How to Confidently Answer Common Questions During Job Interviews
Job interviews can be daunting, but if you use ResumeHelp’s expert advice and tips, you'll be sure to ace your next job interview and impress hiring managers!
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You’ve submitted your resume and cover letter for a job opportunity, and now you’ve earned yourself a job interview. Congratulations! You’ve moved onto the next step. The interview process, however, can be even scarier than the process of writing a cover letter and resume. In your upcoming interview, you will need to be able to show off your career goals, indicate how you can perform in a work environment, and even pay attention to things like body language and eye contact. However, if you ace the interview, you’re even closer to getting the job you want. Here’s everything you need to know about making the right impression in the job interview.
What Happens in a Job Interview?
A job interview gives employers a chance to dig into your background and uncover any experiences and skills that are a good fit for the specific job you’re applying to. Not only are they usually trying to make sure you’re being truthful about everything on your resume, but they’re also seeing how you put your skills into play, and what you’re like as a person.
The Structure of a Job Interview
1. Submitting your resume
Before the job interview, you have to submit a resume and cover letter to the job to be considered. Give yourself the best chance of finding your next job by using the ResumeHelp resume builder and cover letter builder to create a resume and cover letter that really show off your talents.
2. The interview process
Next, you’ll go into the interview and answer a variety of questions from the interviewer. This may include any of these common job interview questions:
- What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
- Why do you want to leave your current job?
- Why should we hire you?
- What makes you unique?
- What motivates you?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Can you tell me about yourself?
- Do you have anything else to ask us?
This process is your chance to explain why you’re the best candidate for the job, and it allows you to give the recruiter an idea of what you’re like.
3. Follow-up and hiring process
After the interview, it’s considered best practice to write a thank you letter that thanks the interviewer for the opportunity to meet, follows up on any additional questions, and provides an additional call to action for the next interview, if needed.
If all goes well, you should be contacted by a hiring manager about being hired, including details about salary expectations and benefits.
What to Practice to Nail Your Job Interview
1. Most common questions and answers
Practicing common interview questions and answers can help you do better in a job interview. Although it’s not typically advised to memorize answers ahead of time, knowing the most common job questions can help you prepare to answer them when they come up.
ResumeHelp has a list of the most common interview questions that tend to show up in a variety of contexts, as well as how to approach more individualized questions like behavioral interview questions and the interesting sales-adjacent “Sell me this pen” question, among others.
2. Be comfortable talking about yourself
It’s important that you’re able to talk about yourself and your skills. You should know what your best skills are, what career paths you’re hoping to pursue, and any issues you’ve had with a previous job. Being able to talk about your strengths will make your interview answers much smoother.
3. The STAR method of answering questions
The STAR method is a method of answering questions that’s effective for job interviews. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. You bring up a specific situation, talk about the task you needed to perform, go over the action you took, and showcase the result you ended up with. It’s a great way to show off your skills and the benefits you’ve provided for previous jobs.
4. Research the company and position
Lastly, it’s a good idea to research both the company that you’re interviewing for and the position you’re hoping to get. Learning more about the company’s goals, challenges and culture will better prepare you to highlight skills and experiences from your own background that can address what the company needs, and open the door for you to ask intelligent questions about the job and the company.
FAQ: Job Interviews
Q: How many interviews do I need to go through before I get the job?
Most of the time, you’ll do one interview, and then the hiring manager will decide who fits best into the job. Sometimes, you may need to go through two rounds of interviews. It’s fairly rare to have more than two rounds of interviews, but your best bet is always to ask the hiring manager what to expect after the first interview.
Q: Are phone (or video) interviews different from in-person interviews?
Phone interviews and video interviews are generally the same as in-person interviews. In phone interviews, you don’t have to worry about things like body language, and video interviews typically don’t emphasize things like eye contact. However, all the questions and answers will typically be the same.
Q: Are there any questions a hiring manager can’t ask in an interview?
There are some questions that are illegal for a hiring manager to ask you, such as age, or other personal questions like sexual preference or religion. It’s best to do some research on these questions before you go into the interview. If a manager asks one of these questions, it’s best to dodge the question and decide later whether it’s a red flag or if it seemed to be asked out of innocent ignorance rather than malice. Don’t forget, you’re not just getting interviewed by an employer – this is your chance to interview an employer too, and determine if they’re the right fit for you.