This blog was written by Beatrice Pollard, our Campus Ambassador from the University of Georgia.
Stop getting stumped by interviewers and instead gain confidence through being prepared!
1. Why don't you tell me more about yourself?
This question always catches me off guard as I silently decide whether I should spill about the time I heroically balanced six law books on my head or the fact that I can recite all the books in the bible frontwards and backwards, but the truth is this question is all about skill. It's not about presenting a tell all book of your personal history to the interviewer,it's about focusing on their interests. The key to all successful interviewing is to match your qualifications to what the interviewer is looking for. You want to make sure your plate is exactly what the interviewer will be buying off the menu of successful candidates. Highlight your accomplishments by having a story ready that illustrates your best professional qualities. Stories are powerful and what people will remember most. Being prepared in this setting will show the interviewer that you can handle being in unstructured situations, much like obstacles the hot sauce of life will throw you at any given whim. Excelling in this area translates to employers that you will always make a good impression on the people you come into contact with on the job.
2. What's your greatest weaknesses?
While this question might entice you divulge all your worst nightmares, like the time you had to write a speech in front of your fourth grade classmates or that instance you were spooked by clowns at the county fair and were frightened for weeks, however the key here is to be brief. The best answer for this question reflects one where you are confident. An answer that is deep and meaningful shows that you are a proactive person and constantly thinking upon ways that you can improve. Thorough candidates translate that they have taken the time to reevaluate themselves. When describing a weakness, start by giving a concrete example then showing how you changed it around for the better. Don't dwell on the negatives for too long, showing that you can take a hit and immediately bounce back on the rebound. Be assured that not only does it not make you any less of a candidate, but that you are continually working to improve.
3. Tell me about a situation where you didn't get along with a superior?
I remember the first time I had this question, and it honestly caught my off guard. At first I wanted to play the saint in the situation, playing the " I'm a people person, I get along with everyone card", until I realized that interviewers thrive off controversy. They are looking for opportunities to learn more about attributes you posses that make you better equipped to hang in tough situations. Take the time to explain to the recruiter how you fared in a setting when things didn't exactly go your way. Everyone is different and it would be laughable to expect people to always hold the same opinions on things. Show that you listened to other opinions, voiced yours reasonably and remained open at all times. This expresses that you can remain open-minded and flexible, qualities that are vital to adapting in any type of career.
4. Describe a situation when you failed?
This question is every bit as daunting as it sounds, however you can easily pass with flying colors by being honest and concise. If you can't discuss a failure, the interviewer might conclude that you don't have the necessary depth or maturity needed to do the job. Employers are not expecting you to be supernatural, and like every human, they expect that you will make a mistake. Being direct and open about your experience will show that you can handle accountability, giving employers a good read of your level of responsibility in addition to your abilities in decision-making process. Show that you can effectively recover from mistakes by explicitly expressing what you learned from the experience and how it made you a stronger person.
5. Why did you leave your last job?
At high levels within the job force, personality begins to become more vital to the type of job you will be doing so employers will want to know if you left your last 5 jobs because you got into a fit with a co-worker or snuck into the break room for a few cat naps during rush hour. The kinds of qualities you present during this question will show employers whether they can keep you for the long term, or if you're volatile enough to be labeled the wildcard. As with all controversial questions, you want to be honest and straightforward. Don't dwell on any conflict that might have occurred, rather use this time to highlight postive developments that resulted. Show that you have accepted the outcome and learned lessons that helped you to be happier in your next jobs and jobs to come. Translate that you are fluid enough to accept challenging circumstances and use your setback as a stepping stone to future success. Your ease and contentment in describing this transition will show employers that you are on the uprise and what's more, it will encourage them to join in the ride!