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Smart Answers to 5 Standard Interview Questions (2nd Post in 4 Part Series)

Updated: Oct 6, 2019

There is an unlimited number of questions that a recruiter or hiring manager can ask you during an interview. Standard answers to common interview questions tend to make you one of the average candidates. On the other hand, unique answers will make you unforgettable, and this is a great advantage for any job seeker.

The following guidelines need to be adapted to your industry, job description, personality and career plans. Preparing for a job interview is not a sign of uncertainty, but a way to show the potential employer that you care about the job opportunity. The preparations will help you ace the interview.

I will develop this theme in four articles consisting of 20 questions and proposed answers. Here is the second round of 5 questions:

1. How would your (former) colleagues describe you?

  • It is an opportunity for you to show that you are different from the competition.

  • The potential employer wants to know about your impact on the team and the and the current/former organisation.

  • Wrong answer:

o You state to be the funniest person in the office.

o You claim to be a hard-working, good communicator or the best person you can rely on.

o You reveal private information or secrets about yourself.

o You describe an opinion of your colleague that is not work-related.

  • Ideal answer:

o Be creative.

o Share the story behind the colleague’s opinion.

o Demonstrate how you can add value to a team, e.g. as a problem solver, open to new approaches, have proven leadership skills, etc.

2. Tell me of your greatest weakness.

  • It's a trap question.

  • Recruiters and hiring managers just want to find out if you can do the job well.

  • Choose a weakness that is irrelevant to the job.

  • Wrong answer:

o You lie.

o You claim to be a perfectionist.

o You claim to work too hard.

o You insert jokes or non-sense situations.

  • Ideal answer:

o Stick to reality.

o Admit that you are not perfect.

o Always show how you plan to overcome your weakness.

3. Tell me of your greatest strength.

  • Give the potential employer a reason to hire you.

  • Recruiters and hiring managers just want to find out if your strongest point will help you excel in your future job.

  • Choose a strength that is relevant to the job.

  • Wrong answer:

o You lie.

o You tell about a strength that is not related to work.

  • Ideal answer:

o Your greatest strength lies in your education, qualifications and experience.

o Think about the strengths that others have told you to have.

o Focus on the skills or personal qualities that the open role requires.

4. What is your greatest achievement?

  • It’s bragging time, but only if it is relevant to the activity of the potential employer.

  • Recruiters and hiring managers just want to find out if the company can benefit from your performance.

  • Don't pick up a random performance, but one you're proud of.

  • Wrong answer:

o You chose an accomplishment that is not related to work.

o You lie and claim that someone else's work is yours.

o You claim not to be recognized by your (former) boss for a particular achievement.

  • Ideal answer:

o Talk about a recent accomplishment.

o Choose a unique achievement that allows you to fulfill the potential role better than other candidates.

o Quantify your performance for more credibility and effectiveness, e.g. increased profit, reduced cost, the reduced time needed etc.

5. Why do you want to quit your current job?

  • It’s a tricky question.

  • Do not express negative thoughts about your current/former employer.

  • Recruiters and hiring managers are just looking for a reason not to worry about when you are likely to work for them.

  • Wrong answer:

o You say you hate your boss.

o You say you hate your job.

o You say you are not paid enough.

  • Ideal answer:

o You look for professional growth.

o You want to advance in your career.

o You need/want to relocate.

o You want to take more/less responsibility.

o You want to improve your work-life balance.

There is no perfect answer to interview questions. This is just a good opportunity to show people who you are and what value you can bring to their organization.

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