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Best Answers to Traditional Interview Questions

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When an interview opportunity comes knocking, best practice is to prepare ahead of time. There’s no way to know for sure what kinds of questions you’ll be asked, but you can determine the quality of your answers ahead of time. These frequently asked questions come up often, and you’ll be thankful to have an answer mapped out before the interview arrives.

“What are some of your strengths?”

Say… “I’m a great interpersonal communicator and I truly enjoy speaking to customers every day.” not “I’m a people person.”
In this case, it’s always best to elaborate. A lot of people have great communication skills, but defining which are your strongest and how you use them will set you apart. It’s always good to have a few example for this category. And on that note…
“How about your weaknesses?”

Say… “I’ve had trouble with procrastination in the past — now I always have a to do list to keep myself organized.” not “I literally don’t do anything until it’s almost due.”
Less is more here. You’re talking about your problem areas, so employers expect a level of personal understanding without unprofessionalism. If you divulge too much information, you’ll seem like the wrong fit for the job. But — much like strengths, a “how so?” will probably follow if you don’t add a little more detail. A great tactic is to discuss your weaknesses and mention how you tackle them in the workplace when they arise.

“Tell me about yourself.”

Say… “I worked at X, I’m very interested in Y, and I’m quite passionate about Z — which is what brought me here.” not “I grew up in California and I love spending time with my friends, I have 3 dogs, let me show you a few pictures…”
When your interviewer asks this question, they’re looking for a very minimal summation of you as a person. Specifically, they want to know how you’ll fit in with their team. Take this time to fill them in on your career and personal background as it relates to the job — not what your favorite restaurants in the area are.

“Why do you want this job?”

Say…“I love the atmosphere, I’m really interested in the work that you do here, or I feel that my experience in X will be mutually beneficial for both me and the company.” not “I don’t know, or I just need a job right now.”
Here, it’s important to show that you have an understanding of the company’s background when you’re answering while aligning that with your current skill set. No matter what — never say that you ‘just need a job,’ even if it’s true. Employers want someone who has some interest in the company and that kind of answer will most likely knock you out of the running.

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