Whether during a student’s four years or after graduation, job interviews play a pivotal role in the career success of the college student. From Southern Utah University’s Career Center, here are the best ways to answer common interview questions.
Tell me a little about yourself.
When asked, the interviewer is looking to find what the person can do for them. Facts like name, high school, and family information is unnecessary. Stick to skills and abilities and how they relate to the prospective employer’s needs. Also help the employer understand personal attributes that will fit into their culture and team.
What led you to choose your field of study/career?
Make sure to include enthusiasm in this answer. A lot of people seem disinterested with their degree and play it off as a requirement and not a choice. If the employer does not feel the person is committed to their degree, they may be concerned about the commitment to the job.
What is your biggest weakness?
Avoid responding with “one of my weaknesses… .” This statement implies that the person is full of problems and the employer will disengage. Keep the weakness singular and focus on turning it into a learning experience. Present the weakness and then how it has led to an opportunity to learn and progress in one's field.
Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with your boss; how did you handle it?
A general tip when answering questions is to keep responses to one or two minutes. If the interviewer wants to know more, they will ask. For this question, use the PAR method to stay within the time limits.
The PAR method is P = problem, A = action, and R = results. Briefly tell the employer what the problem was, how it was solved, and the results that followed. If an experience does not come to mind, offer something similar - such as a problem with a peer or subordinate. Keep the story positive and do not criticize the other people.
Do you have any questions for me?
Always have questions ready for the interview. It shows that research and thought was put into the process. If a prospective employee is able to engage with the company before they are a part of the team, the employer will be impressed and the chances of getting the job increase. Questions include day-to-day work, office culture, and expectations the employer has for the employee. Do some homework, be prepared, and nail the interview.
For more information, visit the Career Center’s interview tips page.