On the ninth ‘Day of Kforce’,
From our staffing company,
Nine Interview Questions.
Interviews are a quintessential step in the job search process, so it is imperative that you are thoroughly prepared ahead of time. Like all things in life, you never know what will happen in an interview, but Kforce manager, Dan Lynes, provides some insight on the nine questions you should expect to be asked and how you can prepare their answers.
1. Tell me about yourself.
While it may seem obvious, this one can be tricky! You want to be creative and find a way to stand out without thinking too far out of the box. Before you come in for an interview, you should be aware of who you will be meeting with. Search their name on the Internet and on LinkedIn. Where did they attend school? What are their interests? Have they been published? Find common interests and sprinkle those in as you talk about yourself.
2. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
Think of strengths that you possess which will prove beneficial for the position at hand. If the company you are interviewing for has specific problems you are aware of, explain how you can fill their void.
Don’t let the mention of weaknesses trip you up, in fact, these can be used to your advantage! Use weaknesses that can be seen as strengths for the position. For example, if this role requires good organizational skills, your weakness may be the need for organization and order. Provide examples demonstrating this.
3. What professional accomplishments are you most proud of, why?
Make a list of specific achievements you have accomplished and then narrow it down to a couple that are most relevant to this particular company and/or job opportunity. Consider providing examples from previous jobs held, promotions, and challenges conquered, as well as academics, sports, philanthropy, and goals obtained through passion and hard work. If you chose to explain a personal accomplishment, first make sure it is an appropriate topic to discuss during an interview.
4. What specific skills do you possess that relate to this position?
If you have made it to the interview stage, you more than likely have skills that match the job requirements. Before the interview, take a good look at the job description and identify the required skills. Take a second look at your resume and ask yourself which skills you have and where/how you obtained them. Jot those down on paper and think of stories or examples that demonstrate those abilities. It’s okay if you lack a specific skill, but be ready to talk about your ability to learn quickly, willingness to take training and/or motivation to take on new challenges.
5. How does this opportunity align with your future goals?
Stay in the middle on this one. You don’t want to be too specific with your “career track” as this may not fit into their current plan for your role. For example, if you are applying for a temporary position, you don’t want to mention that you would like to be in a management role within a year. Of course, their plan may change once you come on board, but allow this to happen naturally as a result of your skills. Identify positive aspects about the position, talk about why the company is a great fit in general and how you feel they can best utilize your talents.
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
You have to do a bit of a balancing act here as well, being both general and specific. For example: “In five years, I want to be growing professionally at a stable company by increasing my responsibility and taking on new challenges. I hope to acquire new skills while updating pre-existing ones based on the demand of the environment.”
Avoid talking about specific management and job titles as well as immediate growth opportunities. Keep in mind you’re interviewing for the job at hand, not where you want to be in five years.
7. What type of professional environment is ideal for you?
First, identify what type of environment the company offers. Then find positive examples that illustrate why that environment is a good fit for you. Think about factors like company culture, size, number of employees, working in a team or independently, a fast-paced environment, corporate setting versus non-traditional, etc… At this point, you should have done enough research about the company to know their culture, explain why this culture is attractive to you or why you are interested in making a change from one type of environment to another.
8. Why do you want to leave your current job?
Always keep this response positive. Be as honest as possible and tell the truth in a way that will come across rational and logical. You do not want to place blame on past colleagues/managers or talk negatively about previous employers.
9. Odd-ball questions.
Have fun with it! Some questions, like “What type of animal would you be?” are only meant to lighten the mood while others, like impossible math problems, are used as a technique to judge how you handle situations on-the-spot. If it is more of a lighthearted question, think of something interesting or funny (but appropriate). This is a great way to express your personality. If it is more of a critical thinking question, take a breath, ask for more information if necessary, and answer to the best of your ability… whatever you do, don’t let them see you sweat!
Not all interviews are created equal. Each interview presents a different interviewer with different questions, style, tone, and personality. While you can never know what is to happen, preparing yourself for several commonly asked questions may tip the scales in your favor.
Stay tuned for Day 10!
EIGHT LinkedIn Job Search Tricks
SEVEN Things to Leave Off your Resume
SIX Job Search Steps for New Grads
FIVE Ways to Work with your Recruiter
FOUR Must-Join LinkedIn Groups
THREE Cover Letter Clues
TWO Interview Follow-up Tips
The ONE Thing Employers Want to See