Though your resume and your qualifications have a hand in getting you your next dream job, almost all hiring decisions are based on how well you handle your job interview. Interviews allow those filling the position to assess how well you’ll be able to work within the company and they let your interviewers get a sense of who you are as a person. As a result, how you answer job interview questions has the greatest influence over whether or not you’ll be offered the job.
So what’s the best way to answer job interview questions? The best rule of thumb is to present yourself in a favorable light, but above all be sure to be honest. Don’t just tell interviewers what you think they want to hear. Most interviewers use a set of fairly standard questions, with job-specific additions depending on what sort of a position you’re applying for.
For example, you’ll probably be asked about your strengths and weaknesses. Strengths are a no-brainer; just tell them what you’re good at. Some people will tell you that when asked about your weaknesses, you should give an answer that actually highlights a strength in a self-depreciating manner.
For example, you could answer “well, sometimes I guess I’m just too much of a perfectionist,” if you’re applying for a position where you need to be picky. Actually, when asked about weaknesses most employers will appreciate honesty. If you can think of a true weakness tell them about it, though it may help to mention that you’re working on improving.
Interviewers also want you to demonstrate that you have a base of knowledge about their company. When you answer job interview questions about the company you’re applying to, it helps to be informed. Do some research on the company before the interview so you have a good idea of how the company’s structure is set up, what the company does, and where the company is headed. This will show that you’re actually interested in this particular job at this particular company, not just casting your net as far and as wide as possible.
Job interviewers will also want to know where you’ve come from and where you’re going. When discussing your previous employment, be sure not to cite any personal problems or grievances; see yourself as moving on to better opportunities. When asked about the future, try to see where you’ll fit into your interviewing company; this is another area where it pays to do your homework before the interview.
Finally, when you’re done answering the job interviewer’s questions, be sure to ask some of your own. If you show a genuine interest in the company and the position the interviewers are more likely to look favorably on your application and your interview.