5-common-job-interview-questionsA job interview is an important gateway to a new job. It is your chance to convince employers that you are the best person for the job, but an interview can also ruin your prospects of working at the company. Before you head into your interview, be prepared to answer the most common interview questions with grace and confidence.

1. Why did you leave your last job?

No matter why you left your last job, it is essential to frame the move in a positive light. You should avoid highlighting any conflicts with your previous employer, and you should not talk about any negative performance elements that may have led to your decision to leave. Instead, talk about your desire to tackle new challenges. If your previous employer was downsizing, that would also be appropriate public knowledge that would not make you look bad to employers. The more jobs you have left in recent years, the more future employers will want you to answer this question concisely.

2. Why do you want to work here?

Every employer wants to know that you care about this position and this company. It is important to know about the company and what the position entails so you can come up with an answer that highlights the fact that you share the same values as the company and that you possess the right skills to excel in that particular work environment. Specificity is very important here, and the more passionate you are about the position and the company, the better you will look compared to other applicants.

3. What are your weaknesses?

Everyone hates this question, and yet it almost always shows up in some form during a job interview. Traditionally, it has been recommended to answer with a positive weakness. For example, you could talk about how your commitment to accuracy can frustrate your colleagues. However, you can also frame your weaknesses by showing your determination to work around them. If your communication skills are abrupt, you could talk about the steps you have taken recently to improve. The trick is to be honest without making yourself look bad.

4. What salary expectations do you have?

Do your research in advance so you know the standard salary range for similar positions in the industry. If possible, find out what other people at the company may be making so you can suggest a fair number. You never want to oversell yourself, but you also do not want to go too low. Some experts suggest that you turn the question around back on the employer. Explain that you are confident that a fair price can be negotiated, and then simply ask what the salary range at the company currently is.

5. Do you have any questions for me?

This one usually comes at the end of the interview, and it can seem like a throwaway. However, never blow this question off. Employers want to see that you are interested and motivated. You can use this opportunity to learn more about the position, but it can also be a time to showcase how much effort you have put into this particular job application. Ask questions about specific company goals and programs, which will show that you are invested in the company already.

No matter what questions you are asked, you should be prepared to talk confidently about yourself, your experience and the company. A little preparation can help ensure a good interview, which can be what you need to get the job and advance your career.

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