Here’s the thing: to be able to get as much info as they can from their applicants, given the short period of conversation job interviews normally allow, most HR offices prefer “generic” questions over highly-stylized ones in their job interview sessions. You could expect the HR personnel of all the companies you sent your resume to, to ask the same set of questions in an effort to keep the conversation flowing according to their “favor”.
Well, we’re not saying that all their questions will exactly be the same. There may be differences in the questions, for instance, the structure, but the essence should be the same — these questions are expecting the same answers from you, that is. And with a thorough understanding of the job and company in hand (which come with being prepared), you will be able to give the right answers. Here’s how.
Most likely, you will be asked to describe yourself first. Instead of saying something personal, answer with a statement that presents your skills as a professional. For instance, instead of “I’m the youngest of three siblings and I’m very hardworking”, answer with “I’m an experienced writer and I have written many different types of copies.” If the interviewer insists on something personal, discuss a personal trait in relation to your professional career.
When it comes to questions concerning your working experience, frame your answers around achievements. Use your best moments in your former job as examples. For instance, “I’m a very experienced writer. In my years as a professional writer, I’ve written many types of copies, majority of which have served their purposes well.” Your work achievements are more important to mention than those you got in school, but it helps to mention them too.
When asked to describe your goals, divide your answer into two parts. Focus first on your short term goals before discussing your long term goals. Frame your answer to areas related to the job you’re applying for. For example, “I’d like to improve my news writing skills as I’m aiming for an editorial post in the future. I believe this job will help me get there.”
Negative questions like those asking about your weaknesses should be addressed in a positive light. Turn it around. Use simple sentences to express vindication while you’re talking about the actions you’ve taken to compensate. For example, “My last job showed me the importance of time organization and scheduling. After my resignation, I used my free-time to attend a time management seminar. Now I’m very much eager to practice what I’ve learned.”
Honesty is the key to questions about your resignation. For example, “My last company was great, but it didn’t offer the type of growth I wanted my career to follow”.
Of course, there would be follow up questions. But don’t fret. Most likely, these follow-ups will not be of a different plane from the patterns we’ve mentioned here. Just play with all the idea we’ve shared here to answer those.