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When it comes to a job interview, standard questions start to sound repetitive. You may be surprised to learn that these questions do matter, and that when an interviewer says, “So tell me about yourself,” he or she really wants to know how your mind works. Here are some creative answers to the top ten standard interview questions.

Interview

1. “Tell me about yourself:”

Answer this question with concrete examples (like that time you increased profits by 3%) and sharp detail that interviewers can’t forget. Include a few small, personal details that still relate to your work ethic.

2: “What are your greatest strengths?”

Instead of answering with trite details like “detail-oriented,” try highlighting specific accomplishments from previous work experiences. Think of the reasons your friends value your friendship. Employers want to employ real people with real personality.

3: “What are some of your biggest weaknesses?”

Breaking the ice with a small joke can make an impression. Try saying “chocolate” or “a good book.” Follow it up with a well-rounded assessment of your stumbling blocks. Note: this will not work for everyone. Be aware of your interviewers’ personalities and adjust the answer accordingly.

4: “Describe a difficult situation and how you overcame it:”

Pick an example that shows your leadership capabilities. Employers want to trust the people they hire. If you come up short, then smile and answer hypothetically. You’ll impress them with your ability to remain calm in unfamiliar waters.

5: “Why do you want this job?”

Maybe you want this job to pay the bills; and employer doesn’t want to hear that. They want to pick a person who will commit. To answer this question honestly, speak from the heart. It’s another opportunity to showcase your skills and accomplishments.

6: “Why did you leave your last job?”

If you left your last job for negative reasons, then explain the situation honestly and how you learned from the experience. The ability to learn from your mistakes is an attractive feature, as long as it’s sincere.

7: “How do you handle difficult clients and/or coworkers?”

Employers want to know that you can resolve conflict. To answer this question effectively without sounding rehearsed and repetitive, think of a true sticky situation and your real response to it. Explain how you solved the problem, and let them know the results.

8: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Be as well-rounded as possible while being true to yourself. If your real goal in life is to be a writer, then explain that you would love to be a published author but need a fulfilling job in the meantime. Being honest will often be a breath of fresh air.

9: “Why do you want this job?”

You should ask yourself this question before being interviewed so that you have a clear understanding yourself. That way, when you answer, it doesn’t sound sycophantic. Give a few reasons why you left your last job and how this new job will improve your ability to showcase your skills.

10: “How would your former employer describe you?”

This can be tricky because you don’t want to sound arrogant. Still, it’s yet another chance to highlight your attributes so take it in stride. Use examples from your previous job and how they helped make your previous boss’s life easier.

Be unforgettable and charming without crossing the line into sales pitch mode. Every question is designed to get to know you and for you to get to know the people for whom you’ll potentially be working. Think of the interview as a conversation rather than an interrogation, and the creativity will naturally follow.

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