The interview is arguably the most important part of applying for a job. And the most difficult. Here are the do’s and don’ts for some of the tricky interview questions you may have to answer.

“Can you tell me a little about yourself?”

  • DON’T give your entire life story.
  • DON’T regurgitate what is on your resume.
  • DO give a brief history about prior training or experience.
  • DO share 2-3 specific accomplishments that relate to your professional career, and be concise.

“What was your experience like at your previous position?”

  • DON’T speak negatively about your previous employer/company.
  • DON’T just use a vague phrase as your answer, like ‘great learning experience’.
  • DO give specific examples of your experience that lead to successful outcomes or that relate to the position for which you are interviewing.
  • DO include how your previous position or company differ from that for which you are interviewing.

“What are your greatest professional strengths and weaknesses?”

  • DON’T answer based on what you think the interviewer wants to hear; for both strengths and weaknesses, be honest.
  • DON’T give generic answers like ‘I work too hard’ or ‘I’m a team player”.
  • DO provide a specific example of a situation in which your strength served you well.
  • DO explain what you are doing to overcome your weaknesses after you share what they are.

“Why are you interested in this position?”

  • DON’T only talk about what is in it for you, such as great perks, more money, etc.
  • DON’T solely focus on the past, and why you are leaving your current position.
  • DO discuss the company, and how you and your [insert trait here] will be a perfect fit.
  • DO talk about the company’s bottom line, the future, and how you can make it a bright one for yourself AND the company.

“What is your super power, spirit animal, etc.?”

  • DON’T just give your go-to answer. Employers will appreciate an answer tailored to the job, company, or industry as it shows a certain level of dedication.
  • DON’T hold back, as this question is supposed to break the ice and meant to showcase a bit of your personality.
  • DO think outside of the box, but still make sure it relates to the company’s ethos.
  • DO take pause, or use a filler such as ‘that is a great question…’, if you do not have an answer right away.

“Do you have any questions for us?”

  • DON’T let yourself get caught without a question because it has already been discussed. Think of a few less-common questions just in case.
  • DO ask questions that show you have researched the position and company. Questions about ongoing projects are always a good go-to.
  • DO ask about relevant subjects. Asking if you can wear jeans to work is not relevant.

DOs for Any and All Questions

Be honest. Do your homework. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

Do you have more do’s and don’ts for these questions? Or need do’s and don’ts for other tough interview questions? Let us know @gosirvo