Common Interview Questions to Expect and Prepare For

Congratulations! You're scheduled for your first job interview. You already know the importance of arriving on time, wearing neat, clean clothes and spitting out your gum. Here comes step two: answering those tricky interview questions. The following are some typical questions you might be asked. The whole idea of an interview is to talk about your positive traits. Don't worry if you don't have much job experience. You can simply tie in the answers to experiences at home or school. Employers want to know how you handle problems and if you are a team player.

Read the following answers carefully and adapt them to your particular situation.

Question: Tell me about yourself.

Typical answer: Well, I was born in Seattle, but we moved to Portland when I was three. I have a dog and like to swim.

Borrrrring! That answer doesn't tell the employer anything about you that relates to the job. You want to use every opportunity to show that you are a smart, hard working potential employee.

Better Answer: Last year in school, I played on the basketball and soccer team. It kept me busy, but I learned to manage my time. I'm also involved in volunteering with my sister's Girl Scout troop. That's been a great experience in learning how to work as a team with other leaders plus plan activities.

See what you've just done? You've shown the employer you are involved in positive activities, work as a volunteer and know the importance of teamwork. Who wouldn't want to hire you?

Question: How would your teachers describe you?

Average answer: Oh, I guess they'd say I was an OK student.

Better answer: My teachers would tell you I work hard to get my assignments in on time and I'm not afraid to ask for help if I need it. They'd also tell you I try to be friendly to shy kids in my class.

Question: Why should I hire you over the other 8 students waiting to be interviewed?

Average answer: I really need the money to buy a new CD player and my mom said I have to do something constructive this summer.

Better answer: I'm a reliable person. I'll arrive to work on time and do the best I can on the job. I've done volunteer work, but now I'd like to gain actual work experience. If you hire me, you'll get someone who isn't afraid to learn.

Question: Tell me about a time you had a problem and how you solved it.

Average answer: My parents and I don't always get along. I usually yell and then go to my room for a few hours.

Better answer: There was a boy at school that really bothered me. He bumped into me and would slam my locker shut when he walked by. He'd also say sarcastic things to me. I talked to a teacher about it and she offered to be a mediator. She brought both of us into her class and basically let me tell the boy I wanted him to stop being a bully. I confronted him in a strong way. The situation is much better now.

Question: What do you like best about school?

Average answer: I really like hanging out with my friends.

Better answer: I especially like working on projects together with my friends. I just got done being in charge of decorating for our school dance. I organized my friends and we worked together to set up the gym with a Hawaiian theme. I also like participating in school events like sports teams and student government.

There you have it. Five questions employers might ask you. Try to answer every question with a positive answer. Demonstrate that you are an honest, hard working person.

Good luck on that interview and don't forget to send a thank you note afterwards!

Written by Silvana Clark

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