Below we cover the types of questions to help you prepare for your interview. Each section has samples of situations, questions, appropriate answers and advice.
1. Question regarding “Personal Weakness”
More often than not, you will be asked about your weaknesses in an interview. If this seems daunting, follow the interview tips below;
Sample Question: “Looking at your own resume, what do you think your weaknesses are regarding this job?”
Answer: “I believe that my skills and abilities are a good fit for this position. Do you have any specific concerns?”
Advice: Take the opportunity to turn the question around and find out what they think your weaknesses are.
2. Question regarding “Hard Work Ethics”
You will often be asked questions in respect to your work ethic. Always try to validate your answer with examples.
Sample Question: “Would your current boss describe you as the type of person who goes that extra mile?”
Answer: “Absolutely. In fact, on my annual evaluations, he would write that I am the most dependable and flexible person on his staff. I think this is mostly because of my ability to prioritise.”
Advice: Share an example or experience that demonstrates your dependability or willingness to tackle a tough project. If you describe “long hours of work,” make sure that you prove the hours were productive, and not the result of poor time management.
3. Question regarding “Standing Out”
Often in an interview, you will be asked to separate yourself from other candidates who may be more qualified or may be less of a risk-factor.
Sample Question: “What new skills or ideas do you bring to the job that our internal candidates don’t offer?”
Answer: “Because I’ve worked with the oldest player in this industry, I can help you avoid some of the mistakes we made in our established markets.”
Advice: This question addresses your motivation in adding “true value” to the job. Evaluate the job carefully, considering current limitations or weaknesses in the department and your unique abilities. Your ability here to prove “I offer what you need and then some” could land you the job.
4. Being Specific
Sometimes in interviews, you will be asked questions that lend themselves to be answered vaguely or with lengthy explanations. Take this opportunity to direct your answer in a way that connects you with the position and company, be succinct and support your answer with appropriate specific examples.
Sample Question: “Why did you choose this particular career path?”
Answer: “I chose advertising because I have always been a strong communicator with a good eye for design. I have a particular interest in creating dynamic eye-catching pieces that support a new product being introduced to the market. I also like the fast-paced high-energy environment that seems to be commonplace in the advertising industry.”
Advice: Your answer needs to convince the interviewers that your skills are exactly what they want. They want to know if you have a realistic view of what it is like to work in their industry. Be specific; show them that their industry and your career goals are in line with each other.
5. Tough questions regarding your past
There may be times an interviewer may ask a question regarding your past that can be hard to dodge. You should answer these carefully and try to come up with answers that can turn a potentially negative experience into a positive response.
Sample Question: I see that you didn not finish school.
Answer: “I decided to leave school because I was working 30 hours a week waiting tables to support myself. I felt that I did not have enough time to devote to my schoolwork. When I do anything, I always give 100%.”
Advice: The interviewer is trying to gauge what kind of a risk you are. So you tend to complete things or just let them fall by the waist side? Give a good reason why you did not finish or explain why any issues related to it are in the past.
6. Questions about how you can “Contribute to the company”
Before an employer makes a decision to hire you, they will need to know how you have performed in the past and any other special contributions you can bring to the company
Sample Question: “Tell me about a special contribution you have made to your employer.”
Answer: “In my last job, I ran the fund raiser campaign for three consecutive years. I believed it was an important cause, and I knew it was difficult for the company to find volunteers.”
Advice: Don’t give long boring answers, instead focus you answers on the actions you took and the positive results that you obtained.
7. Questions regarding “Helping the Company”
When you are looking for a job, an employer will want to know what you can do to help or improve their company. Now is the time to tell them of your proven skills and knowledge that you gained with previous positions.
Sample Question: “Give me an example of how you can help my company.”
Answer: “In my previous career my biggest contribution was my ability to accurately measure customer satisfaction and to continually feed this information back to our design and production departments. I developed special questionnaires, used focus groups and spent 10% of my time talking to customers. This attention to customer satisfaction is relevant in your industry as well. I look forward to adopting my quality program to a new type of product.”
Advice: Use an example of a significant contribution you made in your past job that impacted the bottom line. Show how this ability transfers across industries from one functional area to another.
8. Questions regarding “Salary Expectations”
Everyone wants to make a lot of money working the job they love. You should be honest here. Saying that you will be ok working for $30,000 when you think you are worth $40,000 is not a very smart idea. Experience will show that you will lose interest in the job pretty quickly.
Sample Question: “Tell me about your salary expectations.”
Answer: “Current salary information published by our State Association indicates a range of $30,000 to $40,000 a year. While I’m not certain how your salaries compare to this industry, my feeling is that my value would certainly be in the upper half of this national range.”
Advice: You should answer this question in general terms. Mention the market value for yourself.
9.”In Five Years…”
Employers will want to know your drive and a sense of what your future holds for you. They would prefer to hire someone with a sense of purpose. Employers may ask you to describe what you see yourself doing in the years to come, whether you will be at one company or another. Telling them you see yourself in their position may not be the best answer.
Sample Question: “Where do you want to be in five years?”
Answer: “In five years, I would like to have progressed to the point where I have bottom-line responsibility and the chance to lead an operations unit.”
Advice: Avoid the urge to describe job titles; this makes you seem unbending and unrealistic, since you do not know or control the system of promotion. Describe new experiences or responsibilities you’d like to add in the future that build on the current job you are applying for.
10. Question regarding “Previous Bosses”
There will be times in an interview where questions about past co-workers and old bosses will pop up. Telling them how pathetic and bad they were is generally a bad career move.
Sample Question: “Tell me about your relationship with your previous bosses.”
Answer: “My bosses would tell you that I’ve often been a sounding board for them. With all of my bosses, I developed a close rapport.”
Advice: The interviewer is looking for a fit between the two of you. As you describe each previous boss, the interviewer will be making mental comparisons between your old bosses and themselves. Be honest but never sound too negative as your employer may consider you to be a hard person to work with.