Don’t take your interviewer’s questions at face value. Often, the
reasons why she’s asking you these questions is not just to hear your
answers, but to read in between the lines and find out what your
intentions are and how your character is. We’ve listed a couple of the
most popular interview questions below and what the interviewer really means when they ask you these questions.
1. Tell me about yourself
OK, you should ace this question because it’s the most basic and
expected question out of every job interview. We want to see how you
carry yourself and how articulate you are. We also want to know what you
think are the highlights of yourself and your career and what’s special
2. What are your greatest weaknesses?
You know this question is coming, let’s see how honest and thoughtful
you can be. Not to mention how prepared you are. Please don’t give us
the clichés like, “My weakness is I work too hard.” We can see right
through that. This question can reveal how self-aware you are and how proactive you are when a problem arises.
3. Where do you see yourself in five years?
We want to make sure you’re in here for the long haul and you’ve
really thought about this. It takes resources to train a new hire, so
ideally, we would like you to stay a while. Your answer will clue us
into your ambition as well, and if you’ve truly thought about what your
career track with us will be like. It’s a chance for us to hear your
strengths and your goals.
4. Why do you want to work for us?
We want to make sure you really want to work for us and that you did
your research. We don’t want to hire people who just want this job
because it’s a job.
5. Why did you leave your last job?
Was there drama in your last company? We’re actually curious to see
if you left your company on good or bad terms. Obviously, most of you
will catch on to this question, but your answer can also give us an
insight into your relationship with your former company and how you
work. If you badmouth your previous employer, no matter what the
circumstance, we’ll probably take it as a red flag. We also want to make
sure that you’re not going to leave our company for the same reason.
6. Do you have any questions for me?
This is my opportunity to see if you have been paying attention and
how passionate you are about this position and company. It’s also a test
to see how much homework you’ve done on the company and the position.
This can be your chance to wow us, and it can be one of the most
memorable things about a candidate.
7. [Insert incredibly hard problem.]
We want to know how you think on your feet and what your thought process is like. You may not be able to answer this question,
but we want to see how you deal with the stress of not being able to
answer the question and to see if you can at least tell us the steps you
would take to find the answer. This shows good initiative and
problem-solving skills. We’re not looking for someone who would give up
as soon as something hard comes their way.
8. [Insert surprising question.]
OK, you may be completely thrown off by this question, but we want
that to happen. It may elicit a more genuine reaction and that’s what we
really want to see. Perhaps, we can catch a glimpse of your
9. What would your co-workers say about you?
We want to know how you think others view you. It says something
about how self-aware you are, and it can clue us into how your
relationships with your former co-workers are.
10. What are your hobbies?
We want to know what you are like as a person outside of your job.
This is a good time to bring up your side projects and impressive hidden
talents. What you do with your free time can be a big reflection of
what kind of employee you will be. For example, having a successful Etsy
store can show us that you’re productive, driven, passionate, and
creative. This is your chance to stand out and share something personal
about yourself that will make us remember you.
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