No matter in what sphere you are hoping to find a job, there is such a common thing as an interview that you will have to pass in order to be considered for a position. Every interview is structured more or less in the same manner including an introduction about yourself, a presentation of the company’s services to you, and then some behavioral questions and technical knowledge that your employers will be testing to make a final decision.
Below we will be looking at the 2 most recurring so-called “fit-questions” which are designed effectively to test your suitability to the company’s corporate culture. Recruiters want to make sure that if they hire you, it will be nice for their colleagues to see your face in the office minimum 8 hours per day and that you will not give up after the first problem you encounter.
Every answer to a fit question has to be accompanied by a short personal story to prove to the interviewers that you have really developed a certain skill or resolved a complicated situation. So make a list of your professional skills developed in professional settings, e.g. during your editorial internship experience or when preparing a collaborative project with your classmates. The overall duration of your answer should not exceed 1 minute and has to be chronologically and logically structured.
What Is Your Greatest Strength?
This question is definitely going to pop up during your interview session so you have to make sure you have prepared a convincing answer to it. Your employer wants to know how the skills that you are good at, can align with the role they have to fill in. It means that you should not list everything from running marathons to solving mathematical problems when giving your answer. Instead, you should carefully read the description of the role you have applied for and adapt your answer to tick an employer’s requirements.
For instance, if you have applied for a sales job and an employer has specified preparing presentations as one of the key requirements, you should mention reciting contests, public speaking and debating clubs, teamwork projects and your summer jobs when you dealt with large amounts of people. Don’t talk about how magnificen you handled all the college homework; although it is incredibly cool, it is irrelevant in this context. This will prove that you are a pleasant smiling person who has basic communication skills and who is not afraid to defend a project in front of a large audience. Below is the example of a story that reinforces excellent communication skills:
“I have strong communication skills and excel in dealing with clients. Last summer I worked as a customer assistant in ___ and I successfully resolved the situation with the unhappy client returning the defective item. I carefully listened to the customer’s concerns, apologized for the inconvenience and suggested an exchange or refund option and volunteered to check for spare samples available in the warehouse. The customer was satisfied in the end and left with a brand new product that met his expectations.”.
Other versions of the same question can be phrased like:
- “Why do you think you are the best fit for the advertised role?”
- “What is your greatest achievement?
- “What did your previous boss think about your strongest qualities?”
When answering this question, you should avoid giving a list of your strengths, vague answers or generalities; you should concentrate on one or two main skills suitable for the job, you must sound confident and to the point so that it is clear to employers what job you can do well for their business.
What Do You Consider to be Your Greatest Weakness?
Very often recruiters will ask you this kind of question which a lot of people do find difficult to answer. Indeed, it can be challenging to tell to an employer about the things you don’t do well and expect that you will be hired. But there is always a way round and for this question your key to a successful answer lies in you being sincere. You should definitely avoid such banal answers as “I work too hard” or “I am a perfectionist”. Instead, you should pick a quality which is applicable to you but at the same time the one which is not deal-breaking. Rather than saying that “you find it difficult to meet deadlines” you should say that “from time to time I tend to get lost in details and I cannot see a big picture.”
When answering this question you need to keep in mind that hiring managers are looking to understand how critical you are and what steps you are taking to improve. Therefore, after naming the actual weakness you should provide an example of what efforts you have made in order to improve and what results you have achieved.
For example, you can say that “you confirmed deadlines with your manager and printed timetables with a list of tasks to be completed. You consulted these schedules regularly which helped you to focus on a more global vision and in result you managed several projects at the same time successfully”.
Another way to ask the same question is:
- “What would you like to change in yourself if you could?”
- “What did your previous director say you had trouble with?”