Posted by & filed under Career Advice, Job Search / Resume Tips.

Do you have the pre-interview jitters because you are worried about the kinds of questions you may be asked? Take heart that you are not alone. Many job seekers dread interview day. However, you can overcome the butterflies in your stomach by preparing for some of the difficult questions you may be asked during the interview phase. Here are some you can practice in front of a mirror now.

Q. What are you greatest strengths and weaknesses? How do you overcome your weaknesses/how do you use your strengths?

This is one of those double-whammy questions that many recruiters ask. Answer this one simply by being honest about your actual work related strengths and weaknesses, in a positive way. You can start out with a weakness, as you will leave the conversation with your strengths to give a lasting positive impression. Give clear examples of how you use your strengths and how you have overcome a weakness. For example, a weakness may be “wanting to take on tasks yourself instead of asking for help”, and a strength may be that “you’ve learned to reach out to co-workers to collaborate on tough projects”.

Q. Why do you want to work for us/this company?

Hiring managers often use this loaded question to find out your true intentions for the job role you are interviewing for and what motivates you. Take the time to research the company beforehand and you will ace this question every time. Simply provide some reasons that relate to the corporate objectives in relation to the skills you bring to the table. For example, you have strong customer service skills therefore you want to work for this company because you know the company is one of few that care about the satisfaction of their clients.

Q. How do you deal with conflicts at work?

Many recruiters like to throw this question in to gauge your ability to solve problems and if you can play well with others. The most obvious way to answer is to share a story about how you have met conflicts with clients and colleagues in the past, and overcome them through building trust and communication. Never say you have not had a conflict at work, because the recruiter will see right through that. You can, however, mention that you get along easily with others, even if they seem difficult.

Q. Have you ever been dismissed from a job? Why?

Again, this is a question that’s meant to ruffle your feathers a little. Be sure to look the interviewer in the eye, smile and give an honest answer. If the answer is yes, make sure you state the reasons why without giving blame to the job or a past manager. Instead, take responsibility and demonstrate how you learned from that experience. This will leave a positive impression and you won’t have to fib, which will just ruin the interview since the recruiter will be checking past employment references.

Q. What will you be doing in 5 years?

This interesting question is showing up more often in interviews, mainly because hiring decisions can be costly ones for companies. The recruiter is really asking you to picture yourself in a few years, and if you see yourself working for this company…or not. How you answer may influence if you will be hired, because companies want loyal employees who will stick it out for a few years before moving on. Consider answering this one by stating how much you have wanted to work for this company, and that you picture yourself becoming a valuable member of the team and moving up the corporate ladder from within.

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