Job Interviews
Career Centre Job Interviews Top 10 Interview Questions

Top 10 Interview Questions

Details on professional attire, how to prepare, and how to perform at your next job interview to make sure that you capitalize on your opportunity to be hired!

Tell me about yourself.

This is a very open-ended question designed to see what you think are your key strengths/weaknesses. In a job interview it's important to stay away from any weaknesses unless your employer happens to bring this question up (and they often do!). Keep your response to this question positive and keep it relevant to the position you're applying to! For example, if you're at an interview for a construction job and you're asked this question, it would be best to say something like, "I enjoy construction, working with my hands, and appreciate the feeling I get when I can look at a finished project that I have had a hand in building". It would be best not to say something like, "I enjoy biking, playing sports, and think I am pretty good at math".

Why did you leave your previous job?

This can be a difficult question to answer, especially if you were fired from your previous position. Again, keep your answer positive! The last thing a potential employer wants to hear is how much of a jerk your boss was or how you failed to get along with others in the company. If you were in a position where perhaps you were not fitting in with your boss/co-workers, you could say that "the work environment was such that you felt the quality of the product and the efficiency of the business was suffering and you no longer wanted to be a part of that organization. You then sought out a business that you felt produces quality products and has a good team-atmosphere." An answer of this type is not a lie, but rather puts a more positive spin on a situation that could taint an employer's view of you during the interview process.

Why do you want to work for this organization?

This question gives you a chance to pump your employers tires a bit and to get in their good books. It is best to research the company you are interviewing with beforehand by visiting their website and looking at past examples of their work to justify your claims. For example, if you were applying to a position at a hotel you could state that you had previously stayed at the hotel and the staff and the overall hotel franchise impressed you. You knew after staying there that you would feel good working for such a professionally-run business.

A little sucking-up is a good thing, but try to avoid too much. After complimenting the company and its employees, try saying something that illustrates your motivation or strengths as an individual. For example you could say that you are a creative thinker and you feel that you could bring some interesting new ideas to the table to grow the business and you look forward to the challenge!

Are you a team player?

The obvious answer is YES! Back this up with examples from previous employment or from past experiences as part of a sports team. It is often times good to express that individual recognition is appreciated, but not essential as it is the end-result of collaboration with your co-workers that is what truly motivates and satisfies you. Employers love to hear this as they feel you'll be happy without them constantly giving you a raise or struggling to motivate you with other incentives.

What are your greatest strengths?

If you can bench 250lbs that's great and is certainly a strength, but this is not what employers are looking for (unless you're at a job where physical lifting is part of your everyday duties!). I am sure that you have many strengths so it is important to attempt to bring up only those that truly pertain to the position at hand. Most employers like to hear that you work well independently/unsupervised and that you're a self-motivated, self-started. Ensure that you have a valid example to justify each of the strengths that you list and be sure to include an example after each strength that you list.

What are your greatest weaknesses?

This question is a killer. Employers will ask it and I hate to break it to you, but you need to answer it. A safe bet would be to mention that you do not have a wealth of experience in the field as you are just starting out (if this is true). An employer cannot fault you for being fresh out of college or new to the profession!

You may also include past weaknesses that you have since overcame including how you managed to overcome them. This shows prospective employers that you are able to identify areas that you need to improve upon and that you're able to seek the help, knowledge, and experience necessary to overcome those weaknesses.

What experience do you have in this field?

Everyone has varying degrees of experience in the field they are applying to. Here are a couple approaches to answering this question:

If you're still a little green behind the ears, then you will want to focus your answer on the interest that you have in the field and the knowledge that you've managed to acquire through research on the Internet or past limited experiences.

If you're a seasoned veteran with years under your belt, then you'll want to lead with the most impressive experience that you've had in the past. For example, if you're applying to an IT company, tell them about the time you worked for Microsoft, Google, or Apple. If they weren't listening to you prior to this question, this should be certain to open their ears! If you have not worked for one of these behemoths, then choose something from the experience in your resume that you feel is the most impressive!

What are your career goals?

Textbook answer is below:

Step one: Gather knowledge/experience and get familiarized with the ins and outs of your business.

Step two: Work hard to be the best you can be in your current position and strive for promotions.

Step three: Someday manage employees in a supervisory role.

If you have other goals in mind, be certain that they involve you working hard and benefitting the company. Be sure that you do not talk about things like learning how the company works, then someday splitting from the company to build your own business where you would then become competition for your employer!

How would previous co-workers describe you?

If you have a co-worker as a reference on your resume it may be best to consider how they would describe you and answer accordingly. An employer can assess the accuracy of your answer to this question by phoning your reference and seeing what they say. If their answer is congruent with the one you gave, you'll score major points with you potential employer! If you do not have a co-worker as a reference, then be certain to list qualities that relate to being easy to work with, having pride in what you do, and working hard. The most important thing here is again to keep it positive!

What assets do you bring to our company?

Try to highlight the main reasons why you will contribute to the success of the company you're applying to work for. Whether it's past work experience, leadership, knowledge, etc. that's fine, just ensure that you keep it relevant. If you think that you're ridiculously good-looking that's maybe something you would leave off the list of assets (unless you're applying to be a model – then you may even get a laugh from your employer). Keep in mind that every company is looking for only one thing – maximizing profits! Whatever you feel you can offer that will help them make money is what you want to talk about.

Have you ever had difficulty working with someone?

I am sure everyone has had an experience like this over the course of their lifetime. It is imperative that you keep your answer positive and that you avoid blaming anyone for the difficulty that you have had working with others. A safe response would be if you have an example of a situation where people you have worked with did not contribute to completing a task and you were stuck bearing the majority of the workload.

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