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Most Common Interview Questions

You've landed the job interview, great! Now what are you doing to prepare for the interview? When going through the interview process there are some no brainers; dress nicely, arrive a few minutes early, print out multiple copies of your resume, etc., but how do you prepare for the actual interview itself?

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There is no way to know exactly what the interviewer will ask, but you can prepare yourself by knowing the most common questions, and preparing your answers accordingly.  So what are some of the most common interview questions?

  1. Tell me about yourself. 
    The interviewer wants to get a feel for your personality, how the chemistry is, and how you describe yourself, so plan some bullet points to discuss. Talk about your goals, your hobbies, family, etc. Don't gloat or give a laundry list of answers of what you think they want to hear.
  2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    They typically want to know your intentions with the company. Most places want to know that the candidate they hire is interested in being there more than 2 years or more. They do not want to fire someone who is going to quit in 6 months to a year.
  3. Whats the dream job?
    They also typically want to know if this is a good fit for them and for you. Is the job you are interviewing for going to help get you to that dream job or will someone else be better suited?
  4. What do you know about the company?
    This is a big one. Do your research ahead of time. Talk about what you like about the company, compliment some philanthropic work they are doing, show you know the in's and out's of the company.
  5. Why are you leaving your current job?
    This is typically a big one too. Interviewers want to know that they aren't just another placeholder job and they want to know that hiring you will benefit them. They don't want someone who leaves every job because of conflict with a coworker or because you are a "know it all".
  6. Tell em about a time you demonstrated leadership.
    Whether you applied for a leadership role or not, companies want everyone to be a team player and be a leader when they have to. Brainstorm ahead of time so that you do not have to think long and hard to recall something when you are put on the spot.
  7. Tell me about a time you handled conflict with a co-worker.
    The last thing employers want is work place drama and prima donnas. They want to know that whoever they hire is going to be a mature adult and handle conflict in an appropriate manner. Again, brainstorm ahead of time so you do not get tongue tied.
  8. How do you handle pressure?
    This is a big one. Your future employer does not want to baby you because you do not handle stress well. Every job is going to have its own stress and pressure to it, be sure to eloquently explain how you deal with it.
  9. Explain any gaps in employment.
    Be ready to explain any gaps in your employment history sue to disability, school, etc.
  10. What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
    Be prepared to answer this one and not say that you don't have any weaknesses. Plan ahead of time what your answer to this question is. You do not want to come off prideful, but you also do not want to shoot yourself in the foot.
  11. Why should we hire you?
    Have this one rehearsed to a T. Lay out the reasons why you stand out compared to the other candidates. This is your time to shine and showcase yourself.
  12. Do you have any questions for us?
    Plan to have roughly 3-5 questions for the interviewer. This is part of the interview itself, they want to see what kinds of questions you are going to ask and how that shows them who you are and your professionalism. Ask questions like "What does the ideal candidate look like for this position?" or "What is the day-to-day for this position?", or if you really want to get bold "Based off of interview, how do I reflect what you are looking for?"

Be prepared. Rehearse in the mirror if you have to. It is always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

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