Success in a job interview is all about preparation. Your odds of getting hired will rise if you can anticipate the most likely questions and prepare appropriate responses. This strategy is commonly called an interview script. Once you write out the questions, you can visualize how to answer them, and develop statements to practice before your interview. Following this process focuses your answers, while providing a framework to go "off-topic" when the situation requires it.
Like it or not, expect interviewers to ask, "What are your greatest weaknesses?" To answer positively, avoid stock responses -- such as, "I work too hard" -- that reveal little or nothing about your abilities, "Business Insider" magazine advises. Instead, focus on actions you took to overcome a prior weakness, and how it made you a better employee. For example, you might reply, "I took Class X or Seminar Y to overcome my fear of giving weekly presentations."
How well you work with others is a common area that hiring managers probe. For example, he might ask, "How would others describe you?" According to "Forbes" magazine's February 2014 report, your best bet is outlining a positive quality and a specific example to support it. You might say, "Instead of relying on my manager, I pursued strategies A, B and C to cut costs by X percent." However you respond, just make sure it matches whatever comments emerge during a reference check.
Reasons For Leaving
Employers want to know why you're seeking them out, so prepare a response along those lines. The hiring manager may ask why you're leaving or what you liked or disliked about your last job. Good applicants can detail what kind of work motivates them and how their skills will flourish in a different position, says career consultant Jeff Hayden in his July 2012 "Inc." magazine column, "Three Interview Questions That Reveal Everything." By contrast, a lesser applicant shifts blame onto others.
Reasons for Hiring
A recruiter may ask, "Why should we hire you?," so include one more chance in your script to close the deal. One approach is to cite three qualities that fit the job, "U.S. News & World Report" career columnist Vicki Salemi suggests. Alternatively, stress your soft skills and readiness by saying, "I bring X, Y and Z qualities to your company, and I can start in two weeks." Your goal is to succinctly restate the qualities that helped land the interview.
Questions for Interviewers
Always prepare a couple of substantive questions in your script for the interviewer to show engagement in the job, "U.S. News & World Report" advises. For example, you might ask, "How has this position changed since its creation?" or "What kind of challenges will I face if you hire me?" Asking these questions helps you determine if the position will provide the professional challenges that you seek, or has become a career dead end.
- Business Insider: Here's How to Answer the Dreaded "What's Your Greatest Weakness" Interview Question
- Forbes: How to Answer the Five Most Common Interview Questions
- Inc.: Three Interview Questions That Reveal Everything
- U.S. News & World Report: The Best Questions to Ask During a Job Interview
- U.S. News & World Report: Three Ways to Answer That All-Encompassing Question: "Why Should We Hire You?"
- Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images
- American Association of Retired Persons: 10 Tough Interview Questions
- Forbes: Ten Job Interview Questions You Should Ask
- Quintessential Careers: Job Interview Question Database: Questions with Excellent Sample Responses, 1-8
- University of South Florida -- St. Petersburg: Interview -- Questions
- U.S. News & World Report: The 10 Most Common Job Interview Questions
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