The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

October 22, 2019

Stand Out Answers to the Basic Interview Questions


When preparing for an interview, most candidates focus on position-specific questions and don’t think much about the standard, get-to-know-you questions that are asked in every interview. However, giving a thoughtful answer to these mundane questions will show you put care and consideration into everything you do and will put you above and beyond the other candidates.

“Can you tell us about yourself?”

It’s the simplest question with 100 possible answers. Stay away from the information they can find on your resume or LinkedIn profile and touch on a few experiences or accomplishments that are specific to you. Additionally, try to work in why you are passionate about the work you have done and what motivates you.

“What made you interested in this job?”

Instead of giving a general response, note specific parts of the job description that stood out to you, why you want to take on those responsibilities, and how your skills would make you successful in achieving those tasks. Not only will this give you the chance to highlight your abilities, but you’ll show you are a clear fit for the role.

“What do you know about our company?”

Anyone can google the company, read their “about us” page, and discuss their mission and vision statements. In order to really impress, research any recent achievements that have been highlighted in the news as well as how they continue to do what’s best for their clients, customers, and community and discuss why this made them stand out to you as a company as an employer.

“Why are you looking to leave your current position?”

Most people know that you should refrain from saying anything bad about your current boss, coworkers, or company, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t an opportunity to impress. Highlight a few pros of your current position but explain how you reached your growth potential there and are now looking for the chance to challenge yourself and take on new responsibilities.

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Answering this question requires you to walk a fine line between being realistic and ambitious. If you’re currently applying for associate-level roles, don’t go so far as to say you’ll want to be an executive, but suggest you would like to have gained additional responsibilities, perhaps even managing a person or two. Regardless of the details, make it clear that you’d like to still be at that company.

“Why should we hire you?”

Think back on your experiences, skills, achievements, and failures, and decide what to highlight that will make you most impressive. If they’re a company that values hard skills, discuss your certifications and the advanced abilities you have. If they favor experiences, share how your early passion for this field has been a driver for you throughout your career. Most importantly, convince them that if hired, you will work to achieve all that they want and more.

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