Interview preparation doesn't have to feel vague or intimidating. Just like studying for a test or rehearsing for a play yields the best results, the surest way to ace your next job interview is to research a comprehensive list of interview questions and answers.
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For that reason, I've collected 50 interview questions you're likely to face in your next interview. Over the course of a three-part series, we'll be exploring how to answer each one. This is part two. Check out part one here, and look for part three early next week!
17. Have You Ever Been Terminated?
If you have been fired at some point in the past, be honest about it – but stay positive. Don't blame your former employer. Explain how you learned from your errors, or direct the conversation toward how much you grew as an employee in your next job.
18. How Do You Plan to Be an Asset to This Organization?
Take the major skills and experience described on your resume and relate them to the position being offered. Explain how you will use your unique aptitudes to solve problems, deliver consistent results, and above all else, add value to the organization.
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19. Why Should We Hire You?
Don't give an answer similar to the previous question; while these question may look alike, what your interviewer is really asking about here is what sets you apart from competing candidates. Ask yourself: What inspires you, what makes you uniquely innovative, and what do you have to offer your industry that no one else does? Your answer should reflect all of these qualities.
20. Tell Me About a Time You Suggested Something and It Worked
Don't give a vague answer like, "I suggested that we step up our marketing efforts at my last place of work, and my supervisor agreed." Provide hard facts and real data, e.g., "I spearheaded a marketing campaign, and as a direct result of my strategies, sales rose by 30 percent in that quarter."
21. What Annoys You Most in a Coworker?
This question is usually a trap to uncover your own unsavory qualities. At all costs, avoid saying anything negative about people you've worked with. Instead, state that you've never had any issue resolving conflicts – you simply communicate openly until all parties involved are satisfied.
22. What Is Your Greatest Strength?
This question is relatively straightforward, but make sure your answer includes an example of how you have used your greatest strength to generate real results in the past.
23. How Would You Describe Your Dream Job?
Don't answer flippantly (i.e., billionaire business mogul) or try to directly claim that the position you're applying for is your dream job (this usually doesn't look credible, even if you feel that way). Pick a few core skills you hope to build on and explain that your dream job would allow you to do so, making sure that these skills do in fact align with the position you're applying for.
24. Why Do You Think You Would Excel in This Position?
Your answer should touch on your relevant experience and skills while also including a mention of why you're interested in the position.
25. What Are You Looking for in a Job?
Reiterate which skills you wish to grow (as mentioned in the answer to No. 23) but go into more specific detail on how, exactly, you want to build on them. Also, mention the type of company culture you wish to be a part of – while making sure that culture is present in the organization you're applying to.
26. Is There Any Kind of Person You Refuse to Work With?
Don't go into undesirable personality traits. Instead, state that you wouldn't work with anyone who violated the law or company policy.
27. What Do You Value More About This Position: the Money or the Work?
You should always value the work primarily – and convincingly explain why you value the work so highly. How does it fulfill you and inspire you?
28. What Would Your Previous Boss Say Your Greatest Strength Is?
Explain that your boss would agree with your own assessment of your greatest strength. Ideally, you should get a direct quote from the boss affirming your primary skill or aptitude.
29. Tell Me About a Problem You Had With a Boss or Supervisor
Almost all of us have had a tyrannical or incompetent boss at some point in our lives, but the last thing you want to do is speak ill of any of your former bosses or supervisors. Doing so looks extremely unprofessional and may make you seem like a "difficult" employee. Give a brief answer that describes a situation that could have become a problem but that you worked out with your former boss using excellent communication and cooperation.
30. What About Your Previous Job Disappointed or Dissatisfied You?
Choose a safe, generic answer such as, "I felt there wasn't enough room for growth."
31. How Well Do You Work Under Pressure?
Don't simply claim that you thrive under pressure; give actual examples of how you have handled tight deadlines in the past or managed problematic projects.
32. Do Your Skills Match This Job, or Is There Another Job They Would Match More Closely?
Your interviewer may well be fishing to see if you are indeed applying for other positions and what kind of positions they might be. Either answer that you feel this position is the best fit, or if you lack a great deal of specific experience (as might be the case if you are trying to shift directions in your career), state that you feel this position will allow you to build on the skills you want to focus on in the future.
Robert Moment is the "Get Hired Expert and Interview Coach" at www.HowtoInterviewTips.com.