To prepare for an interview, it’s important to practice answering both traditional and behavior-based questions. In this article we’ll cover some common questions an interviewer might ask a candidate being considered for a position at any level of an organization. Also included is an analysis of the question which may help you answer such a question in your job interview. Below are eleven interview practice questions to help you prepare.
Interview Practice Questions
1. Could you please tell me about yourself?
Although this question is broad, keep your answer focused and relevant to the job for which you’re applying. Mention the top three or four aspects of your experience, skills, interests, and personality that make you a qualified candidate for the job.
2. What are your long- and short-term career goals?
With this question the interviewer is trying to get a feel for why you want this job and how long you’re going to stick with it. The ideal answer will assure the employer that you’re worth the investment—that is, training you, introducing you to clients, entrusting you with responsibility. Your answer should assure that you’ll be around for a while—and maybe even a long time.
3. Outside of work, what are some of the things you do?
Employers know that what an applicant does for free can speak louder about his character than what he does for money. Tell the interviewer about something in your nonprofessional life that says: “Hey, I’m a good person.”
4. What strengths do you bring to this job that other candidates might not?
There’s no hidden message here. The employer is giving you the floor to sell yourself for the job. Prepare well for this answer and deliver it with confidence. After all, who knows more about why you’re suited for the job than you? Make your presentation using brief achievement stories whenever possible.
5. Why do you want to leave your current position?
The interviewer is concerned about any problems that might arise based on past experience. Be sure to use good judgment here. Don’t bad-mouth your current boss and don’t bring up anything negative.
6. Why did you leave your last job?
Sounds like the interviewer wants to know if there are any underlying problems like a lack of commitment, difficult personality, poor performance, or anything that might lead to termination. Employers don’t want to take on someone who has a record of walking out on jobs or getting fired. No matter why you left your last job, couch your response in positive terms, without lying.
7. Please explain why you have a gap in your employment history.
With this question, the employer is looking for any problems in your personal life that might become a headache if you’re hired. Explain your gaps honestly, leaning on activities that support your job objective, if that’s possible. If you don’t have anything to say that’s relevant, then talk about activities that show your strength of character and helped you know what you really want to do next: the job you’re interviewing for.
8. Of all the problems you had at your previous position, which was the hardest to deal with?
What a sneaky question! “Of all the problems. . .” Don’t fall for it. Don’t let on that you had many problems, even if you did. Instead, refer briefly to an area you—and probably the rest of the world—find challenging, and move right on to how you’ve learned to deal with it.
9. What project required you to work under pressure? What were the results?
How you respond to this question will tell the interviewer if you excel while working under pressure. Be honest and positive. All jobs bring with them a certain amount of pressure, but some have a lot more than others. Give an example in which the level of pressure was just right for you that will suggest how much pressure you’re looking for on your next job.
10. What college experience are you especially proud of?
If you haven’t been in the workforce long, this question is your opportunity to give balance to the fact that you don’t have much paid experience. Spotlight your academic and extracurricular achievements, especially the ones that are relevant to your job objective.
11. What classes or training are you planning to pursue at this point?
This one’s tricky. You want to look dedicated to developing your profession but you don’t want to appear to have so much going on that you won’t be 100 percent on the job. Make it clear that your number one priority is your job, and developing your profession is second.
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