Questions you will be asked will vary from employer to employer. However, there are standard questions most interviewers ask.
Two open-ended questions employers often ask to get applicants talking are, “Tell me about yourself,” and “What can I do for you?” These questions may be difficult because they are so broad. Your job is to avoid the temptation to give a general answer. Instead, direct your reply to show the employer how you are qualified for the position. Focus your answer on strengths — personal skills and abilities — which relate directly to the job available.
Answer all questions briefly and to the point. Some questions may be discriminatory. However, you may want to answer them. Remember, you should always answer so that you present yourself in the best possible way. Always try to relate the questions to the job for which you are applying.
The best way to relax and build self-confidence is: practice, practice, practice!
Frequently asked interviewing questions
Q. Tell me about yourself.
A. Indicate trustworthiness, stability, job-related interests and skills, as well as positive qualities.
Q. What are your future plans?
A. Express your desire to gain more on-the-job experience. Talk about wanting to become a valuable employee to the Organization. If you’ve heard that the Organization is good to work for, say so.
Q. Have you ever done this type of work before?
A. Never answer “no.” Mention similar types of tasks from past paid and unpaid experience, training or education. Talk about your ability to learn quickly or aptitude for the type of work.
Q. Why do you want to work here?
A. State your interest in the Organization and be positive in your response. Aspects to include are as follows:
- The good reputation of the organization in the community.
- You would be proud to tell other people that you work here.
- Honest employer.
- Heard that the organization appreciates good workers.
- Pleasant working conditions.
The important thing to mention is that you like this type of work and you feel that you can do a good job.
Q. What kind of machines, tools or equipment can you use?
A. Your answer should include all information on any machine related to the job and also any hobbies that require the kinds of skills you will need for this job. You should know the name of any type of equipment you have operated.
Q. Can you work under pressure and deadlines?
A. If the employer asks this question, it probably means that’s part of the job. Your answer should assure the employer that you can work under pressure and deadlines. You should cite examples on previous jobs or related experience when it was necessary to work under such conditions. For instance, if you have ever worked in a restaurant, you can mention lunch hour pressures when you had to serve many customers in a short period of time. Assure the employer that you were always able to do the job without becoming agitated.
If you have been a student, you could mention that you often had to work under the pressure of completing reports by a certain time or while studying for and taking exams. Or if you worked at any type of production job, you can mention that you often had to fill an order in a short period of time or on short notice and that you were always able to put in the extra effort necessary to meet the deadline.
Q. Why did you leave your last job?
A. If it was a legitimate reason, be brief and factual. State that the Organization had a layoff and you didn’t have enough seniority. Whatever the reason, a single explanation will do.
If it was an unsatisfactory reason (for example, you were fired), explain in a positive manner how the situation was or has been corrected.
Do not say negative things about your previous employer. Also, do not say you left your job because you didn’t get along with your boss. The interviewer may do business with the other Organization and/or may have personal friends there. It is also too easy for an employer to assume that because you didn’t get along with your previous boss, you won’t get along with your new one.
Mention all good things about your last job even if you didn’t like working there. If you say negative things about your last job, the interviewer might think you will tell people bad things about this Organization too and not hire you for that reason.
Q. What was your employer’s opinion about your work?
A. The best thing to do is provide a copy of an open letter of recommendation. If you don’t have this letter, simply say that you always got along well with the employer and if contacted, you are sure a good recommendation would be given.
If you feel you would not get a good recommendation, be brief and positive explaining the reasons.
Q. What are your career objectives?
A. Indicate your desire to learn new things, gain more experience and increase your value to the Organization. If you know that this is the type of place which advances from within, state your desire to learn your job well and that you want eventually to achieve a position of higher responsibility within the Organization. If you don’t know about the advancement policies, do not state a specific position you are hoping to advance to because the employer may think you will be dissatisfied with the position that is open. Instead, simply say that you hope to become the best person the Organization has in that area.
Q. How long do you plan to stay with this Organization?
A. Simply say that you are not planning on moving, getting married, or going back and since you can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t stay with it for many years, you expect you would be very happy with this job.
Q. What is your greatest strength?
A. Mention something that is related to the job, and explain how it would be useful to the Organization. You want to present yourself as a good worker (being on time, efficient, organized, work until the job gets done, take pride in your job, etc.).
Q. What is your greatest weakness?
A. Turn a weakness into strength. Examples: “I see a project through to completion even though it requires working extra hours” or “I tend to be overly organized.”
Q. How do you describe yourself?
A. Indicate positive attributes that the employer would want you to have. Examples: friendly, honest, punctual, efficient, organized, responsible, cooperative, hard-working, creative, dedicated, intelligent, energetic, cheerful. Never indicate anything negative.
Q. What do you know about our Organization or Department?
A. Your answer should include information about the history of the Organization and the product(s) they produce or service(s) they provide.
Q. What have you been doing between jobs?
A. Express the constructive things you have done, such as schooling, volunteer work, and temporary employment. You need to leave the impression you have been active and not idle between jobs.
Q. Why would we hire you instead of someone else?
A. Explain all the qualities you have that would make you an asset to the Organization . Examples include the following:
- Good attendance and punctuality
- Personal attributes, such as friendliness, honesty and efficiency
- Work qualifications and any additional skills you have
- Work fast with very few errors
- Get along well with supervisors
- Willingness to work extra hours
You may say you like this type of work, are good at it, and think you would work harder at it than other people would.
Q. Do you have any questions?
A. An interviewer will often ask if you have questions. Have some questions prepared before the interview. It’s a good opportunity to clear up any details, gain insight into the Organization, and show your interest in the position and the Organization.