I’ve been on a lot of interviews. From restaurants to retail, nonprofit to corporate, and (almost) everything in between. With each new experience I try to improve upon how I prepare for the interview, and that includes thinking about how to answer the questions that I know I’ll get. Although you can never be certain how an interview will play out, here are some questions that I’ve been asked time and time again.
1) Can you tell me a little about what you’re looking for?
I heard a recruiter at an event once say that this is her leadoff question. She said that many times a candidate will tell her they aren’t right for the position without even knowing it! For example, if you’re interviewing for a client facing position, you may not want to say, “I see myself in a role that’s more behind the scenes trying to write new processes for my team to implement.”
2) Can you tell me about a time where you made a mistake, and how you corrected it?
This one used to throw me off a bit. On an interview you’re trying to show your best qualities, so admitting to making mistakes is hard (but human)! It’s good to think of this one ahead of time so you can show off your problem solving skills instead of getting nervous and blurting out “I stayed too late at happy hour one time and was 2 hours late to work!”
3) How do you think we can improve [x] at this company?
Interviewers want to know that you’ve done your research and if you’re chosen, you’ll be an asset to elevating the work they do. Take a good look at what they do and think about areas for improvement. Show your analytical skills!
4) So, tell me a little about yourself! What are you passionate about?
After prepping your answers, researching their company, and probably trying to keep calm and cool, it’s easy to get caught on this question. You’ve been talking about your work and why they need you – and then bam! You can’t remember what you do outside work. This is a great time in the interview to take a breath and tell me about what makes you so special, outside of all the qualifications you can bring to the job.
5) The wildcard question!
Sometimes interviewers throw this in for humor, or to see how you think on your feet, or because they want to see you squirm. Who knows? Some examples include:
-If you were an ingredient in a salad, what would you be?
-If you formed a band, what would you call it?
-What kind of sandwich describes you and why?
What are some questions you’ve been asked on interviews, and how did you respond? Tell us in the comments below!