Good answers in a job interview

Job seekers: Think through answers to common interview questions.
Although most employers prepare their own questions for job interviews, there are certain questions that consistently come up during interviews. The wording may be different, but the message remains the same.

In addition to general questions about your resume, revealing some information about yourself is also common. This could mean questions about your life situation, where you live (commute to work) and hobbies that might reveal something about your personality. The following are some typical questions you should prepare yourself for:

What are your strengths?

All questions are asked to see what you’re good at and what makes you the best candidate for this particular job. Figure out some examples of how you’ve used your strengths at work to prove what you are good at. These examples can distinguish you from other candidates.

What are your less strong qualities (improvement points or weaknesses)?

We all have weaknesses, of course. The point of this question is not to show how bad you are at various things, but to show that you’re aware of what you’re good at and how you react if you get stuck in a situation that you might not be very comfortable in. If you show that you are willing to learn and improve these weaknesses, you can make your weaknesses into something positive. Good answers concerning weaknesses can often eliminate the fear of hiring someone, but most likely only if you show that you’re either working on improving your weaknesses or that you know how to avoid situations where your weaknesses might show or become a problem.

What will you be doing in 1/3/5/10 years?

An employer wants to know how long you imagine working at the position you’re applying for and how you imagine your career developing. Therefore, it is useful to ask a question about the future so that the applicant will have the opportunity to express what they want their future to look like. Some indicate that they plan an unrealistically rapid career advancement, while others show that they lack any major career ambitions. What is right for your dreams and goals, as well as for the new employer, depends of course - but it is important to think through all these things in advance. This can give the employer the opportunity to imagine how you might be able to develop within the company.

What will you do if you don’t get the job?

Knowing what to do if you do not get the job shows an employer if you’re only looking for a job, or if you are passionate about a job in this industry and want to work in a similar position somewhere else instead.

Why do you want this job?

This is your opportunity to tell the employer about your ambition to work in the particular position and this particular company. Think about why you want the job and try to express it in a brief, simple manner. You will then portray how motivated you are for doing a good job, educate yourself about the job and contribute to a pleasant and productive work environment.

What motivates you at work?

There are many questions that can be used to reveal your motivation towards the job itself, but it is equally important to uncover what drives you and what makes you motivated/unmotivated in your daily work. What affects you positively and what do you do to get the optimal effect of this? What affects you negatively and what do you do to avoid being influenced or to turn something negative into something positive again?

How do you react under stress or pressure?

This questions usually requires you to give an example of how you react to stressful situations in order to properly convey how you handle it. What you do when you’re stressed and what you do to calm down can be important things to convey here.

Why should we hire you?

This question gives you a good opportunity to express exactly why you are the right candidate for the job. Managing to define your qualities in a way that is relevant to the position and convincing the employer that you’re the right person for the job could be essential to the candidate assessment.

How would other people describe you?

You could get questions both about how you would describe yourself, how a former colleague or boss would describe you, and how your friends would describe you. All responses will help create a picture of what you’re like as a person and this is something to think about before a job interview.

Do you see yourself as being goal-oriented/independent/responsible/creative, etc.?

It’s important for an employer to find out how you perceive yourself and they might ask you a lot of questions about the way you think. The common denominator for these direct questions is that they allow you to answer yes or no and explain why. If you know what they’re looking for beyond the yes or no answer, you can explain your answer and avoid getting follow-up questions to elaborate.

Additionally, you will of course get questions about your background to further divulge in what your employer has already read about in your resume. If you have any "holes", ie. periods during which you weren’t working or studying, you’ll need to explain why. For example, explaining that you traveled around the world for a year would be a good answer to show that you’ve taken the time to experience new places and learn about other cultures. You can also of course write this in your resume so that they already know how you’ve spent your time.

There are a countless number of questions that you could get during a job interview, so this is only a small selection. We recommend that you educate yourself on all the typical questions you might be asked before an interview so that you can be as prepared as possible.

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