Do you have the jitters because of an upcoming job interview? Most people do since, they don’t know what questions will be asked by the interviewer.
Zig Ziglar once said “success occurs when opportunity meets preparation”. A job interview is one of many opportunities that can lead to success. Preparation increases the likelihood of being selected. So say goodbye to pre-job-interview jitters and nightmares. Here are some classic questions asked in almost every interview and tips so that you can crack your next job interview!
Let’s start with the elephant in the room:
1. Why don’t you have a college degree?
Let’s face it. There are high chances that your interviewer will ask you this question. It may not be the first question but it may be the one you’re most concerned about.
But don’t worry. Since they selected you for an interview, it means that they like your resume. They are curious to know your story and will notice your attitude while you answer this question.
Use this question to highlight your greatest professional strengths, successes, and achievements. Some of the most important skills needed in this workplace today are learnability, agility, problem-solving skills, verbal communication and creativity. Call attention to those skills and show that you:
• Are a self-starter
• Are keen to learn, grow and develop
• Have more practical knowledge and exposure
• Have dealt with difficult challenges or circumstances in the workplace.
Benchmark yourself against your peers who have a degree. After all, you got to the same spot they are by being a passionate self-starter, which is something employers are usually looking for.
Avoid being arrogant or offending the interviewer but be confident and take pride in choosing a different path. (Check out how Dylan Ali answered this question here in Episode 14 of The NoDegree Podcast)
2. Tell me about yourself?
Think about a time when you’re going on your first date and the first thing you need to tell the other person is about yourself. This question is sorta like that. It’s an icebreaker between you and the employer. The hiring manager will take note of your confidence, interests, communication skills, and work habits.
For a job interview, you can’t get into personal details but share some insights into both your personal and professional life.
The key to acing your response is to be short, quick, and impactful. Talk about your past work experience, education, qualifications, how you’ve prepared for this opportunity, and how you’re the best fit for the job. You can also talk a little about your hobbies and how it is interlinked to the job. Don’t start narrating your entire life history, or any experiences that’s irrelevant to the job.
3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Through this question, the interviewer wants to check your ambition, future goals, realistic expectations, and commitment towards the organization. Nobody wants to hire someone who would leave the organization after gaining some experience. Hiring managers look for candidates with long-term vision and commitment towards their career.
Not quite sure of the answer? You can say that you’re interested in gaining experience that will help you learn and explore your strengths and ultimately decide the direction you want to take.
You can also think about a senior-level position for the job you’re applying for and answer along those lines. Your goals should relate to the needs, vision, and values of the company.
Avoid giving unrealistic and vague answers like, “I want to become the CEO of the Company”, or “I want your position in the company after 5 years”.
4. What are your strengths?
You are awesome! Your loved ones know it and so should you!
This question is a chance to show your positive attributes and sell yourself to the employer.
You may have hundreds of qualities but for a job interview, you need to pick out the top three to four qualities that make you the best fit for the role.
Always highlight your strengths by stating facts or narrating a story that will convince the hiring manager. Your strengths will help the hiring manager to assess and determine if you’re the best candidate for the job.
For example: If you’re applying for the position of salesman, speak about your communication and persuasion skills. Demonstrate how you applied this skill to increase your sales or convince clients which will definitely increase your chances of getting selected.
And FYI, saying you’re a perfectionist isn’t a strength. It’s a weakness. And this leads us to the next question.
5. What is your greatest weakness?
Nobody’s perfect. Period. So answer this question with sincerity and humbleness. It shows the level of your self-awareness and acceptance of flaws. Speaking about your flaws along with the steps you’re taking to overcome them will impress the interviewer. Try to put across your negative traits positively by showing how you’re taking action to overcome your weaknesses.
Don’t talk about a weakness that is a core requirement for the job. You cannot say that you are weak in communication when applying for a marketing job. Also, do not use strengths and highlight it as your weakness as it is deceiving. Do not say that you work too much or you’re too critical of yourself.
Example: I am bad at public speaking and to overcome that I have joined clubs with open mic, or asked my previous manager to give me presentations.
I cannot prioritize my work because of which I have missed a few deadlines. To overcome this, I have started using calendars, set reminders, make a daily schedule, and strike off the work that is done.
6. Why are you leaving your current role or Why did you leave your last job?
If you’re currently unemployed, it must be because you left the organization, got fired from the company, or were laid-off. You have to give an honest answer to this question. Don’t belittle your previous employer as this reflects badly on you. Speak positively about your previous organization and all that you’ve learned from there.
Be truthful if you’ve been laid off or fired from the organization. Say that you’re looking for new opportunities and a team-focused company. If you’ve voluntarily left the company, be direct. Focus on the future. Do you want a career move? Looking for new challenges? Share that and express your eagerness to join the new company.
7. What is your salary expectation?
Always, always do your research about the salary given to people in your position in that particular city.
If you’re a fresher, state that you’re more interested in the job and opportunities that will come along with it. You can say that you’re ready to accept the salary as per industry standards with your experience and skills.
Avoid giving an exact number and let the hiring manager quote the salary. You can then negotiate further. Before going to an interview, be prepared with the least salary you’re ready to accept and a point beyond which you will walk-away without accepting the job.
8. Why do you want to join our organization or Why do you want to work for us?
Most people randomly send applications to many places without knowing exactly about the company, its values, mission, hierarchy, and how it functions. Don’t be that person.
Through this question, the interviewer wants to know what has attracted you to apply for the position. Your answer should highlight your motivation, purpose, interest, needs, and values that correlate to the company and its values. To do this, you need to research the company, its mission, vision, culture. Read articles, and recent news related to the company to learn about its future endeavors and goals.
Do you like their work culture? Their mission? Tell them why you think the company is unique. Share what attracted you to the company and express your excitement to contribute to its future growth.
If you nail this answer, you might just impress the interviewer and be put on the fast track to a job.
9. Why should we hire you?
Be specific in answering this question. Speak about your past experiences and qualities in a way that aligns with the job description and company values. Highlight your qualities by giving examples and success stories about you.
You have to craft an answer skilfully and present it with confidence without being cocky. You want the hiring manager to be convinced that you’re unique and the right person for the job. Remember that you need to bring value to their team and your answer should set you apart from other candidates with the same experience and qualities.
10. Tell us about a challenge or difficulty that you have faced at work before and how you dealt with it?
This question might be uncomfortable to answer. We’ve all faced difficult situations, challenges or conflict.The reason behind this question is that your interviewer wants to see your reaction and how you relate this experience.
It’s important to be calm, composed, sincere, and narrate the incident concisely. Focus more on the solution that you came up with. This will show your work style and how you deal with situations and people around you. Share what you learned from the situation and how it’s prepared you to handle them in the future.
11. How do you deal with stress and pressure?
There is always pressure at the workplace. Many get stressed out or are unable to handle pressure.
The interviewer wants to know how you cope when you feel pressured or stressed.
Don’t say that you never, or rarely feel pressured. Acknowledge that there is work pressure and speak about how you navigate or mitigate that. For instance, you can mention that you read books, meditate, socialize with friends or channel that energy into productive work.
There can never be an exhaustive list for a job interview. However, it is important to be prepared with the most common questions so that you are prepared to impress.
Tailoring your answers according to the job position and company is key to acing interviews. It’s especially important for those without a degree to research well about the company and job description so that you are memorable.