Whether you have done one interview or 100 interviews, there is always one question that you were not expecting. Employers and interviewers create "trick" questions so that they can divide the prepared applicants from the unprepared ones. With the help of these 13 questions, you can show any potential employer that you are on top of your game.
1. How long do you plan to stay with our company?
While it is unlikely that they company is going to put you under contract, they are looking to see how committed you are to staying with the company. This is the question that will help them weed out any applicant that plans to use the company as a resume filler or a stepping stone.
2. Describe a situation where your work or an idea was criticized?
Tip: Never let on that your work was criticized. Instead, give an example of when an idea did not go over as well as you had hoped. Then, explain what you did to rectify the situation, whether it was to create a whole new idea or just enhance the original one. Be sure to mention how the situation ended on a positive note.
3. How does this position or job compare to others for which you have applied?
This question was designed to find out where else their applicants have applied. Just like in a game of cards, you never want to let them see what kind of hand you hold. As an alternative, tell them that this position is perfect for you and unlike any other for which you have applied. If pressed, tell them that all of the positions, no matter how different, fall within your criteria and qualifications.
4. What would you describe as a good work environment?
Simply put, how needy are you? Do you require a calm and happy environment or do you like a fast-paced and sometimes stressful position that keeps you on your toes. A question like this will also help to determine if you like to work alone or in a team, or a little of both (which of course is the best answer).
5. Do you feel you were better at your position than your co-workers?
This one is tricky; and not just the question, but the answer as well. Of course you want to be confident and say that you do your job better than anyone else. However, you have to say it without criticizing your co-workers. Never say anything bad about the people you work with at your current job or any past ones. Rather, talk about all of your strengths that help you do your job well.
6. How do you feel about a position with routine tasks and regular hours?
How does anyone feel about routine tasks? Boring! Your job may have little to do with "routine tasks," but in your interview, they want to make sure that you can handle the daily drudge along with all of the exciting projects. Be positive in your response and say that routine tasks and regular hours will help create a stable work environment for when the chaotic, fun projects become available.
7. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Again, they want to see if you plan to stay with the company. What the interviewer wants to see is an applicant that is loyal to the company. When you answer, base your goals on something within the company and not completely on you.
8. What do you want to do with your life?
Work for this company, of course! Once more, this type of question during an interview is to determine if you are worth hiring. If you plan to stay only a year or so, you could prove to be a waste of money by the time they hire and train your replacement. On the other hand, if you plan to make your career at this company, you would be a solid investment.
9. What do you expect to be earning in five years?
While most interviewers expect you to give a monetary figure, be honest in the fact that it is hard to place a monetary value for the future with so many undetermined factors. Instead, focus on your value as an employee and what you hope to have earned/learned during your time there.
10. What subjects did you like least in college? Why?
Everyone has a subject that they hated, or at least that they didn't care for while in school. But, just like you should not speak badly about a past job, you do not want to speak badly about any of your courses (or professors). In lieu of some venting, focus on what you learned in a specific class, especially one that you did not think you would like.
11. Have you ever been unfairly released from a job?
This is a sneaky way for a company to ask an applicant if they have been fired during an interview. Depending on how they word it, it may not even be legal, but regardless, honesty is the best policy because they will find out if they are even considering hiring you.
12. If you are still employed, how do you manage to do interviews?
In other words, are you slacking on the job while looking for other work? No company wants to hire someone who is not loyal until the end. Remind the interviewer that everyone is entitled to personal time from work and you choose to use yours for interviews, as you remain committed to using your work time for professional purposes.
13. What have you heard about our company?
This question is intended to find out if you did your homework. How much do you know about the company? Lucky for you, you did your research and you may have even talked to a few friends to get some information. Use all of your resources, including any information you gained during the interview, to show what you know and why that information makes this company the one for you.
Going on an interview can be a bit nerve racking, especially in you are not prepared for some of the questions that they company will ask you. By studying these questions, as well as some of the more general ones, you will be ready to shine your way into that coveted position.