The Common Five

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Everyone dreads interviews. There’s no denying that. It’s natural to fear the unknown and that’s essentially what you’re entering the moment you take a seat across from the interviewer.

So, what can you do to eliminate some of that stress? What everyone else does the night before their interview – Google the most common interview questions. The five questions I’ve decided to focus on are ones that I have included in my questionnaires and, according to research, are some of the most common interview questions asked in all professions.

1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Your employer wants to hear the response, “Working for your organization”. They want to know about your commitment and loyalty to the organization and the training that will be provided should you get the position. Businessmen/women are in business to make money. If you state that in five years you wish to be travelling the world or going back to school, the time and money spent on the training will not be worth it for them. Tell the truth, but remember that there are certain things that they want to hear more than others.

2. What are your strengths?

Every employer’s dream is to hire an employee who is different from all the rest, someone who stands out. Never hold back from telling someone what you do best.

3. What are your weaknesses?

Everyone has weaknesses. No one is perfect. One tactic commonly used to answer this question is to turn the negative into a positive. This tactic, however, is easily recognized and familiar to any recruiter. Instead, try to choose a weakness that will not directly affect your ability in the position you are applying for. Choose a weakness that will not turn off your interviewer. Always state ways in which you are trying to fix your weaknesses, since this will be their next question.

4. If we talked to your coworkers, what do you think they would tell us about you?

Always assume that when this question is asked, your interviewer would like to know how you work within a team setting and if you were able to create relationships with your coworkers in your past positions. A good way to prepare yourself for this question is to simply ask your coworkers personally, prior to the interview. What do they believe you need to improve on? What do they enjoy most about working with you?

5. Why do you deserve this position over someone else?

Instead of stating all of your strengths, focus on skills that pertain the position; leave out any skills that aren’t relevant. Making reference to the recency effect–the tendency for people to remember what they are told last–be sure that you take this chance to sell yourself as best as possible. State your strengths once again, make an impression, and tell them why you are better than their alternate choices.

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