Are you a fresh graduate about to head into your very first job interview? Or perhaps you’re someone who’s rejoining the workforce after a long gap period in your professional career? Whichever the case, you should know that one of the secrets to scoring that job you’re aiming for is to ace that first job interview. This means not only answering the questions that would pop up during the interview as honestly and as accurately as you can, but in such a way that it impresses your interviewer.
With that said, this is easier said than done, as many of the most common job interview questions are specifically geared to make you trip up and show the interviewer why they shouldn’t hire you. After all, while they do need extra manpower, hiring someone involves a lot of time and investment on their end. They have to train you, get you up to speed on the work, and pay you your salary and benefits—as such, they have to do their part to make sure you’re the best that they can get.
So to help you become that model employee in their eyes, we’ve assembled the most common job interview questions that you need to prepare for in the handy list below. Print this out and mull over the questions, even when you’re just looking for jobs on a job search Philippines website, like Mynimo. You never know when an interview will come calling.
- Can you tell me about yourself?
This is the question that almost every interview you’ll have in your life will begin with. It seems easy enough to take care of. What to do here is to not focus on yourself as a person, but rather as a professional. Start by giving a very brief summary of your education background, your employment history, and any very noteworthy achievements that you feel need to be highlighted (at least two or three). From there, relate your experience and expertise to the role you’re applying for.
- Why do you want to work for us?
This is another trick question. While it’s tempting to speak the truth – such as wanting for a bigger salary, or even just a salary at all—this is actually the company’s way of seeing how passionate you are for the job, and that’s through testing how much you know about them. So answer with that in mind. If you have other reasons that you feel also need to be expressed, such as a desire to work somewhere closer to home, or that you’ve always dreamed about working in their company, then mention them as well—but try not to gush too much.
- Why do you want this job or role?
This question is the same as above, except for the specific role you’re interviewing for. Again, have a good handle on what the job entails, and try to bring your enthusiasm across the table without being forced or excessive about it. For example, if you’re applying for a customer service job, then cite how much you like helping other people reach a favorable conclusion to their troubles or issues. If you’re applying for a teaching job, say that you’ve always been passionate about teaching the next generation all they need in order to succeed, and such. Focus on key factors and you’ll go far, definitely.
- What do you feel are your biggest weaknesses/weak points?
This is another big one. Obviously, you want to be as honest as possible, but at the same time you don’t have to be that hard on yourself. For example, if you’ve always had a problem with keeping to deadlines, don’t say that—say instead that you’ve had issues with time management early in your professional career, but you’ve been working hard in getting that resolved. Always minimize it while also saying that you are conscious about it and are taking steps to improve yourself. Interviewers who ask this question are looking not only for your honesty, but also your self-awareness. Bad habits can be rooted or trained out, but only if these bad habits are recognized.
- What do you feel is your biggest achievement?
This question is very easy to answer and quite difficult to screw up. However, it’s always best to give yourself as much of an advantage as possible. Instead of regaling your interviewer with something like a contest that you won or something you managed to get, focus instead on a work-related achievement. It can be anything from getting promoted to a higher position in a short amount of time, or something that you did out of the box that helped your past company quite handily. Be proud, but at the same time make sure that the achievement you’re sharing can help your prospective employer in their decision-making process.
- Where do you see yourself in the future?
This is another question where it’s okay to be honest and off-the-cuff, but it’s better to be realistic. Think about where you logically want to be in this job, and if it’s actually feasible. This question is asked so that the interviewer can gauge if you actually have realistic expectations about your job, and if you’re being driven by ambition, both of which are very positive things. Just remember—be realistic! Don’t be cheeky and say that you’ll be the interviewer’s boss in five years!
- Why did you leave your last job/why were you fired?
Never dump or complain about your last job when this question is asked. Not only do you have nothing to gain by doing so, but it’ll put you in a very negative light as well. Instead, keep it simple and stick to the truth. If you left your job because the pay was too low, say so. If you had some trouble with your past co-workers and got fired for it, say that you had some disagreements here and there, but you recognize your own fault in it, and see it as a learning experience in your career. This signifies to them that you’ve grown past whatever caused the argument and are being professional about it. Remember, minimize the incident while also focusing on your own growth.
Never let yourself get caught unaware during a job interview
Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially if it’s your very first job. Many of the questions that will be asked of you are designed to reveal your true colors and help them decide whether you’re worthy or not. Thankfully, some of these questions are common enough that they can be prepared for. Keep the above listed questions handy and take the answers to them to heart—they can help you maximize your chances of scoring the job that you want.