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A job interview can determine whether you get a position with the company or whether it goes to another candidate. Though you can never anticipate all the topics the interviewer might raise, there are some tried-and-true questions that it pays to answer in a specific way. Remember to make wardrobe choices that indicate your professional attitude and respect for the interviewer and her company. Smile, be polite and send a thank you note after you’ve completed your interview.
What is your greatest weakness?
Think of a weakness that was transformed into a strength. You want to show your potential employer that you have the capability to see a shortcoming in yourself and that you have addressed it. Once you've thought of your weak spot, describe what you did to overcome it. If you had trouble meeting a deadline, for example, explain that you stayed late for a week or created a computerized schedule that helped you to stay on track, delivering your work in the time frame required.
Why do you want to work for this company?
Prepare to answer this question by reading the company's mission statement on their website. If it says they're energetic and devoted to change, tell the interviewer that you like a high-energy workplace and enjoy finding new ways to make improvements. Cite past projects or campaigns the company has worked on and explain what they meant to you. Know where the business is trying to go. Demonstrate your knowledge of the company's placement in its industry.
What salary do you expect?
Investigate salary ranges for the position you're seeking, in the geographical area where you'd be working, before the interview. Don't give an exact salary. Instead, tell the interviewer that you're open to negotiation. If he wants specific numbers, give a salary range.
Tell me about yourself.
Describe your education, your experience and, most importantly, your career goals. A prospective employer wants an idea of how you'll fit into his team at work, not the details of what you do with your spare time.
Why should we hire you?
Describe unique aspects of your background that make you suited for the position. Anyone can say she works hard. What situations have you faced that have trained you for the job you want? If you managed a large staff at a former job, the experience could qualify you for a managerial position. If you worked well with two groups to complete a task, discuss that accomplishment and explain that you would be an excellent liaison between teams.
- job image by Andrey Kiselev from Fotolia.com