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How to Nail the Trickiest Interview Questions
Ace your next big interview with a little preparation and finally land the job you want and need for you and your children. Interviewers look to connect with people who are self-aware, clear communicators and humble problem-solvers. Before you walk through the doors, know yourself, know the company and understand how you fit like a puzzle piece into their company culture. Practice answering the toughest interview questions ahead of time to gain a calm, clear head and the confidence to truly connect with your interviewers and the company’s needs in a way that gets you hired.
How to Introduce Yourself
Practice deep breathing exercises prior to your interview so that you feel as calm and grounded as possible when it’s time to introduce yourself. Maintain eye contact, smile and thank the interviewer for meeting with you. When she asks you to tell her about yourself, share only what pertains to the job you are interviewing for. For example, “What a pleasure to meet you! Thank you for sharing your time with me today. I'm a focused professional with a strong background in electrical engineering and business management with five years in the industry.”
What Are Your Goals?
When your interviewer asks you about your goals, be aware of how your goals and the company’s needs intersect. Research the company and practice answering in front of a mirror. Keep it short and positive like this, “My goals and dreams are to become a tenured faculty member with several publications published in the field that benefit my students and peers. My past research has allowed me to create an outline for my first book and a university course on the topic that I hope will benefit your institution.”
What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?
Approach questions about your strengths and weaknesses with a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. Do not highlight weaknesses that make you seem irresponsible or uncommitted. Instead, think of yourself as a masterpiece in progress and talk about weaknesses as growth areas and share what you are doing to grow. Be honest, positive and to the point. For example, “I am skilled at creating meaningful and lasting one-on-one connections with my clients and serving them with compassion. I am growing in my ability to put myself out there and increase my caseload. Just last week, I attended a seminar that taught me how to increase my social media reach to attract clients that would benefit from my services. I am happy to share what I learn as I grow so that it helps everyone. My hope is to make a difference for as many people as I can.”
Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Job?
When your prospective employer asks you why you are leaving your current job, she is actually asking about your integrity and ability to put a positive spin on things. It's never a good idea to bash your current or former employers. Provide an honest answer with a positive spin, perhaps something like, “I am thankful for the remarkable support and opportunities my firm gave me straight out of law school. Now that I have a few years of basic experience under my belt, I’m hoping to serve more low-income clients, especially children, to feel like my work makes a lasting difference in others’ lives.”
Why Should We Hire You?
When your interviewer asks why he should hire you, he wants to understand how the position would benefit both the company and you. Spend preparation time getting a clear vision about your life’s purpose so that you can connect your answer to the company. Play with it until it feels authentic and connects emotionally. For example, “You’re looking for someone who really cares about patient activities and recreation, and my life’s purpose is to share love and joy with the elderly, especially those with dementia. In hiring me, you get someone who is passionate and committed through the easy times and challenges. I get to feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment in living out my purpose each day.”
What Can You Offer That Another Candidate Can’t?
The one thing that you have that no other candidate has is your unique story and background. Think about how your story intersects with the job you are applying for and how it could benefit the company. When you share what truly makes you different from the crowd, your interviewer will be more likely to hire you. Connect who you are as a person to the position. For example, “Every day as a child, I saw my grandfather get up at dawn and go to work at his restaurant. I saw him put on his uniform, put a big smile on his face and tell us all that it was a good day to be alive. He was grateful for the opportunity to add a little happiness to every customer who walked through the doors. Working here is about impacting lives in simple ways, and I want to be part of making that kind of a difference for others.”
Why Should We Hire You Over the Others Waiting to Be Interviewed?
When your interviewer asks what makes you stand out from those waiting to be interviewed, she’s looking to find a sense of urgency about hiring you. Give it to her by understanding what makes you stand out from the crowd. Everyone has strengths or experiences that nobody else has, so learn to recognize and humbly highlight yours. For example, say, “Last night, I was preparing for our conversation, and my one hope was that I would get to make a difference for these children the way Ms. Lackey did for me. I will never forget her kindness, and now I feel this joy and drive to pass it forward to the children in my class. I know that I am the only one here today with that particular experience, passion and motive in serving.”
Why Should We Hire You With No Experience?
Starting out in the work world for the very first time can be scary, but you have a lifetime of experiences that have prepared you for seeking your first job. Think about past volunteer experience, school experience, parenting experience and your natural gifts. Highlight those to the interviewer. For example, “Over the last year, I volunteered in the church nursery, and I recognized just how much I enjoy having fun with kids and planning group activities. I am naturally positive, resourceful and a team player, which all prepare me for being a helpful member of the preschool team.”
Why Do You Want This Job?
Your interviewer wants to know why you want this particular job out of the sea of thousands of job postings in your area. This is when you communicate that you understand the benefits and opportunities of the position and how they could impact you and your family. For example, “This flexible work-at-home position allows me to pursue my passion and purpose in helping others with their finances, even as I home-school my children. I love the family focus of the company and the team culture and hope to be a positive addition to it. This position is a best-case scenario and opportunity that I have not seen anywhere else.”
- The Balance: Why Should We Hire You?: Best Answers
- Monster.com: Why Should We Hire You? What to Say in Your Interview
- Forbes: Five Good Answers To 'Why Should We Hire You?'
- The Muse: 3 Better Ways to Answer "Why Should We Hire You?"
- Career Builder: 10 Tough Practice Questions and Sample Answers to Nail Your Next Big Interview
- Reader's Digest: 16 of the Trickiest Job Interview Questions—and How to Nail Them
- CIO: 15 Tricky Job Interview Questions and How to Nail Them
Anne Kinsey is an entrepreneur and business pioneer, who has ranked in the top 1% of the direct sales industry, growing a large team and earning the title of Senior Team Manager during her time with Jamberry. She is the nonprofit founder and executive director of Love Powered Life, as well as a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach and freelance writer who has written for publications like Working Mother, the San Francisco Chronicle, Bizfluent, the Houston Chronicle and Our Everyday Life. Anne works from her home office in rural North Carolina, where she resides with her husband and three children.