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5 Common Interview Questions. . .And What They Are Really Asking!

Naturally, the interview portion of your job search can be intimidating. No matter how much you prepare, it feels like you can always be blindsided by one of those loaded questions! Let’s read through a few and uncover what they are really asking!

Tell me about yourself.

When employers say this in an interview, they want to hear about your previous experience, background, and education. Tell them what you enjoy doing on the job and why you are good at it! You can throw in a little info about what you do in your free time, but keep it brief (e.g., “When I am not working, I love to read!”). They are trying to figure out who you are as an employee, so give them a clear picture of what you bring to the table.

What is your greatest weakness?

This question can be tricky. Answering it with something like, “Well, I am actually horrible at Microsoft Excel,” is NOT the right response. Describe a weakness you have had and how you have worked on it.

Example: “I can struggle with delegating. I tend to want to have control over the whole project. I have learned to be able to give up control and trust my coworkers to take on portions of a project. Working together has produced more well-rounded results that aren’t possible when only one person is working on a project.”

Describe a time that you had to handle an unhappy customer or client.

The employer wants to see how you problem-solve and deal with stressful situations. Be careful not to speak poorly about the customer/client—talk about the interaction objectively and focus on what you did to fix it. Talk through your thought process and why you took certain actions.

Why did you leave your last role?

Employers are trying to gauge what kind of employee you are. Were you let go, or did you leave? Why? Are you respectful of your previous employers?

Answer honestly and expand upon why you left or why you were let go. Be honest if you weren’t happy at your previous job, but do so in a respectful way. For example, instead of saying, “my old boss was a jerk” (even if they were), you could say that you didn’t feel respected in your previous role.

Why is a manhole cover round? 

Why is a manhole cover round? How many pennies would you have to stack to reach the top of the Empire State Building? Questions like these don’t necessarily have a “right” answer, so why would they be asked in a interview? Though there is a correct answer for each of these questions, employers simply want to assess your reasoning skills.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Let the interviewer into your thought process. Take your time, and don’t sweat it. As long as you show a reasonable thought process, you’re golden.

Are you still looking for the perfect role? Check out JSG‘s current openings here: https://careers.jsginc.com/

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