Job interviews can be stressful, but it's always easier if you're prepared. Below, we've presented some typical job interview questions and tips on answering them.
“Why did you leave your last job?”
Translation: “Are the problems from your last job going to be an issue here?”
Although it might be tempting if you had a bad experience, now is not the time to vent about a bad boss. If you left due to a strained relationship with your manager or a general dislike for the job, explain that you're seeking a more challenging position or are looking to take your career in a different direction. There’s even a right way to talk about getting fired from your last job. No matter how you answer, never badmouth your last job--nothing good can come from it.
“What kind of hourly pay are you looking for?”
Translation: “Will you be happy with how much you’re making?”
Research what similar positions pay so you'll know what's fair, but don't bring up pay unless the interviewer asks you directly or you've already received a job offer. When the time comes, don't be afraid to (politely) ask for what you want, but also be prepared to compromise – a lower salary might also come with great benefits (insurance, vacation, etc.) that outweigh the pay cut in the end.
“What's an example of when you worked on a team?”
Translation: “Do you work well with the other people?”
Even if you've never worked on a team at a job you can give examples of your experiences on an athletic team or in a club at school. If you served as a leader of that team, be sure to mention that as well.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Translation: “Do you plan to stay at the company longer than six months?”
Many interviewees make the mistake of talking about their life goals in response to this question. Although getting married or opening your own business are worthy goals to have, talk about your desire to grow professionally with the company or to learn on the job in order to be the best at what you do.
“Why do you want to work here?”
Translation: “What’s going to get you out the door and into work on time every day?”
Always, always do your homework on the company before your interview. Be prepared to talk about what motivates you to work and what you bring to the table as a potential employee. Do you share their ethics and values? Are you passionate about the type of work they do? "I want the employee discount" is not going to get you the job. Show that you would be a good fit at the company and you'll be closer to getting hired.