You never really know what questions an interviewer is going to ask. However, you can prepare how to answer the top 10 most frequently asked interview questions.
Can you tell me a little more about yourself?
When answering this question, ensure to include information around a hobby, skill, or passion that you can tie back to your work. Add personality to the answer. It’s no secret that interviewers are not only searching for the right skill sets, but also for culture fits. Showcasing your personality can help them understand what it would be like to work with you.
Of course. I’m a creative person at heart and enjoy learning new skills around graphic design. Earlier in my career, it wasn’t until I raised my hand to lead the communications plan for a product launch that I discovered my interest in product marketing.
After switching to product management, I realized how excited I was to take on this type of position. I’ve now had 15 years of experience launching some of the most successful product lines at my previous companies. I’ve learned I work best on products that I love. Given that I’m a huge fan of your company, I jumped at the opportunity for this Head of Product role.
Why do you want this job?
Be passionate and showcase this in your interviews. You really need to feel aligned with the company you are applying to. If not, your interviewer will be able to see right through you. Companies want to hire leaders who will be valuable investments that go beyond the job requirements. Show them that you are excited to be there.
Construction design is in my blood; both my dad and granddad were home builders that owned their own construction firms. I always knew that I wanted my architecture career to be focused on sustainable design practices, so I earned my certificate as a LEED Accredited Professional. Since then, I have been designing sustainable commercial buildings. Greenways Construction is the most respected sustainable design firm in Texas, which is what appealed to me the most.
I’ve been following reports of your LEED Certified projects in the Journal of Green Engineering, and I’ve long admired the energy modeling you pioneered for the ACME Business Park and the ABC Tech campus. Working here would be my dream as your mission aligns perfectly with my goals as a sustainable designer.
What do you know about our company?
Do your research. Check out the company’s vision and values; look into press releases and announcements of new products or services; and scour social channels and Google News to get hints of new initiatives.
Research your interviewer. Look at their LinkedIn and make mention of their career trajectory. Understand their role in the company before walking into the interview.
Do not just look at the website. Be creative and use the information you find to impress your interviewer.
I know you’re one of the top data security companies in the U.S. and that you serve more than 40 Fortune 500 companies, including some of the biggest tech companies, like Microsoft and IBM. I read a recent news article that mentioned you’re looking to expand these services to the financial institutions space as well. Is that correct? Can you tell me more about that?
Why should we hire you?
Showcase your strengths. Companies are not filling roles, they are hiring solutions to problems. The interview is the perfect place to show how your knowledge, experience, and skills can help be that solution.
I’m passionate about growing companies and helping them expand. I’ve found that my multi-industry experience has helped me develop valuable leadership traits. For example, during my time in private equity, I learned how to effectively facilitate negotiations with business owners and investors to produce the best possible outcomes. As I’ve grown accustomed to performing in high-stakes environments, I’ve developed the pragmatic, goal-oriented, and strategic work style that is essential to the success of this Vice President role.
What are your salary expectations?
Whether you need to meet with your financial planner or personally assess your financial landscape, make sure you are clear on your salary expectations before you enter the conversation. Determine the threshold that you will not go below. Ensure that you’ve done your research on the compensation packages for comparable roles in the industry and market. Make your target compensation package clear and leave room to negotiate. If you are entering a new industry, or going into a company that you know won’t pay as much as your last role, make sure you’d be hitting the baseline you need with the opportunity to make the income you desire in the future.
I’m focused on finding a job that’s the right fit for my career and reflects my 20+ years of experience. My priority is finding a position for a company that I am passionate about. This is what I’ve made in the past. How does this align with the salary range for this particular position?
What is your greatest strength?
Think back to your experiences in previous positions and figure out the traits that were most commonly attributed to you.
Assess the job description and scan it for any keywords that you could genuinely speak to. Employers are looking for you to be solution-oriented, so they want to hear about the strengths you will use to solve the business’s problems.
I excel in collaborative, strategic thinking. I’m able to think big picture, while reeling others into a realistic game plan to achieve our goals. I’m future-oriented, and I’ve always been wired to resolve problems quickly and pragmatically while incorporating others’ ideas driving buy-in when needed.
What is your greatest weakness?
This question is often regarded as the toughest one. When confronted with this, remember that the interviewer is also human. They are not expecting you to be perfect, because they aren’t either. Show that you are aware of your weaknesses and that you are working hard to overcome them.
My greatest weakness was being a perfectionist because I always wanted my work to be perfect. I have come to realize that I’m not a perfect person and that’s okay. I am proud of the fact that I pay close attention to detail and want the result to go above and beyond the task itself, but I have learned over the years that I need to respect my own time and the time of others in order to achieve short-term and long-term goals.
Tell me about a time when you faced a difficult challenge at work.
This is a great opportunity to use the STAR method – situation, task, action, and result – in order to explain how you were able to overcome this difficulty.
That is a great question. In my last position, I was tapped to oversee the sales division in addition to the marketing division that I led. The previous head of the sales division had left abruptly without leaving a solid framework of processes in place. I was tasked with creating measurable KPIs to ensure the team was running smoothly and efficiently. After creating a strategy and implementing the process, the sales team performed their best quarter to date.
What are your short-term and long-term goals?
In order to answer this question, you need to first think about the objectives you will work toward in this position. When evaluating long-term goals, note the qualities and responsibilities that interest you in your potential supervisor’s role or in the leadership team. This shows that you value the position at hand and want to succeed at the company.
In the short term, I want to successfully lead the launch of your business in Europe. As the Head of EMEA region, I will prepare our go-to-market strategy and will work with the leadership team to prepare for the launch at the beginning of next year. In the long term, we will scale the business, expanding to 10 new office locations and acquiring 3 new product lines as we grow. I will help with company create a successful and reputable brand in the region.
What do you like to do for fun?
This might be a bit unexpected, but it is something that comes up in most interviews. The interviewer wants to make sure that you would be a culture fit and that the team would get along with you. This response could land you the job if you both have a mutual interest and connect in a genuine way.
I’m so glad that you asked! My favorite hobbies are hiking, yoga, really anything active. I enjoy spending quality time with my family and getting together with my friends. I love helping and connecting with others, which has shaped my career in HR.