Finding a good job in a good company is no easy task. Even if you have graduated from college and obtained the profession that you have a passion for, this is only the beginning. You still have to put together a professional and powerful resume, then find the vacancies that fit not only to your skills but also your requirements, then you have to address those companies in a way to woo them into inviting you for the next step of recruitment – your job interview.
This is where the fun begins. On the one hand, you get to meet the hiring manager who will usually be a quite pleasant person; they will smile to you and offer you a coffee. But on the other hand, they have a fixed set of questions to ask all applicants. Some of these questions will address the information that you have already mentioned in your resume; others may seem self-explanatory, inappropriate, or even downright stupid.
You are nervous as it is, and this nice person keeps asking all these annoying questions – in such a situation, it is easy to lose focus, if not burst out at the hiring manager. This is an obvious no-no – not only because this is the person who will either recommend you for the position or not. It will also be undeserved, because usually, the interviewer is not the one who puts together a list of questions and decides what to ask.
Nevertheless, it is always good to be prepared to answer all sorts of questions in advance. So, we have gathered some of the silliest questions that you may hear at a job interview, along with their brief breakdown and a suggestion on how to approach such questions:
1) “What is your greatest weakness?”
This is not an AA meeting. Your interviewer is not interested in hearing out how you have a bad habit to overcome and what you are doing about it. Instead, they would like to hear something that is, on the one hand, directly related to the job and, on the other one, general – something that could affect anybody. The best thing you can do here is to describe how you try to turn your weakness into your strength.
Good answer: “I used to be hard on myself and tried to be best at everything I might do. Yet, with time, I have decided to concentrate on something that I do best.”
2) “What makes you stand out among other candidates for this position?”
This is a tricky question. Obviously, you will not meet other candidates (normally), since you are not the one who is hiring. What they want to hear is whether you will talk about other people even implicitly. So, it is best to simply restate your strong points.
Good answer: “It is up to you and me to determine right now. You get to meet other candidates, and I don’t. All I can say is that I am positive that I am the right person for the job.”
3) “Where do you see yourself in [two, three, five] years from now?”
This is another tricky question. You may think that they want to hear that you see yourself in this company in a higher position, but clearly, it is not entirely up to you to decide. Moreover, critical changes happen all the times, and they may influence the structure of the company or even the industry as a whole. So, in the best-case scenario, you are expected to reveal how adjustable you are.
Good answer: “I used to plan so far ahead, but then I decided against it. Life is ever-changing, and I think it’s beautiful. So, in five years from now, I like to picture myself working with smart people on some interesting issues, enjoying my job, and this is about as exact as it gets.”
4) “If you were [an animal, a book, a meal], what would it be?”
While this question may sound silly, it is, in fact, smarter than it seems. Of course, they don’t want to know what your favorite animal is. Basically, what they want to hear is what qualities you like about some animals and how you project those onto yourself, thus revealing your abstract thinking. But no deep insights are necessary.
Good answer: “Hmm… I think I can relate to beavers because they are hard-working and sharp-looking.”
5) How badly do you want this job?
This question sounds downright ridiculous. Of course, you want this job. This is what brings you here, all dressed up. One may get a clue that they want to hear that you want the job really badly and that you would do anything to get it. Well, this clue is wrong. Basically, you are to say that you want this job and this is exactly why you are here.
Good answer: “I think my actions speak louder than words. I am here and not at any other job interview or elsewhere. This is the only thing that brought me here. Now, perhaps, you could answer some of my questions about the position and the company?”
Charles is a career mentor, motivational speaker & human resources consultant with over 10 years of experience in HR sector. Apart from career mentoring, he loves photography and football. Find him on Linkedin Twitter, Facebook & Google+.
Also published on Medium.