Answers to Interview Questions
When you prepare for your Interview, it’s best to imagine the kind of questions the hiring manager may ask. Below are a few ideas on how to answer some of the most commonly asked questions in an interview.
1. Question: Tell me about yourself.
The Interviewer will likely have your resume in front of them, so you shouldn’t repeat your career history. What they are really asking is what makes you the right candidate for the job.
Think of this as your chance to pitch yourself. Boost your self-confidence before the interview, and answer this question as concisely as you can. Share a few experiences in your career that relate to the job at hand. You can even tell a story about how you were tasked in a previous position to take on something challenging. Tell the interviewer about what you learned from this experience, how it shaped you, and how you plan to use the knowledge and experience in your future position.
Sample Answer: In my previous jobs, I mostly did IT work and office-related tasks. But three years ago, my managers asked me to take on a more public role. I took several public speaking courses, which gave me the confidence to represent the company during radio and television interviews. Since then, I found out that I enjoy media communications, and I went on to work with two other firms as a PR department associate. I hope to bring my expertise on the matter to your company.
2. Question: Do you have any questions?
With this question, your interviewer wants to know if you have paid attention to the discussion. You may be tempted to ask about paychecks, employee benefits or other such issues. However, try to stick to questions that show that you have been listening effectively. You may want to use this opportunity to ask the interviewer about the company culture and job experience, or other duties required of employees.
Sample Answer: What’s the main challenge the company is currently facing? Do you have any advice for newcomers to this role?
3. Question: How soon can you start?
Don’t let your guard down after hearing this question. Many people do so, thinking that a question like this must mean that they got the job. However, this question is a common ploy of hiring managers to see how professional you are. They may be aware of your current position with another company, and have done a background check. They will use this question to see if you will be able to handle the switchover well. They’ll want to see how tied you are to current responsibilities, and where your priorities lie.
Sample Answer: If I am chosen for this job, I will need to give my current employer two weeks’ notice before I am able to leave the company. I plan to take a week off afterwards to reboot before launching into new responsibilities. During this transition period, I’d like to do a two-day volunteer medical camp retreat, and I will be available to start the new job the week after.
Note: Of course, if you are available to begin your new job right away, say so. If the position needs to be filled urgently and you can start immediately, your future employer will be pleased with your enthusiasm and commitment. Answer this question wisely, depending on the situation.
4. How did you find out about this position?
Even if you were just doing a regular job search on Google, now would be the time to highlight your professional goals. You can talk about your search for more meaningful or impactful work, or your realization that growth and change are necessary for your professional development.
Example Answer: I wanted to find a company with a culture that invested long-term in the growth and training of employees. After working at my job for nearly five years, I feel the need to be somewhere where I can make more of an impact.
Note: If you were contacted by a headhunter or HR recruiter, you can still talk about that, how you were referred to the position, and any research you did on the company prior to the interview. This will show more of your personality and professionalism.
Other Tips for Answering Interview Questions
Remember, there is no one right answer to any of the above interview questions. You may find that it is necessary to adjust your answers in accordance with the situation and nature of your job.
The main thing is to know that there is always an underlying reason for each question the interviewer asks. It’s usually a way for them to bring out more information from you or get to know you better.
Prior to an interview, rehearse your answers to common interview questions and know what the position entails. You’ll then be able to demonstrate confidence no matter which questions you are asked.
For more tips on securing the job of your dreams and career advice, visit our blog today. We even have templates and an online resume builder to help you be your best at the interview.