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1. “Tell Me About Yourself…”

This classic opening question is probably THE most common interview questions you’ll face. What seems like such a simple question can really make you sweat, especially during an interview. What exactly should you (and should you not) share in order to show that you’re the perfect fit for the job?

Keep in mind that it’s not really yourself that you’re introducing; it’s your candidacy. This is not the occasion to tell your life story, but to show how your personalty, passion, and expertise align with what the company is looking for. This is a great chance to show how relevant is your academic history and work background to the job, what you can bring to the table, and how much you’ll enjoy doing this job. Last but not least, there’s no harm in sharing a few personal interest that’s also relevant to the job; for example, “I love managing my own blog in my spare time” will paint a good picture of candidacy when interviewing for a writing-intensive job. 

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2. “Why do you want to work for our company? Or why do you want this job?”

The interviewer here is trying to determine whether you’ve done your research, what you like about the company, whether you are willing to commit to the job, and if your skills and career plans match with the position. 

Some background research on the company will be a big help in formulating your answer to this question. State some characteristics of the company that you like; mention some past or current projects from the company that you admire; show your interest in the products or services that they provide; demonstrate what you can provide for the company, and explain how this position fits with your career goals. An example answer would be “I know that your company has been in ___ business for XXX years, and I think your product/service is great because___. Your latest XXX projects perfectly delivers your concept of ___ within the XXX community. It is very futuristic and it will help develop new innovations in ___ industry in such ways: ___. I come from a ___ background and I’ve worked in ___ for X years, I have a great passion in ___ and I believe my skill sets in __ can bring new perspective to your company and accelerate the success of your ongoing projects. Being a __(this position) is part of my X-year goal for myself, and I truly believe that this position will further my career development and hopefully within your company.” 

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3. “Why should we hire you?”

This is very similar with “Why do you want this job?”, but with a different perspective. The interviewer here is trying to learn more about your expertise and skill sets, whether you are a good fit for the position, what you can bring to the table that others can’t, and in what ways you can benefit the company. 

This is a perfect chance to see yourself. State your best qualifications, skills, and experience for the job. Be specific and use examples to support your statements. Explain how the accomplishments you’ve achieved in the past can help you achieve success in this position, demonstrate your abilities to be great at the job, and prove to them that you can bring success to the company in ways that others can’t. Keep your answers as relevant to the job requirement as possible. You want to show that each and every one of your qualifications and expertise are perfect for the job, and that you’re trained to master this job.  

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4. “Describe A Difficult Situation At Work And What You Did To Overcome It.”

With this question, the employer wants to see your problem-solving skills. They want to know how you measure up when things get challenging; they want to see how you react to troublesome situations and how you handle them at work.

You need to have a problem-solving success story ready before going to a interview. Talk about a conflict or setback at work, how you dealt with it professionally, and what you learned from it. Relate a story where you dealt with a problem successfully. The key here is to pick a success story to exhibit that your have the qualities and skills required for the job. The key things to get across are that you can think on your feet to problem-solve, remain calm in the face of a challenge, and that you can think strategically and act decisively. For example, if you’re interviewing for a position where you need to deal with customer, you can use a story where you helped a customer or solved a customer complaint as an example to answer this question. Moreover, no matter how well you think you handled the situation, don’t forget to add what you learned from it or what you think you can do better next time.

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5. “Do You Have Any Questions For Us?”

This question gives you a fantastic opportunity to stand out from the crowd and show your knowledge and passion for the company. This is your chance to take control of the interview.  You can often convey your competence and confidence, your job-readiness to an employer more impressively with the questions you ask than the ones you answer.

Never say “No, I think I’m good.”Always have a few questions prepared. Think about the information that you need to decide whether to work at this company. Make a list of at least 10 questions to take with you to the interview. Asking smart questions can demonstrate that you have in-depth knowledge of the industry, and that you’re already thinking about how you can contribute to the company. Some good examples could be ”What is the key to success in this job?” (to show that you are ready to contribute to the company and thrive in this position) or “What can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth?” (to show that you care about the company’s long-term growth.)

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