By: Kate Lorenz
Does the thought of going on a job interview cause your palms to sweat and your
body to break out in hives? Stop itching; you’re not alone.
The vast majority of job seekers admit to emotions ranging from mild uneasiness
to downright panic leading up to their interviews. The good news is there have
been no reported cases of job seekers who died of nervousness during a job
interview. So relax and follow these simple tips for keeping your anxiety at bay
before and during your interview.
First, take the proper amount of time to prepare for your interview. Being
well-prepared will boost your confidence and lower your anxiety. Experts
recommend that you spend at least three hours preparing for each interview.
You should draft answers to the most common interview questions and practice
speaking them out loud. You also should read up on the company with which you
will be interviewing and prepare some questions of your own. This lets the
interviewer know that you are truly interested in the company and the position.
As a final step in your preparation, make sure you have good directions to the
interview site. Some job seekers make a dry run to the interview site to ensure
the directions are correct and to estimate the amount of time they will need to
get to the interview on time.
Going into a job interview is often like entering the great unknown. Although
every interviewer is different and questions vary from industry to industry,
there are some questions that are common across the board. Reading through the
following questions and developing your own answers is a good place to start in
your preparation. Once you have done that, remember practice makes perfect!
Nothing impresses a potential employer like being ready for whatever is thrown
Why should we hire you?
Here’s the chance to really sell your self. You need to briefly and succinctly
lay out your strengths, qualifications and what you can bring to the table. Be
careful not to answer this question too generically, however. Nearly everyone
says they are hardworking and motivated. Set yourself apart by telling the
interviewer about qualities that are unique to you.
Why do you want to work here?
This is one tool interviewers use to see if you have done your homework. You
should never attend an interview unless you know about the company, its
direction and the industry in which it plays. If you have done your research,
this question gives you an opportunity to show initiative and demonstrate how
your experience and qualifications match the company’s needs.
What are your greatest weaknesses?
The secret to answering this question is being honest about a weakness, but
demonstrating how you have turned it into strength. For example, if you had a
problem with organization in the past, demonstrate the steps you took to more
effectively keep yourself on track. This will show that you have the ability to
recognize aspects of yourself that need improvement, and the initiative to make
Why did you leave your last job?
Even if your last job ended badly, be careful about being negative in answering
this question. Be as diplomatic as possible. If you do point out negative
aspects of your last job, find some positives to mention as well. Complaining
endlessly about your last company will not say much for your attitude.
Describe a problem situation and how you solved it?
Sometimes it is hard to come up with a response to this request, particularly if
you are coming straight from college and do not have professional experience.
Interviewers want to see that you can think critically and develop solutions,
regardless of what kind of issue you faced. Even if your problem was not having
enough time to study, describe the steps you took to prioritize your schedule.
This will demonstrate that you are responsible and can think through situations
on your own.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
The secret to this question is being specific and selecting an accomplishment
that relates to the position. Even if your greatest accomplishment is being on a
championship high school basketball team, opt for a more professionally relevant
accomplishment. Think of the qualities the company is looking for and develop an
example that demonstrates how you can meet the company’s needs.
What are your salary expectations?
This is one of the hardest questions, particularly for those with little
experience. The first thing to do before going to your interview is to research
the salary range in your field to get an idea of what you should be making.
Steer clear of discussing salary specifics before receiving a job offer. Let the
interviewer know that you will be open to discussing fair compensation when the
time comes. If pressed for a more specific answer, always give a range, rather
than a specific number.
Tell me about yourself?
While this query seems like a piece of cake, it is difficult to answer because
it is so broad. The important thing to know is that the interviewer typically
does not want to know about your hometown or what you do on the weekends. He or
she is trying to figure you out professionally. Pick a couple of points about
yourself, your professional experience and your career goals and stick to those
points. Wrap up your answer by bringing up your desire to be a part of the
company. If you have a solid response prepared for this question, it can lead
your conversation in a direction that allows you to elaborate on your