In this article, we will learn the seven most dreaded interview questions and how to answer them. Understanding how to navigate these questions will boost your chances and make you appear surefooted to employers.
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So you have successfully secured a big job interview and you’re super-stoked, making preparations and leaving no stone unturned to sorely impress your interviewers. Of course, you want to look great, sound articulate, and knowledgeable. And prove overwhelmingly—beyond all conceivable doubts that you’re the right person for the role in contention.
Sometimes the job market can be quite saturated and competitive. Employers often are spoiled for choice and will often employ little gimmicks to sift through the reams of qualified and topflight candidates for usually a handful of vacancies at an organization.
It is critical that as part of your repertoire—as a job prospect that you are versed in providing correct answers to dicey questions employers hurl at you. Your ability to navigate these questions and provide the right answers places you above the pack and makes you a compelling prospect for the job.
Employers keep a keen eye for composed and surefooted candidates who exude a fair bit of confidence and can think on their feet. Sometimes it’s not always required to provide exact answers to certain questions, but candidates should exhibit the capacity for creative thought and analytical skills.
That said; let’s explore some of the most dreaded interview questions and how to correctly answer them:
1. Tell us about yourself
Answering this question makes a crucial first impression. Stumbling can set a bad tone. Know what you want to say and practice that, and you’ll introduce yourself clearly and concisely. Limit your answer to 1-2 minutes. It’s an initial introduction and there’ll be follow-up questions.
Start with what you’re doing right now and then work backwards. Summarize your job or internship experiences, courses or projects, and skills that are most related to the position. Even though you’ve rehearsed your answer, deliver it conversationally.
2. Why are you interested in our company and this position?
You can’t say, “Because your company posted the job opening.” Instead, carry out some research to find out what’s unique about the organization.
Its website and LinkedIn page are good sources of information and demonstrate how the company views itself. If someone who works or worked for the organization told you great things about it, you should refer to that in your answer.
You’re interested in the position because it will allow you to utilize the skills that you’ve acquired. The development of your skills and your success is a win for the employer as well.
3. Tell us about your biggest weakness
When asked this question, it’s difficult to know how you would answer it. If you prepare your answer before your interview and rehearse your response with say, a friend, the question will seem less intimidating the next time an interviewer asks it.
Your response should mention something minor, avoid revealing your major weaknesses and make sure it’s something that won’t impact your ability to do a job. For example (if your job does not entail public speaking) you might respond with (if this is true): “I get nervous speaking in front of a large group of people.”
Whatever you choose, show how you’ve worked on the weakness so that it’s not much of a problem anymore. You could say you did a class presentation and though you were nervous, it came off very well.
4. What are your salary expectations?
This question shouldn’t be asked in a job interview. Salary should be discussed and negotiated when a job offer has been made. However, interviewers sometimes ask it and it’s important to be ready. A low number can sabotage your future salary and a high number can take you out of the running.
Before the interview, research going rates for the company and the position and articulate a realistic salary range that you’re comfortable with. Websites like payscale.com, and glassdoor, provide information on company salaries.
If you know someone in the field, you can ask what they think is the average salary.
You’ll derive the best answer to this question from research and can present it in this form: “I would be satisfied with a salary of between $_____ and $_____.
5. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Don’t come across as overly naïve and yearning for quick promotion a couple of months down the road. You need to have prepared and be able to present a career plan that’s realistic and in line with the business and industry.
Explain how, from growing and performing this position to a high standard, you will gain the skills and experience to support your career aspirations.
First and foremost, show your passion for learning and developing within the specific role and company; this way, you’ll appear a loyal and committed prospect for the next five years.
6. Tell us about when you’ve had a bad experience with an employer/boss/colleague
Most people have had a bad experience at some point in their careers. So this question often sparks a negative answer that can be costly to your chances.
No matter what happened, or how you were treated, you will incriminate yourself if you appear as someone who’s negative and often gets into conflict.
7. Why should we hire you?
This question often comes up towards the end of the interview and it allows you to summarize your strengths and make your case.
Here, it’s okay to repeat your qualifications and add in your strengths across fields and when off-the-clock. Though you might be tired at this point, it’s important to keep up your momentum and finish strongly. Final impressions are as important as first impressions.
In conclusion, you should practice answering these questions but don’t try to memorize the answers. Instead, understand the reason for each question and use the answers provided as a guide to formulate your own responses.
The above are some of the most dreaded interview questions and how to answer them. Good luck!