Honesty is important, but when it comes to job interviews, being too honest in your answer to every question may hurt your chances of getting the job. Although you should never lie about something important, it is acceptable to frame your answers in a way that shows your strengths and suitability for the position. Here are a few tips for responding to interview questions in a manner that shows off your best side.
1. How Are You?
No matter how nervous, cold, hungry or slightly under the weather you are, it is always best to start your job interview on a positive note. You do not want to come across as difficult or a complainer. A simple "fine thank you" or "I'm doing well" is the best way to go.
2. What Are Your Hobbies?
This question is often used early or late in the job interview, but don't make the mistake of thinking it’s just small talk. Consider every moment you are in the building part of your official job interview. Answer with a hobby that shows traits that would be valuable on the job. For example, running marathons shows commitment and watercolor painting shows creativity.
3. Why Are You Looking for a Job?
Never say anything bad about your previous managers or company. Always focus on how getting a new job will benefit you in the long run. Mention looking for a position to help you meet long-term career goals. It is also acceptable to give answers that relate to your personal life goals, for example a desire for a shorter commute or to work for a larger or smaller company.
4. What's Your Greatest Weakness?
Avoid the extremes when answering this interview question. Don't give a joke answer like "chocolate," and similarly, don't state something that would make you appear unsuitable for the job. Prepare an answer for this question that involves a minor job-related weakness, and to include examples of how you are working to overcome the flaw.
5. Describe a Time You Worked With a Team
No matter how difficult your found your last team project, it is important that you avoid complaining when talking about the situation during your job interview. Don't say that you did most the work or that your teammates were difficult. Instead, focus on how you worked together to overcome challenges. Be sure to end with a description of how you completed your project successfully.
6. What Are Your Career Goals?
This question lets employers know if you plan on sticking around for the long term. You may have grandiose goals that the employer can't help you accomplish, but this is not the time to talk about them. Instead, focus on moving forward in the career area in which you are applying, and be sure to keep your answer general if your future goals don't involve the employer.
Remember, it is never acceptable to lie about your qualifications or experience. Those types of lies can have long-lasting, negative results. On the other hand, small half-truths to redirect the conversation with a focus on your real abilities is an acceptable way to ensure your job interview stays relevant to your suitability for the position.
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