A job interview is a chance for a job applicant to put the best foot forward, impressing a potential employer with his or her abilities. By thinking about job interview questions ahead of time, job applicants can prepare themselves to handle their interviews more effectively. Ultimately, the person conducting the interview wants to know what the interviewee's experience is, if he or she will fit in with the company, and if he or she really wants the job and stands out above the competition. If you're looking for a job, do your homework and get a friend to hold a mock interview with some of the common job interview questions you will find below, as well as some of your own.
Job interview questions break down into a couple of categories. One category includes questions which are intended to show the interviewer how you work, and what kind of working conditions you enjoy. Some examples of these kinds of job interview questions include: “How well do you work with a team?” “How do you deal with conflict in the office?” “What are you looking for from a job?” “What are your long range career goals?” “Tell us about a difficult situation in your last job, and how you deal with it.” “What kind of hours/salary/benefits do you look for in a job?”
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The interviewer will also ask job interview questions which are designed to open a window into your personality. These questions can be deal breakers, since they determine whether or not you will fit in with other employees. An interviewer might ask: “What would your former coworkers or bosses say about you?” “What's your favorite book?” “What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses?” “How do you handle mistakes?”
Other questions are intended to directly probe your work experience. An interviewer will ask about previous relevant employment, along with your experiences in other workplaces. If you have been fired from a job, you will need to disclose this, but if you think about the answer, you can turn it to your advantage. Don't say “I left company X because I was fired,” say “my supervisor decided that I was not a good fit with that company, but I think that certain traits would help me fit in really well with you,” and enumerate those traits.
Most employers also want to see how much you know about them. Read up on the companies you interview with so that you can answer questions about what the company does, people on the staff, and what you want to do with that company. You should also impress your interviewer with your desire for the position; if you are applying for other positions, try to minimize this fact, focusing on why working for the interviewer's company is your goal.
Finally, one of the most common job interview questions is “Do you have any questions for me?” This question is not an invitation to haggle about salary, benefits, or working hours, but it is a chance to impress the interviewer with your interest in the position. You could make yourself memorable by asking a distinctive question, or you could pose a question about the direction of the company's future or goals. Make sure to have a few questions of your own when you attend an interview, since the interview will end on a sour note if you respond to this question with “uh, no.”
After your job interview is concluded, make sure to thank the interviewer, and send written thank you notes to the people you interacted with including your interviewer and office staff. Try to customize these notes; if a secretary got you a glass of water, for example, say “Thank you for making me feel more comfortable in the office.”