Before your interview, make sure you have a start date in mind for the new employer. You may need to give two weeks to your previous position. If you are unemployed, perhaps you can start right away. In either situation, be prepared with an affirmative answer. If you are currently working, you should always show professionalism by offering two weeks' notice to your current employer. No hiring manager is ever impressed when they hear 'I can quit my job today and start tomorrow!' Show that you are professional and reliable in all situations.
"I am currently unemployed and am willing to start as soon as needed."
"Could you share with me your ideal start date? I am happy to be flexible. However, I will need to give at least two weeks' notice to my current employer."
"I am currently looking for a career change within a 6-week turnaround timeline after an offer letter is signed. This timeline would give me enough time to smoothly transition my team and help to find and train my replacement."
"I need to give my employer two weeks' notice. Due to my length of employment, it is possible that I may need to work an additional week if they were to request it of me to aid in the transition to the next content manager, but I am available immediately following. Can you clarify your timeline for me?"
"I would need to give my current store the courtesy of two weeks' notice, but I am available anytime after that! Looking forward to getting started!"
"I would need to give the customary two weeks' notice to my current company so that they could choose if they want me to stay and transition accounts or make it my last day. But, out of courtesy to them, I need to let them make that final decision."
"I plan to finish out this school year so that I can offer my students a clean transition. Will this timeframe work for you?"
The interviewer wants to make sure they can offer what you are looking for in your next position. Discuss with the interviewer the things you are missing in your current role. You can also talk about what aspects of this particular company excite you.
"The most important thing for me is to continue growing my knowledge in this industry. I am currently not receiving the opportunity for training and growth which has created an element of stagnancy in my current role. What excites me about your organization is that you have continued education programs and tuition reimbursement for pre-approved courses. The fact that you invest in the growth of your employees is amazing."
"One of the most important things I am looking for in a company is an organization that values its associate's growth. Companies that are offering internal training and development programs for advancement are appealing. For instance, I am interested in taking more technical writing courses and would love to land with an employer who sees value in that."
"In my next move, it is critical to me that I work with a marketing group where the directors encourage sheer creativity, even when it comes with some risk. I don't want to produce a product the same as everyone else. I love that your team has been part of some viral marketing material. This agency is just the place I want to be."
"I'm looking for a company that I truly believe in, to have a genuine interest in helping grow it. I'm also searching for a company that has growth opportunities and values its employees, looking for opportunities to help them learn and grow to bring the organization to the next level. I believe I've found this in your company, so I sure look forward to the opportunity to prove that I'm the best candidate."
"I want a company that is doing all it can to remain relevant, despite the shift away from brick and mortar stores. I am leaving a store after five years of employment, so I value loyalty given in return. I look forward to making this first in what I hope to be many moves up within your organization."
"I want an exciting, fast-paced company that values my talents and will ensure that I can grow professionally. I'm sad at the thought of leaving my current team and company, but there is not an opportunity for advancement on the horizon, so I want to ensure that my next move is long-term with advancement opportunities and continuing education."
"It is important to me that the next school I am in had a parent community that is involved and concerned about their child's' learning experience. Without buy-in from parents, it is challenging to gain and keep engagement from the students."
Now is the time for you to express your enthusiasm for the company, and the position to which you applied! Express your passion for your field of study or talk about how this role will provide you with the career growth you have been seeking. Be sure to compliment the company and give a strong reason why you want to work for them.
"I applied for this position because I am seeking a more challenging opportunity in my field. Your job posting was especially exciting to me because your organization is well known for its unmatched level of professionalism and growth opportunities. I would be thrilled to work for your company."
"Your organization is a leading player in the e-commerce space. I am an advocate of your platform and frequent shopper of your products. I think I can add a lot of value to this role and am excited to learn more about this online customer support opportunity."
"I want to work for a small company with a family-like feel, just like yours. I have always worked in large organizations where I am a number, not an individual. This 'corporate giant' type of environment made it difficult for me to flourish as a manager and a leader. I appreciate the workplace culture you have cultivated."
"I have been a client of yours for several years now and targeted your company as a top prospect for which I hoped to work, over a year ago. As soon as this position came up, I knew it was right for me. I was excited to write my cover letter to you and hit send on my application!"
