Preparing for Interview Questions

4 April 2018

An interview is the second-to-last stage of the hiring process, and can be a very stressful phase for job seekers. Sometimes, even the most qualified candidates do not progress past the int­­erview stage to receive a job offer because they underperformed.  Since most interviews have a structured format, they tend to include a set of standard or common questions.  Being as well-prepared as possible for interview questions can help you receive a job offer.

The 'Tell Me About Yourself' Question: This common first question should not take you by surprise. A great response would include a summary of your background, which means everything that you think is important for the hiring manager to know. Some good topics are your education, work experience, career goals and personal interests that might be related to the position. The same elevator speech can be used for networking.

Questions About You & Your Experience: These questions can revolve around your strengths and weaknesses, job-specific skills and work experiences. These types of questions are also aimed at evaluating your past behaviour when faced with challenging situations at work. Examples of those situations would be time management/task prioritization issues, working on complex projects and dealing with a difficult teammate or client. Answering these questions with a specific example from your work history in a story telling manner and stating some of the lessons you learned from the situation would make for an optimal and memorable response. 

Examples: 
  • What do you think is your biggest professional achievement?
  • Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills?
  • What are your career goals for the next 10 years?
Company Question: This type of question is intended to determine your interest in the position, the organization and how you may be a good fit for the company. Asking what you would do to improve the organization’s product, service or operation also falls into this category. The purpose of these questions is to see how knowledgeable and enthusiastic you are about the job.

Examples:
  • Why would you like to work for our company?
  • What did you decide to apply for this job?
  • How would you improve the setting/design of our stores?
The 'Do You Have Any Questions' Question: This question concludes almost every interview, and provides an opportunity for the interviewee to learn more about the position and the company, and further demonstrate their interest and thoughtful advance research of the company to which they are applying. For example, you may have read about the company’s history and ask about the company’s strategic direction and how your future department fits into the big picture.
Being well-prepared for a job interview is crucial for success. You might not be able provide the best responses without reflecting on your experience in advance. Preparation will also make it easier for you to elaborate on follow up questions and answer any creative questions you might encounter.

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