9 job interview questions you always answer wrong

Everyone has failed a job interview at least once. And what hurts most of all is that interviewers usually ask simple questions, which you think you cannot answer wrong. It turns out you can. The harmless curiosity of the “tell about yourself” question is an excellent test that reveals many of the qualities of a candidate. Including those that he or she would like to hide. Unfortunately for many, this has become a banana peel to slip on. How to stop stumbling in the same place and finally start giving quality answers? In this article you will find 9 most common questions that many jobseekers answer wrong. If you think about them and answer them the way we recommend, you can easily get to the next stage like aptitude tests or job offer.

  1. Why do you want to work for us?

The answer to this question is a great opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and tell what benefits the employer can expect from hiring such a valuable employee. A little bit of virtuoso flattery to the company also does not hurt, the main thing is moderate doses of sugar.

You shouldn’t answer: “Well, I heard that you need employees, so I decided that it won’t be worse than in my current job. And even so, I can always come back. Besides, your pay is pretty good.” Even worse are the options from the series “My mom / friend / neighbor / colleague told me to get a job here,” “I will look great in your uniform,” “This job is not far from my home,” and “I heard you have great food for your staff.”

Answer something like this: “I am confident that with my experience and skills I can contribute to the business of the company.”

  1. Tell us about yourself

This request is not a reason to arrange a moral striptease at an interview, describing the key problems of life, to share dreams, anxieties and secrets. The question provides an excellent opportunity to prove that your experience and skills match the requirements for the job. If you are silent or your story is too short, the recruiter will take it as a sign of lack of preparation or interest. In general, the answer to this question should be in two parts. The first is to unconditionally confirm your qualifications and the fact that they correspond to the given position. The second is to explain why you want to get this particular job.

Under no circumstances answer like this: “I don’t even know what to tell”, “In fact, everything is indicated in the resume”, “There is nothing special to tell”, “I am twice divorced, I love to cook African cuisine and walk with my dog”, “I’m actually a drummer in a rock band. But our agent quit, so we have no concerts for the next six months. We are looking for a new agent, and until he is found, I will work for you.”

A productive answer, for example, to a candidate applying for a job in a large transport company, would be: “I was born and raised in the city of N. I know the city and the surrounding regions very well. Over the course of nine years, I have worked as a loader, courier, dispatcher and team leader. My last position provided the opportunity to complete several management training programs, as a result, I effectively ensure full control of all positions in the substation. I like being a leader because it provides additional opportunities to motivate the team. Last year I received a special award for excellent performance. I am sure that my accumulated experience will allow me to take a step forward and prove myself in a new large team.”

  1. Why haven’t you worked for so long?

This is a question that should not be answered too broadly or trying to hide the true reasons for professional downtime. Work gaps happen to everyone. A few months of idleness is best attributed to the preparation of a resume, a thorough search for suitable vacancies, as well as household chores that you finally got around to when you went on an unplanned but long-awaited vacation. If you have been without a job for a year or longer, it is worth creating the appearance that all this time you were somehow involved in any projects, worked temporarily, remotely, or consulted. In general, that you developed and grew, using all the possibilities for this.

It is not recommended to answer like this: “I couldn’t find a job, now there is a crisis, it is hard to get a job”, “I was looking, but I was not hired by any company”, “I could not find a suitable company that would meet all my requirements.”

job interview questions and answer

It would be more correct to say: “I have never been out of work for so long before. Therefore, to be honest, I have already forgotten what a search for a new place is, how to write a resume and where to look for the right options. It took me several months to adapt to the new reality. It took some time to find interesting suitable options, and here I am, which is proof of my determination and perseverance.” Further – a smooth transition to what contribution you can make at a new place of work, which will make it possible to show talents and competencies in all their glory and fullness.

