Welcome to Career-Focused Fridays! This weekly series is dedicated to helping you prepare for any post-graduation challenges so that you can focus on what is important: pursuing a career you love with the confidence to take the first steps towards success in your chosen field.
Preparing for a job interview can be stressful – especially if you don’t know what questions you will have to answer. Sure, you might be able to guess some of the questions you will be asked to answer based on the position you are applying for or your previous interview experiences. However, you never know exactly what types of questions you will be expected to confidently answer on the spot. What you can do is prepare for the types of questions you will be asked, which can give you a major advantage over the competition when interviewing for your dream job.
Here are the three most common types of interview questions, and how you can answer each to come off as confident, knowledgeable, and personable at your next interview.
- The Classic Question. Questions like “What are you passionate about?” or “What are your professional goals?” are general, “getting to know you questions” that suggest that the interviewer wants to learn more about you. To answer these classic types of questions, think about personal experiences that have gotten you to where you are today and illustrate the qualities that make you the perfect candidate for the job for which you are applying. If you’re applying for a management position, tell a story about a specific time when you showed leadership capabilities. If you are applying for a position that requires creativity, think about a time when your creativity led to success in your personal or professional life.
- The Brainteaser. Brainteasers are asked to see how you think through a problem and the different approaches you might take to problem-solving. When answering brainteasers, focus less on coming up with the right answer and concentrate more on showing the path you followed to get to your answer. Brainteasers are often asked in interviews for positions that require you to think on your feet and deal with a crisis in less-than-ideal situations, so keep your cool and think through the problem carefully to impress your interviewer.
- The Behavioral Question. One of the hardest parts of an interview is answering a question about your negatives, like “What are your weaknesses?” or “What would happen if you disagreed with your boss?” Consider behavioral questions as an opportunity to showcase how you were able to make the best out of a difficult situation in the workplace. Maybe your disagreement with a coworker opened your mind to new approaches to problem-solving, which led to a more successful outcome for your entire team; maybe your weakness of occasional overly-diligent behavior led to you catching a last-minute typo on a major ad campaign. Tell a story about how even the less-flattering aspects of your work ethic can lead to success for the company at which you are applying, and the interviewer won’t help but be impressed.
Now that you know that most interview questions can be placed into three categories, start thinking about how you can approach each type of question with an answer that will make you a must-hire candidate in the eyes of the interviewer. Need more help preparing for a job interview? Learn more about how Penn Foster’s Career Services can help you get ready.