In this video tutorial, Valerie Sutton, director of Career Services at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, explains how to answer to common interview questions by understanding the industry or organization. She also explains how the role you are interviewing for can also make a difference when answering questions.
- Every industry and role has a norm for interviews, and understanding these are important considerations for common interview questions. Be sure to research what these norms are to craft the strongest answers. Similarly, each industry and organization has a different process for interviewing and determining the cultural fit. Review the company's website and look for how it describes the organization and its leadership. You can often see if the tone is straight and professional, conversational, or amusing.
Also look at press releases and media mentions about the company. These can help you to set the language and tone of your answers. For example, a startup may describe itself with words like innovative, visionaries, watch the details, versus a large corporation that focuses on taking leadership seriously, responsibility to improve lives, and serving the communities we live and work in. Understanding the main priorities for the job will give focus to your answers.
It helps to analyze the position prior to the interview, to determine your strengths and weaknesses in an objective manner. It will also give you clues to how you might work within a team or department. Even though there are common interview questions, there are no common answers, so by spending some time upfront on research, you will come across as anything but a common candidate.
- Tell me about your strengths
- Tell me about your weaknesses
- Why are you interested in our company?
- Why did you leave your previous company?
- Tell me how you handled a difficult situation
- What questions do you have?