The big day is here. You want a job (or perhaps THE job?) and to get it you must impress someone you’ve never met. You’ve scoured the internet looking for help to conquer the interview and you’ve found the right place!
The first step towards success, from the second you meet the recruiter, be confident and energetic. They’re looking for people who are excited to be a part of their mission. Perhaps you’re like me and you really struggle with being enthusiastic about spreadsheets. And that’s okay! Find something at your job or potential job that interests you and redirect to that. Keep the energy in the interview positive and they’re more likely to like you. It’s always good to be prepared. Here is how to answer the 4 job interview questions job seekers hate the most.
1. “Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?”
Okay first step again. Be confident. You are a fantastic and qualified candidate. It would be an honor for them to hire you as much as it is an honor for you to be hired.
This question is a great chance to show what you know about the company. After this question is asked, you need to make yourself more than a number or a candidate, show them that you’re THE candidate. You need to give them a story. Not a long one. Just enough to show your experience and promote intrigue.
Which means you need to have your career story worked out in advance so you can know which parts apply to the company you’re interviewing with. How will your experience enable you to excel in this position? If you feel like you don’t have experience in the field, show how you leveraged your skills to improve something. Whether it was a job in another sector or simply an experience you had, anything you can say that shows your ability to bring value to the company in an engaging story will help you to nail this question.
2. Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?
No, you don’t need your whole life figured out to answer this. The recruiter is making sure they will be investing their time wisely by training you and that your goals align with theirs. Your job here is to make them feel comfortable with investing time in you.
This question also requires the most research on your part. If you come into the interview without doing some research on the company then you’ll find yourself in a tough spot. The job posting and the company mission will help you prepare for this question.
3. “What is your biggest weakness?”
And here we have the question that trips up interviewees the most. The first step to this question is to remember the most important question. What are they trying to ask you?
They’re trying to figure out if you will be valuable to the company and since you’re human, you’re going to have flaws that may damage your productivity—it’s unavoidable. They want to know how you overcome your faults. When’s the last time you messed up? How did you fix it? Tell them about it and you’ll not only nail it but impress the recruiter.
4. “What animal would you be and why?”
Or some variation of a goofy question. This is an unironic test of your creativity and if you get a question like this the recruiters are looking to keep you off balance. Don’t let any goofy question trip you up. Take the question as an opportunity to demonstrate your decisiveness. Go with your gut and then after naming something explain why. Elephant because elephants have a great memory and are kind. Fox because foxes are cunning. Whatever your heart screams at you in that moment just role with it and you’ll show your ironclad resolve in odd situations.
...or the recruiter was just trying to loosen you up and have a good time. I trust your discretion to tell if they’re being a little serious about the question or not.
5. “What are your salary expectations?”
This is another one which makes people anxious. Rather than sharing a specific number, give them a range. The recruiter is trying to make sure you’re a good fit for the company in every way possible including financially. If the average salary is $30,000 and you’re asking for $45,000 it may be a stretch. If you see their average is $30,000, then ask for either 30,000-50,000 or 35,000-55,00 to push the envelope.
It shows you think you’re valuable, you’ve put some thought into what your salary should be. Don’t forget to do your research, a salary calculator is a good place to start and if possible, get the employer to share the salary range first.
Remember! You’re a professional. Even if you don’t feel like one or don’t have much experience, you have some valuable skillset that gives you an edge. Afterall, they invited you for an interview after reviewing your resume. They think you’re worth considering and you’re showing them why they shouldn’t consider anyone else.