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Job Interviews: The Most Commonly Asked Questions, What They REALLY Mean and How to Answer Them

Going on a job interview is pretty scary — you always want to do your best!

You'll be going into a new environment, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, and being asked tons of questions. But don't fret! Interviews may seem scary and they certainly can be nerve-wracking, but with proper preparation and confidence in yourself, you can be ready for anything that may come your way. These are a few common interview questions that are asked, along with some tips on how to answer them.

The Question:

Tell me about yourself…

The best applicants are those that are prepared to respond with insightful and succinct answers. When you are asked, "Tell me about yourself," begin by telling your interviewer one or two things about yourself that would have the most relevance to your suitability for the position.

You can be ready to respond to this question by creating a 15-second "sound bite" that describes your professional background and strongest skills in two or three sentences.

Vary your response according to the specific job opportunity and offer a brief description of why you would be a good fit for the position. One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to rehearse by recording your answers. Play them back and critique your answers as well as your verbal presentation.

The Question:

Tell me about your background, accomplishments, strengths and


Don't stress too much over this question, it's just an opportunity for you to show them what a good fit you are for the culture of the company!

Provide a short synopsis of your experience. Be sure to demonstrate how you’ve developed professionally and be objective when listing your strengths and weaknesses

The Question:

How would you describe your most recent job performance?

The words you use to describe your job performance can help demonstrate the personal qualities that you have. Hiring managers are particularly interested in whether you're motivated, whether you have a great work ethic, and how you handle challenges. Many of these qualities aren't necessarily reflected in your resume, so answer this question with confidence!

The Question: What Interests you about our company?

When an interviewer asks "What interests you about our company?" they are usually looking for evidence that you're enthusiastic about the position and the company.

This question seems straightforward but it can sometimes be difficult to answer if you haven't thought about it beforehand. There are two important factors to include in your answer:

First, use your knowledge of the company to show your sincere interest.

Second, give a specific reason the position for applying appeals to you (other than the fact that you need a job).

The Question: Who was your most difficult boss and why?

The next time your interviewer asks the dreaded question, "what was your least favorite or most difficult boss and why?" it's important to be as diplomatic as possible.

Remember that the interviewer is vetting you, (not their current team’s management style.) What they do want to learn from your response is how you might get along with your future boss if you are hired.

The Question:

What outside activities are most significant to your personal development:

Many employers ask this question to see what kind of balance you are looking for between your personal and professional lives. While it's good to list one or two activities, be careful not to list too many activities as the employer may wonder if outside interest will interfere with your work.

The Question: Where do you see yourself in five years? In ten years?

Avoid mapping out a detailed plan when answering this question. Instead, describe What you feel is the next logical step or steps in your career path.

The Question: Do you have any questions for me?

You should be ready with a handful of questions to ask the Interviewer following his or her round of questions for you. Otherwise, you may run the risk of appearing disinterested and ill-prepared.

Look for some suggestions on what to ask in an interview in next weeks blog post....


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