The butterflies attack the lining of your stomach as you sit in the waiting room before your very first job interview. Your mind races with the possible questions you might be asked. Whether it’s at the neighborhood pizza joint or that first “big kid” job after college, interviews feel intimidating. And while each job requires a different and unique skill set the interview questions sound the same.
Read on to see what the top 10 questions asked by interviewers.
1. Tell Me About Yourself
The phone rings and the excited voice on the other end screams “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” As the excited voice continues on you learn more and more about the amazing individual on the other end of the line. While you don’t need to ramble on about your favorite foods and colors in a job interview, giving a short synopsis of who you are tells the employer more than what you actually say. “I’m often more interested in trying to get to know someone as much as possible in the half-hour or so that I have to interview them to see how they would fit in our office environment and with our other employees,” said University of Missouri Assistant Director-Ticket Operations Evan Griffith. So instead of word vomiting things like your favorite color focus on the big picture of you.
2. How’s Your Day Going?
The Eminem lyrics, “palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy,” flawlessly describes anyone’s physical state when walking into an interview. Yet when this harmless question comes up something changes in our minds. “The first two questions are really more for the interviewee than me. I want them to be comfortable and I feel like opening up with small talk helps to achieve that. If they’re nervous, talking about themselves is easy, so it can calm them down, and potentially get them to open up a bit more during the interview process,” Griffith said. Remember that everyone’s human, including the person interviewing you, so take a breath because “we’re only human.”
3. Why Do You Want to Work Here?
When asked this question at your first job interview the first thought that pops into most peoples’ heads revolves around making extra cash. Do NOT say this. You’ll come across as selfish and unmotivated to help the company or business become better. The first tip to properly answering many interview questions involves positivity. “If they are in it to better themselves professionally and keep growing then that is someone who is going to go the extra mile for you,” said University of Missouri Athletics Assistant AD of Ticket Sales and Development Cole Chisholm. The desire to learn something new or grow to better oneself makes you sound like a desirable employee.
4. What are Your Strengths?
The long list of things you’re good at comes to mind once these words pass the interviewer’s lips. (I’d add a short list of funny strengths here that would not apply to work at all to drive home the joke). While your impersonations prove incredible at parties, at a place of business the voice of Jim Carry won’t help sell more of the product or service offered. “They know [what] their strengths and weaknesses are but the question changed the rules for how they can respond…I learn more about the candidate’s actual ‘thinking ability’ from this question than most of the others,” said IS Director and General Partner of Edward Jones Michael Sides. Check in on your strengths and see how they can not only help the company you’re applying too but help you land the job.
5. What are Your Weaknesses?
“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman!” The perfect man with only one weakness sounds like the perfect employee, but the truth remains that no one’s as strong as Superman. We’re only human and we’re full of weaknesses. Being open and honest shows a potential employer that not only you’re aware of your weaknesses but by being aware shows you’re also working on those weaknesses in order to become a better person. This tells the employer you’re mature and capable.
6. What is Your Biggest Success/What are You Most Proud of?
For the class of 2020, graduating under these incredibly unique circumstances would qualify as a big success. From graduating college or taking steps in chasing your dreams this question tells the employer more than your work history. “I want to feel like we get to know them a little bit and see what that person values and the standards they hold themselves too,” said Associate Athletic Director-Ticket Operations at the University of Missouri Brent Lewis. The class of 2020 understands the struggle of this everchanging world so be proud of your experiences.
7. What does Customer Service Mean to You?
“I’d like to speak to your manager.” If this sentence made you cringe then you’ve probably dealt with a Karen at least once in your life. However, how you handle a situation (and describe how you’d handle it) to a potential employer tells them more than how you deal with an upset customer. “I really want to try and see if the candidate fits our office,” Lewis said. From dealing with customer service and Karens to getting along with coworkers, all aspects of a job play an important role.
8. What Makes You Qualified to Work Here?
Beyond the basics of being a decent human, the qualifications you hold often make or break a hiring opportunity for a potential employer. Do you have the right education or experience needed to perform the functions of the job? Are you someone who’s a self-starter or direction driven? “People tend to be a little bit of both, but this will help communicate to you how this potential employee will need to be managed,” Chisholm said. “If they say they can only work when given direction, you might be doing a lot of hand-holding. If they say they are a self-starter but don’t accept suggestions, they may not be a team player.” Even though a manager can clearly read your resume, hearing about your qualifications from you help sell the idea of hiring you more to the potential employer.
9. Why Should I Hire You?
When this question inevitably pops up in your interview, don’t panic. The question isn’t scary when you see it as an opportunity. “This is the time to sell what you can bring to the table and how you can add value to the operation,” said former Tower Loan Manager Keona Blanchard. If you can’t sell yourself how can you sell the product or service of that business. Put your abilities into action and wow that potential employer.
10. Tell Me One Thing About Yourself that I Wouldn’t Know from Your Resume
While a resume typically consists of one piece of paper, there’s more to who you are as a person that one sheet of paper can’t hold. Every question in an interview’s designed to see the real you. “Confidence is a great asset in sales and customer service, and an interviewee that answers these questions favorably typically ends up being a great asset to our office,” Griffith said. Be confident in who you are and you’ll be surprised at the places you’ll go.