"I have shopped here since I was a little girl. My grandma used to take me here, and it's where I bought my grad dress! To come full circle and work here in the very same department all these years later would be not only exciting for me, but very special. Your store means something to me personally, and I would do everything in my power to make it successful and continue to make special memories for others!"
"I have been looking for a high-growth startup for quite a while, and your company is what I've been seeking in a work environment. You value your people and have an awesome culture centered around achievement, growth, and accountability. You are disrupting an industry that needs some shaking up, and you have science that is allowing that disruption. The energy in here is contagious, which only make me even more excited about the opportunity."
"Your district is one of the top rated in the state, is considered a thought-leader in the educational community, and it is the district that I grew up attending. So, it's not only full-circle for me in setting, but also the place where I decided I wanted to become a teacher, so this is an extraordinary opportunity. I have always said I wanted to come back to teach in District ###, so this would be so exciting for me on both a professional and personal level."
Onboarding new employees is a time consuming and costly endeavor, so the interviewer wants to make sure that this role will be a long-term fit for you. Be open to the interviewer about your dreams within this company, on a long-term basis. Share what promotions you hope to eventually receive and discuss what you wish to learn from being a part of their organization. The key to answering this question is to express to the interviewer that you plan to stay with the company for many years to come.
"While visiting your company website I noticed that you have some leadership opportunities available in a variety of locations. I would love to work my way into a management or leadership role with your organization and would be willing to relocate to do so. I like what your organization stands for, and I hope to see a current fit, and future growth, here."
"That is a great question! I see myself leading a small office team of like-minded and passionate individuals who enjoy the work we are accomplishing together. I also see myself working closely with a charity, on behalf of the organization, to give back to the community."
"I currently manage a small production team; however, in the longer term, I would like to grow into a regional management position. I researched the career path in your organization and saw that you spend a great deal of time grooming your employees for quick promotion."
"I currently am hoping to move from content manager, which is more focused on creation and execution, without tons of involvement in the calendar planning or sales initiatives, into your role of marketing coordinator. In the short term, I want to work on planning sales strategies to support those marketing efforts. Long term, I'd like to leverage that knowledge into a Director of Marketing position."
"I am in it for the long haul. I have been at my current employer for four years. I do not take this next move lightly, as I know I am leaving a safety net where I am known, respected, and appreciated. That said, I know I need to leap to advance my career and challenge myself. After an appropriate amount of time in this department manager position, I would foresee 2-3 years; I would look to move into a General Manager role within your organization."
"My long-term goals would be a management position. Dreaming big would be a director or VP level of sales position, perhaps moving into a customer success director role at some juncture. Within the next three years, I would look to be leading a small team, but would jump at the opportunity to run a pod in the nearer future."
"If offered this role my long-term plan would be to remain here, as a teacher, but perhaps work as a learning leader as well. I am ready for the additional responsibility, and I understand that your school would help me to achieve that long-term goal."
When an interviewer asks you this, make sure you always keep your answer positive. If you are leaving your position because you don't like your boss, be sure to phrase it more eloquently. If you aren't sure how to reply, remember - it's always a safe bet to focus your answer on career growth and exciting opportunities.
"I value growth! It's important to me that I grow in my career so I can continue to be a valuable asset to the company for which I am working. I've noticed tremendous growth in your company the past year, and that appeals to me."
"Career growth and professional development are driving me to seek a new position. As wonderful as my organization has been to me, I do not see an opportunity for upward growth. When I saw your posting for an executive assistant supporting the C-suite, I knew I had to apply."
"I do not take this move lightly. My current company feels like a family. I need to see further challenge and growth so, after giving it much thought, I put my application out. My decision is on timing, the fact that you are the right company, and the position is not a lateral move for me. All of these stars have aligned in this one job you're looking to fill, and it is calling my name."
"I feel that I have outgrown my role as it is with a small marketing agency. I am looking for an opportunity in which I can work with more robust software, on larger projects, with clients who have bigger budgets."
"I have been with my organization for four years and have moved up through almost every rank the store offers to get to where I am today. I am so grateful to the store, the management, and customers for the opportunity and growth I've experienced over the last few years. However, I feel as though I need to conquer the next challenge. I need to stretch outside of my comfort zone to grow in a new industry."
"I feel that I've reached the highest point I can at my current position. I am exceeding sales metrics, but what I am longing for is a team to lead. Right now, and in the next year or more, there is no such position. Because of this, I need to look for another, better fit where I can grow to my fullest potential."
