Interview 101: How to Prepare to Wow Your Interviewer

The purpose of an interview is to determine whether you are the best candidate for a position. If you go into an interview with the idea that you’ll just wing it, your odds of making a great case are slim. If you want to truly “wow” your interviewer, take time to prepare and practice answering these questions.

“It’s a two-way street in the interview process. The client wants to know: Do your skills match? Are your skills current? What is your work history? What are your soft skills? The candidate wants to know: What are the day to day job expectations? What is the average pay? What is the company culture? What are the benefits and perks offered?” says Sharon Tsao, CMO, Contemporary Staffing Solutions.

Tell Me About Yourself

Nearly every interview will start off with a version of this question. You’d be surprised how many people fumble here because they don’t prepare. Make sure you have a succinct, informative statement ready to go that outlines what you do, your most important skills, and your key differentiator as a candidate. You can start the interview on a high note by practicing this question until your answer flows naturally.

What Are Your Biggest Weaknesses?

The key to knocking this question out of the park is simple: Be honest. Most people avoid honesty when addressing weaknesses out of fear. When it’s time address your weaknesses, talk about something real, rather than copping out with an answer like, “my biggest weakness is my perfectionism.”

Be candid about a weakness and then use it to refocus on another strength. A good answer is something like, “I sometimes struggle with raising my hand when my plate is too full. However, I have been working hard to speak up and let my boss know when my schedule is becoming full, so together we can prioritize new assignments. Speaking up has helped me build a better relationship with my boss while becoming a master prioritizer.”

Why Do You Want This Job?

This is another question your competitors will often fail to prepare for, but your answer can make or break your chances of getting the job. Asking this simple question reveals whether you’ve read the job description closely, whether you know the value you bring to the table, and whether you’ve researched the company thoroughly.

“Make sure you have completed your research on the company, explore press releases and glassdoor. Have clear directions and enough back up time to arrive at least 15 minutes early.  Leave your cell phone in the car and take note to prove active listening!” Says Ashlei Randolph, Contemporary Staffing Branch Manager, New Castle Delaware.

Talk about the reasons why the posting caught your eye, and why your strengths make you an ideal candidate. If you can tie that into the fact that your values align with the company’s values, you’ll stand head and shoulders above other candidates.

What Questions Do You Have?

When the floor is handed to you for questions, it’s your time to shine. Come to the interview armed with a few thoughtful questions that demonstrate your interest in the position. Don’t just ask about a typical day or salary. Instead, dig deeper with questions like:

  • Do you have any reservations or hesitations about my qualifications or skills?
  • What is the management style of my potential new boss?
  • What are the goals for this position for the first 30, 60 and 90 days?
  • What are the biggest challenges facing my potential new team today?

Work With A Professional Recruiter

If you are seeking new opportunities to grow your career,  contact the recruiting team at Contemporary Staffing Solutions today. We are committed to the success of our talent network, and we can help connect you with a position that will help you achieve your career goals.