In my journey for a new job, I’ve been on plenty of interviews and there always seems to be the same kinds of questions asked. The interview always goes well. I am great at answering questions about myself when it refers to something specific, like a talent or experience in previous jobs or classes. But when they ask me an open-ended (giving an answer that is more full/meaningful of your views and feelings) question, I tend to freeze up a little and stumble with an answer. Maybe because I know what I want to say, but can’t organize it properly to answer their question. Preparing for these questions will take all of that away and you will answer with ease and confidence.

Most of you attending college can easily access information and tips on job interviewing, preparation and even some most commonly asked questions. Doing a Google search is all you really need to do some research. But in my experience, here are some that you can prepare yourself for before the interview!

As I go on these interviews, I’m starting to get used to the questions and able to answer them pretty easily, and quite successfully! But the reason is because most of the questions are pretty alike. So, I thought I would share with you some pretty popular questions asked in an interview that I’ve encountered. These aren’t the only ones. There are plenty more where these came from. I suggest if you want to prepare a little more, do some research on other popular interview questions, but these below covers a majority of the kinds of questions you might be asked:

1. Tell me two words or phrases that describe you? – Be personal here. Find out what really makes you tick, and gets you motivated. Think about what others have said about you. What defines you as a person?

2. What are a couple of your strengths and weaknesses? – One of the most popular questions there is in any interview. You should have this, and write them down. You have a lot of strengths, and weaknesses. Be aware of them. The fact that you are aware and can answer this question with some ease plays well with an interviewer.

3. What do you see yourself doing 5 years from now? – Think about this. If you were living five years into the future, where are you? What are you doing? Married? Money Breaking habits? Making something better for yourself?

4. Give me an example of a time you showed initiative. – When your asked a question like this, you want to pause…wait about five seconds before beginning your answer. This question comes up a lot. BE SPECIFIC! Do not be general here because they will read that in your answer and maybe think you don’t know what you’re talking about.

5. Tell me your biggest failure in life and what you learned from the experience? – Think about this. Think hard about this. I’ve conducted interviews with young people and many of them say “I don’t have any failures yet.” It may be true that your failures are not catastrophic or real changing. That’s not what they’re looking for. Interviewers are really looking for your response to this question. Are you specific in your description of the event, and what happened. Then they want to know exactly what you learned from this.

6. Why should I hire you over other candidates? – This is a great question for you to focus in on what this job is, and specifically where you can contribute to this job and then some. Brag about yourself, but not too much. Focus on how you can help them.

7. What questions do you have for me? – This is where your research about this company or organization preparation will pay off. Think of 4-5 questions. I usually would say 3, but there have been many times where I only had about 4 questions and most of them were answered in the interview. Come up with 4-5 questions about the company, that individual, growth, expansion, things that are more general and broad-based. When you come up with them, write them down and refer to your notes when asking.

Few other things:

1. Take notes before and during the interview. Have a notepad and have it out on our lap or table. Let them see that you did some research and took notes and that your organized.

2. Pause every time before answering a question. Count to 5, then begin your answer. Don’t stare at them when you do this, always look down and think about the question.

3. Dress nice. Look like you want this job. They can tell.

4. Find something that you both have in common.

5. If you show up on time, your late. Get the hint? Be there 5-10 minutes early. Don’t show up earlier than 10 minutes unless they ask you to.

6. Bring 3 copies of your resume and reference page

Following these easy tips will accelerate your ability to perform successfully in an interview. Continue to visit The Career Closet and follow me to get more information on tips and best interview/resume practices.

Check out The Career Closet’s past posts on resumes, interviewing and being prepared:

1. College Students: Don’t give employers a reason NOT to hire you





Your Success is My Success,

Keith Lipke

I’m a careers and college recruiter, coach, public speaker and leader at The Career Closet. His passion is to educate, inspire, and give hope to young people who need it upon their search for the right career and college

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