A job interview is your opportunity to shine, but answering questions on the spot about your education, experience, and job training can be a little nerve-wracking.
Nervousness is why most people make interview mistakes. There are ways to deal with nerves, however. One of the best medicines is good preparation. You can avoid some of the common mistakes by reviewing these four job interview questions and tips for how to answer them.
1. What Are Your Strengths?
One common interview mistake for this question is saying, “I don’t know.” You got the job interview for a reason. The interviewers saw something they liked on your application! You most definitely have some strengths.
Pick one or two skills or strengths to focus on (and tailor them to the job). You might think you’re not good at anything or you’re good at everything, but a specific answer tightly focused on a couple of areas you’re most proud of is best.
2. What Are Your Weaknesses?
This is usually a follow-up to “what are your strengths?” Interviewers love this question because it gives them insight into where you may need help as an employee. It also allows them to see you as a self-aware person. You know you have shortcomings, and you’re working to improve them!
The biggest interview mistakes job candidates make is answering, “I don’t know” or “I have no weaknesses” when asked this question. You should be aware of your weaknesses—and you definitely have some. (Everyone does!)
Equally important to avoid, however, is elaborating too much on weaknesses. If you think everything is a weakness, you’ll end up making your interviewer agree with you, and you likely won’t get the job offer.
Instead, pick one or two of your weaknesses. Address them honestly. Give your answer a positive spin by telling the interviewer what you’re doing to overcome these challenges.
3. Why Are You Interested in Working Here?
In most cases, interviewers aren’t looking for someone who answers “because I need a job” or “I want the paycheque.” Yet, few candidates come up with a good answer for this question.
You really should have a good answer. This is your chance to shine and show you did some serious job interview prep work. Read up on the company before you go to the interview. Discover what they do. Why are you intrigued?
If you can answer this question, even for yourself, you’re well on your way.
4. Where Do You See Yourself?
Many job seekers see this as a bit of a trick question. You might have trouble planning today, never mind mapping out a five-year plan!
Some job seekers always answer they see themselves in a higher position than the one they’re being hired into. Others might suggest they see themselves in an entirely different field. Depending on your interviewers, either answer could be considered a common interview mistake.
Why? Seeing yourself higher up indicates ambition and drive, which many interviewers like. However, depending on the position, they may not be looking for someone who wants bigger and better things. This answer could make them think you’re not ideal for this particular role. The same goes if you quip about going back to school or changing jobs. They may feel you’re not taking the role seriously enough, or that you don’t have the ambition necessary.
Always gauge the role. Be honest with yourself and your interviewers, and discuss how this job—no matter what it is—factors into your plan.
Use these tips in your next job interview and avoid some of the most common interview mistakes!