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Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture Student Success

Top 12 Interview Questions & How to Answer Them

1. Tell Me About Yourself

It really means: “Tell me something that will matter to me as I consider you for this job.”
Think strategically: What is going to make him sit up and take notice of me?
• Degree or classes
• Promotions
• Awards
• Key Accomplishments

2. Why do you want to work here?

Always keep this answer positive.
Talk about:
– How great this company is
– What makes you enthusiastic about working there

Focus on why you’re looking forward to this opportunity and using your skills in X, Y, and Z to succeed in this job.

3. What’s your greatest weakness?

Looking at how you react to a difficult question.
• Shows insight into you and your personality.
• Tell them something that is a weakness, but also a strength or how you are working to overcome the weakness.

4. How do you handle stress?

What do you do when things don’t go smoothly at work? The best way to respond to this question is to give an example of how you have handled stress in a previous job.

5. What is your greatest strength?

Great opportunity to do some careful boasting.

Definitely not the time to be very humble, but best to avoid sounding like you think you created oxygen. Again, do your best to connect the dots between the requirements of the job and your accomplishments and strengths.

6. What did you like/dislike about your current (or past) job?

You can’t be negative in your answer. Don’t talk about all the things you don’t like about your current or past job or boss. Try to name a factor in your old job that is NOT a factor in your new one. Be as brief as you can.

7. Why did you leave your last job?

The underlying questions are:
“Is there something wrong with you?” “Did you get fired for a reason?” “Will I regret hiring you?”
If you were laid off, you can truthfully say that.
If you were fired, say something like: “I have to be honest with you… that was kind of a bad situation. It wasn’t a good decision… it wasn’t a good fit, etc.”

8. Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?

Your best answer depends on the company.
“I want to grow and develop my skills.”
Talk about how you look forward to greater responsibility as you learn more about the company.
“What I really want out of this is to learn, to grow, and to contribute in a meaningful way.”

9. What salary are you looking for?

Never bring up money until they make an offer. If they to try to pin you down, you’ve got three good options:

Deflect it with humor. Smile and ask: “Does that mean you’re making me an offer?”

Be straightforward and say, “I’m really interested in finding out more about the job and telling you more about me so that we can see if we’re a good fit before we start talking about the money.”

Put them off. Say, “I’m looking for a great opportunity, and I’m sure you’ll offer a salary that’s commensurate with the responsibility of this job.”

10. Why should we hire you?

When an employer asks this question, he or she is handing you an invitation to sell them on hiring you.

Take advantage of this opportunity to dazzle them with your insight into how well your experiences and skills fit the requirements of this job and this employer.
List as many relevant accomplishments as you can (preparing in advance will help you be dazzling!) and maybe even a few irrelevant accomplishments that demonstrate your “wonderfulness.”

11. So, what do you know about us?

This question is often under-estimated by job seekers, but it is something of a litmus test for employers. If you haven’t done research about them that you can articulate, they will think that you aren’t really interested in the job. The assumption is that if you were really interested in the job (unlike most applicants!), you would do research and know quite a bit about them.

12. Do you have any questions for us?

This is a critical end-of-the interview question that can make or kill this opportunity for you.

Prepare questions in advance, based on your pre- interview research (right?!), and take notes of additional questions to ask during the interview. If you don’t have any questions, you’ll seem uninterested in the job and the employer.