Best Things to Say in an Interview
The best things you can say in an interview won’t necessarily get you the job on their own, but they can certainly pave the way. Keep these five things in mind as you go through the interviewing process to give yourself the best chance at landing the job.
Ask Good Questions
According to Howard Pines, founder and CEO of BeamPines, “the best thing a candidate can do at an interview is ask good questions.”
Asking questions shows that you are thoughtful and interested in understanding the company. There’s usually a chance to ask questions at the end of your interview, so be ready with questions that show you’re engaged in the process.
Pines suggests several questions, including:
- What are the biggest short- and long-term issues I would need to focus on in this position?
- What would I need to focus on differently than the previous person in this position?
- What organizational issues should I be aware of
Whether it’s about possible job duties, a potential start date or simply timing for the second interview, stressing your flexibility makes you easy to get along with.
Hiring managers don’t like complications, and having to coordinate complicated schedules or haggle over a job description eventually just makes you look difficult. While you certainly don’t want to be a pushover — and “flexible” shouldn’t define your salary negotiation — show your potential employer that you’re interested in results that work for everyone.
The Company’s Own Word
Before your interview, become familiar with the company’s website and literature. Pay attention to the words used — what’s important to the organization? Mixing these keywords into your answers can provide a subtle hint that you are plugged in to what the organization is looking for.
“That’s a Good Question.”
Use this phrase instead of blurting out “I don’t know” if the interviewer stumps you with a surprise question. It can give you a few moments to come up with an answer and, in the meantime, strokes the interviewer’s ego a little bit too.
Avoid the “I don’t know” answer when possible, but of course don’t lie about your experience or training.
Reasons You Want the Job.
Knowing a job prospect’s motivations is important for managers who are hiring.
During your interview, talk about how this position fits into your future plans and the ideas you have about your career, how it fits with your values, and what you would like to learn from it. Talk about how you see yourself in relation to the company and what you believe you can bring to the position.
These kinds of thoughts show who you are as a person, and go a long way toward giving the hiring manager an idea about how you might fit in the company’s culture and values.
By Catherine Conlan
Monster Contributing Writer
Job interviews are always stressful – even for job seekers who have gone on countless interviews. The best way to reduce the stress is to be prepared. Take the time to review the common interview questions you will most likely be asked. Also, review sample answers (Google) and advice on how to answer these typical interview questions.
Then take the time to research the company and to prepare for an interview. This way, you will be ready with knowledgeable answers for the job interview questions that specifically relate to the company you are interviewing with.
Interview Questions: Work History
- Name of company, position title and description, dates of employment.
- What were your expectations for the job and to what extent were they met?
- What were your starting and final levels of compensation?
- What were your responsibilities?
- What major challenges and problems did you face? How did you handle them?
- What have you learned from your mistakes?
- What did you like or dislike about your previous job?
- Which was most / least rewarding?
- What was the biggest accomplishment / failure in this position?
- Questions about your supervisors and co-workers.
- What was it like working for your supervisor?
- What do you expect from a supervisor?
- What problems have you encountered at work?
- Have you ever had difficulty working with a manager?
- Who was your best boss and who was the worst?
- Describe your ideal boss.
- Why did you resign?
- Why did you quit your job?
- What have you been doing since your last job?
- Why have you been out of work so long?
- Why were you fired?
Job Interview Questions about You
- What is your greatest weakness?
- What is your greatest strength?
- How will your greatest strength help you perform?
- How would you describe yourself?
- Describe a typical work week.
- Describe your work style.
- Do you work well with other people?
- Do you take work home with you?
- How many hours do you normally work?
- How would you describe the pace at which you work?
- How do you handle stress and pressure?
- What motivates you?
- Are you a self-motivator?
- What are your salary expectations?
- What do you find are the most difficult decisions to make?
- Tell me about yourself.
- What has been the greatest disappointment in your life?
- What are you passionate about?
- What are your pet peeves?
- What do people most often criticize about you?
- When was the last time you were angry? What happened?
- If you could relive the last 10 years of your life, what would you do differently?
- If the people who know you were asked why you should be hired, what would they say?
- Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?
- Give some examples of teamwork.
- What type of work environment do you prefer?
- How do you evaluate success?
- If you know your boss is 100% wrong about something how would you handle it?
- Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it.
- Describe a time when your workload was heavy and how you handled it.
Job Interview Questions about the New Job and the Company
- What interests you about this job?
- Why do you want this job? –
- What applicable attributes / experience do you have?
- Are you overqualified for this job?
- What can you do for this company?
- Why should we hire you?
- Why are you the best person for the job?
- What do you know about this company?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What challenges are you looking for in a position?
- What can you contribute to this company?
- Are you willing to travel?
- What is good customer service?
- How long do you expect to remain employed with this company?
- Is there anything I haven’t told you about the job or company that you would like to know?
Interview Questions: The Future
- What are you looking for in your next job? What is important to you?
- Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
- What are your goals for the next five years / ten years?
- How do you plan to achieve those goals?
- What are your salary requirements – both short-term and long-term?
- Questions about your career goals.
- What will you do if you don’t get this position?
Behavioral Interview Questions
In addition to being ready to answer these standard questions, prepare for behavior based interview questions. This is based on the premise that a candidate’s past performance is the best predictor of future performance. You will need to be prepared to provide detailed responses including specific examples of your work experiences. Review examples of behavioral interview questions.
The best way to prepare is to think of examples where you have successfully used the skills you’ve acquired. Take the time to compile a list of responses to both types of questions and to itemize your skills, values, and interests as well as your strengths and weaknesses. Emphasize what you can do to benefit the company rather than just what you are interested in. Also prepare a list of questions you want to ask the interviewer. Remember, you aren’t simply trying to get the job – you are also interviewing the employer to assess whether this company and the position are a good fit for you.
Interview Questions Employers Should Not Ask
There are some interview questions, typically known as illegal interview questions that employers should not ask during a job interview. Here are questions that shouldn’t be asked during a job interview. Some ministries and jobs can ask about criminal history, and about religion and other topics, so be aware that anyone can ask any question whether it’s legal or not.
- Questions about Age
- Questions about Ancestry
- Questions about Credit
- Questions about Criminal Record
- Questions about Disability
- Questions about Family Status
- Questions about Gender
- Questions about Military Discharge
- Questions about Religion
A practice interview can help you identify where you may already be strong in interviewing, as well as helping detect areas where your presentation could be improved. These fifty-minute sessions are with a career counselor in the interviewer role, and then the counselor offers feedback.
To schedule an appointment, please call (706)-886-6831 x5325, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make the most of your interview, we suggest:
- Bringing a résumé indicating your internship or job target.
- Coming dressed as if going to an actual job interview.
- Consider interviewer questions that you’re concerned about, or have found yourself struggling with in real interviews. Mention these to the career coach, so these questions can be worked into the mock interview and your responses critiqued.
- Come prepared with questions you have for an employer.
How to Dress for an Interview
Dress and attire information for interviewing. The first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing
Resources for proper dining etiquette developed by various universities and compiled by the Etiquette School of New York.
Behavior-Based Interview Basics
Many employers are trained in what is called behavioral or focused interviewing. This page will help you learn what to expect and prepare for a behavioral-based interview.