Job Interview Preparation: The Essential Guide

Are you ready to ace your upcoming job interview?

Your responses will be stronger if you prepare in advance and know what to expect during the interview. Since these questions are so common, hiring managers will expect you to be able
to answer them smoothly and without hesitation.

Knowing that you prepared will boost your confidence, help you minimize interview
stress and feel more at ease. It is always important to be prepared to respond effectively to the questions that employers typically ask.

1. Tell me about yourself / your background

The standard HR answer to this question should be information about the candidate, description of past roles, their strengths and what they seek in the company. Provide a brief introduction and a career summary of your most recent work history. Introduce attributes that are key to the open position.

2. Are you the best candidate for the job?

The hiring manager wants to know whether you have all the required qualifications. Be prepared to explain why you are the applicant who should be hired. Make your response a confident, concise, focused sales pitch that explains what you have to offer and why you should get the job.

3. What Quality or Attribute Do You Feel Will Most Contribute to Your Career Success?

Know your strength and use it as your weapon! This is one of the questions that employers almost always ask to determine how well you are qualified for the position. When you are asked about your greatest strengths, it is important to discuss the attributes that qualify you for that specific job, and that will set you apart from other candidates.

4. What is your greatest weakness?

Another typical question interviewers will ask is about your weaknesses. Be honest - everyone has weaknesses. Do your best to frame your answers around positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee, turning seeming “weaknesses” into strengths. You can also share examples of skills you have improved, providing specific instances of how you have recognized a weakness and taken steps to correct it - essentially you want to explain how this weakness will be a strength in the near future.

5. Explain Why You Want to Leave Your Job

The interviewer wants to know why you want to work for their company. You must be prepared to answer the query, “Why do you want to leave your current position?” . Identify the motivation behind your job search. When asked about why you are moving on from your current position, stick with the facts, be direct and focus your answer on the future, especially if your departure wasn't under the best circumstances.

6. Why do you want this job?

The first step is to do the research. You won’t be able to come up with a convincing answer if you don’t know much about the company. This is especially important if the role you are going for is in a different industry to the one you’re leaving.

This question gives you an opportunity to show the interviewer what you know about the job and the company, so take time beforehand to thoroughly research the company, its products, services, culture and mission. Be specific about what makes you a good fit for this role, and mention aspects of the company and position that appeal to you most.

7. How do you handle stress at work?

How do you deal with difficult situations? What do you do when things don’t go smoothly at work? The employer wants to know how you handle workplace stress. Avoid claiming that you never, or rarely, experience stress. Rather, formulate your answer in a way that acknowledges workplace stress and explains how you have overcome it, or even used it to your advantage.

8. What challenges have you faced? How did you overcome them?

Although the question clearly asks for your biggest challenge, the interviewer wants to know how you respond when faced with a difficult decision. As with the question about stress, be prepared to share an example of what you did in a tough situation. It is important to share details to make the story believable and engaging.

9. What are your salary expectations?

The hiring manager wants to know what you expect to earn. It seems like a simple question, but your answer can knock you out of competition for the job if you overprice yourself. If you under-price yourself, you may get short-changed with a lower offer.

10. What are your goals for the future?

You may encounter questions about how a position fits in with your career plans. Keep your answer focused on the job and the company and reiterate to the interviewer that the position aligns with your long-term goals. This question is designed to find out if you are going to stick around or move on as soon as you find a better opportunity.

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