Nailing Down Responses to the Most Common Interview Questions

Professionals responsible for interviewing potential candidates for an organization likely have a fair amount of experience in doing just that. They come prepared with a list of questions they know will help uncover the traits and abilities needed to fill the specific role you’re eager to land. To help you prepare your responses for your next job interview, here is a list of common interview questions. Spend time crafting responses to these questions to help land your next job:

Why did you leave your last position?

Be brief and to the point. Demonstrate the pushaway from the most recent opportunity andpullinto the opportunity you are interviewing for (why you want the job).Give a brief statement of events that led up to you leaving a company, then move on without dwelling on the past.For example:

  • I took an opportunity that increased my marketability and skill set.
  • Due to the merger between my company and another, my position was affected.
  • As a result of a recent restructuring, I have decided to resign and search for a position that more closely matches my career goals.

 Tell me about yourself.

Structure your response in two parts: the professional and the personal. You might begin with your resume summary, adding most recent positions and employers. On the personal side, you might express where you live/grew up, where you went to school, unique hobbies, travel or volunteer work. Close your response with a transitional statement such as “I’m looking to advance my career in accounting and believe I can make a significant contribution to XYZ Company.” Limit your answer to one to two minutes.

Why do you want to work for this company?

Rather than “what’s in it for me” responses, list reasons that are outgoing and generous such as love of the work, reputation of the company, and that the job isin line with your career goals.

Why do you believe you are qualified for the position?

State your relevant skills, experience and education. Keep your answers direct and give examples of achievements that relate to the job for which you’re applying.

What are your strengths?

List relevant strengths and give examples that applied at work. For example, being hardworking and conscientious could mean you do accurate work on time and within budget.

What is a weakness of yours?

Choose a weakness not related to your core competencies. An accountant would NOT say missing deadlines or trouble with details. You want to talk about skills you have improved and how you have turned a negative into a positive.

Why should we hire you?

This question provides a perfect opportunity to focus on your competitive advantage. This is the combination of skills, experience, attributes that are going to make you stand out from the other applicants.

What do you see yourself doing five years from now?

This question probes your personal and professional goals and intentions of staying with a company if hired. Point out that you want to put to good use the benefits of your experience, expertise, commitment to performance and excellence, and mentoring skills.

Taking the time to practice answering these questions and answers beforehand will help you calm your nerves the day of the interview. To learn more, watch our video 3 Land Mine Questions.