#6: How to answer the most common interview questions (I)

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Over the next 3 weeks we will be handing you ideas on how to come up with the best answers for the most likely asked interview questions.

While we don’t advise you to prepare a perfect response for every question (actually, please don’t), we do recommend you to think about what you might be asked, what recruiters are really looking for in your responses, and what you need to do to show that you’re the right man or woman for the job in question.

  1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Super common question. This one seems simple, but so many people fail to prepare for it. So please listen: Don’t give your complete employment (nor personal) history. Instead give a pitch – one that’s concise and compelling and that shows exactly why you’re the right fit for the job. Start off with the 2-3 specific accomplishments (see our post #2) and/or experiences that you MOST want the interviewer to know about, then conclude talking about how that specific experience has positioned you for this role.

  1. Why do you want this job?

And again, companies want to hire people who are passionate about the job, so you should have a great answer about why you want the position. (And if you don’t? Well, then you might want to apply elsewhere). First, identify a couple of key factors that make the role a great fit for you (e.g., “I very much enjoy the technical aspect of the role because I love building prototype, challenging myself to refine them until the perfect product is in place”), then share why you love the company (e.g., “I’ve always been passionate about the automotive industry, and I think you are developing very innovative products, such as XYZ, so I want to play a big part in it”).

  1. What do you know about the company?

Before reading this answer please check out our blog No# 5… Any candidate can find and read the company’s “About” page. But, when interviewers ask this, they aren’t only trying to check whether if you know the mission—they want to know whether you care about it. Start with one line that shows you understand the company’s goals, using some key words and phrases from the website, but then continue to make it personal. Say, “I’m personally drawn to this mission because…” or “I really believe in this approach because…” and share a personal example or two.

 

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