3 Interview Questions that are Trickier than You Think

Career Blog

While preparing for your next interview, there are questions you can expect to answer, like, tell me about yourself; where you see yourself in five years; plus questions you might have for the interviewer, among others.

Like every candidate, you know that these questions are coming and have prepared an appropriate answer that will ensure you get hired.  However, it’s the simple questions that often trip applicants up. Set yourself apart by answering properly and avoiding common mistakes.

Tell Me About Yourself

You can always expect this to be asked at the beginning of an interview.  It seems basic, but there’s more to it than you think.  First of all, a hiring manager wants to gauge whether or not you will be a good cultural fit within the organization.  They also want to hear a bit about your personal life, but this is where most candidates are stumped.

The most common mistake is to say too much about your personal life.  The interviewer doesn’t care about your boyfriend/girlfriend.  This is your opportunity to speak to your resume: share real-life stories from your professional experience, mention how much you enjoy volunteering or say how passionate you are about the type of job you are applying for.  Anything you say, try to keep it relevant to the job.

Where do you See Yourself in Five Years?

With this question, the hiring manager is really wondering what you want to gain from the job.  They want to know if you’re applying for the job to advance your career or if you’re truly passionate about the organization and job.

It’s very difficult for employers to find talent that will stick around.  People are switching jobs every one to two years.  The best way to answer is to tell them the experience and skills you hope to have learned from the job, if hired.  You can also mention specific goals you have in mind and how you can help the employer be successful in the long run.

Do You Have Any Questions for Me?

This is a seemingly straightforward question you can expect to hear at the end of every interview.  The hiring manager is trying to gauge your interest in the company.

Be as genuine as possible.  It accomplishes nothing to bring in a list of ten questions for the interviewer.  They will already know if you’re prepared or not.  Asking a bunch of prepared questions will seem like you’re simply anticipating the end of the interview and are not actually interested in the company.

On the other hand, if you ask one or two questions (not written down and preferably thought of from prior research) you will seem genuinely interested in the company and the job.  The hiring manager will not feel like they’re being interviewed and you will seem like a real people-person.

There’s no way to be prepared for every interview question, but you can be ready for the common questions, which can set you apart from the pack.  The best answer is always sincere.  A hiring manager doesn’t want to listen to a scripted speech for every question.    By not tripping up on the common, but tricky questions you can make a very good impression.

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