A job interview is a stressful event even for experienced candidates. And for first-timers, that’s a real nightmare. You don’t know where to look, how to sit, and what to talk about. You’re trying to keep a balance between being too excited and too indifferent, and you also have to look motivated but not too desperate at the same time.
Of course, being successful in a job interview – is a whole science. Thankfully, interviews are not spontaneous, and candidates have enough time to prepare themselves. For example, you can compose a well-structured resume to impress your potential employer or to order one at CareersBooster.
You can’t get ready for absolutely all kinds of questions, and you should always be ready to improvise. But we highly recommend you to look at the list of the questions that we provide below and read our recommendations.
That will help you to describe yourself in an interview in the best possible way and become the most beloved candidate.
1. Tell us about yourself
Usually, that’s the first question that you hear. It’s simple but extremely confusing at the same time. What do they want to know? Your date of birth? Your parents’ names? All wrong. Your interviewers want to learn more about your PROFESSIONAL life.
Start with a statement that summarizes your experience, for example: “I’m a marketing manager with seven years of work experience in US and EU markets.” Then, add a few facts about your last or current job: your responsibilities, challenges, team, etc.
You’re also welcome to mention why you’re interested in this specific job offer. And make sure that it’s not the salary!
2. Describe your strengths
One more time: your interviewers are interested in your professional strengths. Your talent for making pancakes or whistling won’t work. You should also avoid cliches such as “highly motivated,” “stress-resistant,” or “organized.”
Pick the traits which you have and which are necessary for the job. In addition, tell about life situations and challenges that allowed you to demonstrate these qualities. For example, if you want to become a project manager, being great at negotiations is a must. If you’re a born diplomat, share a story about how this strength has helped you in your career.
3. Describe your weaknesses
This question is more difficult than the previous one. One needs the courage to acknowledge one’s faults, especially in front of complete strangers. But you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) share all your dark secrets. List two or three traits that you consider your weak spots. But they shouldn’t be the qualities that will absolutely compromise you as a professional. We also recommend adding some details on how you’re working on improving your skills and why they won’t be a problem for a new employer.
4. Why do you want to change your place of employment?
That’s probably the most delicate topic to discuss with your future boss. In our humble opinion, honesty is the best policy in this case. But you should also be careful with the choice of words. You can’t say anything like “I got bored” or “My boss was a control freak.” Pick less straightforward expressions like “I’m looking for new professional challenges” or “I’m a creative person, and my supervisor prefers conservative approaches and methods and rejects all new ideas.”
5. What makes you the best candidate for this job?
This question helps your potential employer to evaluate whether you understand the challenges that await you at your new job. Sometimes, a candidate perceives a job offer in the wrong way, and that may be a reason for future misunderstanding or disappointment. For example, you might say that you’re attentive to details and good at following instructions. But a company is looking for an employee with a creative mindset, and it will be hard for you to fit in.
6. What would you consider your biggest mistake in your professional life?
As well as the question about weaknesses, this question is aimed at testing your honesty and readiness to admit your mistakes without equivocation. When you’re telling the story of your mistake, don’t forget to mention that it will never happen again and what measures you’ve taken to avoid the same failure in the future.
7. What was the biggest challenge in your career and how have you overcome it?
When you answer this question, the interviewer gets the opportunity to assess your problem-solving skills as well as your ability to act independently. This challenge doesn’t have to be connected with your work responsibilities. You may also share a story of difficult negotiations or how you’ve managed to solve a problem with communication within your team.
8. What motivates you?
We can admit that the majority of people want to get a job in order to make a living. That’s the obvious thing, and you shouldn’t emphasize it during the job interview. Instead, look at the list of the company’s values and pick two or three of them which are the most attractive to you. Justify your choice. For example: “I’m highly motivated by the opportunity to improve my managerial skills, and your company has a great leadership program.”
9. What are your future career goals?
Our life is unpredictable, but a mature professional always has some kind of plan for his/her future. An employer needs to know whether his company can satisfy your ambitions or it won’t be a great fit for you. You might want to become a team lead in a few years, but nobody is planning to expand your department. You should clarify your intentions during a job interview in order not to deal with negative consequences later.
10. Describe a perfect workplace for you
Make sure that your description will be more about atmosphere, values, and organization and less about a comfortable chair, free cookies, or office parties.
We want to give you one more hint – be proactive and ask questions about your future job and workplace. That will demonstrate your interest and motivation. Besides, everybody loves talking about themselves, and your potential employers are no exception. Good luck!