  1. Why should our company hire you?

They can ask this question in a different way, for example, by asking: “Why, in your opinion, will you be successful in this position?” In any case, this is an important test that will demonstrate your preparation and confidence. In answering, you should focus on the undeniable benefits that the company receives by hiring you. It is better not to describe how beneficial it is for you. In addition, you can kill two well-fed birds with one stone – sell yourself (talk about valuable knowledge and practical skills that will be useful in a new position) and show possession of information about the company.

Answers like this would be a mistake: “I don’t know”, “Because I need money”, “I’m desperate to get a job”, “I need a job”, “They don’t take me anywhere else”, “You know better, you invited me to interview “,” Because I’m the best.”

As an example of the correct answer, consider the arguments of a candidate for the position of Administrative Assistant: “I have been using Word, Excel and Outlook since 2001. With their help, I create financial and administrative records, as well as reports for management, which, in my previous position, were received by, among others, four key managers, including the CEO. I also compiled an administrative bulletin that was sent out to two hundred company employees twice a month. All forms of financial statements and newsletters were prepared by me using Excel and Microsoft based on templates I created. I learned the specifics of working with Microsoft Office in several special workshops. I have the opportunity to use different versions of this product, as a result of which I have determined the most effective and suitable version for my work. I am sure that this knowledge and skills will benefit the company.”

  1. What are your flaws?

After reading the recommendations of HR resources, many candidates, in response to this question, will begin to assure that they suffer because of their excessive diligence, dedication, responsibility, as well as honesty and modesty. This is partly the correct position, but it needs to be built correctly to the end – to turn weakness into a disguised strength. The scheme is as follows. First, you need to acknowledge the existence of a flaw and rehabilitate yourself in the second part of the answer, telling how you manage to control it and use it for the benefit of work.

You should not answer this question like this: “I have no shortcomings”, “I have never thought about it”, “There are so many of them that it is difficult to choose one”, “I am not very good at the latest version of Microsoft Office. I prefer the Office’97 version “,” My spelling is lame “(for an applicant for a secretary position),” I’m experiencing difficulties in communicating with problem people “(for a job seeker in the customer support service).

job interview questions and answers

The correct answer should be like follows: “I feel that my biggest weakness is being too critical and picky about my work. I have always prided myself on being able to do my job perfectly and with little or no error. But I am constantly forced to do checks and rechecks. Over time, I began to understand where this meticulous attention to the workflow comes from. I have to trust myself and the quality of my work more in order not to be so critical. Everything is good in moderation”.

  1. Do you have any questions?

Such a question on the part of a recruiter is not a formality or an idle interest. This is a question from a knowledgeable HR manager who wants to make sure that you are interested and prepared. Having several candidates for a vacant position, with the help of such a question, the recruiter will choose the most motivated one and put an end to dull and indifferent jobseekers. And the applicant will be able to understand whether he really wants to work in this company. In this case, one should not ask questions, the answers to which can be easily found on the company’s website or using any search engine.

Do not try to answer like this: “I have no questions”, “Are you going to check my personal information?”, “Are you going to check my recommendations?”, “How often do people in your company get promotions?”, “Does the company pay sick leaves for employees?, ” How many days on vacation? “,” Do you provide employees with a discount on your products? ” How much is the maximum you can buy per month?”

job interview questions

It is useful to ask the following questions: what else can you tell me about this job that is not in the job description? What is the key to being successful in this position? What are the company’s criteria for assessing success in this position? What are the career prospects for this position? How long has this vacancy been open and why did it appear? What is the most stressful part of your workday? Were there precedents when people did not cope with the work in this position? Does the job involve business trips? How many hours per week does this job involve? Is there any extra work involved? What little-known but important facts can you tell about the company? How many people have left the company in the past year? How long do people usually work for a company? What is the next stage of the interview? How do I get feedback from you?

Also read more about this topic here 8 smart questions for the employer at your job interview

  1. Why did you leave your previous job?

This is one of the most common questions that most candidates prepare to answer and, as a result, often gets the wrong answer anyway. For example, they begin to blame the previous employer. It is better to refrain from negativity to the previous company, and you can formulate the reasons for leaving in simple and understandable phrases, without substituting or deceiving anyone.

