Ensuring Your Interview Answers Stand Out

When preparing for interviews, most candidates focus on position-specific questions and don’t think much about the standard, get-to-know-you questions that are asked in every interview. Giving thoughtful answers to every question will set you above and beyond the other candidates and make you stand out as a well-rounded professional.

“Can you tell us about yourself?”

It’s the simplest question with 100 possible answers. Stay away from the information they can find on your resume or LinkedIn profile and touch on a few experiences or accomplishments that are specific to you. Additionally, try to work in why you are passionate about the work you have done and what motivates you.

“What made you interested in this job?”

Instead of giving a general response, note specific parts of the job description that stand out to you, why you want to take on those responsibilities, and how your skills would make you successful in achieving those tasks. Not only will this give you the chance to highlight your abilities, but you’ll show you are a clear fit for the role.

“What do you know about our company?”

Anyone can google the company, read their “about us” page, and discuss their mission and vision statements. To really impress, research any recent achievements that have been highlighted in the news as well as how they continue to benefit their clients, customers, and community, and discuss why this made them stand out to you as a company and as an employer.

“Why are you looking to leave your current position?”

Most people know that you should refrain from saying anything bad about your current boss, coworkers, or company, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t an opportunity to impress. Highlight a few pros of your current position but explain how you reached your growth potential there and are now looking for the chance to challenge yourself and take on new responsibilities.

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Answering this question requires you to walk a fine line between being realistic and ambitious. If you’re currently applying for associate-level roles, don’t go so far as to say you’ll want to be an executive, but suggest you would like to have gained additional responsibilities, perhaps even managing a person or two. Regardless of the details, make it clear that you’d like to still be at that company.

“Why should we hire you?”

Think back on your experiences, skills, achievements, and failures, and decide what will make you most impressive. If they’re a company that values hard skills, discuss your certifications and the advanced abilities you have. If they favor experiences, share how your early passion for this work led you to this role.  Most importantly, convince them that if hired, you will work to achieve all that they want and more.