So you finally did it: you got the interview. Congratulations! But don’t start celebrating just yet. First you have to completely dominate an interview or two, which is much easier said than done.
How do you ace an interview? It’s all a matter of knowing the kinds of questions an interviewer is going to ask you, as well as exactly how you are going to answer them in order to convey that you deserve to be hired to do this job.
Here are five common interview questions you must have a good answer for if you really want to get hired.
1. How did you hear about this position?
This is one of those interview questions that has a tendency to go completely over most interviewees’ heads. It’s actually a pretty important question, and you might not have even realized it in your last job interview.
Don’t just brush this question off as if it’s just an interviewing doing a little market research for their company. In reality, you will probably be asked this question because you are going up against a lot of people who found the same job posting in the same place you did. You will need to answer this question uniquely, to stand out from all the others who are also scheduled to interview with the same company.
When answering this question, focus on talking about what about the position itself caught your attention, even if you randomly stumbled upon the listing on an online job board. This will show that you were initially interested in the position for a (hopefully) unique reason and you’re in it for the long haul.
2. Why should we hire you?
Your interviewer will ask you straight up why they should consider hiring you, and if you are not prepared for it, it might catch you off guard. You may have given some good reasons in your cover letter, but your interview is the time when you need to refine these points and bring them up as often, and as strategically, as you can.
What about the position you are applying for is most appealing to you? What about the company itself makes you want to be an employee of that company? Your skills and experience aren’t enough here. You have to be able to prove you really want this.
Research the company thoroughly before you get to your interview so you have a better idea of how your career goals and mission and the mission and goals of the company line up. This is important: if you are a good fit for them in terms of goals, they are more likely to move you forward in the interview process.
3. What is your most professional achievement?
When you were building your resume, you probably figured out that a key feature of listing past and current work is briefly summarizing specific things you accomplished while you were an employee. Now that you’re at the interview stage, you need to take that practice to the next level.
It isn’t enough just to list your specific accomplishments on your resume. The purpose of your interview is to use your resume as a springboard for showing your interviewer who you are and what you’re all about. Spend some time before the interview reviewing your greatest achievements at your past jobs and let those help you to stand out.
Talk about something you’re truly proud of that is also something that will prove to your interviewer you are capable of setting and achieving goals within an organization. Let your passion and ability to measure and reflect on progress shine through.
4. What is your dream job?
Why does a potential employer ask you what your dream job is when you’re sitting in front of them interviewing for a specific job? It isn’t meant to throw you off, but it also isn’t just casual conversation, either.
Part of the reason interviewers ask this question is to learn more about your professional goals and ideal career plans for the future. They ask because they want to know whether your ideal career and the career they may be able to offer you are somehow in alignment.
You probably have plenty of things you could say here, but make sure whatever you talk about somehow relates to the job you are actually interviewing for. You can keep it general, like summarizing your mission and goals and explaining how the job you are interviewing for fits into your plans for getting to the place you want to be in.
5. How do you deal with stressful situations?
Regardless of the specific job you are applying for, your job is going to involve being able to handle stress. Your interviewer needs to know that, in a position where stressful situations will arise, you are equipped and able to handle them sufficiently on your own.
This is essential especially if it is a management position where you will be in charge of others who will be looking to you for guidance. The person interviewing you needs to be able to have confidence that they could trust you to deal with whatever stress, both expected and unexpected, associated with the job you want them to hire you for.
Whether you have a good handle on crisis management and dealing with stressful situations at work or not, it is important to be able to convey here that past work experience has trained you to be able to handle stress as professionally and efficiently as possible.
Here is a little more advice on how to nail this question in your next job interview.
At the interview stage of the process, you’re still up against plenty of competition. In some cases, you will have very similar education, skill levels and experience as some of the other candidates without even knowing it.
Knowing how to answer these common interview questions will help you stand out in just the right way, making you much more likely to get the job you deserve.