HOW TO ANSWER JOB INTERVIEW QUESTIONS AS A RECENT GRADUATE
The secret to acing job interviews is to realize that they really aren’t about you. Interviews are about what you can bring to the organization, which ultimately takes the spotlight off of you and onto the organization. Let’s look at how to tackle the most common questions. It’s easier than you think (especially with Carer Support Specialists like ours!).
"TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF."
Tell a story about yourself rather than a list of what you did. The interviewer has your résumé and doesn’t need a summary of past jobs. Use your story to link your education, training, and work history into a narrative that culminates with position you’re trying to land.
The interviewer wants to see that you have a motivation to apply other than money. Your story links your drive, skill set, and personality together to produce your personal brand. Working for money isn’t a desirable trait because it tells the interviewer that you won’t put in the effort or become loyal enough to stay with the organization for a long time.
"WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS COMPANY?"
You need to research the company ahead of time.
Find out these things:
- Who are its members? What do they stand for?
- Do your values match?
- What are its business pains? How you can solve them?
Show that you are well read or keep up with news. What headlines has the company made? Once you’ve demonstrated that you have done your homework, then ask deeper questions. Don’t be afraid of not knowing the answer to everything—you’re here to learn about the company as much as you are to give a good impression! Don’t be afraid of it being on the website. You don’t need to memorize that stuff.
"WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST WEAKNESS?"
Yes, this question sucks—and yes, there is a reason for asking it! People say that it’s an outdated and useless question. It shows that you have a capacity for self-reflection, analytical skills, honesty, and a plan to improve yourself.
Some people do abuse it to establish a hierarchy in the interview. Watch out for that! Those people expect you to become nervous at the prospect of appearing anything less than perfect for a position. It’s silly once you take a step back to think about it, but the interview jitters can get the bravest of us.
Just remember that good places to work ask this question in a non-threatening way.
"WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?"
Do not answer with “starting my own company” unless the job is for a fixed contract length. Similarly, do not answer with “your job,” or a position above the interviewer’s own role. Don’t threaten the person or project arrogance.
With those out of the way we can get to the positive things to say. Articulate where you want to be through the things you want to do or learn! Even if you don’t know the exact position that you want, you can still say that you’d like to be doing something that expands your skills.
For example, our video game development graduates might say something along these lines:
“After becoming an experienced programmer I would like to become involved with the creative direction.”
There may or may not be a predefined role for that at the company in question. It doesn’t matter because it’s contingent on so many things that may or may not happen. The point is that your answer should demonstrate your desire to grow as a person and as a professional instead of just climbing the corporate ladder for a larger paycheque.
"DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR ME?"
Not having questions is not an option. You must have questions! You’ll look uninterested, uninspiring, and unemployable if you don’t ask questions.
Luckily for you we have a list of straight-shooter questions that work for just about any interview:
- The business plan/model.
- How you fit into that plan
- Why the position is open
- How have past candidates succeeded?
- If it’s a new position, then how does the interviewer see the role forming?
- Workplace culture
- Have them take you through an average day with this organization
That’s not an exhaustive list because no answer should be the same between two different people. Ask yourself about your story, your motivations, and where you want to learn in the future.
LET'S GET STARTED
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