10 Interview Question and Answers to Help You Land a Job - Pt. II
In part one of this two-part series we started giving you interview question and answers from ten of the most frequently asked interview questions.
If you haven't read part one go over to Frequently Asked Interview Questions, and come back to finish up here when you are done.
Okay, to continue with our interview question and answers to some frequently asked interview questions, we pick up with question five:
Interview question 5: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
If you haven't thought about it, you need to consider before going for the interview. It's not like anyone is going to hold you to whatever you say, but the question is designed to determine if you have any goals and if you are a possible long-term candidate for this position.
A: “I an going to be directing a successful marketing campaign to help Widget Company obtain market share in Asia.”
This is another fairly open-ended question, but there are some don'ts here. Don't say things like traveling with a rock band or starting your own widget company. Also, don't focus on family goals since this is a job interview question. Be honest, though, but only to the point that your honest answer doesn't conflict with your aspirations for this job. And, if you honestly don't want to work here, then why are you interviewing?
Interview question 6: “Have you ever had difficulty with a previous instructor or supervisor, and if so, how was it resolved?”
If you have never had an issue at all, then either you just started working or you have been lucky to have great superiors.
A: “One of my bosses came to me to tell me they found a report I had written contained errors. I reviewed it and found that everything was correct, and that the supervisor had made an error, but I did not say this. I told him that I would correct it, and turn it back in. I then contacted someone in accounting to double-check behind me. They sent an email back saying my figures were correct, so I saved the documentation. When I went back to my supervisor, he still refused to see my side. I did not say anything more, and he set up a counseling meeting for me with him and his boss. I brought the email from accounting back and provided it to back up my case, and my supervisor's boss agreed that my report was correct. My supervisor was reassigned to a different department.”
Again, if you have an example, it is better to give the specifics than to be dishonest. The question is really supposed to give those who would rant about a former superior an opportunity to see if they will badmouth their former employers. Don't take the bait.
Interview question 7: “Have you ever been asked to leave a position?”
In other words, have you ever been terminated. If you haven't then your answer, of course, is no.
A: “Yes, I was let go from a company once for violating the attendance policy due to an ill family member I was caring for. I had not been there long enough for my job to be protected under FMLA, and I had previously agreed to their attendance policy.”
Just honestly answer the question, and don't allow yourself to be bitter or make accusations or paint either your former supervisors or your former employer in a bad light.
Interview question 8: “What had disappointed you about a job?” or another version: “What did/do you dislike about your previous/current job?”
This is not the place to be negative, but again find something to say honestly. Empty answers like, “oh, I like everything,” or, “I've found nothing disappointing,” are just that...empty. Everyone has something to say, but keep focused on a positive attitude.
A: “I simply didn't find enough of a challenge because I was asked to repeat the same tasks without further encouragement or a chance to work at a slightly different task occasionally.”
At least that is an honest answer and lets the interviewer know up front that you left because of wanting additional responsibility or training, or you simply wanted to do more.
Interview question 9: “What have you learned from your mistakes on the job?”
Don't whiff this one. It requires an answer, if only because saying you never make mistakes or not remembering what they were and the lesson learned only makes you look arrogant, dumb, or both. Find a small and well-intentioned mistake you've made in the past to draw from.
A: “In my enthusiasm to get my teams portion of an advertising campaign done, I failed to recognize what input would be coming from another department working with us. Since I didn't maintain communication with them, we ended up having to go back to a vendor to redo some of the printing we had ordered. This ended up costing us more time on the project. I learned that regular communication with both my own team and those outside of my charge is essential to coming in on time and under budget.”
Interview question 10: “Tell me what are your greatest weaknesses.”
There it is, the most dreaded interview question to the unprepared. While it may be tempting to say you don't have any, don't. During the many interviews I have conducted, I have asked this question every time, and often the responses were not surprising.
A1: "I am often trying to accomplish many tasks at once, and have learned that I need to tell myself to stop and focus on the important ones in order to improve the quality of my work."
A2: “I need to try to delegate more. I realized as a manager that I was taking on too much myself and was unable to get everything done, so I am training myself to delegate the smaller tasks to others.”
Let me just say that the advice to say you are a perfectionist is so overused that, for me, it automatically made the resume go to the bottom of the stack.
This question is less about what your actual weaknesses are and more about if you are concerned enough to have identified any to work on. If your answer is one of the canned responses that are so overused, it usually tells the interviewer that at best you are unprepared and at worst you are full of it or dishonest. Either way, it can hurt you.
Well, hopefully these frequently asked interview questions help you better prepare for your upcoming interview. Practice some of these interview question and answers in front of a mirror or, even better, with someone else acting as the interviewer. Remember, confidence and honest responses have the best chance of helping you ace your interview and landing you a job.
I have more help available for you job hunt. You may find that your prospective employer conducts a phone interview. It is key that you use the information given here about the potential interview questions and couple it with these phone interview tips. You can find job interview advice which should help you with the parts of the interview other than just the responses to the questions being asked. Good luck with your search!