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You know they’re gonna be asked—and you want to prepare your answers to common interview questions to help set you apart from the pack. Plus, if you’re feeling nervous for your interview, getting your answers ready can help calm your nerves. These are two major reasons to practice common interview questions. It’s part of being able to interview like a pro, wow your interviewer and land your next job.

Five common interview questions and answers

With rock-solid answers to these Big Five questions, you can’t go wrong come interview time.

  1. So, tell me about yourself. Though it’s undoubtedly interesting, your interviewer isn’t asking to hear your life story. Instead, they want to know information that pertains to your career: where did you go to school, what jobs have you held, what are your passions, why do you love your field, etc.
  2. Why do you want to work here? Your answer to this question can show two things: 1. You did your homework and researched the company, and 2. How you can help the company with your knowledge, skills and experience. Google the company and visit the corporate website—what are they all about, what’s new, who are their clients? You might be able to find pain points through press releases, articles or other headlines. How are you well-aligned to help?
  3. What are your top strengths? What are your top weaknesses? Though your interviewer understands that everyone is human and doesn’t expect you to be perfect, they’re trying to uncover what skills you bring to the table, and what qualities could be an issue. It’s easy to list your top skills—just pick things that qualify you for the job. But with weaknesses, you have a few ways to answer the question. First, you might choose an honest weakness that is unrelated to the job. Second, you could mention an area where you’ve struggled in the past but have since improved. Third, though this is a common way to answer, you could list a weakness but spin it as a strength—such as painstaking attention to detail, or perfectionism.
  4. Where do you see yourself in five years? An employer is looking to find out if your future plans have the company in mind, or if you’re looking to put in a year or two, and then bail. So it’s wise to answer this question with how you’re hoping to grow with the company.
  5. What questions do you have for me?

The worst answer is you have no questions. The best answer is a carefully planned list of 3–5 questions—always have a few in case any of your questions get answered in the process of the interview. Good questions are:

  • Why did the previous person leave this job?
  • What do you think my chances are of getting this position?
  • What’s your favorite part about working here?
  • Within what time frame will you make your hiring decision?

Practice, practice and practice a little more

You’ll get out of your job interview what you put into it, and you can never be too prepared. Type or write out your answers, and then commit them to heart.

Looking for your next interview?

Check out McGrath Systems! We place highly qualified candidates with positions in engineering, IT, human resources, administration and light industrial. To begin working with one of our recruiters, contact us today!

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