How to Answer Job Interview Questions
Preparing for an interview can seem very challenging, even though you know exactly what you want to tell the hiring manager. However, the trick here is to know what they want to actually hear from you, and it’s definitely not you reading your resume to them.
We at 5-Minute Crafts decided to share with you how you can answer the most common interview questions, look more confident, and increase your chances of getting hired.
Q1. Tell me about yourself.
It might seem like a simple question and an ice breaker but the hiring manager can tell a lot about you once they hear your answer. What they want to hear from you is:
- The journey through your career. Ex. “I started with training during high school... In college, I participated in events... When I graduated I started working in...”
- What made you start working toward your career in the first place. Ex. “While I was taking a few classes about coding I realized that the sky is not even my limit...”
Q2. What motivates you?
One of the best ways to get motivated is to be excited or passionate about something. So, when talking from this point of view, the employer would like to hear what gets you excited about work. Here are a few examples of what you can talk about:
- “I am excited that the place I’ll be working has a clear vision of their goals and this keeps me motivated.”
- “The company’s goals and mission align with mine.”
Q3. Walk us through your resume.
Nope, they don’t want you to read them your resume. It’s your life on a piece of paper, you know it by heart and trust yourself. What they want is a recap of your experience and path. So:
- Start at the beginning with your education. Don’t get into details, just briefly cover a few important notes.
- Next, talk about what happened after college. What was your first job?
- Continue with the next job position up until the present.
Q4. Why do you want to work here?
This is the question where you want to align yourself with the company’s goal. This means you need to be prepared in advance. Do some research on the company you applied to:
- Find out what is their mission, their values, and their goals.
- Answer them following your research. Because in this way that they will have someone who has the same goal and you will be the one helping them to reach theirs.
Q5. What are your weaknesses?
This question can easily break many people. But you don’t want to just talk about having a short temper, or other negative qualities. They need to see how you’ve overcome your issue and how you dealt with your problem. Here is how to answer this one:
- Tell them about a weakness you had in the past but have already overcome.
- Walk them through how you did it.
- Or you can talk about a weakness that is not related to your job position. But again one that you had in the past and overcame.
Q6. What are your strengths?
This is another opportunity to sell your qualities and talk about what you are great at. You could be good at managing, talking to people, etc. No matter what it is, it’s essential to:
- Know exactly what they are looking for, so read the job description thoroughly to really understand.
- Connect your qualities with what they are looking for, try to fit yourself in.
- Prepare in advance by asking yourself, “Where can I help out?” or “How has my past experience has prepared me for this position?”
Q7. Why did you leave your last job?
There can be a lot of different reasons why you left your last job but there is only one reasonable answer that hiring managers want to hear from you.
- Tell them that you are looking for more of a challenge.
- Explain that you are looking for better opportunities, more responsibility, and that you want to grow.
Important: If you were fired or laid off tell them the truth. But do it in a good way, like maybe you just outgrew it there.
Q8. What is your dream job?
This could be a tricky question, depending on the position you are applying for currently and your true dream job. So:
- If your dream job is connected with the company, tell them about it.
- If your dream job is completely different then you should try to align it with what they are looking for.
- The true answer they want to hear here is what you are actually passionate about. So tell them what gets you excited, where you want to be, and most importantly, why.
Q9. What are your salary requirements?
This question can make many of you tremble. You probably don’t want to give a higher number because you’re afraid that it could be too much for them. But also giving them a lower number can make them think you are too cheap. What you need is something in the middle, which sometimes is difficult to see. Here is how to do it:
- If it’s a common job you can get an idea of what that position is paying in your area. Salary.com is a great website for this.
- You can also give them a price range like “I am looking for something between $65,000 to $85,000.”
Q10. Why should we hire you?
This is your chance to sell yourself, but you can’t do it without knowing what they are actually looking for. Learn what they are struggling with at the moment and also where they want to go, their mission. Now it’s time to relate to them by answering these questions:
- Why would I help them?
- How would I help them grow?
- What are my unique experiences from my career path so far and how can I relate them to their needs?
Important: Don’t worry about the other candidates and their qualifications and experience. Worry about yourself and what you can do — what makes you unique.
Q11. Why is there a gap in your resume?
This is a very popular question, especially if there are a few months or even years missing from your resume. It’s not that uncommon, but it’s essential to know how to answer it. Here is what works no matter what field you are in:
- They would like to hear that you did something to become better at your job, or to better yourself. This could be attending seminars, training, or even simply reading books.
- Telling them that it was difficult for you to get a job.
- Explaining that you had to take care of a sick loved one.
Q12. Do you have any questions for us/me?
Look at this question as an opportunity to find out more about their next steps, or whatever is important for you. However, don’t just ask questions so that you have something to talk about. Instead:
- Ask questions that will help you decide if you really want to be working there, especially if you had a few different interviews.
- Ask about salary, training, position, a specific project, location, etc.
- Ask, “What is the next step?” so that you understand how the hiring process will go. “When should I expect a call from you?” This will make you appear interested in the job position.
- Ask, “What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 6 months?” This one is equally a great one because the hiring manager will be able to visualize you as part of the team and see you working there.
- Ask, “How long does the hiring process take?”
- Ask, “What is the key to succeeding in this role?”
- Ask, “What will my day-to-day routine be like?”
Important: Make sure to not ask questions that they’ve already answered, even indirectly.