You might think you are prepared to answer this one but the truth is, you are not! Don’t say how awesome you are or how you have superpowers. This question is secretly about the job description. All you need to do is tie in the job description. (DO YOUR HOMEWORK) with your actual skills and knowledge that make it critical for you to be chosen. Use experiences from college, internships or past jobs to show how these skills were critical in your tasks back then. They should hire you because you can do that particular job not because you are great as an overall employee. Show your uniqueness.
#2: I am seeing a gap in your resume
It is not a secret if you got fired or couldn’t find a suitable job after you quit the last one. Unemployment exists and your recruiter knows about it. Be honest, say you spent that time productively caring for your family, reading, taking online courses nor even working freelance. They don’t care about actual employment records, no one wants to hire someone who just spent their unemployed time on the couch in front of the TV in their Pajamas.
#3: Tell Me About Yourself Weekend activities don’t count here, you can’t really be irrelevant or boring when talking about yourself. You have these four areas to cover: Early years (pass by them quickly) then go to education then internship/employment history and then go to your most recent job and focus there. This question usually comes up in the beginning in the form of an introduction. So make it quick, direct and very much short.
#4: Why Did you Leave Your Last Job?
Whatever you say, don’t talk badly about your former boss, manager or coworkers. It is not for fear of them knowing, it is because, that even if they were THAT horrible, it shows you take things too personally and have a hard time letting go. It also shows you didn’t really face your problems in the first job but basically chose the easy way out which is quitting. Need a better answer to this question?
#5: Have you ever had a conflict with a boss?
Don’t say no. We have all had conflicts with bosses/managers. Just say “I remember one or two conflicts. Nothing big. We had disagreements and I always worked hard to not take it personally and worked on listening to the other person’s point of view and try to find mutual ground for the benefit of the company. It is not about who wins a fight.”
#6: What is your greatest weakness?
Please don’t say binge-watching soap operas. That is not the point behind this question. You will find people advising you to take one point of strength in your character and saying it is a weakness. Also wrong because it shows you are deceiving the interviewer. Instead, say something like “I have had trouble in the past with planning and punctuality. However, I’m now working on fixing this with this new app that makes sure I never miss an appointment and arrive on time.” Then show them the actual app on your phone. You are human, you make mistakes and you have weaknesses. The interviewer knows that. He/She will appreciate it when you talk about a true weakness and show what you are doing to overcome it.
#7: You moved between three jobs in a year. Why should I hire you?
“Well, I may have left three jobs in a year. But I would rather not be employed than be employed at a place where I don’t have room to grow, show my ideas and create some real change and take a company to the next level. The worst thing at a job is the part of knowing you are not going anywhere or worse, you are not taking the company anywhere. I know my path and I feel my position here will really help me take this company to the next level.” Then start talking some brilliant ideas for that department. See how you took a very negative question into a very positive place?
#8: What are your strengths?
Be accurate. Choose the strengths that you actually possess. Don’t pick an answer that worked for a friend or a family member. Be original. Be Relevant, Use the job description advertised to work for you. Be specific. Don’t say “people skills” but say “persuasive communication.” And Be prepared to demonstrate.
#9: Why do you want this job?
Very simply. Study the job description beforehand, then show how your skills match; Show your enthusiasm for the job and try to show how you would fit into the workplace culture.
#10: What attracted you to this company?
Again and again, do your homework about the company before the interview. Use your information about the company to create phrases about why it is attractive to you. Don’t also forget to tie it in with the industry the company is within. Admire the products and services or a company’s marketing effort for an example. Just show you know the company. Saying it is close to where you live is not a good reason to want a vacancy.
#11: When were you most satisfied with your job?
A simple example: “I worked hard to become a marketer and I enjoy putting those skills to work”. It is not about salary, benefits or things to expect from the company. It is about you showing where you shine.
#12: What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
Try humor. Saying something funny like “Can I interview them first and tell you?” shows you are quick to handle a tough situation and you can think creatively. That is not the answer of course after the laughter say something nice and don‘t trash talk the other candidates. Say something unique about yourself.
#13: What were the responsibilities of your last position?
Don’t lie. They can get the real answer from your previous employer. Be clear, short and focus on your unique skills and tasks.
#14: Why are you leaving your present job?
Don’t say entitled things like “too far”, “the salary is small” or “my boss hates me”. Instead, say you don’t really see your career evolving there and you would rather transfer to a company where you can grow and evolve.
#15: Do you have any questions for me?
Rule number one here is to always ask a question. Ask about the company and the challenges you may expect at your job. Maybe there is a special project he/she mentioned, ask about that too. It shows you were listening while he/she was talking.