As we slide gracefully into October and prepare for a winter and spring full of job interviews, applications, and internship opportunities, one is always plagued with those never-ending questions that keep popping up in job interviews. You know exactly which questions I am talking about. The ones that make you sit on your hands, or bite your lip as you think just a little bit too long. They aren’t the easy questions, like your name or your school or even your extracurricular involvement. The tricky questions, and therefore the most common questions, are the ones that we have to actually think about before we answer, and answer wisely.
Tell me about yourself?
After you worked so hard on a perfect resume, this question can be a bit defeating. What else is there to know? You obviously poured your heart and soul into your resume, right? Wrong. This is your elevator pitch. It shouldn’t be a summary of your job history, or what classes you have taken. Pitch yourself to your potential employer and show them why you are the only one for the job. Feel free to add the little things that don’t quite fit into the resume but make you special. Do you like to crochet for the homeless? Do you write novels? Do you run a successful blog that has hundreds of thousands of readers each month? Are you a major people person? Insert a few humble brags into this elevator pitch and you’ll be golden.
What is your biggest weakness?
We would all love to be Perfect Polly but that just isn’t happening. We all have weaknesses, and this question is trying to gauge how aware you are of them. Do you know that you sometimes get distracted? Do you know that you have a tendency to overwork? Do you know that you are too chatty with strangers? Avoid saying “I have no weaknesses” because we all know that is a lie. At the same time, don’t admit your biggest weakness, especially if it could make you not right for the job. Don’t say you are unorganized if you are applying for a job as a secretary. Don’t say that you can’t meet deadlines if you are applying for a journalism person. White wash your weakness a little, if necessary, but ultimately, honesty is the best policy.
How do you work in a team?
Anyone who has ever been forced to work on a team with someone who isn’t a team-player knows how important this question is. I get it, not everyone plays well with others. Be upfront with your employer about that. If you work best alone, admit that. If you are a follower, rather than a leader, say so. Be honest about how you work in a team because that could affect your life on the job. You don’t want to tell your boss you’re the best team player in the world and end up on a team of eight when all you want to do is work alone. There are some jobs that are built for teams, and some that aren’t. Gauge yourself and decide what is best for you. Here is a little hint: everyone should be a team-player at least a little bit.
Why would you be right for this job?
This is your chance to show off the research you’ve done on the company and the position. Highlight your experience and what you and you alone can bring to the table. Don’t just say you’re organized. Talk about the things you have organized. Don’t just say that you are determined, give examples. Make it very clear that you are the only one that could fill this position, and that your skills and qualifications set you apart from everyone else.
Do you have any questions?
This question is probably the hardest of them all. If you’re like me, you’ve done extensive research before going into your interview, so you think everything is covered. Come up with something.. Even if you ask something you already know the answer to. Where do they see their company going in the next year? What is your favorite part about working here? Don’t ask silly questions like “What is the salary?” or “How long has the company been around?” These questions can be easily found with a little internet search. Ask specific questions to your interviewer and they’ll be impressed.