As spring approaches, recruiting season is beginning--and all of us looking for work know exactly what that means: resumes, applications, and interviews.
While some people have a natural knack for speaking with others, interviews test a whole different skill set. Some people incorrectly believe that interviews test interpersonal relationship skills alone, even though recruiters and higher-ups know that this is definitely not the case. In reality, interviews tell managers much, much more.
Here are the 5 questions that you absolutely have to get right to make sure you score a call back.
1.Tell me about yourself
The most basic of introductory questions, it can be easy to get lost in telling a lifelong story of their past professional experiences. The best advice? Figure out a way to get across a stellar summary of yourself in no more than five or six sentences, with relevant highlights of your previous experience sprinkled in to show why you're perfect for the job. Think of your life as an elevator pitch--no less than 30 seconds, but no more than 60 seconds. Memorize it.
2. Why do you want this job?
Companies are looking for people who are passionate about their work--and not just their mission, but the job the interviewee specifically applied for as well. To answer this question, make sure to clearly identify things about the position that make the role perfect for you, followed by a phrase or two about the company's mission.
3. What are your greatest strengths?
When responding to this question, many people will exaggerate, often listing attributes that they think interviewers want to hear. In reality, you should answer the question truthfully, with a focus on skills that are relevant to the job you're applying for, while being specific in word choice if possible.
4. What are your weaknesses?
The follow up question to your greatest strengths is always there to try to ferret out where you might falter in your new job. Here, your interviewer is seeing the extent of your self-awareness, as well as that of your honesty. Avoid saying that you have no weaknesses, because that's not true for anyone. Instead, expand on a skill--like public speaking or confidence--that you struggle with but are currently working to improve.
5. What is your greatest professional achievement?
The best way to attack this question is with an unabashed story about a position in which you excelled--preferably one that had a significant positive impact on your company's sales or profits, or on its products or services, or its way of doing business. Start by setting up the scene, describing the action you undertook, and the impacts of that accomplishment in the greater scheme of things.