When it comes to a job interview, there are just some questions that are harder to answer than others. No matter how much you plan and practice before an interview, open-ended questions like these can make even the most rehearsed job seeker trip on their words.
Answering questions in a clear and concise way is a tough skill to master. With challenging questions that leave room for interpretation, many job seekers find themselves struggling to come up with an answer that best fits them as a professional.
Let’s break down a few commonly asked questions that come up during a job interview and see how best to approach them.
Question #1: Why should we hire you for this position?
There are many reasons why this question is challenging. First, it’s a broad question that can be taken in any direction, giving you almost too much room to come up with an answer. It’s also a sand trap of a question that can often have job seekers rambling on about unnecessary, personal topics – undermining what was previously a successful interview session.
This question isn’t necessarily about the entirety of your professional experience, but more about the uniqueness of your professional qualities. Instead of focusing on the question as an intimidating topic, try focusing on what makes you unique as a professional. What unique experiences and skills can you bring to the table that other professionals in your industry might not have? What can you do to benefit the company that others cannot?
Question #2: What is your biggest weakness?
When asked this question, it can be easy to try and answer in a way that makes it seem like you have no real weakness. We’ve all used answers like “I care too much” or “I’m too organized” in the past. While this response might seem like a good way to get around a difficult topic, it tells an employer that you are either being dishonest or giving them the answer they want to hear.
Not providing an honest answer indicates to employers that you may not have a sense of self awareness. Instead, try to remain genuine and communicate a time in your professional history where you have grown from a past mistake.
Question #3: What was your reason for leaving your last employer?
This question can often be challenging to answer. On one hand, you want to be honest in your interview. On the other hand, you never want to lead with a negative opinion on the last place you’ve worked. It can be tough to find a middle ground.
When answering this question, the best response you can give is an honest, yet positive one. Focus on the optimistic side of your last job experience while still being honest about your reason for pursuing something different.
Question #4: What are you looking for in this position?
While the obvious motives of higher pay and improved benefits may immediately spring to mind, it’s best to opt for something more company-friendly. A question like this challenges interviewees to reflect on their professional path.
You want to choose an answer that involves both your own personal growth and the growth of your future employer. Employers should be able to envision a place for you at their company, and by helping them paint the picture with your answer, you could increase your chances of landing the job.
Don’t let yourself get caught off guard in your next interview. Carefully consider these questions, and you’re on your way to a brand new professional opportunity.