Interviewing can be nerve racking, especially when you don’t know what will be asked or how to be prepared to succeed.  Coming prepared to an interview, being yourself, and being honest and confident in your abilities are top items that will help you stand out to recruiters and hiring managers.  Here are a few common interview questions to prep for and how to stand out with your answers!

“Walk me through your resume.”
For this question, the interviewer is looking to understand your previous experience and why it is relevant or would make you a good fit for the role at hand. It is important to be prepared to talk about your previous roles.

  • Be clear and concise – don’t go into every little detail especially if its not relevant to the current role.
  • It will be important to tell what types of projects or task you worked on and a bit about day to day what you do.  It is crucial to explain both aspects because it will help the recruiters/ interviewers understand what industries/ department areas you have worked in as well as what day to day tasks looked like for you.  This  of the will enlighten them to which responsibilities job you have experience with or knowledge of.

Make sure to share specifics on projects and roles that are relevant to the role you are interviewing for.  Don’t forget to explain why this experience is relevant.

“Why are you interested in this opportunity/why are you leaving your current role?”
There is no trick to this question. The interviewer is simply hoping to know why you’re looking for a new experience and why this role interested you.

  • Make sure to discuss what aspects of the role interest you.  Is it the accountabilities, career growth, company values or culture? Or maybe more than one of these?
  • Take this time to say what interested you enough to apply, what areas of the role or company make you want this job and why these aspects are important to you or align with your personal interests and values (why you are a strong fit).
  • Example: The team leadership aspect of this role really interests me because I’ve been a leader/ manager in the past and I really enjoyed that part of my role because I was able to help train others on how to succeed.  OR…The leadership aspect of this role specifically interests me because it is leading a larger team in an area I am interested in which makes it an exciting subject matter and growth opportunity for me.

Do not just say because I need a new job or because I was fired or let go.

  • It is important to be honest in your job search and to share why you are looking, but do not use this time to bad mouth or be negative about your previous role.  It is seen as unprofessional and will leave a bad taste.
  • You can also use this time to say what you are really looking for in a new role.  Maybe your old company culture or role wasn’t the right fit for you because of x,y, and z but that has made you realize what you are looking for in a new environment and where you can succeed in this new role.

A response with which aspect of the company or role interests you and why will help you stand out because its shows you are interested in this actual opportunity and why you would align/ be a good fit.

“Do you have any questions for us?”
Make sure to ask a questions! Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer to learn more about the company or job responsibilities.

  • It shows you’re interested in the role and accountabilities are prepared/ know about the subject matter at hand
  • It shows you know what you want and are looking for and know what you want
  • It shows you are determined to learn more and see if the role is the right fit for your skills and experience

If you don’t ask questions about the role – many interviewers may assume you don’t care about this particular role and are okay with any role that comes along. Examples of good questions:

  • Is there anything I can do between now and when you make a decision that will enhance my skills and make me a stronger candidate for this role?
  • What are some important projects this team is working on now?
  • Do you offer training or growth opportunities for employees?
  • What is the typical career path for someone in this role/ team?
  • What are some top qualities or skills you think would make someone successful in this role?
  • What do you like most about your current job/ company?

In summary, it is important to prepare for an interview.  Refresh your resume and be able to give a summary of your experience in a meaningful, clear, and concise way.  Research the company and the role.  This will help you understand the company culture and the role so you can discuss what about it makes you want the job and why your previous experience is a good fit!  And finally, don’t forget to ask questions to show you are interested in learning more about the details of the position.