Overall, recruiters who interview someone looking for a job ask more or less the same questions, regardless of the position to be filled. To properly prepare for your appointment with your potential employer, learn to answer these classic questions.
Tell me about yourself
“My name is First name Last name. I worked for X years as a Job in company X before joining company Y. Today, I am looking for new challenges…” Prepare a short presentation, ideally less than one minute, and memorize it if necessary, even if it’s better to leave room for improvisation to stay natural.
- Pitfall to avoid: Talking too much. It is not an invitation to pour out your private life, and even all about your career – there’s no point in going into minute detail. If the recruiter wants details, he will ask for them.
What are your main qualities? And your main faults?
Regarding qualities, some of employers’ favourites are the ability to work in a team, diligence, autonomy, creativity, positive attitude, organization and good interpersonal skills. See which ones match you best and be ready to illustrate them.
Recruiters tire of candidates who try to pass off a strength as a weakness, such as, “I work too hard”. So choose real faults, while explaining that since you are aware of them, you can control them. For example, “I get distracted easily, so I am careful to take note of everything” or “I get carried away quickly, but I have developed the habit of taking three deep breaths when I feel the pressure building.
- Pitfall to avoid: Falling into excess one way or the other. Don’t show false modesty, but don’t brag too much either!
Why do you want to work for us?
You can use the details of the job offer. If it promised opportunities for promotion, learning, or working abroad, put these arguments forward. Do your research ahead of time. You can contact employees via social media to ask them what they like most about the company and use their answers to respond.
- Pitfall to avoid: Don’t exaggerate. It’s like the cover letter – you are not going to answer that the company is the largest in its industry if it is a small family business.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Don’t hesitate to be ambitious… without being threatening. If you are received by the director and you tell him that you are targeting his place, he might not take it very well! Rather say, “I think I will spend a few years in this position before considering a managerial role, then perhaps take on more responsibilities.”
- Pitfall to avoid: Not having a response ready. Even if you have trouble projecting yourself so far, think about it. You are not being forced to stick to your plan to the letter, you just want to be sure that you have thought about your professional future.
Tell me about a failure and what you learned from it…
“In my previous position, we lost a big contract to a competitor. The solution we proposed was not creative enough, I now know that you should not hesitate to think outside the box.” Above all, do not try to clear yourself – take your share of responsibility in the failure, and it will be appreciated.
- Pitfall to avoid: Choosing your example carelessly. You must find something that is indeed a failure, because the recruiter will not be fooled, but one that does not show you in a bad light either… Choose a mistake made in good faith rather than a blatant lack of professionalism.
What superhero are you? What would you do with $15,000? How would you like to be reincarnated? They are not very common, but these questions can happen, especially if you are being assessed for a position where logical reasoning is essential or with very high stress levels. Because that’s the point of these questions: to see how you react under pressure and to get a glimpse of how your mind works.
- Pitfall to avoid: Losing your composure. In reality, the answer does not matter, and the recruiter will not reject your application simply because you answered Batman when he would have preferred to hear SpiderMan. It’s your reasoning that interests him.