Ever had that sick, churning feeling in your stomach before a job interview? Same. Most of the time we ponder over the countless possible job interview questions we could be asked. Scouring the web for the ‘best’ answers to job interview questions? We’ve all been there. But here at Glints, we’ve realised that there’s a pattern to interview questions. From ‘tell us about yourself’, to ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses’, there are a couple of common job interview questions you’re bound to be asked. So we’ve gladly compiled a list of common interview questions (and how to best answer them) to help calm those butterflies in your stomach.
But first, the gruelling part—getting to the interview
Before we even get to the job interview questions, we have to pass the job search process. As a fresh graduate, or someone looking for their first stint, this will seem like a uphill task. Well, ‘where do I begin?’ you might ask.
Firstly, find out what industry or sector you’re interested in. Whether it’s fashion, design, accountancy, finance, ask yourself what opportunities you’ll like to have. Most of the time, these industries have strong ties to your personal interests.
Secondly, see if you have the skills for the job. For example, if you’re looking to enter the media industry, proficiency in Photoshop is a very common requirement. Having the skills, or not having the skills could help steer you towards jobs you’re more suited for.
Thirdly, research! There are a ton of job portals out there, including us ;-). Using appropriate filters within these job portals, and searching for a posting that fits your needs and skills will surely bring you a huge sense of satisfaction. Now, we know scrolling through heaps of postings is going to be extremely daunting. So, if you have your sights set on a particular company, do muster up the courage to send them a cold email expressing your interest, You never know, they might just have a job opening
A job interview will only happen if you do these steps right, plus a little bit of luck.
How does an interview work then?
Depending on the company, the interview could be a one-off process, or a lengthy one. Some companies have multiple screening interviews, from meeting HR managers to CEOs. But usually, there are three steps in the interview process.
The first will probably be a follow up email to your application, notifying the company’s interest in you. The second will be a screening interview. This could be done at either a networking event, or a phone call. Employers usually rely on phone interviews to get a hint of what their potential hires are like. This is no narrow down the number of applicants selected for in-person interviews. Next will be the in-person interview process. Now, there’s no guarantee how many of these in-person interviews you’ll have to attend. But if you survive all rounds of the in-person interview, you might just have a job offer in the bag.
15 common job interview questions you’ll encounter (and how to answer them)
“Tell me about yourself.”
This opener never gets old. The best way to answer this question is to consider what the interviewer already knows about you. They probably have your resume right in front of them, so running a grandmother story about your education and listing your achievements is just going to make you sound like a robot.
Instead, talk about why you took up certain internships or jobs. If you’re a fresh graduate, talking about your school experience or overseas exchange might be more interesting. We suggest creating an elevator pitch prior to the interview. These pitches are short, sweet, and most importantly will snatch your interviewer’s attention. And that folks, is exactly what we want.
“What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
If you’re asked about your strengths, give a straight answer. Don’t beat around the bush. We recommend highlighting how your strengths have helped you in your work experience or education. That way, you’ll be able to show proof of these strengths.
On the other hand, if asked about your weaknesses it’s great to be honest. Choose a weakness that you’ll willingly trying to improve on, and share how you’re attempting to overcome that weakness. No one’s perfect, but showing your earnest attempt at bettering yourself indicates to your interviewer your acknowledgement of your flaws.
“How did you learn about this job opening?”
Of course it’s easy to say that you found the job on a job board or at a career fair. Rest assured that there’s nothing wrong with that answer at all. But this generic answer shows that you were just scouring listings for openings, without tailoring them specifically towards your interests.
Companies aren’t just looking for new hires, they’re looking for employees that want to join their company. A better way would be to show that you learnt about the opening through social media—e.g. you follow the company. This shows that you knew about the job opening because you wanted a position at the company.
“Why do you want to work for us?”
This job interview question gives you the opportunity to show that you did your research. Having a good grasp on the company’s vision, products and programmes and linking those with your previously mentioned strengths and weaknesses will a good way to answer this question.
