If you frequently visit my blog then you know that I am currently on the job hunt. After going on interview after interview, I’ve noticed that the questions are always the same and interviewers are asking less and less questions. There’s no such thing as 30 min-1 hr interviews anymore, they’re about 10 min tops!
After getting through the first interview and moving on to the second interview, but then never getting a call back, I’ve taken a step back to look at what I may be doing wrong in order to not get a call back after the second interview. Besides dressing the part, making sure I take a copy of my resume, being early and other interview etiquette, I thought…maybe I am not answering the questions correctly. I may think I know what they’re asking..but do I really? Do you really know what they’re asking?
Below, check out some common interview questions and what the question is really asking:
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
What they’re really asking: What can you do for us and how well would you fit in here?
Think about it, do they really want to know about you, what you like to do in your spare time, of course not, they want to know how you will benefit their company.
2. Why do you want to work here?
What they’re really asking: Do you just need the money or are you honestly interested in the position?
I’m sure interviewers know that finding a job is hard and not having a job is even harder but they want to know that you are really interested in the position you are applying for and if you are going to do your best on the job.
3. What are your strengths?
What they’re really asking: Why should I hire you?
Again, why should they pick you over the other candidates that have applied. This question is just like the first question, this is more of a “sell yourself” question.
4. What are your weaknesses?
What they’re really asking: Do you have limited ability to do what is required of this position?
Are you going to tell on yourself? Lying isn’t good but turn this into a “strength question”. For example, instead of saying “Sometimes I can’t finish all of my work by the end of the day”, instead say, “I never like to leave unfinished work at the end of the day”. If the job doesn’t allow overtime, then you don’t have to worry about not being able to finish all of your work. You don’t want to say that you can’t finish all of your work by the end of the day, even though that’s sometimes a given depending on the amount of work, but you don’t want them to think that you are a slacker or a slow worker.
5. Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with someone?
What they’re really asking: What are your conflict resolution skills?
They really should just ask if you have a bad temper. They really just want to know that if you get into a disagreement with a customer or another co-worker are you going to remember that you are still at work and that you should remain as calm as possible or are you going to flip out and cause a scene.
6. What are your long term goals?
What they’re really asking: If we hire you, are you likely to stay for a while?
The employer wants to know that you aren’t going to quit a month after being hired. The application and interview process is both stressful and time consuming for both the interviewer and interviewee no one wants to waste time.
7. Is there anything else you want me to know?
What they’re really asking: What have we not asked you, that you think is relevant to how you match our needs for the position?
Once again, this is another “sell yourself question”. Job interviews are all about selling yourself. These days, you’re lucky if your resume gets in the hand of a human reviewer. You really want to make sure you show how you’re a top candidate.
8. Do you have any questions for me?
What they’re really asking: Have you done your research about the company and the position? Do you know about our products/and or services?
As I mentioned before, employers want to know that you have an honest interest in the company and in the position. So let them know!
Now reading this may make you a little upset or irritated. But if you really sit and think about the questions that you’ve been asked, your answers and what they’re really asking (which is listed above), it all makes sense. It may seem like employers are tricking us, which they kind of are, but then again, it’s just a business thing. Companies want the best!