How to answer these 6 common interview questions
Prepare for your next job or internship interview by rehearsing responses to these commonly asked questions.
At a Glance: When going into a job interview, you should know how to talk about who you are, what your greatest weakness is, and why you’re the best person for the job.
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Job interviews can be intimidating, especially when a question catches you off-guard. While every interview is different and you can’t predict all the questions they’ll throw your way, there are some that have stood the test of time. Here’s how to craft great answers to six commonly asked questions.
Tell me about yourself
As simple as the question sounds, it’s very broad, which can leave some interviewees in a rambling panic. Instead of talking about everything from your childhood to your cat, prepare a 30-second “elevator speech” that touches on your education, work experience and passion for the industry you’re in (or trying to break into).
What makes you a good fit for this position?
Prove that you’ve done your research by talking about how your experience and knowledge aligns with the responsibilities of the position and goals of the company. One surefire way to achieve this is to take phrases from the job description and incorporate them into your response.
What is your greatest weakness?
Of course you don’t want to bring up anything negative during an interview, but no one expects you to be perfect — not even your potential boss. Be honest about your weaknesses, but explain how you’re working to improve. For example, do you get nervous when it comes to giving presentations? Tell the interviewer you’ve become a member of your local Toastmasters chapter (only if that’s true, of course).
Describe a challenging experience you faced, and how did you overcome it?
An interviewer will typically ask this to get an idea for how you tackle problems. Think of a concrete obstacle you encountered in a previous job or in school (i.e. an unhappy client or a group project that was getting off track), and explain, in detail, the steps you took to solve it.
What are your salary requirements?
This question can be tricky to answer if you aren’t prepared. You don’t want to scare a potential employer off with a number that is too high, but you also don’t want to lowball the value of your work.
Do some digging on standard industry salaries before your interview, so if asked, you can respond with an answer backed by research. One example that puts the pressure back on the interviewer: “I’ve noticed that salaries for this position range from $X to $Y. Is that what you’ve budgeted?”
Do you have any questions for me?
Your answer should always be yes. By asking some thoughtful questions of your own, you’ll express how interested you are in the position. Some winning questions include: What characteristics are you looking for in an employee? How do you define success in this role? How would you describe the culture of the company?
While every interview is going to be different and interviewers might throw a few curveballs, you can proceed with confidence by knowing how to answer a few basic questions about yourself.