If you've already received a phone call request for a job interview, that's good news. Now it's time for the bad news: you may hear some questions you definitely won't like. Why? Because you’ve probably heard them millions of times before and you still have the same answers for them. Not to mention the fact that you can feel very irritated when it comes to answering those same questions because nothing really changed or happened between your last job interview and the current one. Especially when the last one happened a few days earlier. Brace yourself, the most-hated job interview questions are coming.
Here is the list of four questions that very often arise during a job interview. You won't like them.
1. "Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?" is on the top of the list. It seems like the job interviewer never had your resume in their hands and still doesn't want to see it, so you need to help them and summarize it. Chill out. There is a reason to do so. This question is to confirm that the candidate has "done their homework”. First of all: don't treat that question literally. If you hear: "Tell me something about yourself", it means that you need to tell your career story, not a story of what did you do on a vacation when you were five years old. Your job right now is to give a brief walkthrough of your career story. The best option is to start from the end. If you're a fresh graduate, you can start with the moment you graduated and go backward in your career story, telling about your internships, activities, or volunteer experience. If you have long-term experience, start with a mid-point in your career. Don't talk too long and with too many details, telling long stories is good for a get-together amongst friends but not for a job interview.
2. "Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?" is another question that drives job seekers crazy. Especially, when you have no idea how you are going to spend your next weekend and what's for dinner tonight. It's obvious that you don't have a crystal ball and you don’t have a clue where you’ll be in five or ten years. But the job interviewer doesn't have to know that. They also have no idea what’s is going to happen to them in a few years but have you ever heard them say that? That's why, even though the question seems a bit insane, prepare yourself for a sane answer. They want to check whether your goals are in line with the goals of the company and if you have a realistic approach to the future. Don't get caught without a plan. To have a plan always looks good. And don't forget to say that of course, in five years’ time you see yourself working for the company where you're applying. Remember, people like to hear what they want to hear so don't disappoint your future boss.
3. "What is your biggest weakness?" that question is very tricky. Let's be honest, none of us want to openly admit our weaknesses. The thing is, a lot of people can't even see that they have any soft spots. Besides, the goal of any interviewer is to find the best person for a certain position. So at the same time, does the interviewer want you to say that you are bad at something? Every day we use amazing amounts of energy to show everyone we are the best possible versions of ourselves and suddenly your future depends on someone who asks you if you are bad at something? Especially, after your monologue about how great you are. Isn't that ridiculous? You feel bad but you have no choice because right now you must make yourself look confident and professional while discussing how awful you are at something. It doesn't make sense, right? On the other hand, this is the best way to eliminate the candidate who is simply unrealistically too perfect or, in other words, "too good to be true". Who, then, is the best candidate? The one with weaknesses or the one without any? That seemingly inconsequential question makes some sense. Your future boss needs an employee who is genuine; flawless candidates are always a bit fishy. An employee who meets the requirements but is also a person in his/her own right. What to do then? Present your true strengths to suit particular requirements and a chosen weakness or two, but in a way that they don't compromise your employability.
4. And the prize for the most-hated job interview questions goes to... "What Animal Would You Be and Why?" Sounds like a joke? Well, it's not a joke. Do you still want to collapse into giggles? Totally agree. Especially, if you are not applying to be a circus artist or a zoo keeper, but, say, vying for a managerial post with a bank. While it might sound like someone is making fun of you, you must treat the question seriously because your chance of landing that dream job might just depend on it. Still, how are you to keep a straight face when an otherwise serious interviewer asks what kind of animal you’d like to be? Well, you can't. But that's the point. Those kinds of questions pop up to surprise the job seeker. If you can deal with them, it means you can manage any type of question, no matter how ridiculous. Therefore you should take them totally seriously and approach them as your next opportunity to present yourself in a good light. It is also an opportunity to simply "play the game" and to show that you are creative. So, be professional, be serious and answer that question.
Do you still hate those questions? Here is another hint. They are not there to trick or confuse you in the first place. They are there to uncover your qualities that might be impossible to guess from your resume. And even if they seem weird or pointless at times, sometimes they can tell the interviewer more about you than what’s listed on your resume.