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3 tips for answering the most common interview questions

3 tips for answering the most common interview questions

Your strongest assets to stand out during an interview are preparation, personalization, and concrete examples

A recruiter meets multiple candidates for the same position. They quickly size up the person sitting in front of them. You need to move away from ready-made answers to score points. 

So here are the top 3 tips to prepare for the most common job interview questions.

1. Get to know yourself and be genuine

Many interview questions will revolve around your strengths and weaknesses. They go beyond the question that explicitly asks you to name them. You may have to answer the following:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your future plans/where do you see yourself in five years? 
  • How would your colleagues describe you?

During a job interview, recruiters are looking to know about your professional side. Leave out personal details as much as possible unless it’s relevant to the job. 

Think about which of your personality traits are best suited for the position you are applying for. Be honest with yourself. Check the strengths required in the job description and determine which ones you have.

2. Turn any negative event into a positive lesson

Other recruitment questions will focus on how you handle stress and conflict. Everyone experiences unpleasant work situations at some point, including interpersonal relationships, tasks, deadlines, procedures, or misunderstandings.

The recruiter will want to know who they’re dealing with in a tense situation and may ask:

  • How do you take criticism?
  • Describe a situation where you had to deal with a conflict and how you resolved it.
  • How do you react under pressure?
  • What difficult situation have you had to deal with/what was the most difficult situation you encountered at work?
  • Why do you want to leave your job?

Therefore, it’s crucial that you carefully review your professional experience to identify any less-than-stellar milestones in your career. 

The point is to frame these situations as a learning experience, a lesson, or an opportunity for self-reflection. So, find examples, briefly outline the situation, and mention what you learned and what this experience taught in order to improve your attitude or behaviour.

3. Show your interest in the position in a concrete way

You must show that you’re looking for the best job for you and that you aren’t applying for the job randomly or disinterestedly to find a position as quickly as possible. 

It’s a good idea to put yourself in the employer’s shoes. They want to hire someone who fits in with the company’s values and culture and demonstrates a capacity for real commitment.

With the following questions, recruiters will check whether your profile matches the job posting and the team already in place.

  • What are your greatest professional achievements?
  • Why should you be hired over another candidate?
  • What do you like and dislike about your current job?
  • What qualities do you look for in a boss?
  • Do you work better in a team or alone? 
  • Do you need to be supervised or do you prefer to work on your own?

Using concrete examples is always a good idea in interviews. If you answer that recurring tasks are what you don’t like about your current job, describe them, and explain why you prefer other tasks instead.

The same holds true for the question about teamwork and autonomy. Provide examples, such as: “I prefer teamwork because I’m more efficient when everyone has well-defined tasks to carry out to complete a project.”

Preparing for your next interview

Finally, here’s a summary to help you prepare for frequently asked interview questions in the best possible way:

  1. Read the job description carefully
  2. Summarize your career path
  3. Tailor your answers to the job you’re applying for.
  4. Be honest and genuine in your answers.
  5. Use concrete examples to illustrate your point.
  6. Avoid criticizing previous employers or colleagues. Make sure you turn any situation into a positive one.
  7. Focus on your skills and what you can bring to the company.
  8. Always ask questions at the end of the interview to show your interest in and knowledge about the company.

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frequent interview questions, job interview

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