Job interviews are about as fun as a good torture session. When you are interviewing, some of the questions seem off the wall. The problem is interviewers are looking at not only experience. They want to know your opinions and beliefs, what you value. This leads to some tricky questions like the ones below. However, with a little thought, they are easy to ace.
What are your weaknesses?
This is always a tough one, a catch 22. If you say you have no weaknesses, the interviewers know you are lying. Yet, what if you list as a weakness something they value? There are a couple of basic ways to deal with this thorny issue. Choose an unimportant weakness and focus on improvement
The first way is to choose weaknesses the interviewers will find unimportant. For example, if you are interviewing for an English teaching job, no one cares you’re not great at accounting. This way, you have answered the question, but it doesn’t affect your ability to do this job.
You can also focus on improvement rather than weakness. If you are interviewing to work in an office and you struggle at presentations, you could say that presentations are a challenge, so you are taking courses on the subject and practicing to improve your skills. This shows how you are willing to work to improve yourself.
If you gave your last boss a performance review, what would he or she need to change?
It’s important not to appear to be the type of employee who complains about the boss. Interviews should focus on the positive and play up your strengths, so you can praise your former boss and focus the question back to you
The first thing you need to do is say something good about your boss. This shows you don’t just complain. Then, work to focus the question back to you. You might say, “My boss was very friendly, but I find I also need someone who is authoritative to guide me through difficult projects.” You have diplomatically answered the question, but you don’t come off as a whiner.
What is the one question you were hoping I wouldn’t ask?
This question can be nerve wracking, but is also a chance for you to set the course of the interview. After all, now you’re getting to choose the question topic, so you can focus on your strengths. You might say you didn’t want to be asked about your group dynamics skills because you are a take charge type of person and you have to work at sharing responsibility. Then you can assure them you work on this skill everyday. This way, the interviewers know you are a leader and work hard to improve your weaknesses.
What would you like to do with your life?
Interviewers are not expecting to hear you want to be company president, but they also want to know their job is one you will choose to stay with for awhile. A great way to answer this is to go from general to specific. You can choose a general life goal, such as working in management, then tie the job you’re applying for into it. You can mention how this job is teaching you the skills of organization, hard work, and team cooperation to achieve your goals.
If you could change anything in your past, what would that be?
A good approach is to focus on a missed opportunity which could have helped you in this job. You could say you wished you had focused more on positions with management tasks so you would have even more experience for this job. Follow up with an explanation of how the job you want will provide the experience.
What do you want from this job and your career?
This question is rather like what do you want out of life, but it gives you a chance to focus on how you plan to stay in this job for the long haul. Interviewers want to know you will continue at their firm and not leave within a year or so, forcing them to find another person. Your focus here is proving your goal is aligned with the job and you will work on your goal in this position. A great choice would be to say you want to learn certain skills and use them to work your way up the ranks.
Why should we choose you for this role?
This is your chance to toot you own horn, but toot on point. To do this, you need to focus on two things. Your strengths and how these strengths apply to the job
Those hiring want the best person for the job. You want to tell about your strengths and explain how they can be used for the job. Without tying the strength to the job, the answer is useless. If you say you are determined, then you need to pick out a part of the job and tell how your determination benefits the position.
Describe a situation where you have gone above and beyond.
What they want to know is how hard you will work for their company. Therefore, the example you choose should relate back to the kind of tasks you will do in the new job. If, for example, you have to write a lot of reports for the new job, tell how you worked all weekend on a large report for a former position. That way, everyone knows you will be willing to do so again if you are hired.
In the end, focus on the desired job is the key. The main end should be how you are the best choice for the job and your answers should always highlight the fact. While it is tempting to throw in unrelated self-praise, in the end it is just filler with no value.