It’s important to be prepared to respond effectively to the interview questions that employers typically ask at job interviews. Since these questions are so common, hiring managers will expect you to be able to answer them smoothly and without hesitation.

You don’t need to memorize an answer, but do think about what you’re going to say so you’re not put on the spot during the job interview. Your responses will be stronger if you prepare in advance, know what to expect during the interview, and have a sense of what you want to play up during your interview.

  1. Why do you want to work here?

By asking you, “Why do you want to work here?” the interviewer is listening for an answer that indicates you’ve given this some thought and are not sending out resumes just because there is an opening. For example, “I’ve selected key companies whose mission statements are in line with my values, where I know I could be excited about what the company does, and this company is very high on my list of desirable choices.”

  1. Why did you leave (or why are you leaving) your job?

If an interviewer asks, “Why did you leave (or why are you leaving) your job?” and you’re unemployed, state your reason for leaving in a positive context: “I managed to survive two rounds of corporate downsizing, but the third round was a 20% reduction in the workforce, which included me.”

If you are employed, focus on what you want in your next job: “After two years, I made the decision to look for a company that is team-focused, where I can add my experience.”

  1. When were you most satisfied in your job?

The interviewer who asks, “When were you most satisfied in your job?” wants to know what motivates you. If you can relate an example of a job or project when you were excited, the interviewer will get an idea of your preferences. “I was very satisfied in my last job, because I worked directly with the customers and their problems; that is an important part of the job for me.”

  1. What salary are you seeking?

When you’re asked, “What salary are you seeking?” it is to your advantage if the employer tells you the range first. Prepare by knowing the going rate in your area, and your bottom line or walk-away point. One possible answer would be: “I am sure when the time comes, we can agree on a reasonable amount. In what range do you typically pay someone with my background?”

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