With this economy, many people find themselves scouring the internet, reading the want ads, and tweaking their resumé in order to score an elusive interview for a job they truly want. Once you finally do get an interview, you prepare in every way you possibly can in order to impress the interviewers. In order to properly prepare, however, you need to have a rough idea of some questions you may be asked in the interview setting.
Some questions interviewers ask are general and generic. You can expect to be asked these types of questions no matter what job you are applying for. They may be challenging, but there are ways to answer them in a way to please the interviewer.
- Why did you leave your last job? This question is legitimate for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the interviewer is looking to see if you quit or were fired. Take the high road here and do not speak badly of your former coworkers and boss. Instead, phrase your reason for leaving in a more positive light. Tell the interviewer something like you were looking for a company you could grow with and that would give you a chance to learn more.
- Would you take a salary cut? This question is challenging for a variety of reasons. Often people don’t want to take a salary cut, but if you have been out of work for a while and the job is a perfect fit for you in every aspect except finances, remember some money is better than no money. Tell them you would be willing to do it because you love the opportunities this job offers, but ask if you can revisit this question in a few months once you’ve had a chance to prove your skills.
- Why did you choose the the college you went to/last job you had? If this job would be your first professional job out of college, it is possible they want to know the logical reasons behind your college choice. If you went to a traditional college mention that they had courses you were interested in and liked the campus feel. If you went to an online college, mention the flexibility and options you had. If this is not your first job, mention the good opportunities you looked for when applying to your previous job and what better opportunities this job is offering you.
There are other questions interviewers may ask that, although challenging, are fair. These questions are tougher to answer, but still legal.
- What was the worst boss you ever had? Again, don’t take this opportunity to bad mouth a previous employer. Instead, say that none of your bosses were terrible but you did learn from some more than others. Talk about the knowledge and experience you’ve gained from working with a variety of people.
- What was the most boring job you’ve ever had? With these types of questions, the interviewer isn’t really curious for the dish on your worst boss or job. Instead, he or she is looking to see how you turn negativity into positivity. Answer with something about how you never let yourself get bored because you are always trying to better yourself or the company.
- What are your weaknesses? Take something that can be a negative quality and turn it into a positive one. For example, say you tend to get overly involved in projects so you may spread yourself too thin. You can also turn your negative into something you’d like to improve upon. Say something like your public speaking skills aren’t where you’d like them to be,but you would love to improve on that.
There are questions interviewers may ask that legally they have no right to. These questions may cross the line between what is acceptable and what is just rude. If given these questions, you do not have to answer them and although it may cost you the job, it is illegal for them to make you answer. Just simply say you don’t feel comfortable answering that and move on.
- What country are your parents from? This question qualifies as discrimination because the interviewer cannot legally ask where you or your parents were born. The interviewer does, however, have the right to know if you are eligible to work in the United States.
- Do you have children? Questions about family are legal, but this potentially has a double meaning. The interviewer may be trying to learn if you would need special days off, if you can travel, and other topics that people with children may be more concerned with. If you are female, there may be a second meaning to this. It is assumed by some interviewers that if you have children or plan to have children at a future time, you may not stay with the company and leave to stay at home with the kids.
- Do you have disabilities? This question falls under the American’s Disability Act meaning it is unlawful to ask disability related questions in the interview process. If the disability is obvious, the interviewer may ask how you would perform a specific task or if you would need special accommodations.
When interviewing with a company be confident and composed. Remember you clearly have at least some of the qualities they are looking for, or else they wouldn’t have interviewed you at all. Just keep in mind the lessons you learned in school and in life, and apply those to this future career opportunity. With these questions, you can practice your interview skills and hopefully get your dream job.