In this article are 19 questions that will prepare you for your next job interview. As an introvert all my life I dreaded being interviewed, partially because I didn’t know how to prepare.
Once I became more experienced in my career I gained the confidence in my own skills. It’s in this self confidence that you’re able to connect with others and tell them about who you are, what you are doing, and where you want to be.
I’ve been through 6 interviews in my profession (5 of which I was hired, thankfully). Read about my career move here. I’m also thankful for the opportunities I had to interview candidates as part of a panel.
The job interview setting can be one on one with the manager, with multiple managers, or with a manager and a few other employees. Some interviews can be more formal than others.
I’ve experienced interviews that were more knowledge based, where I was asked specifics about chemotherapy or oncology nursing interventions, but the majority were more interactive, where I felt like I was more so in a conversation, as if to evaluate whether my personality was a good fit for the overall culture.
Whether you’re in high school, about to graduate college, or an experienced professional, getting into the right mindset prior to your interview is of utmost importance.
An interview calls for business attire. Read a wikihow on how to dress professionally here (with photos!).
One of my colleagues had a job interview with a young man who was inexperienced, but was kind and personable. One thing she couldn’t stop staring at were his ripped jeans and sneakers. His body language gave off a lax vibe, different than what he was saying. The lack of professional dress and behavior were quickly associated with inexperience.
He didn’t get the job. It makes you wonder, if this young man had worn something professional and was aware of his body language even if he were inexperienced, perhaps he may have been given the chance.
During my freshman year of college I attended a job fair for the first time in my life. My goal in attending was to make connections and find a part time job. I wore navy blue sweats, an all-over-print hoodie, and sneakers. Nobody spoke to me! I think of that day sometimes, it was one of the most embarrassing moments I’ve had.
Keep yourself well kempt. Your hair should be out of your face and hairstyle simple, nails trimmed, and makeup subtle. Definitely wear closed toe shoes!
During the job fair I mentioned above, I had my hair up in a messy ponytail. Not a cute, clean ponytail, it looked like I had just rolled out of bed and didn’t even look in the mirror. Do better than 2006 Katrina!
Dress for success. When you look good you feel good.
Have the mindset that you’re blessed to have been given the opportunity to meet with the employer.
Even if you have major confidence in your abilities, remind yourself that you’re in a position where you have a limited amount of time to tell the interviewer(s) who you are and what you’re about.
When you get out of your car and step foot on the property, you’re representing yourself. Be aware of how you present yourself to your future employer.
Give yourself time to find parking and the room you’re meeting in.
It’s always better to be early than late! Your future employer will be impressed. It’s almost a foreshadowing of how early or late you’ll tend to be if you do start working there.
Dr. Albert Mehrabian, professor of psychology, performed research studies on verbal and nonverbal communication. He wrote that communication is comprised of 55% body language, 38% tone of voice, and 7% actual words spoken. Read about this here.
Shake hands with whomever you meet. Turn your body toward the person you’re speaking with and maintain some eye contact, but not too much as that may be misconstrued as aggressive. Smile and nod as appropriate. Show them that you’re a good listener. Read more body language tips for a job interview here.
It may be difficult for some people to have to talk about his or herself. It was for me during my first years as a nurse. Remain confident in your abilities, but even if you aren’t, show them that you’re willing to learn. This interview is an introduction of yourself. You can always grow and adapt on the job.
Here are some questions I’ve been asked during an interview, with some additions from colleagues and friends:
- Why did you become a [insert profession/role here]?
- Why do you want to work for [insert company/organization here]?
- Why did you choose this specialty? (ex. oncology)
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Give us an example of a time you went above and beyond for a patient/customer?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- How do you deal with stress?
- How do you deal with conflict in the workplace?
- What days are you available to work?
- What hours do you prefer to work?
- When are you able to start working here?
- How much do you want to get paid?
- What are your hobbies?
- Tell us how a typical workday looks.
- How do you handle a difficult patient/family member/customer?
- How do you handle something that isn’t going your way?
- Tell us about a time when you admitted to a mistake or failure.
- Tell us about a time when you had to learn something new very quickly.
- Do you have any questions for us?
Follow Up Questions
The last question is just as important as the rest. Not only do they get to know you, but this is your opportunity to get to know more about the role you’ve applied for and it shows that you’re proactive in the interview process.
I’ll usually ask something specific about the job role. Here are some of my other go to follow up questions:
- What are my opportunities for growth in this role?
- By when should I hear back from you?
- Who should I contact if I don’t hear back from you by then?
A few good questions that I’ve never asked, but have read about:
- Is there any reason why I wouldn’t get the job?
- If so, what can I do to improve and prepare myself for this role?
Get out there are own it!
- Have a family member or friend run through an interview with you
- Repeat until you feel confident in your interviewing skills!