These answers to 5 common job interview questions demonstrated either a complete lack of preparation on the part of the job seeker, or a complete lack of understanding about how to be successful in a job interview. Regardless of the cause, the result was the same: opportunities lost!
What do you know about us?
This question is often asked at the beginning of a job interview. It’s not a hard question to answer, if you are prepared.
Don’t give these answers:
- Nothing. (So, you applied why???)
- You’ve got this job open.
- I hear you pay well.
Correct answer: How to answer to What do you know about us
What is your greatest weakness?
This is a very common question to be asked, and it doesn’t take much time to prepare for it. But, you do need to be prepared!
These answers are losers:
- I don’t have any. (Amazing and unbelievable!)
- I have so many, it’s hard to pick just one.
- I’m not a good speller. (secretarial job)
- I hate dealing with difficult people. (customer service job)
- I’m bad with math. (analyst job)
- I’m not very good with the newer versions of Microsoft Office. I like Office 97 best.
Why Do You Want to Work Here?
This is your chance to demonstrate what you know about the employer and to show the interviewer(s) what you bring to the job, emphasizing the benefits to the employer (not to you) for hiring you. A little flattery about the company — if you are sincere — is appropriate here, but don’t go overboard.
These answers are shallow and completely focused on the benefit to the job seeker:
- My mom said I had to get a job. (Highly-motivated job seeker!)
- Because I’d look GREAT in your uniform!
- This is a short walk from where I live now.
- I understand you give employees great discounts.
Correct Answer: How to answer to Why do you want to work here
Why should we hire you?
This question is an opportunity to make a personal sales pitch, focused on the benefit to the employer, not the benefit to you for having the job (the employer understands how you will benefit).
Most of these answers are worrisome:
- I don’t know. (Neither will the employer.)
- No one else will hire me.
- I’m unemployed.
- I’m desperate.
- I need the money.
- I need a job
Correct Answer: How to answer to Why should we hire you
Tell me about yourself.
This question is not an invitation to confess your greatest hopes or your biggest sins. But it is another opportunity to show the employer how your skills and experience match up with the requirements of their job. Having nothing to say may be interpreted by the employer as lack of interest and/or lack of preparation.
These answers did not inspire the interviewer to recommend hiring these job seekers:
- There’s not much to tell. (Professional spy?)
- My real job is rock musician. I’m the drummer. But our agent quit, so we don’t have any gigs scheduled the rest of the year. We’re looking for a new agent, and I hope to get back to that soon. That’s what I really do.
Correct Answer:How to answer to Tell me about yourself
Do you have any questions?
Job seekers often shoot themselves in the foot with this question, as you’ll see in these responses. Would you want to hire the people who gave any of these answers? Neither would I.
Yes, you should have questions! But not these:
- Will I need to pass a drug test before I get hired? How much notice will I have?
- Do you do background checks?
- Will you be checking my references?
- How often do people get raises here?
- Do you cover sick days? How many can I have each month?
- How much vacation will I get?
- How big is the employee discount? Is there a limit on how much I can buy? Is it OK to resell?
- Would you like to go out for a drink after this? (flirt after accepting a job offer, if appropriate)
Correct Answer: How to answer to Do you have any questions
Most of those answers were premature or downright scary. Don’t think that having no questions to ask is a show of respect, as some people mistakenly believe. Instead, having no questions demonstrates a lack of appropriate interest and also a lack of understanding about what an appropriate question is.
[Related: 153 Interview Preparation Questions ]
[Related: 50 most common interview questions]