By: Shawna Laird-Brush, Business Manager
So, you have gotten the interview. Now it's time to answer their questions. To some this is the most dreaded part of the interview, so we are here to help you answer the most common of them. One of the best ways to start this portion is to try to draw out the interviewer to find out exactly who and what they are looking for.
1. Tell Me About Yourself
This is the most expected (and for introverts - shudder worthy) question. The interviewer uses this question to see how articulate you are and how well you can carry yourself. You don't want to break out your life story here or any anecdotes about Great Aunt Marjorie. Respond with highlights and accomplishments of your career. Figure out the answer to this question - what makes you special? - and then tailor the answer to the interviewer.
2. What are your weaknesses?
Don't pull out all your personality disorders - you'll only scare them. You can, however, turn this question into a positive. The interviewer is looking to see how self aware you are. Be honest and show them how thoughtful you can be. Don't use cliches such as "I work too hard." Look for your traits that can be turned into a strength. "I can sometimes be too passionate about a project" can also be looked at as a strength.
3. Why do you want to work here? or Why should we hire you?
This can be a interview "killer." You will want to do your research on the company and the position before walking into the interview. The interviewer is trying to find out if you really want to work for the company or if it is "just a job." If you stumble or try to answer without thought, you have already told the interviewer that they shouldn't hire you. Try going through the position requirements and give a reason why you are best suited to fulfill them.
4. What would your co-workers say about you?
You will want to be honest here - unless your co-workers hate you. The interviewer is again looking to see how self aware you are and give them some insight into how you interact with your colleagues. Just give them some of the regular compliments you used to hear. Try not to sound too much like you are bragging on yourself though.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This could be a tricky one. If you are too specific about position titles, you may sound arrogant. However, on the other hand, if you are too unclear, then you sound like you have no direction. Tailor your response to the company and try to reassure the interviewer that you are looking to commit long term to the company.
6. What salary do you think you deserve?
Don't ever bring up salary first - let the interviewer broach this subject with you. Sell yourself then talk price. Let them know that you are amenable to discussing a sensible compensation package. You could give them a general range of the salary you have recently received if they are looking for a number. One thought is to look at their median salary range for the position and start your range slightly above their median.
BONUS: What are your hobbies?
Some interviewers will ask you this question to see what you are like outside of the work place. This could be a big reflection of what kind of employee you might be. Think about any big projects or hidden talents you may have. Let the interviewer know if you volunteer for a charity.
Also, remember that is okay to feel nervous (everyone does), but remain optimistic and sell yourself. The best way to sell yourself is to find out what they want and show them how you can help them get it.