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What Questions Will You be Asked at Your Interview?

Wouldn't it be amazing if the hiring manager emailed you the list of questions they are going to ask before your interview?  While this may be too much to expect, you can take a lot of the guess work out of interviews and set yourself up for success by preparing the answers for a few common interview questions.  Here are a few questions that are almost always asked at interviews and some key points to remember when answering them:

What are your strengths and weaknesses?  This is not time to be shy.  Try to identify the skills and experience that you possess that make you a great fit for the position and give the interviewer examples of when you demonstrated those strengths.  The weakness question is a little trickier.  You don't want to give the manager a reason NOT to hire you but you can't claim that you have no weaknesses.  The best approach is to choose a weakness that would not negatively impact your ability to do this specific job and to outline the steps that you have taken to overcome it. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?  The employer usually asks this question because they want to understand how this job fits in with your career goals.  They don't want to invest their resources into training you if you are just going to take off in six months.  Also, employers tend to like candidates who are focused and know what they want.  The best way to answer this question is to give them a clear career goal and to outline how this position will help you achieve it.   

Why did you leave your last job?  This question helps the manager screen out potential problem employees.  The best approach is to be as honest as possible but to refrain from speaking negatively about any previous employer or coworker.  If you were fired from your last job, you may want to explain the situation to the employer as well as outlining what you learned from it.  There is a good chance that the manager will find out what happened through their network or when they are checking your references.  If you are still unsure of how to handle this question in an interview, it may be best to talk to an employment counsellor. 

If you get this job, what would be your priorities for the first three months.  This question allows you to paint a picture of how you would perform in this position.  You can demonstrate that you understand the challenges of the role and that you are well prepared to address them.  The key here is to do your research and to determine the priorities for the job from the manager's perspective.

What makes you a good fit for this position?  This question is your pitch in a nutshell.  Why should they hire you over other qualified candidates?  Review the requirements and the responsibilities of the job line by line and create a detailed summary (with examples) of how you are the perfect fit. 

You can never know for sure what an employer will ask at an interview.  Some managers pride themselves on tripping candidates up by asking questions like "Which Smurf would you be?" or "What is your favourite board game?".  However, if you try to see the interview from the employer's perspective by always considering what type of employee they would want to hire, you should do just fine!

(Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)