Skills and Fit Questions for Your Job Interview: Student & Graduate Edition

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It’s already clear what college students are going to do in the summer, but what about the graduates? Quite an obvious answer would be to look for a job or internship and to help prepare them for the interview, here is the list of useful skills that are considered to be the most important in the current and future workspace.

  • Effective problem solving

Time of jobs where you’re only required to solve simple tasks that don’t differ from each other in passing. Society is getting more and more complicated, and being able to efficiently tackle the arising problems are going to be really highly valued. Proactive thinking allows problem-solvers to work independently to a certain degree and does not need continuous supervision, and this facilitates work for every party. 

  • Critical thinking

As an extension of problem-solving, analytical thinking is derived from an ability to comprehend and process information as well as undertake productive and quality decisions. Developing logical skills, reasoning and argumentation play a big role in being able to think critically and approach problems from different angles.

  • Creativity

Even if you think that your future job might not look like a perfect place to display creativity, it is going to become one of the most sought-after and valuable qualities of an employee. Creativity allows us to invent new and unusual ways of overcoming the challenges we face, and that might increase the efficiency of the work. 

two person interview on paper on brown wooden table
  • Communication & teamwork

A lot of stress has been put on the importance of independent work, but that’s not all there is to it. Collaborating with colleagues and group work is another aspect of future and current requirements. In the modern world, we almost never stop communicating with each other, and that’s where these skills come in handy.

Now that we have discussed the skills you will need to demonstrate to your employer, let’s have a look more closely at how you can crack an internship. 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. How do you start your interview prep? 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 behavioural questions and technical knowledge that your employers will be testing to make a final decision.

Below we will be looking at the 2 most common interview questions with practice answers, 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. The overall duration of your answer should not exceed 1 minute and has to be chronologically and logically structured.

What Is Your Greatest Strength?

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This standard question is definitely going to pop up during your interview session since it is the most common job interview question. This means 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. 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?

man in black pants and pair of brown leather lace-up shoes sitting on brown carpeted stairs inside room waiting interview

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 around it 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. Below is a sample answer to an interview question on your greatest weakness:

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”.

Other interview sample questions to ask the same thing are:

  • “What would you like to change in yourself if you could?”
  • “What did your previous director say you had trouble with?”

BooksRun would like to wish you good luck with your future job interviews! And remember, the best quality you could have is confidence – and you will win the world!

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