The best way to prepare yourself for the interview is to know the questions that may be coming and practice your answers in advance. The following are some of the toughest questions you will face in the course of your job interviews. Some questions may seem rather simple on the surface, such as “Tell me about yourself.” Yet the easy answer is not the right answer. The more open ended the question, the wider the variation in potential answers. Once you have become practiced in behavioral interviewing skills, you will find that you can use almost any question as a launching pad for a particular example or compelling story.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

It’s difficult to predict where you’ll be in five years. However, your potential employer wants to see that you plan on staying with the company for the long haul. That means avoiding some obvious but common mistakes.

For example, if you’re interviewing for a startup don’t say, “I want to own my own company in five years.” Don’t choose a role in the future that’s completely different from the role that you’re being interviewed

If you plan on going back to school, make sure there’s some correlation between your course major and the role you’re interested in. No employer wants to spend money and resources training you just to have you leave.

Why do you want to join our company?

“This is where it costs people,” Interviewees typically answer this question incorrectly. They describe the company instead of explaining why they want to join the company.

For example, an applicant interviewing for Lloyds Bank will say, “I know Lloyds Bank is a global firm.”

“That’s the answer to, ‘What do you know about our company?”. “But it doesn’t answer this question.”

A good response is one that explains why the company resonates with you, he says. For example, “I know that Lloyds Bank is a global firm and I want to be part of a large company where there’s an upward career trajectory.”

What type of role are you looking for?

Some people just amaze me. “They’ll say something that isn’t even in the job description.”

Again, a quality answer for this question comes down to reading the job description and pointing out the aspects that you relate to. However, says the interview coach, maybe don’t be as honest as this applicant:

“I once had an IT guy actually say to me, ‘I want a job where they put me in a room and leave me alone.’ Believe me, “I’ve heard it all.”

How has your education prepared you for your career?

This is a broad question and you need to focus on the behavioral examples in your educational background which specifically align to the required competencies for the career.

An example: “My education has focused on not only the learning the fundamentals, but also on the practical application of the information learned within those classes. For example, I played a lead role in a class project where we gathered and analyzed best practice data from this industry. Let me tell you more about the results…”

Focus on behavioral examples supporting the key competencies for the job.

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