Whether you are behind a screen or heading into an office, it is important to feel completely ready for your upcoming interview. While you can’t plan every step of the conversation, you can prepare by having your answers to common questions ready.
Are you preparing for an upcoming interview? Don’t let these five talking points catch you off guard:
1. Tell Me About Yourself
This opener is general, which makes it even more important to nail down exactly what you want to say. Provide a clear sense of who you are and how you got to where you are today.
Beware of the length of your answer. You don’t want to go off on too many tangents and lose the interviewer’s attention. Talk about your career path, highlight your goals, and give the interviewer a better sense of what interests you.
2. What Are Your Strengths?
It feels easy to lean into a generic response, but that’s not what a hiring manager wants to hear. Take some time and really think about what you want to say so you can provide cohesive responses that really mean something.
Try to personalize your responses, too. With every strength you list, tie in a story from your past. This will tell the hiring manager exactly how you exemplify each quality.
3. What About Your Weaknesses?
On the other end of the spectrum, you have your weaknesses. The biggest thing you want to avoid is trying to disguise a strength as a negative trait. You may find yourself wanting to say, “I work too hard,” or “I’m a perfectionist.” Don’t fall into the trap.
Take some time for a thorough self-critique. It may feel counterintuitive to talk about the negatives during an interview, but it’s important to show that you really know yourself—both the good and the bad. Identify key flaws you believe you have in terms of your work and spend time talking about how you are actively working to improve it.
4. Talk About a Time You Were Faced with a Conflict and How You Handled It
This question has a couple different motivations behind it, and the way you answer it will say a lot about you. The main reason interviewers ask this question is to get a sense of how you handle difficult situations.
They want to know that you’re willing to face issues head-on and genuinely try to fix them. Spend most of your time talking about the resolution rather than the conflict itself and be sure to be as honest as possible.
5. What Are Your Main Professional and Personal Goals?
Interviewers will ask you this to make sure your goals align with the company. However, they also want to know that you’re thinking about your future, too. Goalsetting is a great way to combat getting too comfortable in the now. No matter where you’re at in life, you should always be striving to improve.
Tailor your answers to the mission of the company as much as possible. You want to instill confidence that you’re on board with their goals and that you feel you can also better yourself by working alongside them.
Preparing for these topics will give you an advantage when it comes to a smooth interview process, but there’s one more thing you need to do…
Ask your own questions, too!
The best way to be engaging in an interview is to make it a two-way conversation. Presenting your own questions will help the process run a lot smoother, and you can learn more about the position, too. Additionally, you’ll be showing the hiring manager that you are actively involved in the interview and want to make an informed decision for yourself.
Preparing for an interview is just one step in your career transition. If you’re feeling stuck in your current job and you’re ready to make the switch, the team at MarCan Coaching & Consulting will be by your side to make the transition simple and stress-free.
Call today to learn more from our career growth team so you can continue being the best you can be.