Here are examples of unsuccessful answers: “I never succeeded to find a common language with the management”, “I was not satisfied with the salary”, “The corporate spirit of the company did not suit me at all”, “I had a really stupid boss who did not understand anything about his work”, “I was underestimated”.

The correct answer would be: “I want to take on more responsibility and climb the career ladder”, “I would like to take on less responsibility”, “This happened due to a change of residence”, “The company underwent a reorganization, as a result which I was no longer satisfied with the job responsibilities, “It will help me better balance work and family”, “This position will help me successfully apply the skills I learned in my last job.”

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

A very useful and necessary question for both parties. Your answer will help the recruiter understand your level of ambition and professional aspirations, as well as your level of culture and reliability. No recruiter wants an employee who sees a job just like a short-time step. As for you, this question is an opportunity to reflect your hidden career desires. The mistake in answering this question is to give out a vague fantasy without clear portrayal of goals. When preparing an answer to this question, think about three things. First, try to understand how your job will feel. Will it allow you to reveal yourself professionally? Will your strengths be appreciated here? Will this job increase your value in the labor market? Secondly, try to imagine how your most ordinary day in a new position will go and how much will it change the usual rhythm of life? Third, it is worth trying to determine the goals that you can achieve by working in this position. What opportunities does a new position open up? An analysis of these three aspects will eventually lead to a mini-essay on the topic “What will be important for you in your career in five years” and “How I would like to see my life in five years.”

It’s a bad idea to answer like this: “I would like to take your place”, “I didn’t think about it, everything will depend on whether you hire me and what I can do in this company”, “I would like to grow” (if the position does not imply growth), “I do not make such long-term plans. ”

The following answer will play in your favor: “I have certain career goals (voice one or two), which I have clearly defined, as well as a strategy for achieving them. I am sure that working in your company will contribute to my development as a professional, and will also be beneficial to the organization. Therefore, I am sure that within five years I will be able to achieve everything that I have planned.”

  1. How did you find this vacancy?

Why is this question tricky? Let’s say I found an ad on a job search site. Or, employees of the company suggested that there was an interesting open position in it. Or maybe you sent out your resume at random and unexpectedly received an invitation for an interview. So what? For a candidate, this question is indeed more harmless than all of the above, but the answer to it will reveal the degree of his or her interest. Obviously, the candidate will be more motivated for a good job if he/she was looking for a vacancy in this particular company. The HR manager also seeks to hire a quality employee. So, for him or her, analyzing your answer to this question will provide an opportunity to identify the most effective method for finding candidates. And if the hired candidate shows himself perfectly, then the recruiter who recommended him will receive additional bonuses.

It’s bad if you say this in response: “Honestly, I don’t remember how and where I found an ad for a vacancy in your company. I go through tons of job ads every day”, “I selected all the transport companies in the area and sent out CVs to all HR departments.”, “I’ve signed up for jobs in my field for two years now, and finally saw a suitable one in the mailing list”, “I sent you an email without much hope of an interview, but luckily you answered”, “On the job search site, it seems”, “Scrolling through the news feed on Facebook and accidentally saw the news that you are looking for employees.”

Better to choose one of these options: “A friend who works for your company told me about this vacancy. He described in detail the requirements and opportunities that this position gives, and it interested me”, “I’ve been looking for an opportunity to move to your company for six months, I know that my competencies are the best suited for working in this position. And finally, I saw this information on your website.” “I have subscribed to your company news on LinkedIn and have learned with interest about a new vacancy, this is what I’m looking for right now.”

successful job interview

Read more about successful interview tips in our articles:

How to look for a job on the Internet the right way

10 tips for a successful job interview

2 most common job interview mistakes

Psychometric aptitude tests – should I prepare?

3 easy ways to stand out in a job interview

Read about other effective jobhunting tactics in our articles:

How to look for a job on the Internet the right way

Emotions in business and situational judgement tests for emotional intelligence (EI and EQ)

What character traits of applicants employers pay special attention to?

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