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Common Interview Questions

You will spend most of your time at the interview answering questions. No surprises here. There are however different types of questions you should be aware of. You can often tailor your answers depending on the company in which you are interviewing for however there really is a line on how far you can go. If you are being interviewed for a position in which you have little relevant experience and are tailoring answers you have come up with for interviewers that you have the background for this probably will not work. In this type of situation rather than tailor an answer you need to convince the interviewer you are capable of doing the job. Depending on the question being asked should determine your response.

Questions from interviewers will fall in to three different categories.

1. Open
An open question requires you to answer the question with some detail. It requires more than a word or two for a response.

An example is:

What was your last job title?

2. Closed
A closed question requires a simple yes or no as the response.

An example is:

How long did you stay in your last job?

3. Leading
A leading question is really about trying to get some information or insight about you that you may be trying to hide. Be careful when you are trying to answer this type of question and be prepared to be asked leading questions in an interview. An example might be.

Your last company has poor reputation for treating employees poorly, what was that like?

Whatever you do, do not slam the company and answer in a positive tone such as "My experience with the company was nothing but positive and I believe the reputation was exaggerated".

Strange Questions
Some interviewers may also ask what you may consider to be strange questions for an interview. The interviewer is really trying to get a closer look at your personality. It is perfectly acceptable to use some creativity and humor in your answer.

Most Common Interview Questions
These are questions you will most likely be asked no matter where you go for an interview. Depending on the company you should be able to tailor your response as no two interviews are the same.
  • Tell me about yourself.

This question is often used as an icebreaker however it is very important to clarify what the interviewer is looking for. E.g. do you want me to talk about my professional and/or personal life? When you are answering be careful not to go on and on.
  • How much do you know about the company?

You should be able to answer this question with "a lot". You should have researched the company prior to the interview so be prepared for this question. Provide some details of your knowledge also.
  • Tell me about your last job

You want to answer this question with enthusiasm and knowledge. The interviewer is trying got get a feel for what you will be like to work with. Give details on such topics as number of directs, broad responsibilities, title of boss and what you did in your role.
  • What are your strengths?

Mention strengths directly related to the job you are interviewing for. E.g. your ability to work under pressure or the attention you give to detail.
  • What are your weaknesses?

Go easy her and don't knock yourself however don't be arrogant either. Give a broad example and what you are dong to work on this.
  • Why should I hire you? Or, why should I hire you over any other candidate?

As you do not know the other candidates your best answer to this question is "from what I now about your company and the job and form what I know about my ability I believe I can make a valuable contribution.
  • Are you a team player?

Absolutely is the best and most appropriate answer. You can also add "however I do not need the constant reassurance from others and work well under my own initiative".
  • How would you react in situation "X"?

This can be difficult as it is impossible to prepare an answer beforehand. Make sure you give yourself enough time to formulate your answer and always begin in generalities and then get more specific.
  • What did you like about your last job?

It s wise to give a broad answer to this question so try not to be too specific as what was liked in your old position may not be part of the position you are now applying for.
  • What do your do in your spare time?

This is really none of the interviewers business however they are trying to get a read on your personality which may play in to how well you work in some situations. For example, somebody in sales really needs to be a people person and their hobbies will most likely reflect this characteristic.
  • What salary are you looking for?

Unless you are pushed for a specific dollar amount you can answer this one like "fair market value". Salary discussion will generally come later.
  • When can you start?

You want to show how eager you are but also want to show you respect your current employer's needs. So understanding your current employers notice needs is important although two weeks notice is the norm.
  • What do you think you can bring to this company?

This is really a, "Why should we hire you?" question. Having knowledge of the company, its needs and the specific position you are applying for will help you answer this one.

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