Oftentimes, job interviews can bring out the jitters in even the most confident among us. But with a little (or even better, a lot) of preparation, anyone can feel ready to march in and ace their interview.
While having a great interview and “acing it” may not mean you’re the right person for the job at hand, it will certainly make an impression on your interviewer, which can keep your resume in the running for the next time a position opens for which you are the right fit.
Learn to embrace the job interview process
The job interview process is an important opportunity for interviewer and interviewee to learn about the job and the job prospect. Yet many people tend to see interviews as a moment in time when the spotlight is shining brightly on them, when they are put on the spot to answer all the questions correctly at risk of not getting the job.
But this is only partly true. The reality is that it’s a give-and-take process.
While the recruiter or hiring manager certainly needs to evaluate you to see if you are a good fit for the company, with long-term potential, there’s more to it than that. If you want to come out of the interview feeling certain that it’s the right company for you as well, you’ve got to be proactive in the process.
That means you can’t just be a passive bystander in your interview, answering the questions that come your way and hoping you responded correctly. You’ve got to also ask the right questions to give you a sense of the company and your place and fit within it.
Prepare to make a great first impression
Along with all the smiles, eye contact, body language and confidence, another major game-player that contributes to a great first impression is being prepared for your interview. That means having responses to the interview questions you’re asked, as well as bringing your own questions to the interview,
The majority of interviews last between 45 minutes and an hour. And the entire interview process could take nearly 23 days on average. But according to FastCompany, you only have about 7 seconds to make a great impression on your recruiter. On top of that, interviews can feel like the great unknown because, while you might have a sense of the basic format of the interview, you never know what question an interviewer might throw your way.
While trying as you might, you can’t anticipate every question they might pose to you. But you can prepare for some of the top questions so you can answer with finesse and confidence. The odd, curveball questions are just that, and are meant to throw you off your game a bit so your interview can see how you handle situations and think on the spot.
Prepare to ANSWER these common interview questions at your job interview
- Question 1: Where do you see yourself five years from now? Share your aspirations for the future. Do you see yourself moving up from an analyst to a management role with the company? More than anything, your interviewer wants to see if you have goals or aspirations to drive you and motivate you on the job. Do you plan to just stay in an entry-level position forever? If you present a lack of motivation to grow in your career, your employer may feel unmotivated to bring you on board.
- Question 2: Why are you changing career paths? It happens more often than you think. Your resume shows a career trajectory headed in a specific direction. Then for whatever reason, you’ve decided to shift directions and change up your career path. While to some employers, your job application down this new path might look opportunistic, you know it’s not. As you explain your very good reasons for changing up your career, you have the opportunity (and responsibility) to highlight how your past experiences have shaped you into the perfect candidate for the job at hand.
- Question 3: What do you consider your biggest professional accomplishment? There’s nothing like a track record of success to make your case for you. Impressing an employer isn’t just about the mechanics of being able to do tasks. Ultimately, results matter. If you have quantifiable results, such as increasing sales or helping your former company cut costs, share that. Even if you don’t have numbers-based results or achievements, you can share projects you’ve had the chance to either lead or be a part of, and how that’s impacted the company. Perhaps you created a project manual that streamlined processes and made it easier for any employee to dive into the project. Share that! Prepare examples of what you’ve done on the job that you’re proud of.
- Question 4: Explain how you’ve handled a difficult situation at work. Truth be told, difficult situations at work and in life are inevitable. Are you the kind of person who shys away from addressing important issues and sweeps them under the rug? Or do you deal with challenging people or situations at work head on? This says a lot about you, and about your ability to overcome and learn from challenges.
- Question 5: In what areas would your boss say you need to improve on? This question, once again, is an opportunity to share an area or two of weakness. But again, remember to frame it with what you’re doing to overcome and improve this area of your life.
- Question 6: Tell me about your career aspirations. Your interviewer is trying to gauge how your career goals and the job you’re interviewing for align. When a job and career goals align, a new hire is more likely to stick with the company as they move toward those goals. If you’ve never thought about your career goals, now is a great time to start thinking through those and creating some before you head into the interview. Goals are an important part of being successful at anything you do.
- Question 7: What do you consider your biggest failure? Being self-aware and humble enough to admit your mistakes and failures, but bright enough to learn where you went wrong is a terrific trait. Failure isn’t failure unless the experience is wasted. Sometimes failure brings about the biggest successes because of what we learn from them. Be sure to frame any failures in a positive light to highlight how the experience impacted who you are today.
- Question 8: When did you go above and beyond for a project? You may find it hard to brag on yourself, but now is a great time to demonstrate your willingness to go beyond your job description. Employers love to see employees with initiative to succeed, and commitment to the company and cause at hand. Are you someone who only does the bare minimum at work or who does what it takes to get the job done without regard for your job description? Prepare some examples you can share with your interviewer.
- Question 9: Tell me a bit about yourself. Consider this your 30-second (but likely longer) elevator pitch. Sharing a bit about your past present and future is a helpful formula to stick to, as you share your experiences in your current and past roles and what brought you into this particular interview. Share a bit about why you want the job, and how your experiences have shaped you into a great candidate.
- Question 10: Tell me what attracted you to this job or this company. Employers love to see dedicated and loyal employees who care about the company and are excited to represent it. This question helps weed out the click-happy applicants from those that are serious about working for the company, and who can point to reasons why the job caught their eye, or why they are applying with that company, specifically.
Prepare to ASK these important questions at your job interview
At CareerBliss, our goal is to help you find the job that brings out your careerbliss. Happiness on the job stems from a number of factors. Our team of happiness scientists have discovered 10 components to career happiness and satisfaction. While job happiness doesn’t require that all components fall into place for every job, it’s important for employee morale and satisfaction for at least one or two components to be part of their job.
Careerbliss considers ten key factors that impact or determine happiness in the workplace. These include: Compensation; Workplace environment; Relationship with management and company CEO; Growth opportunities; overall workplace setting and satisfaction within one’s job role.
When preparing your list of questions to ask your interviewer, it’s important to try to understand how the company and culture within the company meet your requirements as well. Knowing the happiness factors can help you shape the right questions to ask at your next job interview. Here are some solid questions you can ask at your job interview to help get you started.
- What does a typical day look like?
- What are you looking for in an ideal candidate?
- What type of person would be really successful in this position?
- What are the biggest challenges that someone in this position would face?
- What training programs do you offer your employees?
- Who will I report to directly?
- Are there opportunities for advancement or professional development within the company?
- Who will I work with most closely?
- What’s the company and team culture like?
- What is the work environment like here? More collaborative or independent?
- Does the team hang out outside the office?
- What’s different about working here than anywhere else you’ve worked?
- How has the company changed since you joined?
Want to be even more prepared for your next job interview or for the ongoing job search? Check out careerbliss.com. We’ve got loads of company reviews with real life employees rating their current or former companies on the happiness factors. We’ve also compiled salary information to give you the upper hand in knowing what your job or your skills are worth on the job market. Or check out our blog for even more tips for having a great interview, making a great first impression, and moving steadily closer to the job of your dreams.
Ready to take a step toward a brighter future, and toward your careerbliss? What are you waiting for? Visit us today at Careerbliss.com.
The CareerBliss Team
Your career happiness is our #1 priority here at CareerBliss. To help you succeed in your career, we offer a wide variety of tools and resources to help you out along the way. Check out company reviews, salary information, career advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!