PREPARING FOR TYPICAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Going into your interview, prepare and rehearse answers to the following questions:
1. Tell me about yourself. This is far and away the most popular interview question. Have a 2-3 minutes summary ready that highlights a key accomplishment, interests, and goals. Keep your answer very high-level and see where the interviewer wants to get more detailed information.
2. Why should I hire you for this position? This is a wonderful opportunity for you, but only if you are prepared. A canned answer, like “I’m a team player” doesn’t give the interviewer any useful information. But a confident assertion that “in my last position I cut costs 25% while reducing inventory by $10M” gives the interviewer something tangible and distinguishes you from other candidates. Always be truthful, but at the same time, it’s OK to brag a bit.
3. What are your salary requirements? Note that a common variation on this question is – “How much were you making in your last position?” Be careful, this can be a tricky question to handle. As a first response, tell the interviewer “Right now, I feel like I need more information on the job requirements before I could answer that question.” That may not satisfy the interviewer, and you could be forced to answer. When that happens, give a range and start a little high, which will give you some room to negotiate later.
4. What is your greatest strength? Hit this one out of the park. If you are good at sales, tell the interviewer that and note “that in the past year, I doubled production in my sales territory while increasing margins 20%.” Whatever strength you mention, back it up with an example.
5. What is your greatest weakness? There are at least two approaches to this question. One classic response is to turn the weakness into a strength – “I am so focused on quality that I sometimes drive my team very hard.” The other option is to talk about a former weakness that is now a strength – “I used to be hesitant to call on customers, but after significant effort I’ve become the #2 sales person in the Central region.”
6. Why did you leave your last job? Whatever the reasons (better salary, less travel, long commute, etc.) don't criticize your former employer or indicate you had any type of conflict. Talk positively about your last job, and then emphasize the great opportunities in the position you are applying for.
7. Why are you interested in this company? Do your homework and learn a little about the organization beforehand. And remember to practice your answer!
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