Tips to Help Answer Those Standard Interview Questions

Nancy Anderson
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Employers ask standard interview questions to candidates, and providing the most relevant answers can help you get the job. The key to coming up with the best answer is to research common interview questions thoroughly before attending the interview and rehearsing your responses. Read on for some advice on answering five standard questions you may run across during an interview.

1. What Can You Tell Us About Yourself?

When answering this question, many candidates explain personal interests and hobbies or spend several minutes discussing their life history. This isn't the best strategy for answering this interview question, which is designed to break the ice. Respond with a statement about your professional skills and talents, including top-level skills you use every day. Have a direct answer that explains why you're the best fit for the job, and try to back up that answer with raw numbers and facts.

2. What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

Don't fall into the trap of using this answer to explain your failures as an employee. A relevant answer to this or similar interview questions should explain how you're working hard to turn one of your flaws into an asset. For example, you might say you obsess over details and minutiae so much that it causes you to turn in projects late. You leverage this weakness into the fact that you are extremely detailed and catch errors in data and reports before they become larger problems.

3. Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job?

Do not speak negatively of your previous employer when you respond to any interview questions about past employers. Recruiters are generally wary of candidates who speak negatively about a past job. Make this answer about how you wanted to grow as a professional. Explain that you're seeking better opportunities or a different office culture. Personal reasons might also come into play. For example, you can explain that your family moved to the area because of your spouse's career.

4. What Is Your Greatest Strength?

When answering this interview question, try not to be too boastful about your skills or say you are a perfectionist. Instead, discuss how you leverage a top-level trait into something useful. Think about describing examples of your loyalty or explaining that you're a good team player. Your strengths should be characteristics you display all of the time.

5. Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Interview questions about the future provide insight into your career goals. Try to make your plans relate to the position for which you're applying or the industry. For example, you might explain that your goal is to land a management position after gaining a few more years of industry experience. This shows you have ambition but still plan to say with the company for several years.

Standard interview questions help employers determine if you're a good fit for the company. Providing honest and relevant answers helps you make a good impression and might put you in the running for the position.

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  • Jean A.
    Jean A.

    These tips were helpful and informative.

  • Lily M.
    Lily M.

    This was very helpful...

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