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Common Interview Questions, How to Ace Them and be a STAR

At TalentSource, we help you confidently walk into an interview.  Our smart recruiting process includes guiding you through each phase of the job search process.  You’ve crafted the perfect resume that landed an interview. You’ve done research on the company. You’ve perfected your interview attire to give a great first impression. Then, you walk into the hiring manager’s office, sit down, and are asked, “so, tell me about yourself”. You take a deep breath, and nothing comes to mind. Avoid this kind of interview anxiety by thinking through some common interview questions and practicing your answers.

Preparation for an interview includes crafting replies to common interview questions. Every answer should highlight something about your career history and show why you would be perfect for the job you are interviewing for. Your responses should tie into the job description; use exact terms/keywords that appear in the job description in your conversation.

Tell me about yourself.

One of the most common questions you will be asked during an interview is “tell me about yourself” or “walk me through your resume”.  Both are typical opening questions, intended to break the ice.  Many interviewers use your answer to this opening question to determine what direction the interview will go.  Consider your background, and what the interviewer wants to hear. Use a present, past, and future (not past, present, future – start with current information) model to concisely frame your response without reciting everything that is on your resume. Your goal is to connect with the interviewer and direct the follow-up question.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Today’s hiring managers are looking for soft skills as much as historical experience when interviewing candidates. Questions about handling conflict, weaknesses, leadership, disagreements, mistakes, and so on are looking for your soft skills. According to Fast Company, Behavioral interview questions are designed to determine how you will handle specific situations in a work environment. They often ask you to use your experience as an example and focus more on soft skills rather than technical aspects of the job.

Random interview questions allow a potential employer to understand how your past work experience has prepared you for future tasks and challenges. Questions like “if you were an animal, which one would you be”, “how many tennis balls can you fit into a bus”, or “sell me this pen” are asked not to get a specific answer, but to see how you react under pressure and how quickly you can think on your feet.

When one of these loaded interview questions comes up, first, take a deep breath. Literally, take a deep breath. Then, look the interviewer in the eye and say something like, “I’m glad you asked me that question.” Prepare your answer using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). The key part of your answer should be the result. Think of various stories from your career history. Flesh out the details and write them out during your interview preparation.   

Why are you leaving your current job?

Interview questions about why you are leaving your current position can also be tricky. Never say anything negative. Work your reply to bring the conversation back to why you are excited about new/more challenges/opportunities with the role you are interviewing for.

What questions do you have for me?

Finally, the good old “do you have any questions” as a wrap-up question. Always be prepared with good questions that you’ve developed ahead of time through your company research. Ask questions about the position, the company, and your experience. According to an article from Indeed, some examples might be:

  • What are your short-term goals for a new hire with this job title?
  • Why do you enjoy working here?
  • What qualities are you looking for in a candidate?

 

If you would like to practice answering interview questions, talk to your TalentSource recruiter. We are here to help you through this process in any way we can. Don’t forget to upload your resume on our website.  Keep in touch with your TalentSource recruiter and let us know of any contact information changes or current job status shifts.  Be sure to check out our current job openings. Don’t forget, working with a TalentSource recruiter is a free, confidential service to you. Our clients pay all fees in return for connecting them with outstanding candidates, like you! Give us a call today to learn more about our smart recruiting techniques (574) 968-8676, or send us a message at contact@talentsourcestaffing.com