8 Tips for Crafting Better Interview Responses

Regardless of the job you’re vying for, there are some general questions you can expect when you interview with a hiring manager. Don’t be caught off guard. Prepare careful, thoughtful responses that highlight your unique strengths and the value you would add if hired.

Be ready to tell a compelling story. Create memorable answers that make you stand out from competing candidates. Build a rapport with your interviewers while letting your personality shine through.

Here are eight common interview questions, along with tips for the best responses:

  1. Tell me about yourself. Have a prepared 30- to 60-second “elevator speech” that introduces you to your prospective employer. It should pique your interviewer’s interest and inspire further conversation. Think of it as your “commercial,” and like all the best ones, it needs to be short, snappy and to the point.
  2. Why should we hire you? Summarize your experience and best accomplishments as they relate to the job. Prior to your interview, take a good look at the job description and note the required qualifications. Then, draw specific parallels to your own career experience.
  3. What is your greatest strength? This is your invitation to explain why you are the best-qualified person for the job. Pick a strength that is specific to the role. Otherwise, your answer won’t matter.
  4. What is your biggest weakness? Describe a transformation or a journey that has made you better. This is where storytelling really comes into play. The whole point of describing something negative about yourself is to turn it into a positive. Do this by showing you learned a valuable lesson from a specific negative trait and tell how it has helped you to grow in some way.
  5. Where do you see yourself in five years? Companies want to hire people who will stick with their business and grow with them. Like all your interview questions, this one should be answered with the company in mind. Avoid generalities. Speak in specific terms about how you envision yourself advancing your career within the organization.
  6. Why did you leave (or why are you planning to leave) your job? If you are not currently working, state your reason for leaving in a candid, positive context. Never speak poorly about a current or former employer. If you are employed, focus your response on what you want in your next position. For instance: “After three years, I have decided it’s time to find a company that is more team focused, where I can further grow my experience.”
  7. What salary are you seeking? Prepare for this question by knowing the market rate for the job in your area. The best answer is, “I’m sure that when the time comes, we can agree on a reasonable amount that works for both of us.”
  8. Do you have any questions for us? Having your own list of questions prepared in advance shows your interest in the role and proves that you have done your homework by learning about the company and the position. Your response can either leave a lasting positive impression or make you come across and clueless or apathetic.

To excel as an interviewee, consider working with a professional recruiter from Employment Professionals Canada. We’ll provide you with the intensive, job-specific training you need to nail every question asked by interviewers. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.