Job interviews are a crucial part of the job hiring process. Sending in a CV that shows recruiters you have the skills and experiences can get you through halfway, but doing well on a job interview is the other half.
Sending in a CV that shows recruiters you have the skills and experiences can get you through halfway, but doing well on a job interview is the other half.
Nowadays, selected candidates go through different job interviews to assess their skills and their responses to stimuli, and to check if they are the best fit to the company among the list of applicants applying for the position.
Most of the crucial interview questions are the common questions for hiring managers to ask applicants. Since the questions are common, recruiters expect applicants to answer them well and without hesitation.
How to Respond to Crucial Job Interview Questions
1. Can you tell me more about yourself?
This question may seem simple but it knocks off many applicants on the list. Interviewers don’t want to hear about your personal history neither your professional history listed on your resume. Instead, give them a compelling pitch that will convince them you are the perfect person for the role.
Begin with stating 2 to 3 achievements or experiences or that interviewer would find valuable. Then wrap things up by narrating about the previous experiences that helped set you up for this job.
“Of course! I’ve always enjoyed the challenges in Digital Marketing. I’ve been an SEO Specialist for about 5 years now and have been learning as much as I can about the SEO side of Digital Marketing. My previous experiences have been broad as I was given the opportunity to prove my skills for different industries like health & recovery, real estate, and moving. After three years of working for my previous company, I’m ready to take on a new role and challenge myself in other areas of Digital Marketing which is why I’m excited to join your company. In here, I have the opportunity to learn new skills but still enjoy to continue polishing the skills I already have.”
2. How did you learn about the job opening?
There are two ways to learn about a job opening – through advertisements or recommendations. Finding the job vacancy through either way is a perfectly okay answer.
If you discovered the job opportunity through random job listings, state that fact and add what specifically interests you about the role.
“I found the job opening while browsing different job sites. I have noticed that your company was hiring and clicked on the job advertisement right away. I’ve always admired your company for the flawless products that you produce; in fact, I’m a regular customer. I’d love to take this opportunity to put my skills to good use and at the same time help the company I admire grow even more.”
If a friend shared the employment opportunity to you, name-drop that person and share why you were excited to get on board with the company.
“Actually, a friend recommended this position to me – his name is Adrian Dioneso. I immediately checked the website to learn more about the job and have been excited to book an interview ever since. My friend Adrian has been working for the company and has said many good things about their management style and career growth opportunities. This is exactly the kind of company I want to be in – a company that offers career growth for its employees as I’m the type of person who loves to learn and use all the skills and talent I have to give back to the company.”
3. Why is there a gap between your employment?
Recruiters check applicants’ CVs for employment gaps. If you have taken quite a long break in between jobs, state your reasons directly then steer the conversation on how are you able to contribute to the company’s success.
“In all honesty, I’ve been having a hard time finding a job as most recruiters prefer applicants with solid working experiences. I have taken this time to hone my skills by watching educational videos related to my career and have been taking short classes to increase my knowledge regarding web development and programming languages which I know are valuable assets web developers must-have.”
4. What are your strengths?
The key to answering this question is to be accurate and precise. Share your actual strengths and choose the ones that are relevant to the position. Lying about strengths can get you in trouble if they discover that you have lied about it during the job interview.
“My greatest strengths as a Customer Service Representative are my persuasive communication and relationship-building skills. Through these skills, I am able to close deals and build a great working relationship with clients that they become repeat buyers of the company.”
5. What are your weaknesses?
This question is a tricky one. Recruiters ask this question to applicants to determine their self-awareness and honesty. You can never answer, “I have no weaknesses. I’m quite the perfect employee,” as every employee and human being has shortcomings. Respond to this question by stating your weaknesses that you have been improving.
“One of the weaknesses I’m working on is missing deadlines due to getting caught up in the tiniest details of a project. Nowadays, I break down each project into sets of mini projects and allot enough time to work on it. If I take longer than expected, I move on to the next mini project and get back to it to see if the finer details complement the additional mini project. If it doesn’t, then I’d have a more objective reason to edit and improve it.”
6. Have you experienced conflicts at work? Can you tell me more about it and how you’ve helped resolve the issue?
The reason interviewers ask this question is to analyse how you respond to conflicts. Choose a situation you were involved in and you helped resolve. Use the S-T-A-R method, which is mainly narrating the situation to the interviewer, informing the interviewer of your tasks, explaining the action that you took then, and telling the result of the course of action you took.
“In my previous role, I have handled different accounts that had my hours blocked per day. Sometimes, it’s hard to finish one project given the limited hours I can work for a client in a day. I have spoken with my clients and have asked them if it’s alright to edit my daily limit on their hours as long as I meet the required hours to work for them per week.
