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The funny thing about interviews is that the questions different interviewers pose are almost the same and yet our performance and outcomes can greatly vary. Whether the interview leads to you winning the contract or getting hired is often based on a combination of external factors (such as the criteria that the interviewers use to judge you) as well as internal factors.

Preparing for some of the most common interview questions can help you take advantage of each opportunity to show that you will be a valuable asset and provide a solution to the employer’s needs.

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Tell us about yourself.

This is the very first question job candidates are often asked by interviewers. As easy as answering this question may seem, doing so can become as tricky and even sabotaging if you are not prepared for it. Some good topics to bring up include your education, past successful projects, skills you have developed, and passions that align with the specific job or company you are pursuing.

Why did you leave your earlier job?

Whether you left your previous job due to positive or negative reasons, it is important to frame your response in a positive way. If you were laid off you can talk about how you rebounded from the setback and were able to earn an income by providing freelance services in your area. If you decided to quit the previous job you can talk about how you still maintain a positive relationship with your past employer and have been pursuing new challenges to continue to grow your skills and career.

What do you know about this company?

Answering this question well will show you how interested you are in this job. If you really are interested, you must NEVER go to an interview without researching the company. Often there is a wealth of information that is available on the Internet that you can use to demonstrate your level of interest. If you want to go the extra mile you can research beyond what is available on the company website including social media profiles, news articles about the company, and information about their top customers.

How did you handle a certain conflict/issue at your workplace?

Workplaces are often wrought with conflicts given deadlines, scarcity of resources, politics, prejudices and other reasons. Often employers are looking for the right fit for their culture and are not willing to bring in a superstar who can not get along with their team. Think of a situation where you reacted positively to a conflict and helped to resolve the situation.

Do you have any questions?

Every question asked by an interviewer is an opportunity for the candidate to impress him or her. But often, people say ‘no’ in reply to a question that has the potential to almost double the interview duration. Asking questions such as ‘what are the challenges posed to a person in this role?’ and ‘what does success look like for an employee in this role’ will help demonstrate that you are a candidate who is truly motivated to excel and contribute to the company.

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Posted by Justin Davis

Justin Davis writes for Criminal Justice Degree Schools, a provider of career information for individuals interested in getting started in criminal justice careers.

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