While no two interviews are alike, interviewers are likely to ask the same group of questions to get to know you, your personality and your experience. The purpose of the interview is to not only to look at your skills, but also to enable the interviewer to see if you will be a good fit for the company. The key to a successful interview is to study frequently asked questions and practice good answers.
Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
A big part of the interview weighs on how well you know yourself. Interviewers will ask about your strengths, weaknesses, how you handle stress and what you desire from your dream job. Tailor your answers specifically for the job you are interviewing for, focusing on strengths that would benefit the company. For a weakness or failure, use an example that does not relate to the job, and explain how you corrected problem.
George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Since past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior, interviewers will ask questions about your previous jobs and how you handled difficult situations. They may ask what a supervisor would say about you or how you handled an unhappy customer. Interviewers also want to know about previous successes, such as how you led a project to completion. Use anecdotes that highlight your strengths related to the position. Instead of focusing on your failures, explain what you learned from the situation.
Your Work Experience
Interviewers will ask if you liked your previous jobs, often looking at your resume while asking specific questions. They may ask if you prefer to work independently or as part of a team. The best answer is neutral, explaining that you perform both successfully and use examples. They may ask what you enjoyed most in your last job or why you are leaving. It is important to never bad-mouth a previous employer.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice often and develop examples illustrating your answers. Write out and rehearse your answers as often as possible leading up the interview. You want to be familiar with the common questions so you can produce confident and well-worded answers. It is extremely helpful to practice a mock interview with a friend or collegue. She can provide instant feedback and can help you to create better answers. The more you practice, the more relaxed you will be.
Lisa Hope is a professional writer and entrepreneur. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism, specializing in online media, and a master's in mass communications specializing in social media, both from the University of Florida. She is a professor of communications, a novelist, and the founder of a firm that specializes in resume review.