So, you’ve landed the job interview. Great news!
This means your cover letter and resume got you through the door. The hiring manager thinks you can do the job.
Now, you have to prove you fit into the culture of the company. But how do you demonstrate that? How do you prepare?
Whatever your plan, you need to be the best version of yourself by BEING YOURSELF. Be confident in who you are and what you bring to the table. That said, there are a few standard questions that the potential employer is likely to ask so preparing answers in advance is always a good idea. Here’s what you might expect:
1. Tell me about yourself.
This doesn’t mean talk about your hobbies or your family life. Instead, be ready to say in a sentence or two the summation of your professional career. You might call this your ‘elevator pitch.’ Did you start in one type of industry and pivot to another? Mention how that transition occurred in a way that is relevant to the hiring manager.
2. Why are you applying for this position?
Be ready to speak about what intrigued you about this opportunity. Employers want to feel that you have a real interest in the work that is done by the organization and that you aren’t just there for a paycheck.
3. Why are you leaving your current job?
The second question can also lead to a related question about why you are leaving your current job. Perhaps you have outgrown your current work, or have another reason, but you need to spin your response in a way that shows you are interested in growth and advancement. No one wants to hire someone that is negative or talks ill about their current situation, as a potential employer may think it will be how they face the new role as well.
4. What are you looking for in a new role?
Think about your career goals. Are you looking to be a manager? Are you hoping to expand your set of skills? Consider how this new opportunity may help to fill those desires.
5. How do you handle challenging situations?
Whether this is managing personalities among co-workers, differences of opinion with leadership, or a challenging vendor, how do you approach the situation? How you deal with work stresses? Dig deep and know who you are and how you handle these issues in a way that is conducive for everyone. Verbalize your solutions in a positive way.
6. What do you think is the best attribute that you would bring to this new role?
Know your best strengths. Since you will have researched the organization and the role, you should have a good idea about what you can bring to the table to advance the organization’s success. Perhaps it is your organizational skills. Or your ability to connect those with differing opinions. Consider who you are and the potential work and explain how those qualities can help the organization.
7. What would you consider your weakest quality?
This is the most difficult question to answer, but it can be managed with good preparation. Find a moment in your professional history where things didn’t go quite the way you or your employer would have liked. Use that situation for reflection. Explain how you might have changed your thinking or how it has changed how you plan to tackle future challenges. Then, talk about how you used that new knowledge successfully. Most importantly, demonstrate that the experience fostered your growth and development.
Depending on the job you are applying for, there will most likely be role-specific questions asked by the hiring manager as well. If it is a technical job, they will likely ask you to flesh out the work you have done on the related topic. If it is a relationship-building role, questions may come up about your creative thinking in that area.
Always research the company, the job, and the industry before you head into an interview. The more prepared you are about the organization and the role within it, the more confident and successful you will likely be in the interview.
Also, when you arrive for an interview, you should also be prepared with a list of questions showing your enthusiasm about the role. Coming up with those questions will arise from your research and the interview itself. My next blog will focus on the top questions you should be prepared to ask, so stay tuned!
Written by Meg Frantz, MPSL '20