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

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 fourth round of 5 questions:

1. What do you know about our company?

  • This is to test your interest in the open role and the company.

  • Recruiters and hiring managers only want to find out whether you have carried out your research.

  • Overall, you should show interest in the potential employer.

  • Your research will enable you to avoid problematic employers.

  • Wrong answer:

o You're relying on gossip about the company.

o You repeat the information from the company’s homepage.

  • Ideal answer:

o Demonstrate that you are interested in the job.

o Check the potential employer's website, online reviews and financial status.

o Refer to their products/services, reputation, profitability, locations or competitors.

o Make sure to stand out from the crowd (e.g. share your experience using their product/service etc.)

2. How did you hear about this vacancy?

  • Potential employers want to find out how their recruitment efforts are seen by the other side and which method or channel is most effective.

  • Recruiters and hiring managers just want to know whether you are addressing them in a particular or any offer on the market.

  • If you have been contacted by a recruiter, it is not necessary to answer this question.

  • Wrong answer:

o You do not remember.

o You were recommended by someone and don’t remember his/her name.

  • Ideal answer:

o Demonstrate what you have researched about the company and the open role.

o Tell how the offer caught your attention.

o Your network has recommended this particular employer.

o Be honest.

3. Why did you quit your last job?

  • Usually, you do not quit a job until you receive another job offer.

  • Recruiters and hiring managers just want to know if there are any concerns about your loyalty.

  • Wrong answer:

o You hated your previous job.

o You hated your former boss.

o You were forced to resign.

o The commute was unbearable.

o The stress level was too high.

o You leave the impression of not being a professional.

  • Ideal answer:

o You have to relocate for a particular reason.

o You have health reasons.

o You were ready for a career change.

o Show confidence, even if you feel frustrated about quitting your latest job.

o Offer a reasonable answer and explain the background.

4. Why were you fired from the last job?

  • This is a difficult question.

  • Recruiters and hiring managers want to know if they should invest their efforts in hiring you.

  • A wrong answer or accusing others will remove you from the candidates’ list.

  • Wrong answer:

o You lie about the reason.

o You talk badly about the former employer.

o You present yourself as a victim.

  • Ideal answer:

o You had a difference of opinion and vision with the management.

o Show that you have learned from this experience.

o The former employer closed the company.

o Stay positive and have the right attitude to be employed again.

o You have not clarified all requirements and expectations before your previous hiring.

o Remember the good aspects of your former job.

5. Why do you have a gap in your resume?

  • Resume gaps usually raise a red flag if there is no explanation available.

  • Recruiters and hiring just want to know if there are any concerns that you will keep your job.

  • Wrong answer:

o You took the time to meditate on your future.

o You haven't found a job in 3 years.

  • Ideal answer:

o You took the time to take care of a family member who needed your full attention.

o You returned to study and improved your skills.

o You have worked as a freelancer (contract work).

o You have worked temporarily for a company.

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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