Interview Mastery – Answering Questions like a Pro

Here you are face to face with your interviewer. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for, preparing for. Will you nail the interview or will you be stumped by the interviewer’s questions. Anticipating the potential questions you might be asked and ensuring you have concise, well thought out answers will be time well spent in advance of this moment of truth.

Here are some of the most frequently asked interview questions. Make sure you take the time in advance of the interview to develop strong answers to each of them. It will be worth your time and energy.

Tell me about yourself. The answer should give the interviewer a brief profile, history, 5-7 key sound bites and should be answered in 5-7 minutes.

What are your strengths & weaknesses? The answer should start with: “Let me answer in 2 ways, professionally and personally….” Strengths should include hard skills, soft skills and intrinsic skills. Although you should prepare 3 weaknesses, you should provide only 1 at a time, and use the others as back up if and only if asked for more. The weaknesses should always sound like strengths. i.e. I can get overly passionate about my work at times.

What do you want to do? Be clear yet realistic about your career goals and aspirations. i.e. I want to become an expert business analyst.

Why are you interested in this job? If you’ve done your homework researching the company and the job, answering this question should be a breeze. i.e. I believe this job and/or company aligns well with my career values and would provide me with learning and development opportunities and experience.

What do you know about our company? Be creative. Don’t simply repeat what you read about the company in the annual report. Research press releases and newspaper articles. If there is current topical information about the company in the press it will demonstrate you are interested and aware of what’s going on.

Why should we hire you? The answer to this question makes a great closer if you are well prepared. i.e. My strengths match up well to the job requirements. I have the knowledge and expertise to do the job well. I am highly motivated and I adapt easily and quickly to change and could be up to speed in no time.

What will your references say? Determine in advance who your references will be. You should identify 6 to 10 references. i.e. 2 subordinates, 2 bosses, 2 clients or suppliers and 2 peers.

Why did you leave your previous employer? Be honest without pointing fingers or blaming others. Make this about you. i.e. I had an opportunity to advance my career or I became aware of an opportunity that better matched my skills and experience.

What did you like most and least about your last position/company? The key is to make what you liked least work for you. i.e. I would have preferred to have more customer interaction.

Describe the characteristics of the ideal role for you. This question is being asked to ensure you are a good match for the role you are being interviewed for. If you have researched the role and know you want it, then your characteristics should match up nicely. If they don’t—-why did you agree to this interview?

The money question. This doesn’t usually come up in the first interview. However, when it does come up you want to be prepared and be able to articulate your expectations.

Make sure you take the time in advance of the interview to develop some strong answers to each potential question. The better prepared you are to answer questions, the more likely you will make a strong impression on your interviewer. Be prepared and interview like a Pro.

If you would like more information about Linda and her coaching services, please call Linda at 416-617-0734 or email

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