Answers to 10 classic questions during a job interview

Publication Date: April 14, 2014, 11:05 a.m.

Prepare for the job interview… and find the correct answer behind every trap-question asked by the employer. Whether it is an interview through Skype, or an interview in person, there are some standard questions asked by the person conducting the interview which still manage to make us panic.  The list of questions below could give you the chance to think about what you are going to say during the interview… and improve your chances of being hired!


Can you tell me something about yourself?


A correct answer could score… a first good impression! We must concentrate on what is clearly connected to the job; this means our work experience, our qualifications, our studies but also our professional aspirations. However, the answer must not last more than a minute so as not to tire the interviewer. Additionally, we could also talk about our personal life and our hobbies…but we must be brief!


Why did you apply for this position?


Employers need to understand our intentions, while convincing them that we are the ideal person for the specific position. We must talk about the company’s vision in the best way, compare it to our ambitions and describe the position in connection to our talents. At the same time we must be enthusiastic during the interview and exude positive energy.


Can you tell me something about your studies?


If we have recognized degrees and extensive studies… we must mention it! However, even if we don’t, we can focus on the names of the universities as well as on the knowledge we gained. For instance: “I studied at X university. I learned about statistics and I was very active since I participated in many projects. That was fortunate because now I’m prepared for the position.”


Why did you leave your previous job?


Changes are certainly part of life but employers want to understand the reasons why we left our previous job. It’s important not to mention the negative events of our previous job, but to focus on the future. For example, we can mention that the job was not challenging enough for us or that the present company will make better use of our skills.


Can you tell us something about your experience?


When we are asked to say more about our experience… we must keep in mind that our employer is not interested in whether we worked for MC DONALD’S! It would be better to choose a position in our field and briefly describe our experience, the knowledge we gained but also the skills we developed.


Why should we hire you, specifically?


It is the toughest question of the interview since our reply must be convincing.  It’s important to prove why we are special, in other words what it is that sets us apart from the rest of the candidates.  Be careful! Don’t be general. For example, it would be good to mention that we meet all the requirements of the position… and encourage them to contact our previous employers, so that they are convinced about our capabilities!


Which are your strong and weak points?


As far as our strong points are concerned, we must choose our top talents such as being responsible, organized and having good interpersonal skills. As far as our weak points are concerned, we should mention the weak point which won’t threaten our chances for the specific job and talk about how we will overcome it.  For instance, we can say that we are not very patient but we try to work on it every day.


What are your goals for the next five years?


Employers just want to hear that you have got goals, like every serious professional. However, we can easily make mistakes, such as mentioning that we are dreaming of setting up our own business. Remember that companies don’t want to hire someone who will set up their own business in the next two years. Therefore, let’s choose goals which are connected to the company, like for example, “my goal is to become sales manager and to increase sales by 30%.”


What are your expectations concerning your salary?


Usually this question proves that the employer is thinking of hiring us. Of course, we should never initiate a discussion about the salary. The “key” to this answer is to underline that the salary is not the most important factor for us, which doesn’t however mean that we will ask for less than what we are worth.  It would be better to mention a range of numbers, depending on the salaries “going around” in the market.


When would you be available to begin?


Companies have plans and needs and we must be ready to begin whenever necessary.  If however we really have another job and we need time, it would be better to say: “Normally I would be ready to begin as soon as possible, but there is a one month notice policy in my current company. It would be unprofessional and irresponsible to leave now. I hope you understand.”

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