Interview: How to answer 4 typical tough interview questions
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You already know how important it is to prep for a job interview. You research the company, practice responses to typical interview questions and prepare a few questions of your own. But are you sure youâre preparing answers that will make you stand out with the hiring manager? Or are you inadvertently giving responses that are costing you the job?Even the simplest questions, like âCan you tell me a little about yourself?â can trip up the most qualified candidates. But they can also give you a chance to shine and make a strong impression on your interviewer.Here are some common interview questions and tips on how to answer each one:1. âCan you tell me a little about yourself?âThis is one of those âeasyâ questions thatâs actually not so simple. By starting the interview with this general request for information, the human resources manager is likely gauging your confidence level, your enthusiasm and passion for the job, and your ability to communicate clearly.Thatâs why itâs best to talk mostly about your career path, rather than your personal life. So focus on your professional experience and skills as they relate to the job posting, and mention where you went to school and what you studied. Then wrap up by explaining why this particular position interests you.2. âWhy do you want to work for this company?âThis open-ended question gives you a lot of latitude to make a case as to why the hiring manager should give you the job. But remember: Although the question is ostensibly about what you want, the interviewer really wants to know what assets you will bring to the company and why youâre a good fit for the position. If you focus on what youâll get out of the job, the hiring manager could see you as someone whoâs self-centered, interested only in yourself and your needs, rather than the needs of the team and company.So, instead of focusing on how the position would further your career goals or fit with your lifestyle, talk about your admiration for the company and its products or services, explain how well the job posting matches your expertise and experience, and describe your readiness for a new challenge. Make sure you know how to answer interview questions like this one by researching the company and its values, philosophy and challenges.3. âWhat are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?âThereâs no need for full disclosure here. Your best option is to stay the middle course. That means refraining from bragging or exaggerating your strengths. It also means mentioning only the weaknesses youâve conquered and explaining how youâve turned those weaknesses into strengths.For example, if youâre a reformed micromanager, you could answer this question by saying something like: âI used to try to get everything done myself, but Iâve learned the importance of delegation and mentoring to allow others to grow.â If possible, provide a specific example of how you accomplished this.This should go without saying, but this question is not about your personal struggles. Whatever you do, donât mention any past or present issues with alcohol, drugs, illness or the like. Keep the focus on your professional life.4. âWhy are you leaving your current job?âKeep your response positive when you answer this question, and make sure you donât bash your current boss, company or co-workers. Even if youâre struggling with a difficult manager or workplace, hiring managers want to know that youâll look for solutions rather than complaining about problems. Keep the grievances to yourself and instead explain that youâve gone as far as you can in your current office and want more of a challenge at work, or that this particular position was so Attractive to you that you just had to apply.If you were laid off or fired, be honest about it, but emphasize any silver lining in the situation. You might say that although your were sorry to lose your job, the time and focus you gained as a result allowed you to look for a new position, like the one youâre interviewing for, that is more in line with your passions.Itâs important to prepare for an interview, and particularly for these typical interview questions. But itâs also crucial to relax, be yourself and let the interviewer see your personality. Pull out too many obviously scripted replies, and you might give interviewers the impression youâre trying to give them the answers they want to hear instead of the truth.Robert Half is the worldâs first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 400 staffing and consulting locations worldwide. For more information about our professional services, visit roberthalf.com. For additional career advice, read our blog at blog.roberthalf.com or follow us on social media at roberthalf.com/follow-us.
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