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What Interviewers Mean When They Ask These Questions

10 Things Interviewers Really Want to Know When They Ask These Questions

Don't take your interviewer's questions at face value. Often, the reasons why she's asking you these questions is not just to hear your answers, but to read in between the lines and find out what your intentions are and how your character is. We've listed a couple of the most popular interview questions below and what the interviewer really means when they ask you these questions.

1. Tell me about yourself

OK, you should ace this question because it's the most basic and expected question out of every job interview. We want to see how you carry yourself and how articulate you are. We also want to know what you think are the highlights of yourself and your career and what's special about you.

2. What are your greatest weaknesses?

You know this question is coming, let's see how honest and thoughtful you can be. Not to mention how prepared you are. Please don't give us the clichés like, "My weakness is I work too hard." We can see right through that. This question can reveal how self-aware you are and how proactive you are when a problem arises.

3. Where do you see yourself in five years?

We want to make sure you're in here for the long haul and you've really thought about this. It takes resources to train a new hire, so ideally, we would like you to stay a while. Your answer will clue us into your ambition as well, and if you've truly thought about what your career track with us will be like. It's a chance for us to hear your strengths and your goals.

4. Why do you want to work for us?

We want to make sure you really want to work for us and that you did your research. We don't want to hire people who just want this job because it's a job.

5. Why did you leave your last job?

Was there drama in your last company? We're actually curious to see if you left your company on good or bad terms. Obviously, most of you will catch on to this question, but your answer can also give us an insight into your relationship with your former company and how you work. If you badmouth your previous employer, no matter what the circumstance, we'll probably take it as a red flag. We also want to make sure that you're not going to leave our company for the same reason.

6. Do you have any questions for me?

This is my opportunity to see if you have been paying attention and how passionate you are about this position and company. It's also a test to see how much homework you've done on the company and the position. This can be your chance to wow us, and it can be one of the most memorable things about a candidate.

7. [Insert incredibly hard problem.]

We want to know how you think on your feet and what your thought process is like. You may not be able to answer this question, but we want to see how you deal with the stress of not being able to answer the question and to see if you can at least tell us the steps you would take to find the answer. This shows good initiative and problem-solving skills. We're not looking for someone who would give up as soon as something hard comes their way.

8. [Insert surprising question.]

OK, you may be completely thrown off by this question, but we want that to happen. It may elicit a more genuine reaction and that's what we really want to see. Perhaps, we can catch a glimpse of your personality.

9. What would your co-workers say about you?

We want to know how you think others view you. It says something about how self-aware you are, and it can clue us into how your relationships with your former co-workers are.

10. What are your hobbies?

We want to know what you are like as a person outside of your job. This is a good time to bring up your side projects and impressive hidden talents. What you do with your free time can be a big reflection of what kind of employee you will be. For example, having a successful Etsy store can show us that you're productive, driven, passionate, and creative. This is your chance to stand out and share something personal about yourself that will make us remember you.

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