"My story begins with an intensive search for reputable employment. It has been a task to find work in a facility that is known to be honest, reliable, or respectable. I am grateful to say that this has happened for me through Elwood Staffing."
-Michael G. - Columbus, IN
By anticipating the questions you can expect in an interview, you can think through and practice your responses beforehand, and walk into the interview with confidence.
The first and most important thing you can do is know yourself thoroughly your past accomplishments, strengths, what you can do for an employer, your preferred work environment, etc.
You may need to shift your perception of what an interview is. You are not going in there begging for a job at any cost, with the employer having all the power. The employer, too, is under pressure to fill the position with a quality individual and may be anxious to find someone immediately. The interviewer has hopes and concerns just as you do. Think of an interview as a professional conversation between two parties who each have needs the other might satisfy. Both parties are looking for a good, swift, "buying decision".
To develop your responses to common interview questions, put yourself in the interviewer's shoes. Ask yourself, "What is the interviewer trying to find out?" and when you have that answer, ask "How might I respond?"
The following list is designed to help you anticipate questions and prompt you to practice your responses.
Tell me about yourself.
You can bet on this one being asked in most interviews. Give the two minute response you have already practiced that shows you to be a positive, contributing person. End with the question: "Is there anything I have mentioned that you would like me to go into in more detail?" This effectively stops the flow of conservation by requiring a response from the interviewer. If the interviewer tries to get you to continue your answer to the same question by saying: "No, please go on, you are doing fine," guide the interview into your most recent experience.
"Okay, ... let me tell you what I've been doing at the company... "
Why did you leave (company name)?
State your reason for leaving honestly and succinctly. Also prepare responses for leaving other jobs you have had.
Which of your jobs did you like best? Why?
Here's your chance to tell the interviewer about the specific areas in which you can be of most value in his or her organization. If you are noncommittal or vague in your response, it may suggest that you lack drive, and lack the ability to analyze or plan for your own growth. It is normal to have preferences.
How did you get past jobs?
Your reply will give an indication of your resourcefulness.
Why are you so interested in our company?
If "money" is your honest answer, you will usually be passed over. The question is an attitude indicator that may strongly influence the interviewer's image of you. Your answer also indicates how much you have researched the company.
What are your long-range and short-range plans?
This has to be one of the most feared questions for most people - unless they have given some thought to what the interviewer is trying to find out. Your response gives the interviewer a chance to see if your plans mesh or conflict with the organizations, and if your goals are realistic. It's an important question.
If you had complete freedom, what job would you choose?
Again, your answer is an indicator of your suitability for the organization. If you have arrived at the interview through a well-thought out Zeroing-In Process, your ideal will most likely mesh with the real strengths you are presenting - and with what this company most likely needs.
What are your top strengths?
The ability to talk knowledgeably about your strengths is an indication of healthy self-confidence. This is a good opportunity to verbalize them, backed by your accomplishments -:- strengths in action.
What are your weaknesses?
This is a "fishing" question. It tells the interviewer about your outlook and aptitudes. This question is your opportunity to describe briefly a less than favorable situation that you learned from or overcame. Turn it into a discussion of an accomplishment. Also, a weakness can be a knowledge deficiency that can easily be remedied by additional training, reading, or experience, so relate your plan to address it.
In a perfect world, interview questions should be related to the position and your willingness and ability to do the job. Occasionally, an interviewer asks questions that solicit information about you that could potentially be used in a discriminatory way. Practicing how you would handle these kinds of questions will help you respond professionally if the questions are asked in an interview situation (or even on an application).