"I am seeking a transition to a new district because my spouse needs to transfer offices and we are looking to move to this area. Since my kids will be attending this school, I thought it would be an excellent idea to apply here as well. Your school has an excellent reputation, which sweetens the deal for me as well."
The interviewer is trying to quickly gauge if you are qualified for this role, or not. If they have called you, chances are - you have something on your resume that they like. Most job postings will specify the number of years of experience that the employer is looking for but it's often a flexible number. Let's say the interviewer is looking for five years experience in a specific field or skill, and you have 15 years. Avoid being labeled as overqualified by saying: "I have more than five years' experience in your direct field. My most recent position was similar to this role, and I was a top performer for the entire seven years of my employment there. I am eager to continue my path of success with your company."
"I have more than five years' experience in your direct field. My most recent position was similar to this role, and I was a top performer for the entire seven years of my employment there. I am eager to continue my path of success with your company."
"I have been working in an administrative position for approximately four years. I also spent a great deal of time helping my dad with his bookkeeping business as a teen. I was exposed to organizing files, making appointments, and double checking the details of his work before he passed it back to his clients."
"I have over ten years of experience in my field, with seven years in your specific industry. Although I have a lot of experience I am always learning new management techniques to that, I can better myself and improve the productivity of my team."
"I have six years of marketing experience, from freelance to inbound marketing coordinator, and now as a content manager. Before that, I worked in sales for a CPG company, so I understand the business from varying perspectives. I look forward to continuing to learn about how your organization operates."
"I have been in the sales field since I was in high school, so for half of my life. I have worked my way up through the ranks from a part-time sales associate in various departments to assistant manager, to department manager. I know that I have learned much of what I need to succeed in this role and I look forward to exceeding your expectations as I gain even more knowledge."
"I have three years of sales experience in a traditional setting, and have been selling in some capacity since high school in a retail environment, and as a bartender while putting myself through University."
"I understand that you are looking for a teacher newer to their career. Although I have eight years' experience as a teacher, you will find that I am very open to learning new classroom techniques. I am a huge proponent of continued learning and pivoting my teaching style based on the needs of each classroom."
Many interviewers will start off with this question, which could throw you off a bit. You've done all of this research on the company but have you prepared to talk about yourself? The interviewer is looking for relevant information about the position for which you applied. Respond by mentioning your education, how many years of experience you have in your field, and be sure to give some details about your most current position. Conclude your response with a statement about what you are looking for in a role at this time.
"I have a B.A. in Communications and Journalism from the University of Michigan. I have three years of experience in Marketing and Communications. My most recent position was with Amazon as a Marketing Coordinator, and I'm currently looking for a position that will allow me to grow into a leadership opportunity."
"With pleasure! I have over ten years of experience in the professional services industry and am interested in growing my career to the next level, and become an executive assistant. On a more personal note, I love to read, go hiking and spend a lot of my extra time volunteering with the humane society."
"I am a calm and quiet leader, with excellent written and verbal communication skills. Even though I am quiet, I can motivate my team and keep morale high. I was recently awarded 'Most Productive Manager' in my organization."
"I graduated with a B.A. in Economics and started my career in sales. After a successful three years, I decided to begin making the moves to the marketing side. Freelancing on the side to shore up my creative skill set prepared me for the leap to my first marketing position as an inbound marketing coordinator. I am still with the same organization, but now as a content manager. I help build out the marketing calendar and execute its items from blog posts to social media to email marketing efforts. In my next role, ideally with your company, I am looking to achieve the next step towards a director position."
"I started my career in retail very young. My first job at sixteen was as a sales associate at a large department store, and I have stuck to retail ever since. After high school, I achieved my associate's degree in fashion merchandising and continued to a four-year university where I obtained my B.A. in communications. Since then, I have held various leadership and management positions in both small boutiques and large department stores. I am currently looking to take my experience and career to the next level by pursuing this position as the department manager in your highest volume department."
"I started my sales career in a large corporate setting, and there I received a promotion within only a few months. I decided that I wanted to stretch my wings and made the leap to a startup. There, I earned the fastest promotion in company history and followed that up with the fastest deal to close after promotion. I have had continued success here and am in my preferred sales territory. However, I feel that I may have outgrown the position and right now, there isn't an opportunity for a managerial position here, so I'm looking at outside opportunities, such as this one."
