Gazing upon the stars pondering on life’s many questions…and…wondering if you know the answer to why manhole covers are round isn’t one of them. Unfortunately, sometimes you do need to know the right way to answer difficult job interview questions such as the manhole one. Fortunately, this site exists for those times when you need the answers at your fingertips.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
We’ve put together some of the most commonly asked interview questions to help you get ready for your next job interview. Some questions may seem basic, but you would be surprised how many people get the basics wrong. Candidates who are super prepared and cover off every detail get the job. Use these Q&As as a checklist to make sure you have every angle covered. If you can’t readily answer these questions, you might consider spending some more time getting ready for your job interview.
Common Interview Questions
A good answer to this question can really help you sell yourself in a job interview. Try this sample answer:
You are looking for someone that can easily fit into the department and seamlessly take on the responsibilities left vacant by the past employee. I not only have the experiences necessary to succeed in the position, including working with X, Y, and Z, I also fit in well with your department’s vision and have the ability to work quickly and efficiently to keep projects up to task. Other candidates may have some impressive qualifications of their own, but no other candidate is going to fit in as effectively as I will.
There is a lot of confidence in this answer, you rehashed some of your better qualities, and you stated specific reasons that make you a better candidate. You do not want to brag, but you certainly do not want to be humble, as you are trying to give the employer reasons to believe that you truly are the best candidate for the job.
Your short and long term goals need to be related. For example, you can’t claim your short term goal is to work in technology, but your long term goal is to open your own restaurant. Also, your goals should relate to the job. It’s a good idea to focus on intangible qualities of work (for example, “I would like to work somewhere that makes me happy”) instead of more tangible goals (“I would like to be CEO of your company”).
You can use this sample answer:
My short term goals are to simply break into the field. As a college graduate, I need to start building a strong presence in the industry, working for a company I respect and doing a job that I enjoy. My long term goals are to earn new responsibilities within the company, ultimately reaching higher positions as they open and helping the company succeed in the long term.
This is a good answer. It implies, but does not assume that you will stick with the company you are interviewing with, since an interviewer is unlikely to believe that you believe you will be with the company forever. However, the fact that you are willing shows that are you might commit, and the company likes to see people whose short and long term goals have them potentially staying with the company.
The question can be asked a number of different ways. They may ask ‘what would you most like to improve about yourself’, or they may ask:
- How would you improve your job performance?
- What skills would you like to improve?
- What is your biggest weakness?
To improve your job performance, consider these:
- Senior Managers – Improve Presentation skills
- Middle Manager – Improve Networking Skills
- Junior Level Employees – Develop Delegation Skills
To improve your skills, consider these:
- Networking skills
- Mediation Skills
- Technical Skills
- Presentation Skills
- Coaching/Mentoring skills
To address your Biggest Weakness, think about the examples below:
I tend to be quiet during meetings as I think about the implications of what we are discussing, but I would like to work on becoming a more active participant.
I often talk to myself when I’m thinking through issues and it is disruptive to others so I am working on internalising my thinking.
Sometimes I write emails that are longer than they need to be when I’m worried the person might not understand the email. I’d like to work on more concise written communication.
These are good answers and don’t flag any problems that cannot be resolved quite easily. See our full post “What is your biggest weakness?” for more information.
If you held a job for only a short time and you listed the job on your resume, be prepared to answer any questions the employer may have about your longevity. Companies only want to hire you if they feel you are going to stick around, which means you need a good answer to their question in order to make sure that the company isn’t worried about the frequency you leave the job.
If you are asked during an interview why did you stay at a particular job for such a short period of time, consider using one of the following answers:
You didn’t like job:
During the interview, we spoke frequently about the company culture, the environment, and more, and I was excited to work there. But after I was hired, I noticed that there were many competing goals, and I didn’t feel like I was contributing to their success. I know that having a job for a short time can look bad on a resume, but I want to find a job I can commit to in the long term, and when I realized that was not the job I decided to continue my search.”
You got laid off:
I will be honest, I didn’t last beyond my probation period. The position was brand new, and the job description was constantly in flux. So I was struggling to determine my role, and the company was struggling to find a way to use my service, and in the end we parted ways. I’m confident in my ability to work hard and thrive in a job, and I am ready to create my own role or take on what is given to me. At the time, I wasn’t prepared for what that type of work would entail, but after having that experience I know what I could do differently and how to exceed expectations no matter what is given.
Before your resume gets anywhere near a HR manager, it will be filtered by resume screening software which reads your resume, and then ranks and scores your qualifications vs. the job description.
