You’ve found your dream job and decided to apply. The interest is mutual, as you are also invited to introduce yourself. The ‘future’ employer wants to know if you are the right candidate for the position, so naturally, he or she will ask specific questions. Of course, every job interview is different, but most of the questions are focused on getting to know you and the things you’re good at. I have some tips and tricks for you to prepare which increase your chance of success: the most frequent job interview questions and the best answers! Good luck! 

Can you tell us something about yourself?

Usually, your interviewer expects you to give an elevator pitch; who are you, what are you good at? What is your background, your education and your working experience? Then, create a link to the future: tell exactly what (and why) attracts you to this position.

Why should we hire you?

The best way to answer this is to give an example of your achievements. Mention your skills and knowledge, which you used to achieve something. Try to give an example in a position that is like your future position. Use the ‘STAR’ method to answer this question. 

Can you work under pressure?

The best answer is: I don’t experience any stress or pressure when doing my job. Try not to get nervous when answering this question and tell it in your words. 

Do you prefer to work alone or in a team?

Most functions are always a combination; let them know you enjoy working both; in a team and independently. 

Are you willing to work overtime? 

You don’t want to look like someone who doesn’t do a little ‘extra’ for the company. The most appropriate answer; I have no problem with that. Or; I understand the importance of deadlines. 

Are you overqualified for the position?

Overqualified? Some candidates will simply answer “no”. A better answer would be that you have all the skills required for the position. Also, ask back the question: “Is it a problem for you to hire someone who does the job better than expected?”

How long do you expect to stay in this position? 

Show that you want to perform the position as long as it provides growth, development and challenge. You don’t want to give the impression that you’ll be gone right away, but you also don’t want to fill the position until the end of days. You can also say that you will fill the position until the company offers the next challenge.

What do you expect from a manager? 

The best answer: “I prefer to work for a manager who is involved with the company’s needs as well as the employee’s. I don’t like office politics or having favourites. 

What would you do if your manager made the wrong decision? 

Indicate that this would depend on the situation and the type of manager. Use examples if you have experience with this. 

Have you ever had a conflict with your manager? 

A tough question! Answering it requires caution. Whatever you respond, never criticise your previous companies or colleagues. Even if you were right. Keep it short by saying that you have had problems because of differing opinions or differing expectations from both sides. 

What did you not like about your previous job? 

It’s not uncommon to outgrow your job, and it’s okay to have different opinions. It’s not okay to gossip about your previous employers. If you talk bad about your previous colleagues, the recruiter will think you will say the same about your future employer in case of departure. 

What mistakes have you learned the most from? 

It’s a tricky question! Try to give examples of situations where, although you have made mistakes, also mention that you took steps to correct them. Finish the conversation by saying that everything worked out in the end and that experience has made you stronger. 

What does success mean to you? 

A possible answer: “success has different meanings for me. At work, this means: achieving the goals we have set.” Also, show that you like working for a company that looks at ‘hard success’ and pays attention to personal development and growth.

What are your expectations of the salary? 

The answer is that we want to know if you know your market value. We really don’t want to know if we can afford your salary. If you’re a superstar, then surely we can! Knowledge of your own market value tells us a lot about your knowledge and understanding of the market.

If we ask a friend why we should hire you, what would this person answer? 

“He or she would say that I have the right background and experience.” Obviously, the “why?” question will follow. After that, you can name the qualities that make the job a success. 

What kind of environment do you want to work in? 

Explain that you are flexible and ask about the working environment of the company! You can also use the keywords you find on the company’s website. 

Do you have questions for us? 

Now we are curious about your opinion! First, ask about things that matter and avoid cliche answers (for example: “when will filling the position be successful for you?”, “How do you see the future of this company?”, “What is your biggest challenge at the moment?”) In particular, DO NOT ask the following questions: “Have I been hired?” “What about days off/retirement?” and avoid the worst: “What does your company do?” 

Why would you want to work here?

Good preparation can make a difference! When you have done your homework, answer the question so that your knowledge, skills and career goals match the company’s goals. What are you looking for in your future job? Immediately ask a counter-question: “What is the usual career path for someone in this position?” Then answer the question based on the recruiter’s answer.

What do you want to achieve in the future? 

Align your goals with the goals of the organisation and your position. For example, indicate that you want to learn and contribute to the success of the company. 

What are your hobbies?

We’re just asking this question to get to know you better. In fact, any answer will serve. Ensure that you do not mention hobbies that can work against you later (e.g. active in politics). Hobbies with a link to the job are always good (e.g. refurbishing old cars if you are applying for a technical position or treasurer for a financial position). Avoid mentioning hobbies like reading, running, and fitness. 

What can you do for us? 

Align your goals, knowledge, skills and skills with what you think the company needs. Again, giving an example to support this will help. 

What are your strengths? 

A classic. Self-knowledge is the key here. For this question, focus on the qualities that make you suitable for the position or match the company’s culture. Although this question is quite common, it is often asked, so it is good to prepare yourself. Ask yourself which of your qualities make the difference in the performance of the position and name them. 

What are your weaknesses? 

It often follows the above. Limit yourself to qualities that don’t leave a bad impression. Examples: You have to regularly coordinate with colleagues/supervisors, you do everything you can to get things done, or you say that you regularly need feedback. Avoid cliché answers such as “I’m a perfectionist” or worse, “I have no weaknesses”.

Why are you considering quitting your current job? 

Be honest and focus on the future. It is possible that your departure did not go well or that you were fired. It may also be that you have the feeling that you are not getting any further in the current company. Feel free to mention this, as honesty is greatly appreciated. 

Why do you want this job?

The answer: “I believe that my knowledge and skills can make a difference” Support this statement with an example: in a previous position, there was a situation XYZ where you made a difference by using certain knowledge and skills!

The Bonus Question:
Tell Me Something I Can’t trackback From Your Resume. 

A question that is gaining popularity. Here are your 3 possible answers: 

1. Name your strengths that have not yet been discussed. The soft skills, in particular, are doing well. Give an example of a real case. For example, you have exceeded a project’s objectives thanks to your perseverance or ability to bring people together. 

2. Share something personal. When the conversation is coming to an end, you can choose to take something from your private life. You can name things that are always considered positive: e.g., I like mountain climbing or volunteering. Avoid controversial matters such as politics or activities in a radical movement.

3. Motivate why you want the job. This question is an excellent way to explain your motivation, especially if you can give it a personal touch. An example could be that you like developing medicines because they have cured someone you know, you like working in technology because you love to tinker. 

Ultimately, a job interview revolves around one thing: examining whether you are the best candidate for the position. Proper preparation and appropriate answers to the questions help to determine whether this is the case. There is, of course, never a guarantee. After all, there must also be a ‘mutual connection’ between a company and an employee. 

At Chemploy, we call this “the emergence of chemistry between people”, our aim is to realise this and experience chemistry.

Good luck with the job interview!

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