Job interviews tend to be nerve-racking experiences. You know you have the skills and expertise to execute the role, but you must sell yourself to your interviewer. Unless you have an innate ability to handle job interviews like a pro, it pays to prepare for your next interview.
Studying typical job interview questions is a great way to get in the right mindset. Consider these 6 questions and example answers and think about how you’ll respond if they come up in your interview. Write down your answers and study them to get the most benefit from the exercise.
This question is one of the most commonly used by interviewers. It’s a familiar icebreaker and allows you to give a summary of your accomplishments and work history as they apply to the job you’re seeking. If possible, try to weave in some interesting facts about yourself or the goals you’re currently working on.
Example Answer: “I’ve spent the past ten years in varied accounting positions for two companies. I’m currently the senior manager of accounting at XYZ Company. I attribute my success to beginning work on my CPA right after I graduated from college. Becoming a CPA opened many doors for me, and I learned a lot from my studies.
I’m working on developing my leadership skills by taking an online course in my spare time. I hope it will give me the tools I need to manage large teams effectively.”
Many applicants make the mistake of applying for any job they feel qualified for. However, it’s essential to remember that your next position will likely play a significant part in your life for the next few years. You don’t want to choose just any company; look for an organization that aligns with your personal goals and values.
When searching for a position, finding one that furthers your career is critical. Don’t apply for roles that are similar to the job you already have. Instead, look for something that will allow you to expand your expertise in another area within your field.
Typically, individuals choose jobs that naturally fit their personalities. Extroverts tend to hold senior management, marketing, and customer-facing roles. Introverts usually prefer analysis positions and jobs that don’t require all-day interaction with others.
Hopefully, you’ve chosen a career path that aligns with your natural tendencies and abilities. Besides picking a role that’s a good fit for you, you’ll want to seek a company with a working environment that appeals to you.
Example Answer: “I’m introverted by nature, and I love looking for data inconsistencies and correcting them. I prefer a quiet but supportive environment where I can share my ideas with others. I’m also a natural helper, so I’m always available to assist my colleagues when they have questions.”
Most employees strive to be successful in all aspects of their jobs. They’ll gladly put in extra effort if they believe they’re falling behind on a project timeline. However, despite their efforts, sometimes there’s not enough time in the day to meet a deadline.
The key to answering this question is having a good handle on your time management skills. Know what you would do if a tight deadline were approaching and how you’d bring your boss and colleagues into the loop.
Example Answer: “If I’m aware of a tight deadline, I’ll work additional hours to meet it. However, if the extra time isn’t enough to meet the deadline, I’ll let my boss know and ask if I can get some help from my colleagues. It’s never ideal to miss a deadline, but it’s even worse if no one knows about it until the last minute. I’ll take action as soon as I realize I won’t be able to meet the deadline alone.”
Questions concerning salary can make or break your aspirations for a new position. Make sure to research to get a general idea of the salary for the role you’re applying for. Many websites, like Glassdoor and Salary.com, offer average salary statistics you can filter by experience and location.
Be realistic about your salary expectations, but don’t sell yourself short. Ask for a salary that reflects your education and experience, along with the responsibilities you’ll handle.
Example Answer: “I’m seeking a salary of $80,000 to $85,000 per year in this role. I believe my education and experience will add significant value to your organization, and I hope to further my skills and development here.”
Joining a new organization is often fraught with learning new responsibilities and developing relationships with colleagues and bosses. It’s usually unrealistic to anticipate making waves in the organization for at least three months. Temper your expectations and devote your first days to learning how things work in the business.
Example Answer: “I plan to spend my first 30 days learning my responsibilities and getting to know my colleagues. Once I understand how things work, I’ll attempt to make some process improvements and put my spin on my duties. However, I understand those things take time, and I must become comfortable with my core tasks before making big changes.”
Just as your interviewer tries to get to know you, you should try to get a feel for the company and the role. Job interviews are a perfect way to learn if you’re interested in the position’s duties and if you’ll fit in with the company.
If you leave the interview feeling like it’s not the right alignment, don’t worry. It’s better to find the right opportunity than spend your time at a job that ultimately won’t fulfill you.
At Cowen Partners, our executive recruiters are exceptionally skilled at delivering in-demand candidates, no matter the need and across all industries. Backed by a proven executive recruiting process, we have been the partner of choice for startups, corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and more, meeting unique and critical recruitment needs across the entire C-suite, including CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CMOs, CIOs, CTOs, CHROs, VPs of sales, other VPs, directors, and several other leadership roles.
With our executive recruiters, you get senior partner-led searches, due diligence-run networking, meticulous candidate vetting, and so much more, all geared towards one goal — placing the very best talent as soon as possible, all while ensuring a seamless fit with your company culture, your big-picture objectives, and other factors. Plus, we have one of the highest candidate retention rates in the industry while consistently delivering world-class talent faster than the competition.
That’s how Cowen Partners has become a leading executive search firm nationwide, and it’s why our executive recruiters have a reputation for excellence and success.
We also invite you to continue exploring more executive recruiting insights from our team: