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Top 5 Interview Questions and Tips for Crafting Effective Responses

Most employers make up their mind about your candidacy in the first four minutes of the interview. Since first impressions are so important, being well prepared is essential. With support from our professional recruiters and our career transition tool, “Your Next Step,” Ericsson is here to dissect common interview questions and how you should tackle them.

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1. Tell me about yourself.

This is frequently the first question an Interviewer will ask. Be prepared! You’ll want to be able to respond in 1-2 minutes with a clear summary of your background, experiences and goals. You can refer to your summary paragraph on your resume or to your pitch/positioning statement for help in developing a quick, succinct overview/response. You can read more about creating your elevator pitch on our “Your Next Step” tool.

Keep in mind you are in the interview to discuss business (the open position) – and only business – don’t talk about your personal life unless specifically asked. Make sure that your answer will present your skills/abilities/strengths/goals that relate to the position you are seeking. Include how these skills/abilities, etc. match the employer’s current needs.

2. What is your greatest strength and weakness?

When stating your greatest strengths, reiterate one of your most current/significant accomplishments that relate to the position you’re discussing. Use a real life story to illustrate the strength. Describe the background of the situation, the action you took and the positive results you achieved.

On the question of weakness, you should spend as little time as possible talking about the weakness and the majority of the time talking about how you’ve overcome the weakness. Weaknesses should always be developmental (things you can take a course or get more experience to improve) and not behavioral or personality based. Make sure the weakness you use is dated (old, you’ve overcome it) and unrelated to the position or its requirements. Always pause before answering a weakness question.

3. Why did you leave your last position?

If you were laid off or were part of a reduction in workforce then you could answer, “My position, along with 200 others, was eliminated” or “the company reduced staff over the last 2 years and finally my position, along with 600 others, was eliminated.”

If you left for another reason, keep your answer as positive as possible. If your prior position/boss/co-workers weren’t a good fit, present your reasoning in a positive light and say something like, “I found my skills/abilities/experience weren’t being utilized to their fullest capacity, so I’m seeking a better fit to continue my career growth” – then mention areas of the current position that are a great fit.

4. What can you do for us that someone else cannot?

This question asks you to address the unknown, so you need to remove the unknown from your answer. Say something like “I don’t know who you have spoken to, but specifically I can do the following…to meet your needs in this position.”

In your answer, you should address what the company is looking for in the successful candidate. Review the job description to determine this and re-sell yourself to their specific needs/requirements. Don’t be afraid to repeat your selling points that are listed on your resume. For help crafting your resume, visit our career transition tool.

5. What do you look for in a job?

Here you want to convey a long-term commitment to the position and the company. Try something like, “I am looking for an opportunity to take my current skills and develop them into a fulfilling career opportunity” or “I am not looking for a job, I am looking for a career.” Again, you want to use your resume that summarizes your experiences to craft your answer, for example “I am looking for an opportunity to use my 10 years in healthcare administration to benefit your company” or “I’m looking for an opportunity that allows me to use my extensive background in…”

What interview questions have stumped you in the past? To find more job searching tips and workshops, sign up for Ericsson’s career transition tool, “Your Next Step.”

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