6 Questions Job Interviewers Ask (And Their Hidden Meanings)

    job interviewers asking questions
    Want to nail that job interview? Find out what are the hidden meanings to common interview questions.

    For many, going for a job interview can be a really nervous experience. Trying to project a confident demeanour, while deftly answering interviewer questions, can be challenging (especially when you really want the job).

    What’s more, many of the questions interviewers commonly ask, often have a deeper layer of meaning. Failing to respond correctly could seriously damage your chances of landing that dream job.

    To help you ace that job interview, we’ve listed six common questions, along with how to answer them smartly.

    1. What are your strengths?

    What They Really Mean: Which of your strengths can make a difference to our business?

    When discussing your strengths, it’s important to relate it to what the interviewer is looking for in the ideal candidate. You can do this by taking a look at the job description and asking yourself which of your professional skills and qualities would best answer that.

    From there, it’s simply a matter of highlighting these strengths. Just remember that empty claims mean nothing. Be sure to back up each point with a story that illustrates your strength too.

    2. What are your weaknesses?

    What They Really Mean: Do you have any weaknesses that could be a problem?

    This is a tricky question in many ways. You could say that you don’t have a weakness, but everyone knows that’s not true. We all have weaknesses, and try to deny otherwise just hurts your credibility.

    Instead, talk about a weakness that you’ve already conquered. For example, maybe you have a habit of completing your work without updating your superiors. You can share how you now send weekly email updates to keep them in the loop.

    3. Where do you see yourself in five years?

    What They Really Mean: Is this job just a stepping-stone for you?

    Hiring managers often ask this question to find out if the job you’re applying for is part of your intended career path. This helps them decide if you’re likely to stay in the job for long or planning to change jobs at the drop of a hat.

    The best way to answer this question is to mention a more senior position in the company as your goal. This communicates to the hiring manager you plan to dedicate yourself to the company for a longer time.

    4. What interests you about this job?

    What They Really Mean: Why are you’re applying for this job?

    Interviewers raise this question to see if you have thought through why you’re applying for this position. They’re looking to hear if your reasons are something that’s tied in to what they want in a candidate too.

    Perhaps, the position is for a new sales manager to open up a new market. You could share how you’re looking to use your skills and experience to take on the challenge for the business. This demonstrates to the hiring manager that you could be the right persons to fulfil what the position requires.

    5. Why did you leave your previous company?

    What They Really Mean: Do you have any attitude problems?

    Sometimes, hiring managers pose this question to find out if you have been involved in any kind of conflict in your previous job. No matter what the reason, never bad-mouth your previous employer, even if they were horrible to you.

    Bad-mouthing would only reflect negatively on you and would tell your hiring manager that you might have an attitude problem. Instead, focus on the positive outcomes that you wanted to have when you left the company, such as professional opportunities that further advance your career.

    6. What is your expected salary?

    What They Really Mean: Do you know how much you’re worth?

    While businesses don’t usually hire the cheapest candidate (especially not if its an important position), hiring managers will usually ask you for your expected salary to see if you know what a candidate of your skills and experience is worth.

    Before even going for the interview, you should research on the median salary for the position that you’re eyeing on. One good reference is the Hays Asia Salary Guide, which is updated annually. When asked, mention a salary range rather than a particular figure. You’ll have more leeway during salary negotiations.

    Bring Your ‘A’ Game

    With these handy tips, you should be better equipped to answer questions during your interview. You can then focus on sharing these answers in an easy and confident manner. This will give your interviewers the reassurance that you’ll be able to live up to the position when you’re hired.

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