Preparing for an interview - Pre-empting common questions
Do you prepare the possible interview questions before you go for your job interview? Every job seeker has stumbled over at least one of the questions at a job interview usually because the question was unexpected. This article offers some useful answers to three of the most common questions. Remember that you don’t need to cram these answers and regurgitate them at the interview. The most important thing to grasp is the mindset behind the answers and not the specific words.
The most effective, appropriate and healthy mindset is that you’re happy that you’re being interviewed but you’re not desperate to be given the job. You’re confident that if you’re suited for the job, both you and the interviewer will know it
The job interview is not about impressing anyone. Rather, it’s an opportunity for you and the employer to check each other out and see if you’re right for each other. In that sense, it’s a lot like a date. So enter the interview with the mindset that a good manager would notice your intelligence and talent. You’re there to help the interview panelists see that you’re qualified.
Common Interview Questions
Question: Why are you interested in this position?
Your answer should focus more on the job than on you. Use the chance to demonstrate that you have a strong understanding of the nature of the job. Whenever possible, end your answer with a question in order to steer the interview from a Q&A session to a two-way conversation.
Interview panelist: Why are you interested in this position?
You: One of the main aspects of this job is monitoring projects and making sure they’re on track, which is something I enjoy. I’m interested in handling bigger projects that involve multiple clients, and I’m hopeful that this role will allow me to do that.
Question: What’s your greatest strength?
This is among the most common questions. Use it as a cue to highlight one of your accomplishments.
Interview panelist: What is your greatest strength?
You: I believe it’s that I’m able to look beyond the obvious facts in situations and see the bigger picture. For example, last year at my previous job, we had a crisis. One of our competitors threatened us with legal action because of a trademark issue. We were confident that there was no merit to their complaint and that we would win the case if it went to court. But some of our executives wanted to hold back on that product’s marketing campaign in case we lost the case.
I dissected the marketing plan and outlined the parts of the campaign that the company had already committed to as well as the ones that could be paused. It then became obvious that there was no reason to slow down the product’s marketing campaign, whether or not our competitor followed through with their threat.
The competitor later backed off and the product performed well. My analysis played a role in helping us navigate that tricky situation. The company benefited and I learned a lot from the experience.
Question: What’s your greatest weakness?
When it comes to highlighting your weakness, it may be the most difficult thing to do. Play down on the weakness and take the opportunity to highlight your strength. Alternatively, you can also mention a weakness which can be view as a strength too. For example, being impatient and would expect work to be completed as soon as possible.
Interview panelist: What is your greatest weakness?
You: I used to get really frustrated with tasks that I didn’t perform as well as I should have. However, I eventually realized that no one can be good at everything, which is why people perform best in teams. The most important thing is focusing constantly on improving what I’m good at.
So while I may not be a star coder or Excel wizard, I need to focus on refining the skills in the area I’m good at and enjoy, especially creating powerful and highly engaging content for our customers. Playing your role well in a team is far more useful than trying to do everything yourself.
Besides the 3 common questions above, you should always prepare for more questions and also more difficult questions which may be asked. Always remember the saying, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."