Resumes who do not score well are dismissed and only those resumes which score well move on to the first round of job interviews.
Tips For Getting Noticed By Resume Screening Software:
- One Resume One Role – Make sure you customise each resume for the specific job description. Use relevant, targeted keywords that fit the role and be very specific.
- Get the Keywords Right – Use job description keywords cautiously throughout the resume plus industry accepted terms.
- Use Bullet Points not Paragraphs – This is good for the screening software and good for any human who reads your resume too. Bullet points are easier to digest.
- Software Friendly Fonts – Stay away fancy or script fonts, keep your font size at 11 points or more and select a basic easy to read font like Arial, Calibri, Tahoma or Verdana.
Things that Resume Screening Software Hates:
- Information in the Header or Footer – Most screening software ignores any information contained in the header or footer.
- Photos, Images, Logos, Tables or other Graphics – Images and graphics confuse the screening software which makes it more likely the software will reject your resume.
- Resume Templates – Use a standard word document and save it as a .doc format. The screening software does not like pdf or jpg formats.
- Spelling Mistakes – The software ignores words not spelt correctly plus a human being will read it eventually and spelling errors just look bad.
Preparing a standout resume takes time and effort because there are so many variables you need to get right. You absolutely must use the right fonts, format and keywords, make it easy to open and bring your content to life so you stand out from the crowd. Creating a great digital resume helps you achieve this. You can use a resume template like the ones below:
You could also choose to create an Infographic resume using the sites below:
If you are serious about looking for a new job then you really should prepare your LinkedIn profile. There are 6 key things you need to do to promote yourself effectively on LinkedIn:
- Create a Professional Portfolio – Showcase your best skills and use a great photo.
- Join Groups – Groups are one of the best ways to get noticed. You can join your old college alumni group, or groups related to the industry you hope to break into. Groups also provide you with updates that you can comment on and the ability to show off your thoughts and expertise.
- Add Connections – Once you’ve prepared your profile you can go ahead an add connections making sure your message is personal each time.
- Follow Companies – Find the companies that you want to work for and follow them, many companies post open jobs to their LinkedIn profiles. Try to find specific employers you genuinely want to work for.
- Follow Recruiters – Similarly, follow local recruitment companies. Many of them now provide services through LinkedIn and post jobs immediately after receiving them. They collect applications, and they will get to know your resume.
- Apply Off LinkedIn – Your LinkedIn profile will never be as specific as your resume, so see if you can apply via email first. If not, then apply directly on LinkedIn.
Company research is a crucial part of job interview preparation. There is no such thing as too much research.
1. Start on the website
Interviewers expect you to know all of the information on their website, especially information relevant to your position. You should know the products they offer and the services they perform. You should know their mission statement and how long they have been incorporated. You should read any news that on their website. Never go to an interview without thoroughly reviewing the company’s website.
2. Do a quick web search
Searching for a company in a search engine will often bring up other websites with information on the history of the company or published interviews with executives. All of these will have information that is useful for the interview.
3. Check for press releases
Press releases are a great place to find information for the interview. Information that the company shares to the press is always information that is useful to learn. Often you will find interesting facts and figures about the business through these press releases.
In addition to the 3 key steps above, you should also speak with a current or former staff member of the company if you can and talk to a few people that use their products or services.
There are 5 basic steps you need to follow to really get your job search off to a great start.
1. Clean Up Your Social Profile
Before you look up a single potential role in any job search process, you absolutely must clean up all your social assets. This is because it actually takes a while for Google and other search engines to recognise the changes you make. You need to make sure all those old photos of you getting drunk or those opinionated comments you made about current social issues are all removed asap.
2. Define What You Want
Once your social assets are cleaned up, you are ready to start searching for new roles. To develop a targeted job search strategy, make a list of the job titles you want and the companies you want to work for then use this information to develop a succinct elevator pitch for those all important networking event.
3. Update All Your Assets
To hit the ground running with your job search , you need to have all your key assets up to date. This includes your resume, portfolio, LinkedIn profile and personal landing page. You need to make sure your resume includes all the relevant keywords for your industry and make sure the formatting is not going to get rejected by the resume screening software.
4. Reach Out To Your Network
Your job search efficiency and your chances of finding the role you want increase dramatically when you begin to network effectively. Reach out to family and friends and ask for their advice, connect with people and organisations on LinkedIn and attend relevant industry events.
5. Set Aside Job Search Time
Set aside a few hours a week that you will devote to job search. Use this time to update your resume to suit each individual role you are applying for, fill out application forms and send out resumes and prepare for common job interview questions.