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First 5 Common Job Interview Questions

Preparing for interview questions can help you feel confident about your interview. While every interviewer is different and their questions may vary depending on the job and industry, there are a few common questions you can expect.

In this article, we’ll focus on the first 5 interview questions you could be asked

Tell me about yourself.

This ice-breaker question seems simple so many jobseekers fail to prepare for it. But here is the deal: Don’t talk for 20 minutes sharing a long story. Instead, give a pitch—one that’s concise and compelling and that shows exactly why you’re the right fit for the job. Try using a "present, past, future" formula. Talk a little bit about your current role, (including perhaps one big accomplishment), then give some background as to how you got there and the experience you have that’s relevant. Finally, why you would be perfect for this role. A possible answer to “Tell me about yourself.” Well, I’m an MBA graduate employed as a Key Account Manager at Prisms, where I manage our top 3 customers. Prior to that, I worked at an agency managing five major national healthcare brands and enjoyed my work. I’d love the opportunity to dive much deeper with one specific healthcare company, which is why I’m so excited about this opportunity with Prime Health Center.”

Walk me through your resume.

This question is another common interview opener. Instead of framing your answer around what qualities and skills make you best for the position, your answer should focus on your qualifications by your past jobs and tell your career story. You can begin with your present job and then talk about what brought you here and where you’re going next. But regardless, when you speak about your “past” and “present,” highlight your most relevant experiences and accomplishments for this job and wrap up by talking about the future, i.e. connect your past and present together to show why this job should be the next one you add to your resume. A possible answer to “Walk me through your resume.” “Well, as you can see from my resume, in college, I double majored in chemistry and communications. I found early on that working in a lab all day wasn’t for me . “So when I graduated, I found a job in sales for a consumer healthcare products company, where I explained complex health concepts to people without a science background. Then, I moved into a sales training role at a massive company where I was responsible for teaching recent graduates the basics of selling. My trainees on average had more deals closed in their first quarter than any of the other trainers’ students. I got so much satisfaction from finding the right way to train each new hire and watching them progress and succeed. “I left my full-time job last year to complete my student teaching at P.S. Now, I’m excited to find my first full-time teaching job, and your district is my top choice. The low student-to-teacher ratio will let me take the time to teach each student in the best way for them—which is my favorite part of the job.”

How did you hear about this position?

Another seemingly common interview question, this is actually a perfect opportunity to stand out and show your passion for and connection to the company. For example, if you found out about the role through a friend or professional contact, name-drop that person, then share why you were so excited about the job. If you discovered the company through an event or article, share that. Even if you found the listing through a random job board, share what, specifically, caught your eye about the role. A possible answer to “How did you hear about this position?” “I heard about this opportunity through a friend of a friend, Akiko, and since I’m a big fan of your work and have been following you for a while I decided it would be a great role for me to apply for.”

Why do you want to work at this company?

Beware of generic answers! Don't miss an opportunity to stand out. Do your research and point to something that makes the company unique that really appeals to you; talk about how you’ve watched the company grow and change since you first heard of it; focus on the organization’s opportunities for future growth and how you can contribute to it; or share what’s gotten you excited from your interactions with employees so far. Whichever route you choose, make sure to be specific. A possible answer to “Why do you want to work at this company?” “I saw on The Gulf News that you were also hiring for new positions to support your new operations. I did some more reading about the new data center you’re building there and that excites me as I know this means there’ll be opportunities to train new teammates. I also learned through a Star Times Journal article that you’re expanding in Saudi Arabia as well. I speak Arabic fluently and would be eager to step up and help liaise whenever necessary.”

Why do you want this job?

Companies want to hire people who are passionate about the job, so you should have a great answer about why you want the position. Identify a couple of key factors that make the role a great fit for you, then share why you love the company. A possible answer to “Why do you want this job?” “I’ve always been a fan of X Co’s products and I’ve spent countless hours using your apps. I know that your focus on consumer insights is what drew me and other fans into your apps initially and keeps us coming back for more. I’ve followed X Co on social media for a while, and I’ve always loved how you have people in different departments interact with users. So I was psyched when I came across this posting for a social media manager with TikTok experience. At my last job, I was responsible for launching our TikTok account and growing it to 10,000 followers in six months. Between that experience, my love of app building, and my deep knowledge of your apps and fanbase, I know I could make this TikTok account something special and exciting.”


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