Job searching can be stressful and exhausting which is why preparing for an interview is essential. In the age of the internet, you have a wealth of information at your fingertips so use it. Research the organization you are thinking of interviewing with by visiting their website. Check their annual report, (if available). Request a job description from your recruiter and make sure the job is offering what you are ultimately seeking. Be prepared to answer questions such as:
Tell me about yourself? Keep it short and to the point while selling yourself. Do not walk through your resume. Some applicants tend to wander off when answering questions. Stay focused.
Tell me about your career to date? Explain your accomplishments and talents related to the position you are discussing. Keep it short and focused. Too many details can work against you because it takes too long to explain. Pick pertinent details and stick with those unless you’re asked to elaborate.
What are your strengths? This is the time to brag about your talents that will make you successful at the job. Do not be overly confident which can come off as cocky but do not be embarrassed to toot your own horn.
What are you weaknesses? Think of a skill you are trying to develop or would like to learn that would assist you in the position available. This is a simple statement. Don’t let the question ruffle your feathers which could be the very reason for the question, to see how you handle it.
Where did you tell your employer you are today? Do not fabricate an answer like a doctor appointment, a sales call, etc. Saying you took the day off or took a half day is usually the best.
Where do you see yourself in five years? The interviewer is trying to judge your loyalty while fishing for details about your personal life and trying to determine if your ambitions are in line with your talents and the available job. Know the job requirements and line your future plans with a natural succession for the position. Do not give personal details you don’t want the interviewer to know such as planning for children.
Why are you leaving (left) your current job? Never bad mouth a current / previous employer. The interviewer is trying to determine if you are being asked to leave. Positive answers such as wanting more growth and opportunity are best. Even wanting a better salary is better than negative stories about employers or co-workers. If you say you were laid off, you must be able to show the lay off was beyond your control. For example, a merger which resulted in an entire department / division being cut.
Silence! Sometimes interviewers will stay silent for a period of time which can cause the applicant to stress and feel the need to speak. The interviewer is silent to see how you deal with a stressful situation. Stay calm. The best way to break the silence is to ask the interviewer if they more clarification on a certain detail previously discussed.
Answering off-beat questions such as, “if you were a plant / dog / car / ice cream flavor, what would you be?” This question is used to gain insight into your personality. Choose answers that show loyalty, faithfulness, strong, study, reliable. Do not choose answers that are overly aggressive like a pit bull or monster truck. Always remember why are you having the conversation at hand.