Job interviews are intimidating and scary. You're thrown into a room with someone who can potentially change your life. Trying to give an effective answer to each question without tripping over your words is tricky, especially if you're not prepared.
To help you stand out from other job seekers, here are 5 common questions, what they mean, and how to answer them effectively.
Q1: Tell me about yourself
This is the most common way to start the interview. The interviewer is not asking you to repeat what’s on your resume. It’s a test of whether you can provide a concise summary of yourself and what you’re looking for.
The key is to keep it short and focus on key points that may or may not be obvious in your resume.
Ineffective: I just graduated with a Bachelor of Business from XX University. I graduated with a CGPA of 3.7 with a few Dean’s list awards. I was part of the Student Club and was actively involved in some activities. I am interested in social media marketing.
Effective: I just graduated with a Bachelor of Business from XX University in Feb 2022. One of my most significant projects was doing an Instagram shop where we sold salted-egg chips. I was in a team of 4 and my role was marketing and customer service. We managed to grow from 0 to 855 followers and achieve RM2,000 revenue in 2 months. Besides that, I was part of the student club where I was managing the social media pages, which includes designing posts, writing captions, and managing followers. I hope to apply my skills and experience in the Marketing Executive position that you’re hiring and help to grow your company’s social media channels.
Q2: How did you hear about this position?
It could be an easy question, but you can also use it to stand out by saying why the position caught your eye and what you can contribute.
Ineffective: I heard from someone or I saw the job advertisement.
Effective: I saw the job advertisement, and what caught my eye was the job scope, which is starting a Tiktok channel for the company. I have experience managing Facebook and Instagram platforms, but I am interested in starting a Tiktok channel for a brand and growing followers from there. Besides that, I also researched more about the company and social media pages, and I think I can help to add more variety to the types of posts.
Q3: Why are you interested in this position?
This is a test of whether you’re really interested and what’s your motivation to pursue the opportunity. Don't give a general answer that’s all about yourself and doesn’t say what you can bring to the company.
The tip is to state how you can use your skills and experience to contribute to the company, and how the opportunity aligns with your career goals.
Ineffective: I am interested because I can apply my skills and learn hands-on experience, and grow my career in this company.
Effective: I see this as a place where I can apply my skills and knowledge of content marketing while helping the company to reach out to the right audience. I also strongly relate to the vision of the company and want to help more people find a fulfilling career. As this is a start-up, I’m excited to take on more responsibilities and challenges, which will help me advance my career and help the company achieve its goals together.
Q4: What are your strengths?
This is not an opportunity for you to brag, or give a generic or lame answer. Do state your key strength that is relevant and makes you a good fit for the job, using relevant examples.
Ineffective: I am a hard worker. I work hard and show up on time every day.
Effective: I am a fast learner. When I was in Student Club, my task was to manage the social media platforms. During an event, we had to do a short promotional video, but none of us knew about video editing, including myself. In the end, I took up the challenge to learn basic video editing and produced my very first video in one week. I also picked up other software like Adobe Illustrator which wasn’t taught in my university.
Q5: What are your weaknesses?
Besides checking on red flags, the interviewer is also testing your self-awareness and honesty. Don’t use a fake weakness that is also a strength, because interviewers get that a lot and can definitely tell that it's not genuine.
Do give a real weakness and also how you’re working on fixing that weakness.
Ineffective: I am too focused on the details so I tend to get stressed sometimes and miss some deadlines.
Effective: My weakness is managing others who have different expectations from me. Hence, I am working on communicating and understanding expectations from others by asking questions to find out more information. I usually get more clarity and deliver better when I try to align expectations.
The key to answering any interview questions successfully is to understand the questions so you can frame a concise answer. Instead of giving a generic answer, you should personalise it with a relevant example that showcases your skills to make you the best fit for the role.
You can also use these answers in the chat feature in Kabel to wow potential hirers and secure that job offer.
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