Nailing the Interview: Part II

Last time we discussed the work that goes into preparing for an interview, and getting your foot in the door is the vital first step, but once you’re face-to-face with the interviewer, this is the part you’ve got to ace. You never know what kind of style the interviewer will have, so be prepared for a wide variety of questions. Some will ask very short, direct questions, others will ask more open-ended questions, so be sure to listen intently and really engage in the conversation. Here are some common questions and answers you might encounter during the interview process:

What they might ask:

Tell me about yourself… Here you should hit the highlights, but don’t go on too long or offer tedious details – if they want details, they’ll ask. Right out of the gate you should describe your most valuable skills and experience, as well as your best qualities. You can also add some brief personal tidbits if you have a really interesting hobby or something, but just remember that most people don’t find your stamp collection as fascinating as you do, so keep it brief.
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? This is another common one that can be tricky. Strengths are easy, describe skills or traits that would be most relevant to the job you’re seeking. Don’t get cute when describing weaknesses, like by saying: “I’m a perfectionist” or “I pay way too much attention to detail.” It’s clear you’re trying to cleverly disguise strengths as weaknesses, and the interviewer will likely see through it. Just be honest, but take a soft approach and choose a weakness that people can work with and relate to, like: “I tend to procrastinate my least favorite tasks,” or something like that.
Where do you see yourself in five years? This one is fairly cliché at this point, but this or similar questions are still quite common. Your answer will be largely dependent on the kind of job you’re applying for. Be realistic in your answer, but convey ambition and a desire to learn and advance. Generally speaking, you should indicate that your long-term plan is to stay within the company. They will probably think twice about hiring you if you indicate to them this is merely a stepping stone on your path to world domination, and they won’t want to invest the time and money to train you. Try to be honest, but don’t shoot yourself in the foot.

At some point they will probably turn the tables and ask if you have any questions for them. Do NOT ask about salary, titles, or things of that nature. You don’t want to come across as presumptuous, and you don’t want to put them on the spot if they’re not prepared to discuss that yet. This is an opportunity to connect with the interviewer and show them that you’re focused on the job and ways you could be an asset to the company.

What you should ask:

What qualifications do you feel are most important for this position? This forces the interviewer to show their hand and open up about what he or she is really looking for, it allows you to point out all the ways you fit the bill, and it gives you the opportunity to fill in any information you may have left out previously that you didn’t know was relevant.
What have you enjoyed most about working here? This question shows your interest in both the person and the company. It makes the interview feel more personal because it forces them to reveal themselves a bit, and it shows your respect for the interviewer’s opinion.
Do you have any concerns about my suitability for the job or about my ability to contribute to the organization? This puts it all on the table. If they answer honestly, it will give you a golden opportunity to clear up any concerns and erase their doubts.

Obviously there are countless questions that may be asked and answered during an interview, and there’s no way to prepare for all of the possibilities. Structure all of your responses in a positive manner with a focus on all the ways you will add value to the organization, and you will have nailed the interview.

Share this blog

Related Posts

Looking for more information?

Please fill out the form and one of our partners will be in touch with you within 24 hours.

See our Privacy Policy

Not Convinced?

Schedule a free
consultation and get



your first project.