"I am super excited and passionate about my job, the language, my students, and continual learning. I feel so privileged to have a job that I leap out of bed for every morning. I am a mom of boys, and I am a fitness enthusiast: as their soccer coach, the high school soccer coach for freshman girls, and a runner in my spare time."
When responding to this question, make sure you answer honestly about your gaps of employment, whether your discrepancies are due to staying home with the kids, an illness, taking care of an ailing parent, or taking some time off to think about a career change.
"The first gap in my resume was from 2007 - 2008 when I took a year off after completing University, to travel. Even though I was not working, I learned so much about business and interpersonal communication during that year of travel. After being laid off in 2012, I was without work for six months. Those are the only two gaps in my resume."
"There were two times where I had a gap in my career. One gap was taking time off for personal reasons in between a great career pivot. The other, I took some time off to attend schooling for an administration certificate. The certificate greatly improved the quality of my work and my organizational skills."
"The gap in my resume was when my employer went bankrupt and my role dissolved with no notice. We were in a recession, and it was an incredible challenge to find employment. You will see that I ended up relocating to gain employment. It was certainly a trying year."
"The only gap on my resume is the three months after college graduation when I traveled a bit but had a job lined up for my return. Additionally, you may see that there are seven months between the two companies I've worked for, but that was when I left my sales position and worked freelance marketing before being brought on as a full-time inbound marketing coordinator."
"The gap in my resume was due to an apprenticeship with a professor while getting my associates in fashion merchandising. Technically I was still employed but very part-time during this time. The following semester was outstanding but in an unpaid untitled assistant role."
"I completely understand your interest in them. There is a gap between my college education as I left one University for another. Also, I took some time off when my mom was sick with leukemia. Thankfully, she is in remission. There is one other 6-month gap after I left my role at ABC company when I took the time to spend with my son when he was a newborn."
"I started my career as a substitute teacher in a smaller city where opportunities were few and far between. To try to fill the gaps, I did work as a bartender; however, chose to leave that off of my resume to avoid confusion."
This question can be tough to navigate! As a potential candidate, it can be challenging to show weakness for fear the company will lose interest. When you answer this question about a skill that you feel you are lacking, explain how you plan to become stronger in that skill.
"I feel I'm not as well versed in Photoshop as I would like to be, but I found some YouTube tutorials and books that can help me with this skill."
"I am very excited about the job description and feel my qualifications align with the type of candidate for which you are seeking. I could have stronger skills in Excel; however, I am more than happy to enroll myself in a course immediately."
"I have read through your job posting, description, and learned more about your company online. I feel that I have all of the must-have and nice-to-have qualifications for which you are looking. Is there anything you feel I am lacking or anything that I can answer further for you?"
"I think that I meet all of the must-have requirements for this opportunity. If there's anything that I may not be 100% proficient at, I take it as an opportunity to grow and learn, but certainly, know I can rise to the occasion on any task asked of me."
"I think that I meet 99% of the requirements and the only skill I am not as versed in as I would like, would be the buying decisions. I have assisted in buying for two years now, but I have not taken the lead. I am more than excited and feel as though I am prepared to take on this responsibility, and look forward to learning from the more experienced members of the organization so I can be successful at this task as well."
"I feel as though that the job description has me in mind. I truly fit it to a "T," and it is directly in line with my targeted career path. I would love to clarify any areas for you that we haven't been able to cover yet."
"I am confident that I have the skills required for this role. Could you share with me any areas where you feel I may be lacking? I would love for you to see the same level of fit that I do!"
The employer would like to know what methods and resources you are using in your job search so they can determine which of their advertising methods is working best. You can expand your answer to include any other exposure you have had to the company.
"I initially saw your job posting on LinkedIn. However, I have been exposed to your organization many times before through your radio commercials and advertisements on Facebook."
"I've been looking at job postings on Indeed, so I believe this is where I found your job posting."
"Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising! A friend that works in your Finance Department referred me here. We worked together many years back."
"ZipRecruiter has been my new favorite place to look for fresh opportunities, and that is where I came across yours. Before seeing your job posting, I was familiar with your agency through some of your advertising efforts."
"For the last eight months, I have been contemplating a move and keeping my eye out for the perfect opening. When I saw this position open on your website, I knew I had to go for it, and I am so happy I did!"
"I heard your CEO speak at a networking event and the company sounded like a perfect fit, so I've been keeping my eye open for a job posting on your site, and now here we are."
