The Answers You Want to Hear to Common Interview Questions

Some common interview questions are so effective that most hiring managers use them during the interview process. If you're interviewing someone for a position at your company, here are the answers you should look for when filling job vacancies.

Why did you leave your last job?
This question is important because it shows you the interviewee's motivation for searching for a new job. Look for people who are looking for a new challenge in their position. If you detect any hint of anger or bitterness at an old employer, it's a bad sign. If he was fired, he should be able to put a positive spin on the situation.

Why do you want to work here?
Every good job candidate should do research on the company where he is interviewing. He should respond with details about the company available on the Web site or through marketing literature. With the right answer, you'll know that the prospect has gone above and beyond to find out more about your company. He should also be able to connect the company's background to his skill level and specific career goals.

How are you when you're working under pressure?
Most candidates will put a positive spin on this one and claim that they thrive under pressure. The key with this question is to look for creativity and details. Does he mention organizing his work to reduce stress? Does he prefer to work with a team to eliminate extra pressure? If he says that he doesn't handle it well, move on to the next candidate.

What is your greatest strength?
This is the interviewee's chance to show you what really makes him a potentially valuable part of your company. He should give you an answer that is believable based on his previous work record. For example, if he has held three jobs in the last two years and he answers "my ability to stick with projects," that's a bad sign. A good follow-up question to this is "Give me an example of how you used this strength at your last job."

What's your biggest weakness?
This is a tough question for candidates but an important one for you as a hiring manager. The candidate should answer this question and not just say "I don't have one." Look for answers that are actually assets, like "I often focus on the details of a project and miss the bigger picture." Smart candidates know how to turn their weaknesses into strengths.

With this information, you can get a more accurate picture of how the potential employee will behave when hired. You will also be able to determine how much the employee wants the job based on how much he has researched the company and considered the answers to your questions.

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