Top 5 Interview Questions

Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly what potential employers plan to ask you at the job interview? Prepared and confident, you could show them what you’re made of, leading them by the nose with your charm and experience.

You know what? You know what? We already know what they’re gonna ask you. Of course, each interview has its own pace, themes and job-specific questions, but there is a range of basic questions that recruiters almost always rely on (let’s face it, we’re not the most imaginative people…).

With proper preparation, you will already feel less nervous when an employer comes up with one of these questions.

On that note…

Here are the 5 most common interview questions, and how to answer them like a pro:

Tell me about yourself.

Just about every interview begins with an open-ended question designed to break the ice and get you talking about yourself. This is your chance to introduce yourself. The problem is that this question is not about you personally: it’s about who you are as a candidate. Of course, the recruiter wants to know if your personality suits the company, but what he wants to know most of all is if you can do the job.

You should therefore put the spotlight on your professional experiences and interests that demonstrate that you are THE candidate for the job. This is not the time to start reciting your CV. Think of it as a summary of who you are professionally – the elevator pitch, but to sell your career. Yes, well, it’s good that your hobbies include leather goods and Brazilian martial arts, but it’s not relevant to talk about them here.

Example of what you should say:

I’m a SEO expert obsessed with everything web-related, with 10 years of experience across the entire digital marketing lifecycle – from paid ads to microsites – for businesses of all sizes.

Example of what you shouldn’t say:

I have a YouTube channel, and that’s all I care about in life. That’s why I’m looking for a job that’s not too demanding and that will allow me to concentrate on this project.

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Why are you interested in this job?

Are you excited about working for us or are you just desperate to find a job (any job!)? If the second choice is more reflective of your situation, this is not what employers want to hear. They want to be assured that you are truly interested in their industry and their company. They want to see that you’ve done your research, that you know them. It shows your interest, and it shows a high level of preparation and professionalism.

Example of what you should say:

I’ve been interested in working for Tesla since the very first Roadster was launched. I am passionate about technology and innovation, and this position would allow me to combine my passion with my work experience. In addition to working for a company I truly believe in.

Example of what you shouldn’t say:

I need money.

What are your greatest strengths?

This may seem like an easy question – you know your strengths, don’t you? Careful. Read the job offer carefully, and be sure to mention strengths that match what’s in the job description. Are they looking for team players with leadership skills? This is an opportunity to talk about your communication skills and your ability to speak in public. If you are concerned about appearing boastful or arrogant, quote a colleague or boss who has noted your strengths in the past. Another good tip is to illustrate your point with concrete, measurable accomplishments – include an anecdote to that effect.

Example of what you should say:

I have been told that I am a good communicator and, in fact, in my current job, I chair a weekly meeting where I present goals and achievements to the entire company.
Example of what you shouldn’t say :

How much time do we have? Cause that could be a long time! I’m very good at what I do…

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What are your weaknesses?

Here, if you say too much, you’re going to chill the employer. On the other hand, if you say, “I have no weaknesses, I am perfect”, they will think you are lying or sorely lacking in self-analysis. So what do you do?

Think of a real weakness, but choosing something that is not an essential prerequisite for employment.

Explain how you became aware of this weakness and what you are doing to improve it. This shows that you are capable of introspection, that you are willing to learn, and that you are always striving to improve. Humour, as long as it is in good taste, can also give you a boost.

Example of what you should say:

I’m often too hard on myself. It’s something I’m working on.

Example of what you shouldn’t say:

I work too hard, and I’m a perfectionist.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Professional leapfrogging is the new norm in the labour market, and most employers recognize that younger (and often more ambitious) workers are always on the lookout for new opportunities. Knowing this, you don’t have to pretend that you’ll be in the same place in 5 years. Instead, imagine the dream job that ideally lies within the company you’re applying for – invest your passions, interests and experience in it. It shows employers that you’re ambitious, that you know where you’re going, and that you’re looking to move up the career ladder.

Example of what you should say:

Five years from now, I see myself in an editor’s position. I will have more than 15 years of experience in journalism. So I will be ready for a more strategic position, where I can use my experience to lead a team.

Every interview is different, but if you master these 5 questions, you will be able to score a maximum of points on these imposed themes… You never know, a few solid answers can sometimes make all the difference in convincing a recruiter that you are the gem.

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