“Why should we hire you?”
Think about what you haven’t already said to the interview. Are there any points that you’d like to raise? This is also a good reminder to not ramble on in your earlier answers. If you end up doing that, you might find yourself stuck in a bind and having to repeat your answers for later questions.
“What are you looking for in this new position?”
Other than talking about how the company would be great to work for, look deeper into yourself. Talk about why the position is a perfect for for you. This could be done in a variety of ways. For example, tackling the question by speaking about how the position can help you accomplish your long-term and short-term goals.
You could also speak about how the position would be able to boost your skills, strengths, or help propel you towards overcoming your weakness.
“What do you do outside of work?”
A new job isn’t just about you getting the job well done. Nowadays, company culture is extremely important for employers and employees alike. The purpose of this job interview question is to find out more about you likes and dislikes, your hobbies and passion. Being honestly about these hobbies will help you to understand if you’re a good fit for this company and its work environment. After all, you wouldn’t want to work in an office where you feel like you don’t belong
“How do you deal with pressure or a stressful situation?”
If you’re the type that takes stress in your stride, good for you. But if you aren’t, don’t fret. Most of us struggle with managing stress on a daily basis. Be honest when answering this question, but also give examples of how you are learning to cope with pressure. Job interview questions are made to find out more about your personality, not just assess your capabilities.
“Tell me about a time that you faced a challenge, how did you tackle it?”
One of the easier one in the list, this job interview question is basically asking you to just share your experience. So just pick a time where you were faced with an obstacle, and be prepared to share what it was a how you overcame it.
“What is your biggest accomplishment?”
Most people make the mistake of simply speaking about a time where they ‘increased revenue by 20%’ or something irrelevant to the job they’re applying for. Our tip for this questions is to help your interviewee envision you succeeding in the role you’re applying for. Tailoring your answer to the position you’re aiming for is a great way to show that you understand, and can contribute effectively to the company. But that doesn’t mean the former is a wrong answer.
“Is there anything you think we could do differently”
Here’s another question to show not only your knowledge about the company, but also your expertise in certain areas. Answer this question with example relevant to both the company, as well as your skillset. For example, if you’re a full-stack developer, you’ll be able to give constructive criticism on the company’s frontpage.
“What can we expect from you in the first 3 months?”
The best candidates have a game plan! Think about the ways in which you can make a difference, but don’t go overboard. Interviewers don’t want to hear about some mega grand plan you have to bring the company to honour and glory in your first 90 days. Rather, suggest certain implementations or reforms that you might be able to get started on in a short period of time.
“How do you evaluate success?”
This is probably the most straightforward out of all job interview questions. Answering it will give your interviewer a sense of your work ethic and your personal goals. The best way to narrow your scope for this question would be to answer it within the context of the job you’re applying for. Think about the vision of the company, or what a successful person with your position might be shooting for.
“What is your expected salary?”
Honestly, this is one of the trickiest questions out of all job interview questions. We advise doing a bit of research beforehand to find out the range of salaries for a similar position, especially if you’re a fresh grad on the hunt for your first job. Usually, giving a range and saying you’re flexible might be a good way to open up a discussion.
This is last of all job interview questions. Don’t waste the opportunity to show your interest in the job. This is a question that not only shows the interview whether you’re a good fit for the company, but also a time for you to know if the company is a good fit for you. Asking smart, specific questions will also show that you’re interested, and end off the interview with a bang.
So, what’s next?
After the first round of interviews, you’ll probably either be called back for follow-up meetings, receive a job offer, or receive a rejection. If you’ve received a rejection letter, don’t cry over spilled milk! Follow-up with an email to thank the interview for their time. You could also ask them for advice about your interview process in order to improve for the next one!
Interviewing for a job—especially your first one—is always going to cause some nerves! But as time goes by, we can guarantee that it’ll get easier. We hope If you’re looking for your dream job, hop on over to our marketplace , it might just be waiting for you there.
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