How to prepare for a job interview

Top questions to expect

The light is bright, and the suit is hot. After landing that interview for the perfect job, you’ve made it into the room with human resources and/or a hiring manager. Few situations are more stressful than talking to strangers about why you’d be perfect for that job you’ve always wanted.

Take a breath. Most times, professional human resource directors and managers know how stressful the interview process can be on candidates. They’ve prepared questions to get to know you—not to make you squirm under the fluorescent lightbulbs.

Keep in mind that most working adults spend more time together at an office or work site than they spend with their friends and families. On top of making sure you’re qualified for the position, managers and hiring directors want to know what kind of person you are. You’re interviewing for a long-term relationship on top of that job.

It’s not all about the job, it’s about you too. Here’s what to expect:

“Tell me why you’re qualified for this job.” Here’s your time to shine. Hiring managers want to hear, in your words, why you’d be a good fit for the job. Highlight past career experience, training, education, and motivation. It’s important to fully understand the job’s duties and detail exactly how you fit those criteria. This question is a blank check for you to make yourself sound like a million bucks.

“Are you a good team player?” Most companies want people to work well together. The right team chemistry can transform average offices into extraordinary workplaces. Be honest: Your coworkers should know if you’re a team-leader or a hard-working support player. Both are equally valued in most companies.

“What are your shortcomings?” This isn’t a trick question. Successful workplaces create a culture of constant improvement. Knowing what skills you need to develop further doesn’t make you a less-ideal candidate, it shows that you’re capable of honest assessment and willing to work hard.

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” You’re welcome to flatter the hiring manager by answering favorably, but that’s not the point. Most hiring directors want to know where you’d like to take your career—regardless if you’re working for them in five years. Don’t be afraid to tell a hiring manager that you see their job as an important step in your career development. In five years, you may want to be further up in the company, or maybe you’d like take what you’ve learned and apply it in new ways that may or may not involve their company.