Interviews are always tough, especially your first real job interview. I can still remember my sweaty palm syndrome on my very first interview. But as I went to more interviews, I was able to channel those nerves out of my system by deep breathing and not thinking about the job at all. Of course, this was my method, yours may be different. Regardless of nerve-battling techniques, most job interviews share similarities. From my experience, most interviewers ask a set of general questions. However, every now and then you will receive, what I like to call, a curve ball question. These questions are meant to throw you off a little bit and essentially the interviewer is checking to see how you react. The answer might not even be that important, but the way you handle the question is what counts.
But for now, let’s talk about the 5 most common questions and how you should answer them:
“Describe a time where you had to demonstrate leadership skills.”
Every time a company hires a new employee, it’s an investment. Of course, the company wants each investment to be fruitful and long-lasting. This question seeks to identify leadership qualities. Can you be a future leader within the company? Do you have what it takes to embed the company DNA within yourself and act as a true ambassador? Take a look around, company CEOs are the biggest cheerleaders. If you really want the job, be a cheerleader.
“How do you work with someone you didn’t like or get along with?”
Translation: Can you deal with stress and pressure?
It doesn’t matter if you work in retail or for a Fortune 500 company. You will be stressed. But will you be able to perform? Can you hold it under pressure? There is no question about it, you must have the ability to keep your cool and learn to deal with these types of situations.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Heck, you don’t even know what you’re going to have for lunch, how are you supposed to answer this question? Don’t sweat it. If you really want the job your applying for, and if it just so happens to fit your desired career path, be honest. A lot of people tend to over exaggerate or straight up lie on their resumes. When you’re at an interview, I suggest you keep it as genuine as possible. But remember, keep your goals professional, potential employers do not want to hear about your wedding plans or any other personal 5 year goals you may have.
“Why do you think you’re right for the job?”
From my experience, this question will be asked near the end or at the very end of the interview. Employers are looking for confidence with this question and also a level of humility. Again, interviews are a great way to not only gauge whether candidates are skilled enough to do the job, but they also act as barometers for whether candidates can fit the company’s culture. Not only are they looking for confidence but they also want to see that you’re genuinely interested in the work. Do you have passion for this job? Is it something you want a career in? These questions should have been answered long before you stepped into the interview.
“Do you have any questions?”
PLEASE, Don’t say no, don’t ever say no! When they ask if you have questions, you better ask a question! Asking questions in a job interview shows engagement and interest. But what do you do if you seriously don’t have any questions? Here are a few questions you can always use. Always.
“How would you describe the company’s culture?” or any question on work atmosphere, etc.
“Does the job require any traveling or relocation?” Think about where you’ll work.
And my personal favorite, “How did you start working for this company?” Get to know the person behind the desk, build rapport.