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How to Best Answer Job Interview Questions

Part 1: The best answers to frequently asked questions

Job interviews can be a stressful experience, so it's important you enter them well prepared. There are many pitfalls to answering common questions, so we put together this guide to walk you through how best to answer these questions in a way that will get you the job. Use the advice and examples below to formulate your own personal answers.


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1. Why do you want this job?


Companies like to hire people who are passionate about the job, so you should have a great answer about why you want the position. Identify a couple of key factors that make the role a great fit for you, then share your positive thoughts about the company . Finally, it is important to describe how your experiences will enable you to help the company.


For Example: “I enjoy sales because I like the constant human interaction and the satisfaction that comes from closing a deal. I’ve always been passionate about technology, and I think your company is doing great things here.”


You never want to simply state what the company can do for you. And one of your reasons for wanting the job should be that you believe you can “hit the ground running” and have a positive impact on the company in some way.




2. What can you tell me about yourself?


This common question seems simple, but you need to be prepared. You don't need to give your complete history. Give them a pitch that shows exactly why you’re the right t for the job. Start o with the 2-3 specific  accomplishments or experiences that you most want the interviewer to know about. Then you can wrap up by talking about how your prior experience positioned you for this job.


You could say: “I’m currently an account representative at Acme, where I handle the top performing clients. Before working there, I worked at another agency where I had three major retail brands. And while I really enjoyed the work that I did there, I’d love the chance to do something more with one specific retail company, which is why I’m so excited about this opportunity with Zappos.”



3. What are your weaknesses?


The purpose of this question is to judge your honesty and self-awareness. Nobody is perfect, so don't say that. And don't say anything really negative about yourself either. You should say something you are not good at that is not part of the job you are interviewing for. And it's even better if you can add on how you are taking steps to improve this weakness. 


You might say something like: "I've never been good at public speaking, but I joined a group to help me practice and get better at it."




4. What are your salary requirements?


You need to do your research beforehand to have a good answer to this question. There are websites that you can look up salaries based on job, experience and education. Glassdoor and Payscale are two of the most popular of these types of websites. Pick a number at the high end of the range to start the conversation with. You want to communicate to the interviewer that your skills are valuable. If possible, you should try to avoid presenting a salary number before the employer does. Have your number in your head, but request that they make you an offer if interested in your services. That number can serve as a starting point for negotiation.





5. If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?


An odd question perhaps. But it is a question that some interviewers may find relevant. The interviewer may simply want to see how well you think on your feet. You can earn some bonus points if your answer touches on your strengths or personality in a positive way. And if you have never thought about yourself as an animal (as most of us have not), maybe just think about it and what you might say if asked.