The 10 Most Popular ‘About You’ Questions And How To Answer Them

Tuesday, 8. March 2011

In last week’s issue of ResumeMag we provided you with a shotgun blast of interview questions, 79 to be precise, to help prepare you for the onslaught of questions you can expect to be asked in an interview. Recently we sent out a request, via our twitter feed, to see which questions should be discussed in more detail, and here is what you asked for:

The 10 most popular ‘about you’ questions and how to answer them:

1. Tell me about yourself.

This question seems to be the interviewer’s best friend and the interviewee’s worst enemy. Typically your response should relate to the current job you are interviewing for. Pick a point in your past, possibly where you first learned a skill that will assist you with the position you are hoping to fill, and work your way towards the present. Personal hobbies and interests should only be included if they relate to the position or if the interviewer specifically asks for some examples.

2. Are you a team player?

The ability to work well within a team is an essential quality to have for practically any position. When an interviewer asks you this question, the answer is always an unequivocal yes; yes of course you are a team player. Be prepared to follow-up with some specific examples.

3. When have you been most satisfied in your career?

When answering this question try to relate it to the current organization as close as possible. Your interviewer wants to hear that you will be the right fit for the position they are looking to fill, and this includes hiring an employee that is not only qualified but that will also be satisfied with the working conditions.

4. Are you satisfied with your career to date?

This question ties right in with question 3. If you current job was your answer, then it begs to question why you are leaving in the first place. Either way, the interviewer wants to know that you will be happy in their organization, so be honest, because as they say, it is always the best policy.

5. Do you consider yourself successful?

Whenever an interviewer asks this question they are almost always looking for that yes, yes you are successful. The key to winning the interviewer over will be with your follow-up examples. Something as simple as stating some goals you’ve set and achieved should do the trick.

6. Tell me about your dream job.

When answering this question, your dream job should always be something generic. Stick to talking about the work environment, friendly coworkers and rewarding work. The more precise you are about a specific job, the less desirable you may become.

7. How have you grown or changed over the past few years?

This is all about setting goals and achieving them, so provide some specific examples and try to tailor them to the position that you are interviewing for. Although the question may come up later, this is a great place to discuss your weaknesses, but do so in a manner that shows you acknowledge them and explain what you are doing to improve them.

8. Have you ever been asked to leave a position?

Lying, even a little white one, is never recommended, so do yourself a favour and be honest with your answer. If you have never been asked to leave a position, just say so, and if you have been, well, tell them the truth and provide them with a brief explanation. Try not to place any blame or say anything negative about a specific person or organization. It won’t help you in the long run.

9. Why did you leave your last job?

Just like in question 8, the key here is to be honest with the interviewer, but without getting into the blaming game. You could discuss any major issues that the organization may have had, but try to do so in a positive manner.

10. How much were you absent from your last job?

The interviewer wants to find out how reliable of an employee you will be, and this question gets right to the heart of the matter. If you didn’t have any issues with punctuality, then there are no worries. If you did have some issues, regardless of the reason, then be prepared to explain why you were absent and how those issues will no longer affect your ability to work.

In next week’s issue of ResumeMag we will discuss the top scenario type questions, as recommended by you. If you have a specific scenario question you would like us to cover please leave a comment or send us a message on twitter.

Until then, happy job hunting,


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