In today’s world, young professionals have an incredibly distinct advantage than their predecessors. They are better educated, more ethnically diverse, and more economically active. But even with all of their great talents and academic accolades, many millennials are still having trouble having landing that dream job.
As competitive as the job market is, there will always be a way for you to improve and better yourself for that next job interview. To help, I have provided five of the most difficult questions and various tips in how to answer them. If you would like more practice, please visit my SlideShare presentation, 50 Job (and Graduate School) Interview Practice Questions by Geoffrey Byruch. This presentation provides fifty real life practice questions that are constantly asked at interviews for both businesses and graduate schools.
1. Tell me about yourself.
If you have not heard this question, then you have not been on an interview. While simple in its phrasing, ‘Tell me about yourself,’ requires a lot of thought to speak openly and candidly about yourself without having to sound too egotistical. To help with this process, first understand the overall environment of the interview. For many of these interviewers, they want to know the type of person that could potentially be working at their company. To do this in the most beneficial way, try walking through your resume with a theme in mind. The idea of ‘I’m a numbers person’ or ‘I constantly look for challenges’ can be great way to format and explain your personal and professional experience. Be sure to be organic and informative. If you can, try lightening up the mood with a bit of humor or empathy. Playing with emotions, especially if you have done charity or nonprofit work, can be an excellent way in reeling them in for more.
2. What interest you about this company?
No matter what program or job interview you go to, you will always be asked: ‘What interested you about this company?’ For those individuals who did not do their homework, this may be incredibly difficult to answer. But for those prepared candidates that were able to thoroughly research both the organization and the position, this will be your moment to shine. For many recruiters, they are looking for their candidates to have a strong grasp of their company. Whether it is the company’s history or the overall job itself, having those concrete points can showcase your investment and preparedness for the interviewer. To help you with this process, make sure you research the company, the company’s history, and the position. Take a few notes and highlight any points that stand out to you. These points may come in handy later on down the line, especially during your interview.
As for your answer, make sure you can relate it to your previous roles and future goals. Having that type of connection can showcase various transferable skills that you can bring to the table each and every day.
3. What are the most difficult challenge you had to face and how were you able to handle it?
For many recruiters, they want to know that you are able to handle the arduous ups-and-downs of the workday through an example of a difficult challenging work experience. While this question may not come as a surprise, many job applicants are often confused as to which situation they should speak candidly about that could best showcase their strengths. To make it easier on yourself, try and pick an example that you know incredibly well. Make sure the example is relatable to the situation and can highlight your strengths as a leader and a thinker. Last but not least, make sure you can tell it well. Even if you feel like you are telling the same story to every interviewer, stick with it. That story can help positively direct the type of candidate you are for their company.
4. What can you say are your greatest strengths? What about your weaknesses?
Having a deep understanding of your personal and professional strengths and weaknesses will always be incredibly important no matter where you go. For many hiring managers, they know that you are not perfect. In fact, no one is perfect. Because of this, they are looking for particular characteristics that you can leverage or utilize if you were hired with that company. In addition, they also want to make sure you personify the same traits as their own workers. To help you with this process, be honest about yourself. If you know you are weak at communicating, be sure to mention that. But make sure you follow it up with various solutions of how you are willing to improve on that skill.
5. Where do you see yourself in X years?
At the end of the day, hiring managers want to make sure that they are speaking to someone who is highly drive and ambitious. For you to showcase this, make sure you are able to speak openly about your goals and where you want to be in X years. One point you want to of course highlight is the leadership opportunities within the company. Talking about leadership will not only show ambition, but also commitment for said-company.