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How to Answer Interview Questions


By Linda Green Pierce

 
 
Here are eight of the most commonly asked, basic interview questions. Do yourself and your prospective employer a favor, and give them some thought before an interview occurs:

1. Why do you want this job?

2. Why do you want to leave your current job?

3. What are your personal and professional goals?

4. What do you like most about your current job?

5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

6. What are your strengths?

7. What are your weaknesses?

8. What do you like least about your current job?

The last question is probably the more difficult to answer: What do you like least about your current job?

Rather than pointing to the faults of others: "I can't stand the office politics," or "My boss is impossible," it's best to place the burden on yourself by saying, for example, "I feel I'm ready to exercise a new set of professional muscles," or "The area of practice I'm most interested in does not match the strategic growth interest of my firm." These are stronger, more positive responses.

By answering in this manner, you'll avoid pointing the finger at someone else or coming across as a whiner or complainer. It does no good to speak negatively about others and the interview market tends to have a long memory about such responses.

Think these eight questions through for two reasons: One, it does not help your chances to hem and haw over such fundamental issues as these. The answers you give should be absolute no-brainers. You should have them down cold. Two, and more importantly, these questions answered in advance will help you to evaluate your career choices before you spend time and energy in inappropriate interviews.

If you aren't feeling comfortable with the answers, that new job isn't the right one for you.