Ace the Interview: Tackle Tough Questions and Prep Like a Pro
June 20, 2019
Interviewing for a new job can be nerve wracking. With so much riding on making a great impression, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So, it’s no surprise that two-thirds (67%) of millennials feel uneasy about job interviews. Almost 40% would rather spend an entire weekend cleaning out their garage than meet with a hiring manager, 15% of millennials feel so nervous they could throw up before every interview, and 80% admit to being stumped by interview questions.
But don’t let your fear leading up to interviews get in your way of landing the job that you want. We know it gets easier the more you work on it, so we are introducing a new suite of interview prep tools to help you practice and prepare for interviews more effectively. With millions of jobs on LinkedIn, we have all the resources you need to find -- and land -- the right job for you.
Here’s a sneak peak of the expert advice featured in the tool on how to crush some of the most commonly asked interview questions:
Question #1: Tell me about yourself.
Resist the urge to go line by line through your experience, and instead, talk about what’s not on paper. Career Coach Jenny Foss suggests sticking to the SHE formula -- Succinct, Honest and Engaging -- to give the interviewer enough info to interest them without going on and on. And as always, preparation is key, so be sure to check out the job description in advance so you can describe your strengths as they map back to the position’s desired skills.
Question #2: What is your greatest weakness?
Employers are looking for self-awareness and personal accountability with this question, and Hiring Manager Gene Finley IV says it's good to be honest, humble and authentic about what you’re not great at. Don’t choose a weakness that could disqualify you from the role -- like lack of attention to detail if you’re applying for a copy editor position. Share something authentic, and be sure to explain what you’re doing to actively improve on this weakness -- have a plan going in!
Question #3: Why should we hire you?
Lead with your qualifications, advises Hiring Manager Joey Zumaya, starting with the three or four best reasons that show you’re qualified for the job. Paint a picture -- cite results, credentials and other people’s praise -- so that it’s easy for the interviewer to imagine what you’d bring to the role and the company.
Question #4: What would your coworkers say about you?
While your coworkers might love your “mad skills” on the company kickball team, Foss recommends share something that relates to the job description and back it with an example, like that time you were a team player by helping a colleague get to the finish line with a big project they were working on. To get ideas, look at your recommendations and reviews on LinkedIn, and mention it to the interviewer so they can read the whole review. Be confident and succinct -- this is your chance to #humblebrag and it’s okay to shine.
Question #5: Tell me about a time you failed or made a mistake.
Career Strategist and Coach Linda Raynier says to use a compelling and honest story, explaining why it was a mistake, what you’ve learned and any steps you’ve taken to show that you’re “working on it.” To help ground your story and keep from going off the rails, use the SAR framework -- Situation, Action, Result.
Study the company. Almost two-thirds (60%) of successful job seekers research everything they can about the company to help prepare for their interview. A great place to learn about a company’s mission, values and culture is on the organization’s LinkedIn company page. Don’t forget to check out recent company news announcements, and articles by and about its executives for insights into company direction and leadership.
Get up to speed on your interviewers. Take a look at your interviewers’ LinkedIn profiles to learn about their history at the company and to look for anything you might have in common -- whether it’s your alma mater, a favorite sport or a hobby. Making a personal connection is a great way to break the ice, and knowing about a person can help you prepare questions for them and anticipate what they will ask you.
Be ready to interview the interviewer. LinkedIn research shows that 41% of all interviewers say that asking well-informed questions is one of their top qualifications for a candidate. Think of this as your opportunity to use thoughtful questions to show what you know about the company, the role and your interviewers. It’s a great way to show that you did your homework and set yourself apart from other candidates.
Practice… and practice again. More than half (55%) of working professionals admit to an interview “fumble.” Nothing beats role-playing the interview to help you refine your story and smooth out the answers to questions so you won’t drop the ball. With the Videotape yourself feature of our new interview prep tool, you can record yourself and review it to self-critique.