Win Them Over With Your Q&A

Interview Tips

1. Ask the Right Questions

An interview is an important time to learn about a potential employer. If you don’t ask questions, it looks like you’re unprepared. Ask about the job and what your daily assignments might be. Ask who you will report to. Ask what a typical day is like in that particular department. Ask if there is room for growth long-term. Questions you don’t want to ask involve salary. This is given when an offer is made. If asked about the salary you want, leave it open-ended. State that you’re “flexible and looking at the benefits and growth potential within the organization.”

2. Answer with Enthusiasm

One thing that potential employers frown upon is jobseekers that don’t sound interested in the position. Even if you had a rough commute, couldn’t find childcare until the last minute or were stuck in traffic, don’t show it. Pause before each answer and keep answers brief. Don’t talk too much with long-winded, run-on sentences. Show enthusiasm about the role and your assignments. Listen intently to the descriptions the interviewer is sharing about the position. If you’re unsure how to answer, look up “Best answers to interview questions” online (ahead of time). This can help you stay focused and attentive.

3. Listen Like You Mean It

During an interview, the interviewer will start out by telling about the company and then go into the role. These are structured scripts and it’s important that you listen intently. Jobseekers make the mistake of daydreaming or thinking about where they parked, and what time their next interview is scheduled. As the interviewer is speaking, nod your head to acknowledge that you are listening, but don’t interrupt. Interviewers will relay the script about the role and your assignment and then ask about you. Be ready to respond with what you can contribute to that role based on what they just said.

4. Be Careful with Personal Responses

When you respond to interview questions, it’s a great time to discuss something that you might have done at your current or previous job. Highlighting your accomplishments shows you are a team player, but keep it brief. If the interviewer states they need someone who won’t surf the internet all day on social media, let them know you frown on that, too. Make a personal note that, while here, you’ll have to reserve social media for lunch or breaks. Show that you are the person they are looking for and give examples: i.e., you’re always on time and stay late.

5. Don’t Make These Avoidable Mistakes

An interview has a few areas you want to avoid. Jobseekers often make mistakes by talking too much about themselves. An interviewer might say, “Tell me about yourself.” Use that time to briefly state that you are a student, dedicated to your profession and looking for a full-time job with growth potential. It’s a very brief response that sums up why you are there. Jobseekers make the mistake of answering with “Well, I’m a Scorpio and I love long walks in the park.” Practice what you will say ahead of time so you’ll be prepared with just the right answer.

6. Be Prepared for Awkward Questions

An interviewer might ask questions you are not be prepared to answer. They might ask, “So what’s your biggest weakness?” Don’t use that time to say, “Stealing supplies from the office.” Use it as a chance to help you get the job. You can say something like, “My biggest weakness is I hate seeing people slacking off when there’s work to be done,” or “A weakness I have is I’m a perfectionist and for me the work never stops.” It’s a way to highlight what might be a benefit to the firm or company if they hire you.

7. Know What Traps to Avoid

Always stay calm during an interview because you are being tested the whole time. The interviewer might have you wait 30 minutes before coming in to see if you are flexible. They might throw questions at you and accuse you of something by stating, “You’re not really this nice all the time, are you?” Sometimes they do this because if they have a manager that’s a Type-A personality, they need someone calm and patient. They’re trying to get into your psyche to see if you will fly off the handle or stay calm at all times with poised answers and responses.

8. If you were 100 percent certain that your supervisor was wrong about something, how would you handle the situation?

This question can let the interviewer know your preferred manner when dealing with difficult situations, and it can also telegraph whether you may have had trouble working with a manager in the past. This question can also give insight into how you view your relationship with a supervisor. Interview questions about bosses can be tricky, so proceed with caution. Remember that the person interviewing you may be your boss if you get the job. Use this opportunity to demonstrate your ability to handle sensitive questions with tact and discretion. This will let the interviewer know if you can handle your supervisor with the same degree of tact.

9. Do you think you’re overqualified for this job?

Tread lightly here; this can be a loaded question. If you feel your training and experience make you overqualified, be honest but with a degree of tact. Employers will be hesitant to hire an overqualified employee they fear will only stay long enough to get a bit of training while looking for a job more in line with their qualifications. You may respond that you feel you’re overqualified in some ways, while emphasizing that you look forward to the challenge of learning skills you’ll need in a specific area particular to the job you’re seeking.