So if I have a deadline for client A and client B isn’t rushing me for the day, I’ll spend the necessary hours for the day to meet my deadline and at the same time make sure that I’m not exceeding my hours for this client. When done, I’ll resume my tasks on client B. Then for the next day, I’ll spend the hours’ client A used for client B.”
7. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Though plans change, hiring managers would still want to know if an applicant (a) has set realistic expectations for their careers, (b) has ambition, and (c) if the role is aligned with their plans and goals.
“Well, in 5 years, I see myself leading a team of digital marketers and an expert in my field. This role of content writing is giving me an opportunity to learn more about the way content and the copy is evolving in the digital world and at the same time opened my eyes to the digital strategies and tactics to the other sides of digital marketing like SEO, Social Media, and such.”
If you are quite unsure what the future holds for you, simply say that and that you see this opportunity playing an important role in shaping your career path.
“I’m still quite unsure what the future holds. I’m still taking it day by day, and hopefully, in the future, I have a more concrete vision of my future career. But for now, I believe that this job opportunity will help me shape my future and will add to the decision I make when choosing my career path.”
8. May I know what other companies are you interviewing with?
There is the right way to answer this question without actually giving off the names of the company you are interviewing with. Answer the question by telling them the industry of the company.
“Of course! I’m exploring quite a number of opportunities under the same industry as your company. I’m applying for several positions with real estate businesses where I can assist home sellers, buyers, and tenants find the best deal that meets their home requirements and at the same time, stay updated on the latest real estate news and updates.”
9. Are you leaving your current job or are you let go of your company? (two answers)
Applicants either resigned or were let go from a company. The question is which category you fall in? Like any other interview, honesty is the best policy as recruiters check with previous companies if the facts you stated on your CV and in the interview are true.
State the reasons why you are resigning, if that is the case. Let the hiring company learn more about your reasons.
“I have resigned from my previous company as I have realised that there are companies that are invested in the career growth of their employees and that’s the type of company that I want to belong in. This is what makes me excited about this role. Aside from the fact that the job is already challenging, I’ll be able to develop and hone my skills and be a big part of what the company considers to be its assets.”
Being let go from a company may seem like a big deal. It will be if you don’t learn from it. Reflect on the reasons why you were let go and make sure to work on that to make it one of your desirable assets.
“I was actually let go from my previous company. As a Lead Generation Staff, my previous employer has set KPIs for me to reach which I wasn’t able to achieve. I spent these past few weeks researching and studying other ways I could’ve done my job better. This time around, I’m more focused on delivering both the quantity and quality of the result. I believe the experience pushed me to work even harder as a Lead Generation Staff.”
10. What do you like to do outside of work?
This is quite a personal question that helps the recruiters analyse an applicant’s personality more deeply. There is a fine line you can’t cross when answering this question as you’d want it to be both personal and professional at the same time.
“I actually enjoy reading thriller type of books, collections of short stories, and articles to improve my grammar skills. This helps me improve my writing and at the same time, I get to enjoy doing what I love.”
11. What is your salary range expectation?
One of the things every applicant must research is the salary range for a position for the skills they have. There are many ways to do this: check the requirements of similar positions through job portals and check the salary range they offer.
When asked what is your salary requirement, state the highest number in the range that is applicable to the skills, experiences, and proficiency that you have. However, be sure to note that your requirement is negotiable.
“Thank you for asking me. My salary requirement is around Php 16,000 for a data entry position. However, I am open to negotiations.”
12. Why should we hire you?
This question is absolutely tough and crucial for applicants. The best way to answer this is to highlight your most impressive strengths that are crucial for the position. You can tailor your answer by combining three or four key points in your resume. It can be any combination of industry experience, proficiency using software programs, soft skills, technical skills, accomplishments, awards, and training.
“You should hire me because my experience proves that I am qualified for the position. I have 6 years’ worth of experience as a Full Stack Developer and proficiency in three languages – PHP, .Net, and Python. I have worked with various industries and I think that would be beneficial as the company is catering to clients from different industries.”
13. Do you have any questions for us?
This is an important factor the recruiter weighs in an applicant’s interview. Prepare job interview questions in advance and make sure that the answer to your questions covers a large scope regarding the job role and the company itself. Here’s a sample of great questions to ask your interviewer:
- What are the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities this role entails?
- What are the important things an ideal candidate will do in the first 90 days of employment?
- How is a candidate evaluated in terms of performance for this role?
- How long will it take the managers and recruiters to make the hiring decision?