Guide to Interviewing – Part Six – How to deal with awkward questions?


“Tell me about yourself.”

Make a short, organised statement of your education and professional achievements and professional goals.  Then, briefly describe your qualifications for the job and the contributions you could make to the organisation.

“Why do you want to work here?”

“What about our company interests you”

Few questions are more important than these, so it is important to answer them clearly and with  enthusiasm.  Show the interviewer your interest in the company.  Share what you learned about the job, the company and the industry through your own research.  Talk about how your professional skills will
benefit the company.   Unless you work in sales your answer will never be simply: “Money.”  The interviewer will wonder if you really care about the job.

“Why did you leave your last job?”

The interviewer may want to know if you had any problems on your last job.  If you did not have any problems, simply give a reason, such as: relocated away from job; company went out of business; laid
off; temporary job; no possibility of advancement; wanted a job better suited to your skills.

If you did have problems, be honest.  Show that you can accept and learn from your mistakes.  You should explain any problems you had (or still have) with an employer, but don’t describe that employer in negative terms.  Demonstrate that it was a learning experience that will not affect your future work.

“What are your best skills?”

If you have sufficiently researched the organisation, you should be able to imagine what skills the company values.  List them, then give examples where you have demonstrated these skills.

“What is your major weakness?”

Be positive; turn a weakness into a strength.  For example, you might say: “I worry too much over my work.  Sometimes I work late to make sure the job is done well.”

“Do you prefer to work by yourself or with others?”

The ideal answer is one of flexibility.  However, be honest.  Give examples describing how you have worked in both situations.

“What are your career goals? Or “What are your future plans?”

The interviewer wants to know that you are ambitious enough to plan ahead.

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