The best way to deal with this situation is the same way you would deal with it in school: Study. While different interviews will have unique questions, there are still some that are shared and these can be some of the toughest to answer. Below are seven of the most common interview questions you will encounter, along with suggestions on how to answer them.
- "Tell me about your self." This question can be very tough because it is so general. The key to answering it successfully is to recite your professional accomplishments, not your life story. Talk about your education, work history, recent career experience, and future goals.
- "Why did you leave your last job?" The temptation might be great to use this question to talk trash about your former employer, but all that will do is make it less likely that you will get the job. You should instead explain how you wanted the opportunity to do something else to advance your career.
- "What do you see yourself doing in five years?" This question is designed to see if you are committed to staying with the organization for the long-term. You might have bigger aspirations in mind, but keep them to yourself for the purpose of the interview.
- "What are your biggest weaknesses?" Whatever you do, don't answer this question by saying something like "I care too much about my work." That's not going to get you anywhere. Explain the areas of your work that need improvement, and let the interviewer know what you have been doing to grow as a professional.
- "Why were you fired from your last job?" The best way to answer this question is to be as honest as possible. If you were fired for disciplinary reasons, chances are the employer will find out anyway as part of a background check.
- "What do you have that other candidates do not?" This is an opportunity to go into great detail about what you have accomplished in the past. Talk about your record of getting things done, and highlight the most impressive parts of your resume and/or portfolio.
- "Would you be willing to take a pay cut?" The topic of salary and benefits is always difficult, so you are going to have to straddle a fine line with this question. You should indicate that you are flexible, but that you want to be compensated fairly.