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Interview Preparation

Top Ten Interview Questions

Learn about what to apply and avoid when answering some of the most common and important questions to prepare for during the interview process. Review and practice these questions, along with any other questions you may find relevant. For a downloadable copy please see document here:  Career Top 10 Interview Questions

 

1. Tell us about yourself

Apply

  • Keep your response specific, but succinct.
  • Be work specific and share where you are now professionally, what you have learned from past work experiences, and what makes you excited about this opportunity.
  • Learn what qualities this organization is looking for and communicate how you possess them.

Avoid

  • Do not dive into your life story.
  • Do not go on about experience you may have that isn’t related to the job you’re interviewing for.

2. Why do you want to work for us?

Apply

  • Talk about specific things you like about the organization. Do your research on the needs of the organization and share how passionate you are about fulfilling their needs.
  • Show how your strengths align with the posting and the organization’s culture.

Avoid

  • Avoid responding in a way that shows you are not committed to the organization (i.e. stepping stone, financial necessity, benefits, commute, etc.).

3. Share two of your greatest strengths.

Apply

  • Find out from your research of the organization and the job posting for what strengths the organization values.
  • Highlight a strength that is crucial to the position.

Avoid

  • Do not be overly modest, be confident.
  • Do not make claims you cannot support with examples or facts.
  • Pass on strengths that are irrelevant to the position.

4. Share two of your areas of improvement

Apply

  • Share an area of improvement and what you have done to overcome it.
  • Be prepared with examples.

Avoid

  • Avoid responding in a manner portraying a sense of arrogance, because everyone can improve. 
  • Avoid highlighting a weakness that is listed as a minimum qualification for the job posting.

5. Briefly, describe reasons for leaving your previous position.

Apply

  • Be truthful.
  • Avoid stating reasons that cannot be verified.
  • If you left voluntarily, share a specific characteristic that the organization you are interviewing for has that attracted you to the position.
  • If you were terminated (i.e. temporary, budget cuts, restructuring, furloughs, etc.), explain what you learned from the experience.

Avoid

  • Do not speak negatively about your current or previous organization, superiors, and colleagues.  
  • Avoid reasons such as career change, boredom at current position, etc.  Share a succinct and positive reason for why you are interested in the position.

6. What is your greatest (professional) accomplishment to date?

Apply

  • Share an accomplishment that shows how you will be a good fit for the organization and for the position you are interviewing for.
  • Display a sense of enthusiasm when talking about your accomplishment.

Avoid

  • Avoid being too humble. This is your opportunity to highlight some of the great work you have done.

7. Describe a difficult work situation and what you did to overcome it. 

Apply

  • Prepare to discuss a success story relating to a problem you have overcome.
  • Choose an example of a problem or challenge that you have solved in the past that could arise again in this new position.
  • Be specific and succinct.
  • Use the S.T.A.R. Method.

Avoid

  • Avoid speaking negatively of others.
  • Avoid being overly confident and share if the solution was a team effort.
  • Avoid rambling. Prepare your response.

8. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Apply

  • Allow your response to the question demonstrates your level of commitment to the position.
  • After demonstrating your commitment, outline a realistic growth strategy that is directly tied to the role you are in.
  • Show that you are an ambitious person and focused on the job at hand.

Avoid

  • Avoid responding in a way that shows your ambition for the position as just a stepping stone as you move your way up the ladder of the organization.

9. Describe your ideal work environment/supervisor.

Apply

  • Be truthful and use adjectives that are easily understandable and descriptive.

Avoid

  • Sharing negative information regarding your current or previous place of work/co-workers. 

10. Do you have any questions for us about the position or organization?

Apply

  • Have a few questions prepared and have one based around something you found during your research of the organization.
  • Focus your questions on the organization and what you can do for them.
  • Ask what qualities they are looking for in the successful candidate.

Avoid

  • Avoid saying  “No, I think I’m good.” Always have questions ready!
  • Do not ask questions you can easily find the answer to or ask about time off/benefits if it is too early in the process.

Online Courses

Internal Interviewing
Lida Citroën

Description: You see a job posting you'd be perfect for and—best of all—it's at your current employer. However, current employees don't always get preferential treatment when it comes to hiring. Learn how to position yourself for a new role and prepare for the process of internal interviewing. Personal brand expert Lida Citroën helps you assess your internal reputation and have a conversation with your current boss about exploring a new job within the company. 

Watch Internal Interviewing

Mastering Common Interview Questions
Valerie Sutton

Description: Preparing for an interview can be daunting. Learn how to master the top 10 most common interview questions you'll encounter when looking for a new job. The tips provided in this course will help you craft authentic answers that showcase your experience and your enthusiasm for an organization.

Watch Mastering Common Interview Questions

 

Articles

 

Top 10 Job Interview Questions and Best Answers
Ever wondered about how to respond to some of the most common interview questions? Read this article to not only view the top ten interview questions, but learn how to nail the responses.

Top 50 Job Interview Questions
Prepare for your upcoming interview by practicing your responses the top 50 common interview questions.

The Best Outfits for Job Interviews
Here's information on how to dress for an interview, including advice on what, and what not, to wear, how to impress a prospective employer, business vs. business casual attire, and general tips on dressing for success.
 

S.T.A.R. Method Interviews 
Curious about how to apply the S.T.A.R. method in your interviews? Learn how to provid effecive examples by following the S.T.A.R. Method during the interview.

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