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5 Common Interview Questions Often Answered Incorrectly

Posted by | March 23, 2017 | Graduate Article

One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make in the interview room is reciting answers to common interview questions. This is not only a turn off to the interviewer but it sucks the life out of you as a candidate because you only want to talk about what you think the interviewer wants to hear forgetting that you are unique in your own way and even though these questions are common in almost all interviews, they can be approached in a way that sets you apart from other candidates.

The secret to acing any interview is by understanding what the interviewer is after and customizing your answers in such a way that you don’t appear like a robot reciting answers.

Common Interview Questions We Answer Wrongly

1. Tell me About Yourself

When the interviewer asks you this question he/she wants to find out whether you fit the profile of the ideal candidate. Think about it. In relation to the job you are interviewing for, what does the interviewer need to know about you?

Common Mistake: The mistake interviewees make when answering this common interview question is giving too much irrelevant information forgetting that it’s an interview and not a social conversation. Talk about your qualifications instead as well as anything else that makes you the ideal candidate.

2. How did you hear about this position?

If you have ever attended an interview, how did you answer this interview question? It’s a simple question but one that may cost you a good job. What the interviewer wants to know when they ask you this question is simply whether you specifically looked up the company or just stumbled on the job through an advert.

Common Blunders: This may seem like an overly unnecessary question but one that still makes a difference in your interview outcome. If you came across the job through another website you need to find prior to the interview whether it is okay to mention their name.

Another mistake job seekers make is making up names or lying because they can’t remember where they heard about the position. If you can’t remember, simply tell them that. It’s not as if they are going to shoot you for not remembering.

3. What is your weakness?

Translation; Are you self-aware and can you solve problems. What most candidates hear instead is tell us why we won’t give you this job. This common interview question is not difficult. How you answer it though matters.

Common Mistakes: The common mistakes job seekers make when answering this question is being overly honest or saying that they don’t have any weaknesses. Keep in mind that this is not the first interview the recruiter is conducting so don’t go giving cliché answers like “I am a perfectionist”

Instead, think about the job and talk about a weakness related to that particular role. A good weakness should be authentic and fixable and you should follow up with a statement about how you are working on changing.

4. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

The interviewer is trying to find out whether you have a plan for your life and career or you are just wading through life to wherever it will take you to. They want to know that you have plans for career growth because nobody wants to employ someone who is not looking to grow.

Common Mistakes We make: When asked “where do you see yourself in five years“, most job seekers often jump to telling the interviewer about their long-term goals leaving out the short term ones. I mean there is nothing wrong with saying that you want to be the regional manager if at the moment you are a senior manager but if you are an intern talk about your short term growth.

The other mistakes are talking about plans that are not related to the job like getting married and finally giving unrealistic goals. Goals should be achievable and you talking about moving from an intern to Senior Manager in three years doesn’t make sense.

5. What does your former boss say about you?

Why is this question important again? The recruiter wants to know what your relationship with your former employer was like to determine if you are the best fit for the position.

Biggest mistake: Most candidates go to the extent of bad mouthing their former employer or painting a picture of a relationship so strained that it would take a miracle to fix.

When you have an interview, it is natural that the first thing you will do is prepare for the common interview questions HR managers ask. However, pay attention to the common blunders that job seekers often make when answering them. One more thing, don’t cram answers, understand what the question entails and personalize your answers.