Between preparing a resume, cover letter, portfolio, academic transcript and professional recommendations, there are many necessary steps that go into landing a job interview. Once you’re in the interview, you’ll likely be asked to detail your skills and relevant work experience. However, during many interviews, you’ll also encounter several common, yet vital interview questions that can be the difference between a call back and an empty inbox.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
While your first reaction to this question might be “earning a high salary at a great job,” thinking about the specifics of how you would achieve this feat can reveal a lot to potential employers. This question is designed to examine whether you have a strong sense of who you are and what you want in your professional life along with whether those interests are a good match for that particular company.
What’s your greatest weakness?
Everyone recognizes that this question is a trap, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult to answer. Hiring managers can instantly detect a fake answer like “caring too much” or “working too hard,” so your best bet is to provide a truthful answer – staying organized or working well with others – while explaining how you overcame that difficulty in the past.
What are your salary expectations?
This may seem like a fairly harmless and informational question, but the answer you provide can be more influential than you might expect. Most employers have a number in mind about your ideal starting salary (give or take a few thousand). If you overshoot that number, it signals that you overestimate your realistic value to that company. However, undershooting that number can point to a desperate candidate. Stick with a reasonable number ($30,000 is typical these days) and emphasize that you’re willing to be flexible.