Being unprepared for a job interview is usually the kiss-of-death for that opportunity.
Some of these answers are funny (unless the job seeker really wanted the job), and some of them are a little scary. Best to be prepared and avoid giving these answers in job interviews, assuming you are hoping for a job offer!
These answers to 5 common job interview questions demonstrated either a complete lack of preparation on the part of the job seeker, or a complete lack of understanding about how to be successful in a job interview. Regardless of the cause, the result was the same: opportunities lost!
This question is often asked at the beginning of a job interview, and employers view your answer as a signal about how interested you are in working there. It's not a hard question to answer, if you are prepared.
Don't give these answers:
Read How to Answer the What-Do-You-Know-About-Us Question to get it right when you have the opportunity.
This is a very common question to be asked, but you do need to be prepared or you will shoot yourself in the foot (see below!).
These answers are losers:
Read How to Answer the Greatest-Weakness Question to be well prepared for this question.
This is your chance to demonstrate what you know about the employer and to show the interviewer(s) what you bring to the job, emphasizing the benefits to the employer (not to you) for hiring you. A little flattery about the company -- if you are sincere -- is appropriate here, but don't go overboard.
These answers are shallow and completely focused on the benefit to the job seeker:
Prepare for this question by reading How to Answer the Why-Do-You-Want-to-Work-Here Question.
This question is an opportunity to make a personal sales pitch, focused on the benefit to the employer, not the benefit to you for having the job (the employer understands how you will benefit).
Most of these answers are worrisome:
Read How to Answer the Why-Should-We-Hire-You Question for tips on handling this one.
This question is not an invitation to confess your greatest hopes or your biggest sins. But it is another opportunity to show the employer how your skills and experience match up with the requirements of their job. Having nothing to say may be interpreted by the employer as lack of interest and/or lack of preparation.
These answers did not inspire the interviewer to recommend hiring these job seekers:
Be sure to prepare a good answer. Read How to Answer the Tell-Me-About-Yourself Question so you'll handle this one well.
Job seekers often shoot themselves in the foot with this question, as you'll see in these responses. Would you want to hire the people who gave any of these answers? Neither would I.
Yes, you should have questions! But not these:
Most of those answers were premature or downright scary. Don't think that having no questions to ask is a show of respect, as some people mistakenly believe. Instead, having no questions demonstrates a lack of appropriate interest and also a lack of understanding about what an appropriate question is.
For better answers to this question, read How to Answer the Do-You-Have-Any-Questions Question.
Being prepared is the best way to be successful in your job interviews. Read Pre-Interview Preparation for more information on doing your best in your next job interview.
For more about handling behavioral interviews, panel interviews, and telephone interviews, as well as preparing for job interviews, see the article list on the right.
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.