Hiring Tips Job Interviews

Be Prepared: 10 Tough, Common Job Interview Questions

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When going to a job interview, you know you’ll probably get some tough, crazy and even some off-the-wall questions. To not totally bomb the interview, you need to prepare! Here are 10 tough questions that you may want to ask if you’re doing online recruitment (or prepare for if you’re interviewing) in a job interview.

Questions for Online Recruitment

1.  Could you tell me a little about yourself?

Hiring Managers: Most interviewers use this question to gather information and assess poise, style of delivery, and communication ability.

Interviewees: Don’t launch into a mini-speech about your childhood, schooling, hobbies, early career and personal likes and dislikes. Instead, briefly cite recent personal and professional work experiences related to the position you’re seeking and that support your credentials. Better yet, prepare a personal branding statement that quickly describes who you are and what you can bring to the company.

2.  Why did you leave your previous employer, or why are you leaving your present job?

Hiring Managers: Learn more about an interviewee’s likes and dislikes, including what would make them stay long-term at a job.

Interviewees: COVID-19 and the economy have pushed many talented professionals into the workforce, so don’t be ashamed to simply explain that you were a part of a downsizing or layoff. If you were fired for performance issues, it’s best to merely say you “parted ways” and refocus the discussion on how your skill set matches the current position. If you currently have a job, focus on why you’re seeking greater opportunity, challenges or responsibility. If you’re transitioning to a new industry, discuss why you’re making the transition and tie it into the new job responsibilities (ensure that you have solid references regardless of why you left, or are leaving, a position).

3.  What are your greatest strengths?

Hiring Managers: Sit back and listen. Is the interviewee more of an “I” person or a “we” with teamwork?

Interviewees: Briefly summarize your work experience and your strongest qualities and achievements directly related to the responsibilities of the job posting you are applying for online. One proven approach is to include four specific skills that employers value when conducting online recruitment: self-motivation, initiative, the ability to work on a team and a willingness to be committed.

4.  What are your weaknesses?

Hiring Managers: This question may fluster many interviewees. See if they can turn negatives and spin them into positives.

Interviewees: Realize that most interviewers don’t expect you to be perfect or reveal your real weaknesses. Turn this question around and present a personal weakness as a professional-strength. Let’s assume that you’re detail-oriented, a workaholic and that you neglect friends and family when working on important projects. You can turn these weaknesses around by saying that you’re very meticulous and remain involved in projects until you’ve ironed out all the problems, even if it means working after hours or on the weekend.

Another tactic is to discuss an area where you’re seeking improvement and then highlight the steps you’re taking to meet that goal. Perhaps you’re an accountant and are working to improve your knowledge of payroll procedures by taking courses at a local college, or maybe you’re an IT professional earning additional certifications.

5.  What can you tell me about our company and/or industry?

Hiring Managers: See if interviewees do their homework. This is where you’ll see if they really want to work for you or they’re simply going to yet another job interview.

Interviewees: Do your homework. Check out the company website and their “About Us” section. Most public companies post Investor Information, which typically lists their Management Team, Board of Directors and past financial performance. Write down a few key points that you can cite when asked. Interviewers want to know that you’re interested in more than just a job.

6.  What do/did you like most and least about your present/most recent job?

Hiring Managers: See if interviewees get along well with most of their coworkers or speak down about their previous employers.

Interviewees: Concentrate your answer on areas that are relevant to the position and be specific. Don’t say, “I liked the atmosphere.” Instead, try saying, “I enjoyed the camaraderie of being part of a team.” When discussing the least-liked aspects of your present or previous job, try to mention an area of responsibility that’s far removed from the functions of the job you’re seeking. But be sure your answer indicates that you either performed the assignment well or learned something useful. This shows that you stick with tasks, even ones that don’t particularly interest you.

7.  Aren’t you overqualified for this position?

Hiring Managers: Overqualified applicants are less likely to stay long-term, which means you’ll find yourself spending more time in a revolving online recruitment cycle.

Interviewees: Hardly anyone expects you to say “yes” to this question in today’s job market. If you do, the interviewer may think you’ll grow dissatisfied and leave the company quickly. Instead, focus on the experience and skillset you’ll bring to the position and the value they’ll receive by hiring you.

8.  What sets you apart from other applicants in the online recruitment process?

Hiring Managers: See if the applicant can think on their toes and respond in a manner that sells their skills and personality to your company.

Interviewees: The interviewer who asks you this is really probing your readiness for the job, your ability to handle it, your willingness to work hard and your fitness for the job. Show your readiness by describing how your experience, career progression, qualities and achievements make you an asset. Keep it professional, and focus on the value you’ll bring to the position. Highlight your ability by discussing your specific skills and accomplishments, but don’t forget to show your interest in the job itself.

9.  Where do you hope to be in three years?

Hiring Managers: You want to hire someone long-term because retention is critical to the company’s success.

Interviewees: This question is often asked of recent college graduates, and the worst answer is to say that you want to be president of the company or have the interviewer’s position. Instead, talk about what motivates you, especially what will inspire you on this job and what you hope to have accomplished.

10.  Do you have any questions? Can you think of anything else you’d like to add?

Hiring Managers: See if they take an interest in your company or the position. If they seem uninterested, move on to the next candidate.

Interviewees: Don’t say “no,” or that everything has been thoroughly discussed. If you think the interviewer has any doubts, now’s the time to restate why you’re the most logical candidate for the opening. Show your interest in the company by preparing some key questions in advance. Asking about corporate culture or what the interviewer likes the best about the company will give you insight and let the interviewers know that you’re interviewing them as well.

For more information on tough interview questions for online recruitment, head over to CareerCast.

For interviewees looking to brush up on their resumes, check out these resume examples and resume templates.

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