you can spin your response a certain way to leave your interviewer impressed rather than disappointed.
Your objective is to use this opportunity to demonstrate that not only are you able to recognize your faults, but that you are also willing to work on improving yourself. Therefore, use an example of a weaknesses that you have improved on and describe how you overcame this weakness. Remember that context is always important and you may not want to use an example that could be detrimental to your opportunity at obtaining the job. For instance, if tardiness is an issue that you are working on, this may not be the best example to use in an interview.
Question 2: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Here is a great opportunity to showcase who you are and perhaps even find some common ground with your interviewer. However, it is important to stay on point and within the context of the interview. Try using these 3 attributes:
1) Any extracurricular activities that you have engaged in
Speaking about extracurricular activities to your interviewer is always a good idea. If you play sports, a musical instrument, or take part in a type of charity work, these are always subjects that are worth mentioning. Not only will it show that you take interest in other activities to keep yourself busy, but it also gives you and your interviewer the chance to find common ground between each other- which will enhance your impression with the interviewer and foreshadow a positive relationship between the both of you.
2) Your passion for the industry/job you will be a part of
Employers appreciate working with people that enjoy their job because they are much more likely to work hard and be interested on improving their skills. Describe how passionate you are about the industry and this will most likely spark their interest in you. You can do this by talking about any communities or organizations that you are a part of that relate to the industry you work in- this will increase your credibility as a candidate, and also help to find common ground if he or she knows a thing or two about the organization.
3) End your response by passing the discussion back to the interviewer
After you’ve been talking for a bit it is important to prevent yourself from rambling on and on about yourself. At the end of your response say something similar to, “And that being said, I think this would make me a great fit for your team!” By relating the response to the interviewer, you are now ending your response positively and giving them the chance to continue on with the interviewing process.
Question 3: Why did you leave your last job?
Whatever you do, do not bad mouth your last employer. This may make you come across as someone who is not loyal to his or her peers or coworkers. You never know- maybe your interviewer actually knows and shares very close ties with your last employer. Whatever the situation may be, saying bad things about any of your past coworkers is never a good idea.
The correct way to answer this question is to describe your desire for improvement as a result of switching jobs. You could tell your interviewer a number of positive reasons as to why you left your last job. A good example of this would be: “I felt as though I hit a plateau and the only way I could better myself or learn more was to change environments and work with different people.”
Remember, there are no perfect answers to give to an interviewer. However, you can put a positive spin on each answer you give them in order to make a great first impression. And remember- though you are putting a spin on your answers, you should always remain truthful. When you remain truthful, your answers will come out much more naturally and project confidence.