Do you know one of the most important words to keep in mind during your interview process? Prepare. The better you prepare in advance, the more confident you’ll feel while you’re in an interview. And the more confident you feel, the better you will do. Even though each company is different, there are some common interview questions that almost everyone asks. Take a look at our tips on the best ways to answer them, and equally as important — how not to answer them.

Interview Questions

Interview Questions

Open-Ended Questions

These types of questions are those that make you think. It’s not a simple answer such as stating your previous salary or college degree. Open-ended interview questions help employers get to know who you are and how you see the world. Let’s take a look at some of the more common open-ended interview questions.

Visit us or call our Cape Cod career center at:
MassHire Cape & Islands Career Center 508-771-JOBS (5627)

What are your strengths?

Much of this will be pointed out on your resume and cover letter. But this is your chance to reinforce your unique qualities. If your resume says you’re a problem solver, now is your chance to explain why. List examples. Don’t just say you are, but tell the story that proves you are. When applicable, list actual stats or scenarios that show how you helped to create improvements and growth.

What are your weak points?

Some people feel as though this is a “gotchya” question. The key here is to be honest – even if you have to edit yourself a bit. Don’t throw this opportunity away by saying you work too hard, or you need everything to be perfect, etc. Those answers are too common and aren’t effective. Be yourself. Everyone has things they’d like to improve. Explaining that you really want to grow and learn is a much stronger answer. Perhaps you need more software training, or are still honing your public speaking skills. Choose something that can be changed. Don’t answer with a negative personality trait that they might feel they’d be stuck with.

Where would you like to be in 5 years?

Interviewers want to know that growing within their company is part of your long-term goals. Talk about your passion. Express how you see yourself growing in the job for which you’re applying. Don’t just throw out a phrase that really means nothing, such as “I want your job someday.” Focus on goals that make sense. If you’re applying to be an x-ray technician, don’t say that in 5 years you’d like to be a manager in an accounting firm.

Why do you want this particular job?

Show that you’ve done your homework, and explain why you are a good match for the job. What skills do you have that work well with this company’s mission? Let the interviewer know that you have a good feeling about the company’s vision as well as the position, and how it fits into your long and short-term goals.

Why did you leave your previous job?

Whether you’ve already left your job or are planning on leaving, there are some answers that you never should offer. Never bad-mouth your boss or your co-workers. That’s a red flag to the interviewer that you’re apt to do the same thing in this job. Focus on how you want to grow and make use of your talents, and how the new company can offer that to you. You’re moving up in the world.

Do you have any questions for me?

Make sure you have at least one question. If you say no, it looks as though you don’t really care. Even if you think they answered all your questions, you can still come up with something. Research the company and decide beforehand what kinds of questions you can ask. Try to make it relate to something you’ve already talked about. If the interviewer talks about a project, ask what your role might be. Ask questions such as if there will be travel, how many people are in the department, what a typical day is like. Don’t ask how many vacation days or sick you’ll get. You can also ask if they have any more questions for you; if they’d like you to clarify anything.

Being well prepared will help you throughout this process. And the more you go through it, the easier it gets. MassHire Cape & Islands Career Center is a career services agency on Cape Cod. We can help you prepare for and practice answering interview questions. Visit us or call our Cape Cod career center at:
MassHire Cape & Islands Career Center 508-771-JOBS (5627)