Make a Statement in Standard Interview Questions

Kambria Johnson

If you’re a job seeker or currently looking for a new job, you’ve probably had dozens of interviews and phone screens in a short period of time. Most interview questions are pretty standard, so standard that you could probably recall enough to conduct an interview of yourself without the middleman of the hiring manager and interview panel to regurgitate them for you.

When it comes to interviews, job seekers have been taught to rehearse, role-play, research, and reinvent, as if simply being themselves would be absurd.

In interviews, honesty is still the best policy and a good screening tool for both the interviewer and the interviewee. So, here are some typical interview questions and responses if you introduced yourself.

Question 1 in the interview: Tell me about yourself.

Consider this the icebreaker. Tell the recruiter something about yourself that isn’t on your resume, cover letter, or social media profile. They see more than their fair share of these per week, but they may only get one chance to get to know you. The resume emphasizes your qualifications, the cover letter summarizes them, and the social media page may reveal what you ate for dinner. A couple of sheets and a website, on the other hand, will not be able to replace a candid and profound discussion of you. Stop repeating generic information about yourself that is easily accessible if the recruiter is functionally literate or has the ability to conduct a people search.

“Well, I hate interviews… but this position is something I really enjoy doing, so it’s worth the sacrifice, yada, yada,” I’d say. Yes, it’s sarcastic, amusing, and honest, just like me.

Question #2 on the interview: Why do you want to work for this company?

Let’s hope you don’t want to work for a low-wage company that treats its employees like jerks, its customers like cash cows, and the community like a dump. We all have similar values, and birds of a feather do indeed flock together. Determine your own values, what you have to offer, and how much you want to take away. Simply put, what can you offer the company and how much do you hope to gain?

Question #3 in the interview: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Nobody knows where they’ll be in five years! Hopefully, you’re not dead, and you’ve probably learned by now that few things go as planned. So the five-year question is one I wouldn’t put too much stock in, especially since things can change in the blink of an eye today. Did you really expect to be offered the job you’re interviewing for right now five years ago? Responding to this question by focusing on yourself as a person first will help you stay focused and provide the interviewer with valuable information about your motivations. Begin by describing your life goals and how a wiser, better you could pay significant dividends in your career. In order to answer the question more succinctly, consider where you are now and how you intend to evolve with the industry over time. Even if you kept your current job, you’d be very proficient in five years, making you a valuable employee to train new hires. As you progress through learning how your company’s wheels work, you will have learned key strategies and, hopefully, implemented new processes to prevent others from reinventing it in five years.

What is your most serious flaw?

In reality, the strength and weakness questions should be the simplest to answer and the most important part of the interview. Every day, people/employees must deal with their strengths and weaknesses. How well you handle both will influence how well you perform, interact with others, represent the company, and ultimately affect the bottom line. This question and its inverse will clarify for the interviewer whether the company ultimately wants to invest in people or decides that it is more profitable not to. Don’t even think about turning a strength into a weakness. Whose idea was that in the first place? If a company wants to hire employees with no flaws, it should invest in fully automated processes. This is a question that only experience can teach you, and experience is what most employers seek. Desserts are my biggest weakness, and I’d need a lot of them if I were working with someone who wasn’t as driven as I am. My flaw is that I refuse to accept mediocrity when it has become the norm. Accepting anything less is not only my greatest weakness, but also one of my greatest irritants. It has to be done correctly the first time or else it’s a waste of time. If you’ve ever worked in an entitlement culture, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

What is your most powerful asset?

Given that this question is the inverse of the greatest weakness inquiry, as cliché as it may sound, I would reiterate my drive, enthusiasm for my work, and pursuit of perfection because it is all true. How I deal with mediocrity running amok could be my greatest strength or weakness. To emphasize my strength, I would show how I lead by example. Every candidate should emphasize their motivations and why settling for anything less than perfection is unacceptable.

Do you have any further questions?

Anyone who said there was no such thing as a stupid question was obviously not a recruiter. I personally despise being asked, ‘What’s your web address?’ As if typing my company’s name into a search bar would yield no results. Make sure your questions show initiative and interest, not a lack thereof. Respond to this question in the same way you would if it were about you. Inquire about something that isn’t obvious on the company’s website, particularly the homepage. Inquire about issues that are important to you and your career advancement. For example, if you already have professional certifications in your field, it’s important to know if and how the company will help you keep them. This could be important when negotiating a salary. If work culture is as important to you as compensation, by all means, ask. The priority of your questions is critical in determining the nitty-gritty using a top-down approach. As in the previous example, you can define the nitty gritty of the salary question later by knowing how the company will support you, if any, by maintaining your professional certifications. If you don’t have any questions, it could mean you’re not interested in working for the company or you’re on your third interview after two phone screens. In that case, the only questions that are likely to remain, if any, are the nitty gritty details like where is the best place to park. If you’ve just finished a grueling session of revealing every minute detail of your working life, and all you can think about is how close you are to lunch, get a business card and tell the recruiter that once you’ve satisfied your immediate hunger need, you’ll fulfill your higher level inquisitive need when your blood sugar levels are up.