5 Most Common Interview Questions
and How to Answer Them
- Why should we hire you? / What differentiates you from others applying for this job?
Use details from past career accomplishments, or education if you are entry‐level, support “the fit” with specific information targeted toward the company’s needs. You should be aware of the company’s needs through pre‐interview research and or, questions/dialog which you have already had during the interview.
- What are your goals? / Where do you see yourself in ___ years?
Outline your career goals and how you envision them to fit with those of the company. Unless they ask, don’t go into personal goals. Describe how you would contribute to the areas of the company for which you have interests, and where you can add the most value.
- How would you describe yourself? / Tell me about yourself?
When describing yourself, you should give specific examples of your professional and personal qualities. Intertwine those examples with your character traits that make you who you are. Stay relevant to the position and company culture.
- What are your weaknesses? / List areas you’d like to improve in?
Be honest about your weaknesses and show how you have learned to work with them or what you are doing to overcome them. If possible, highlight how those traits could be strength in certain situations.
- Tell me about a recent conflict you’ve encountered and how you’ve handled it? Tell me about a major problem you worked through?
Describe the conflict objectively, and be careful about placing blame and accepting none. Give specific examples of how it was resolved or why it was not. If it was an ethical conflict, it is important that you explain your boundaries. Be honest, be open, and be confident.
5 Common Resume Mistakes
- It Contains One Typo Too Many
Your resume is your one chance to make a very positive first impression. A typo or misspelled word can lead an employer to believe that you would not be a careful, detail‐oriented employee. Spell‐check software is not enough; Ask several people to proofread your resume.
- It Stretches The Truth
Everyone wants to present his or her work experience in the most attractive light, but the information contained on your resume must be true and accurate. Whether you’re simply inflating past accomplishments or coming up with complete fabrications, lying is clearly a bad idea and chances are you‘ll eventually get caught and lose all credibility.
- It Contains Inaccurate Dates Or None At All
Recruiters need to know the dates of your previous employment to get a better understanding of your working history and to use these dates for background checks. Missing dates or gaps, especially for long periods of time, could send up a red flag, and the resume may be discarded as a result. Include specific ranges in months and years for every position. If you do have gaps, explain them either in your cover letter or introduction, but not in your resume.
- It's Not Chronological
Whenever possible, recruiters advise you go with a chronological resume and focus on the skills and accomplishments that pertain to the job you’re seeking. But if you’re concerned about a past or recent layoff, be assured that as unemployment is at historic lows, recruiters regard it quite differently today and with less of a stigma than they did in the past.
- It's Too Long/Wordy
Most recruiters and hiring managers are bombarded with applications and solicitations. Focus on the skills and accomplishments that directly apply to the job you are seeking. Don’t dwell on the specifics of each job, but rather the highlights specific to you and their transferability.
5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Career
- Being “Me‐Focused” Instead Of “Company‐Focused”
Employees who constantly “look out for number one” are quite annoying to both management and peers. Your focus should be on finding ways to help your company instead of benefiting or promoting yourself. Don’t be overly preoccupied with whether or not you are getting everything you deserve. It indicates that you have a very narrow focus. You are much more likely to realize career advancement and personal satisfaction with a big picture mindset.
- Stretches The Truth
Dependability is a fundamental foundation of career success. It’s dangerous to overlook this basic characteristic. You can be the hardest worker in the company, but if people cannot rely on your promises, you won’t be respected. Reliability is a cornerstone of not only career success but also your reputation in general. Punctuality and regular attendance are key indicators of a responsible employee. Following through on promises is also of paramount importance. If you commit to something, make sure it happens. Your trustworthiness will never be questioned if people are able to fully rely on your word.
- Refusing To Admit Mistakes
It is refreshing when employees admit their errors, and view them as opportunities to learn. After all, how much imagination does it take to make excuses? An admirable approach would be to own up to the fact that the mistake was yours. Then, go a step further to explain your plan for both correcting and avoiding it in the future. Employees who accept responsibility demonstrate professional maturity and confidence. Your credibility will be higher if you are honest about your errors and strive to correct them.
- Making A Career Move Without A Plan
Probably the biggest mistake you can make is attempting to change jobs without a plan. A successful change can often take months to accomplish when you have a strategy, so without one, you could end up adrift for an even longer period. Having a detailed action plan (including items such as finances, research, and education/training) is essential to your success. Without a plan, you might take the first job offer that comes along, whether it is a good fit for you or not.
- Making A Career Move Without Self‐Reflection
Self‐assessment (of your skills, values, and interests) is a critical component to career‐change success.
A Final Note:
Our experience has shown that candidates who utilize these suggestions dramatically increase their probability of career success.