Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them was originally published on Hospital Recruiting.

Interviews are perhaps the most important part of a job application process. When interviewing, there are several questions that are commonly encountered. Knowing how to answer these questions can significantly enhance your chances of being successful in the application process.

The key to successfully answering interview questions is to understand the reason that they are being asked, and to answer them while keeping in mind the interviewer’s motivation for asking the question. 

“Tell me about yourself.”

This question, or variations of it, is very common, and it allows you the chance to introduce yourself to the interviewer. Your answer to this question can set the foundation of the interview and influence your interviewer’s initial impression of you.

Answering the Question:

When answering this question, the key will be to tell a story, not list the history that you have provided on your resume. Your story is unique to you, and telling a story helps to provide an account of your background in a way that engages with your interviewer. Describe what influenced you, what motivates you, and who affected your life along your journey. Be sure that you prepare ahead of time for this question, as you are likely to encounter it, and it will have a significant effect on the rest of your interview.

“Why do you want to work here?”

This question may also be asked as “why do you want this position? or “why do you want to be a ______?” or some other variation. Interviewers ask this question to get a feel for your motivations for working for them, as this will impact how you perform your job.

Answering the Question:

There are several ways to answer this question, and your answer will be unique. The key to answering this question is to focus on motivations that are focused on others. Many people will fall into the trap of discussing how they think the job will benefit them. While you can include some of the personal benefits that you hope to obtain, be sure to focus on how you want to be part of their team and contribute to their goals. Be specific in your answers, using specific examples of what opportunities to contribute excite you.

“What would be the hardest part of this job for you?”

Your interviewer may ask this question in many different ways, but the motivation for this question will be to ensure that you understand and have thought about the difficult aspects of the job.

Answering the Question:

Be sure that you have considered the possible negative aspects of the job prior to the interview and have thought through how you feel about them. Be sure to answer this question in a way that shows that you have considered the difficult areas of the job, but also in a way that does not convey that you would find the position unpleasant or overly difficult. It will also be necessary to avoid discounting how difficult the job is likely to be, as this can make it seem like you do not have a realistic view of the position.

“What is your greatest weakness?”

This is one question that people tend to not want to get in their interview. Unfortunately, that makes it a question that interviewers will be more likely to want to ask.

Answering the Question:

The best way to answer this question is to select a weakness that you have and address it. Obviously, don’t bring up a weakness that could sink your chances at the job, but bring up something that sounds insightful. Do not just name a weakness that you have, but also address how you are trying to improve on that area and what your plan is to remedy it. Be sure not to say that you do not have any weaknesses, because everyone has weaknesses, and denying having weaknesses shows that you do not have good insight into your abilities.

“Are you a team player?”

There are a myriad of ways that this can be asked, and it will not typically be very direct. Some examples could be “Tell me about a conflict you had between a team member and how you resolved it.” or “What was the thing you liked most about working with your last team?”

Answering the Question:

One of the biggest keys to answering this question is to recognize it when it is asked. There are many different ways that this topic can be asked, and it will not always be obvious that this is what the question is about. If the interviewer is asking a question about interactions that you had with team members or problems with a team member, they are probably trying to figure out how well you will fit into their team. Be sure to recognize these types of questions and answer them by emphasizing your strengths as a team member.