Tell me about yourself?
This question is often an ice-breaker at the beginning of the interview. The employer wants to know more about you, but doesn’t know where to start, so you are given the opportunity to say what you want. Compare this to a trial where a lawyer can either ask you a close-ended question or an open-ended question.
Sometimes, whenyou are given too much latitude, you don’t know where to start; do you relate your professional experience, say where you come from, etc.? Well, let’s put it this way, whatever you say will have to relate to the position you are applying to. However, it doesn’t mean that your answer has to be impersonal (there is always a personal aspect to every job, unless you work only with machines). Give abrief overview of yourself, from your background to why you are interested in the job to your main qualifications (“introduce yourself”).
What do you know about our line of work?
This question is meant to gauge whether you have researched the company and is sometimes used to compare the level of interest between different candidates. Take this opportunity to describe to the interviewers yourperspective on what you think they do. Interviewers are sometimes curious to know what others think they actually do. If you have questions about the employer, now is a good time to ask.
What is your weakness?
This is a tricky question because you are supposed to show how good you are at the interview and here they are asking you how bad you are. Guess what, it doesn’t mean that they asked thatyou have to answer. Remember when you hear politicians avoiding those same types of questions on television? If they can do it, so can you!
Never admit a weakness that goes to the core competence of the job requirements. If you are applying for a receptionist position, don’t tell your interviewers that you are anti-social… Instead, tell them something that you know they won’t care so much aboutbecause it doesn’t relate to the position that you are applying to. There is a balance to be achieved between being truthful, yet realistic. Choose what you are going to say and remember that we all have weaknesses.
Looking at your own resume, what do you think your weaknesses are regarding this job?
This question is a subset of the prior question. It is even more targeted and wants you to discussyour weaknesses for the job. A good trick is to take charge and ask the interviewers what they think your weaknesses are (be diplomatic however because some interviewers may not like candidates that answer a question with another question – it’s all about how you approach it) or, alternatively, what are the main weaknesses shown by new recruits like you. You can then go from there and say whetheryou fall in that category and, if you do, what you can do to get out of it. You can also mention why you don’t fall into that category and explain why you don’t.
You can also mention that you think you are a good fit for the position; otherwise, you would not have applied for it. Among some of the weaknesses you can choose to volunteer, you can say your lack of experience, but then stress yourtransferable skills and state that you are confident you will be able to adapt fast.
What are your strengths?
Use this opportunity to describe your strengths in a way that will complement the position you are seeking. Put your strengths in perspective. Show concrete examples. Also, avoid mentioning strengths that you know other candidates will invariably mention. Set yourself apart.
Becredible. If you say that you have good communication skills, make sure to live up to it.
Why did you leave your last job?
Answer with a positive statement. Avoid saying such things as you were fired or you didn’t get along with a co-worker, etc. Instead, say something like you got a new job, your contract ended, your job was seasonal, you wanted to change career, you returned to school, you...