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Success depends upon previous
preparation, and without such preparation
there is sure to be failure. - Confucius

Believe it or not, the interviewing process has remained relatively unchanged for most companies. As such, it is more predictable than you may think - which is a good thing for you. Because it means you can successfully prepare and do well in your interview. In fact, you can give yourself a competitive advantage because most people don’t prepare for this important “second step” in getting hired (the first step is your resume).

Hence if you do not know what happens during an interview, it is time to learn – and likewise, get prepared. Here are the “Top 10” most common interview questions. For your added benefit, we have also added some “Quick Summary” points to help you along the way.

Click on the interviewing questions below:

Normally, this is the first question of the interview. Believe it or not, it can be a tough question – really! Figuring out what you should tell, or not, is often difficult when under pressure. The most common mistake we all make is narrating our entire life story, which might not be the thing interviewers are really looking for. Remember, they are more interested in knowing about your potential as a prospective employee – so tell them how you are the right person for the job.

Quick Summary: Small bio + relevant skills + relevant experience + relevant accomplishments.

This again looks like a question that is very easy to answer. However, you need to be very careful with your words because you don’t want to go off topic. Answering this question correctly affords you the opportunity to show the interviewer how great you can be in meeting the job requirements. Explain your strengths in the context of how you would apply them to the job. Detail your strengths in a manner that aligns to the job.

Quick Summary: Relevant skills + potential to turn the knowledge and experience into contextual actions.

Everybody has a weakness – and if you’re like most people, you have more than one. Make a list of those weaknesses, and shorten it down to those that are not required to successfully meet the job requirements. Tell them what they are – and at the same time, share with them those areas where you are improving, as it shows courage, honesty and integrity. Remember, somebody who says that they know everything – in fact, knows nothing.

Quick Summary: Unrelated skills + improvement plan.

Before you go for the interview, learn as much as you can about the company for when this question comes. This way you are prepared to share your thoughts on what you find interesting or inspiring about the company, being able to cite their achievements, contributions to the community and more. Having detailed knowledge about the company conveys your sincere interest about the job. You can search for company information on their website, media and government information. Learn about the owner as well – he may have a personal blog that you can read and study.

Quick Summary: Research the company + relevant goals + align your skills.

By asking you these questions, the interviewer wants to observe how well you present and sell yourself. This is your opportunity to differentiate yourself from other applicants. Summarize your strengths in the most clear, unique and creative way possible. Align these qualities and present your “sales pitch” in relation to the job requirement of the opening. Mold yourself in a manner whereby it appears the job was actually made for you.

Quick Summary: Sell yourself + give a colorful perspective on your gifts.

This is another chance where you can show your strengths and your achievements by talking about the experience you had in your last company. You can share your experience by relating it to the requirements of the job for which you are interviewing. In doing, phrase your answers in a manner that tells them how you can immediately hit the ground running by adding value to their company as a result of what you did previously, on someone else’s time and investment.

Quick Summary: Relevant accomplishments + relevant experiences.

Before you answer this, bear in mind that your answer is building your image and personal brand – and not the company you are talking about. Therefore never speak badly of your ex- boss or the company as this can cause the interviewer to wonder if you would be doing the same about them in the future – and question your loyalty. Instead, speak about your desire for personal and professional growth as well as your passion and desire for taking on new challenges.

Quick Summary: Relevant interest + being positive + no bad-mouthing.

Believe it or not, your answer to this question can determine the final outcome of your interview – period. Your answer tells an employer what your goals are, including whether or not your goals align with theirs. It also tells them if you are driven, realistic, and if you are willing to “pay your dues” first and expect a promotion later. Lastly, your answer is an indication of your ability (or desire) to make a long-term commitment to their company. Always remember that an employer makes an investment in you with training, time and salary. Hence you need to convey the passion for the opportunity of this job and that your future plans mutually align with the company’s goals.

Quick Summary: Relevant goals + relevant ambitions + interest in the company.

This question is asked because the interviewer wants to know if your goals and interests are a good fit for their company’s requirements. Your answer should therefore be one that best expresses your goals specific to the job description – as well as conveying the long-term interests of the company. In doing you should communicate this with enthusiasm, love of new challenges, and a desire to be part of a team where you can grow – and help others grow.

Quick Summary: Study requirements + align interests + show enthusiasm towards the job.

Don’t make the mistake by saying “No”. From an employer’s perspective, a person that hesitates to ask questions – or worse, asks no questions whatsoever, appears to be someone who isn’t interested in the job, or someone that is not very bright. Asking good questions is your last opportunity to make a great impression on your interviewer. Come up with smart and intelligent questions that demonstrate you already have a basic understanding of the position and needs of the company. Just make sure that you do not ask a basic question about something you could have learned from your pre-interview research or Google search.

Quick Summary: Intelligent, interesting, contextual questions.
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