You’ve done your due diligence and it’s paid off: you’ve landed a job interview. Interviews can be extremely nerve-wracking, so it is best to prepare for them in advance. To help ease your nerves and ensure that you ace the interview, you should prepare answers to possible interview questions and rehearse them in advance.
Here are three of the toughest interview questions you are likely to encounter and how to answer them.
Tell me a little about yourself.
When an interviewer asks you to tell him about yourself, it isn’t an open ended invitation to discuss the traumatic snorkeling incident that befell you as a kid or why yellow is your favorite color.
What the interviewer really wants is a short, two to three minute explanation of the traits that make you the best candidate for the position. For the best response, tell the interviewer about the things in your background and experience that support you as a strong candidate.
For best results, concentrate on keeping your answer focused on the specific parts of your background that are pertinent to the position you are interviewing for and keep the childhood stories out of it.
Why should we hire you?
The answer to this question should be simple. They should hire you because you are the best person for the job, and it’s ok to say so as long as you back it up with a list of qualities that truly do make you the best person for the job.
Let the interviewer know what qualities make you the best person for the job, such as being dependable, having years of experience, being proficient at a necessary skill, etc. and then provide examples of how you have utilized those qualities successfully in the past.
Don’t just state that you are the best person for the job but truly prove to the interviewer that they would be crazy to pick anyone else.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
The key to answering this question is to focus on explaining your future career goals, not your future life goals. The interviewer is seeking information about what path you see your career taking and how their company might fit into that path. The interviewer is not interested in the fact that you hope to own a home by five years from now or that you hope to have settled down and started a family.
Companies want to hire dedicated people who are going to stick around for a while, so stress that you are working toward a long term career in their field and wish to work at a company that you can grow with and take on new challenges.
Let the interviewer know that you are interested in working for a company in a long-term role where you can grow your skills, enjoy new opportunities to learn, and take on interesting work. That is the sort of answer that will help land you the job.