Careers

How to answer 4 of the most common interview questions

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As the new you looks for a new job in the new year, preparation cannot be overstated. In order to give yourself the best chance of landing the job of your dreams in 2018, you will need to practice.

Fortunately, many interviewers use the same questions to vet applicants. Glassdoor compiled a list of the 50 Most Common Interview Questions and here is a step-by-step guide for nailing four of the most popular ones:

What are your career goals?

Mary Grace Gardner of The Young Professionista says that hiring managers ask this question in part because they want to bring on people who will work for the company for many years. She says "employers want to get a sense of how long you intend to be in a company or role."

In order to reassure interviewers that you see a future working with them, applicants should demonstrate the ways in which they plan to grow with the company. "Show that your career goals and expectations are aligned with how careers unfold in the company," says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide.

For instance, you could say, "One reason I am excited about this role is because the opportunities for growth align with my career goals. I hope to one day lead a team like this one."

Career coach Angela Copeland says that interviewees should balance being excited about the future without seeming unsatisfied about the role they are currently applying for. In order to strike this balance, "don't give an answer that shows that you have no idea what you want in the future," she warns. "And don't give an answer that shows you are not satisfied with the job you're interviewing for."

What motivates you?

Aurora Meneghello of Repurpose Your Purpose tells Glassdoor that the best response to this question is the honest one.

"This is one of those answers to [respond to] authentically so you can screen out teams and positions which would not be good for you," she says.

Nicole Wood, CEO and co-founder of career coaching firm Ama La Vida suggests mentioning something specific about the company or role that would motivate you.

Interviewers should emphasize "the motivations that are most linked to that role or industry," she says. "For example, if you are going to work for a start up, you might speak to being motivated and excited by innovation and a rapid pace of change."

Alternatively, you could answer this question by saying, "Working as a part of a team motivates me to do my best work, that is why I am so excited to hear that this company has a culture of collaboration."

By being honest and connecting the dots between what motivates you and the job you are applying for, you can tell the truth and make yourself stand out at the same time.

How do you handle pressure?

Gardner explains that hiring managers ask this question to learn how applicants function in stressful situations. "When things get intense, [companies] want employees who can handle the stress with grace and ease," she says.

Cohen says, "give an example [of a time you were under pressure] that is rich in detail and describes a thoughtful reaction to a situation that could challenge most anyone."

For instance, you could say, "My team was a week ahead of schedule when our client said they would need our work completed in 24 hours. I held a team meeting, explained our new deadline and created a plan for us to complete our work within this expedited time-frame. By staying calm and creating a plan of attack, we were able to meet our client's demands."

If you do not work well under pressure, never fear. Copeland says that interviewees can also talk about the methods they use to help themselves deal with stressful situations.

"Consider focusing on how you work to prepare," she says, "so that you can tackle pressure with ease."

What questions do you have for me?

"This is one of, if not the most, important questions during the interview process," says Meneghello. "Show that you researched the company in detail and are interviewing with them because you really liked what you found online, and are at the interview to learn more and see if you are a good fit for each other."

Wood says that applicants should use the following formula when answering this question: "I read about the XYZ initiative online. Can you tell me more about it and how it relates to the work your team is doing?"

Additionally, bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch says that interviewees should use this question as an opportunity to show they've been listening and show that they think big.

"Focus in on an aspect of the job as it's been described," says Welch. For instance, you could say, "Mary said part of my job would be interfacing with the operations team. I'd love to hear a little more about what that entails."

In order to show that you think big, Welch suggests that you ask expansive industry-level questions. "Go up to 20,000 feet," she says, "and ask about the competition, the industry." Welch suggests that applicants say something like, "I just read an interesting article about how your competitors are using artificial intelligence. How are you thinking about that development?"

By actively listening, doing your research and thinking big you can make sure you perfectly navigate this common question that Welch describes as "the finale of your job interview."

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