Interviews, Job Search

Common job interview questions and how to answer them


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We’ve written before about questions you can ask on a job interview (175 of them!) but when you’re prepping for the big day, how can you be sure you have answers to the questions a hiring manager might ask?

On Forbes, reporter Jacquelyn Smith interviews HR experts on common interview questions and what kind of responses hiring managers are often looking for. Here are a few examples:

“What are your strengths and weaknesses?” It’s easy to talk about your strengths; you’re detail oriented, hard working, a team player, etc.–but it’s also easy to get tripped up when discussing your weaknesses, Teach says. Never talk about a real weakness unless it’s something you’ve defeated. “Many hiring managers are hip to the overused responses, such as, ‘Well, my biggest weakness is that I work too hard so I need try to take it easy once in a while.’ The best answer is to discuss a weakness that you’ve turned around, such as, you used to come in late to work a lot but after your supervisor explained why it was necessary for you to come in on time, you were never late again.”

Why are you leaving your current job?” Hiring managers want to know your motivation for wanting to leave your current job. Are you an opportunist just looking for more money or are you looking for a job that you hope will turn into a career? If you’re leaving because you don’t like your boss, don’t talk negatively about your boss–just say you have different work philosophies, Teach says. If the work was boring to you, just mention that you’re looking for a more challenging position. “Discuss the positives that came out of your most recent job and focus on why you think this new position is ideal for you and why you’ll be a great fit for their company.”

Read the rest of the questions on Forbes.

Much of the advice reinforces the best practices we often recommend: plan to articulate how you’ll meet the employer’s needs and don’t be afraid think through and practice your responses before you arrive.

How would you answer these questions? Or have you had to answer trickier questions? Share your insights in the comments below.