"A colleague of mine saw your posting on a teaching forum and told me about it. He knew that my wife and I were discussing relocation to your area."
This question means excellent news! If the interviewer is asking for your availability over the next few days, chances are you are moving to the next round. Try to be as flexible as possible with your availability. Finish your answer by asking for the interview!
"I can make myself available at any time, with some notice. The ideal times for me to interview are between 8-9AM and 4-5PM Monday through Friday. I am very eager to move to the next round. Do you have a specific day or time in mind?"
"I would need to take a half day off to come in for an interview, so given a day or so notice; I can make myself available, no problem."
"Understanding things move quickly; I am flexible and adaptable to work around your availability. What day and time do you have in mind?"
"I am so happy that you asked! I have a flexible schedule and often work from my home office. What day and time do you have in mind? I will make it work."
"I am available in different pockets of time, depending on the day. I do have Thursday off entirely and greatly look forward to a second interview."
"I can make myself available, given a bit of notice. If it is an in-person interview, I'd need to take a half day, so would need a day to put in that request. I'm eager to move on to the next round, so please let me know as soon as possible so that I can make it happen."
"Since we likely work the same hours, I would need to take a half day off, and find a substitute. Can we set a date now so that I can get started on the requested time off?"
The interviewer would like assurance that you are going to get along well with the manager whom you would be reporting to in this role. There are many different management styles, and perhaps you do well with a variety of them. Tell the interviewer about your favorite manager in the past, and why you worked so well together. You should also ask the interviewer in return if they can describe the working style of the person to whom you would be reporting.
"I work well with a manager who can set clear guidelines and then allow me to perform my best work. I am independent; however, I love a collaborative work environment. This best describes my current work environment. Could you share with me a bit more about the work style of the person to whom I would be reporting?"
"I can get along well with many different management types; however, I work best with managers who like to coach, train, and develop their staff. My current manager is not a strong leader in these ways which is why I am seeking a new opportunity. Could you describe the work style of the manager in this role?"
"I am the type of manager who prefers to show versus tell. In turn, I like to work with people who live by the same philosophy. I like urgency but do not appreciate those who panic and create unsettling urgency in everything they do. Please tell me a bit more about the management style present in your organization."
"I believe the most successful managers, in the marketing realm, are those who show a balance of creativity and the ability to manage a project, continually pushing it forward. I work best with managers who are organized, upbeat, and positive. This type of environment can foster a great deal of creativity. Would you agree?"
"Retail managers should be friendly, customer-service driven, patient, and willing to train. I recall the first manager I had in a retail environment. She wanted me to succeed and dedicated her time to train me properly. This attitude made all the difference for me. I am excited to hear more about the management styles within your company."
"The best sales manager that I ever had was someone newer to their management career who encouraged us to develop ourselves professionally, at every given time. He lived by the Grant Cardone '10X Rule' which was, if you are not pushing yourself ten times harder than everyone else, you will never be more than average. I like a manager who can drive me in a fun, competitive, and motivating way."
"How would you best describe the management style at your school? My current leadership team is kind, collaborative, thoughtful, and resourceful."
Assure the interviewer that this position would not be a temporary fix but a longer-term career move. Employers do not expect you to stay with them forever, but they do like to hear there is at least a 5-year plan where you can see yourself growing. Do not offer a timeframe but offer up information as to why this may be a long-term fit. Here are some factors that could determine a long-term fit: - Unbeatable workplace culture and a positive environment - Continual challenges and opportunities to learn - Cross-departmental training and opportunities to diversify your role - A team environment that feels like family - Competitive compensation packages including health benefits and vacation days - Strong career trajectory and history of promotion among top performers - Genuine and integrity-driven leadership, ownership, or c-suite
"My long-term plan is to find an organization with a workplace culture that encourages personal and professional development opportunities. I know your company has a solid history of providing these things to your team. For that reason, I could see myself happily growing with your business for the long term."
"For myself, my interest in continually piqued when given various challenges and opportunities to learn. When I am growing my skills and knowledge base, I am happy. This position offers a great deal of growth and learning which is very exciting to me."
"I plan to offer long-term partnership to a company who can offer competitive compensation and opportunities for advancement. I am seeking to grow my career with an organization large enough to support my career growth goals. I applied to your company because you have multiple locations, a second-to-none reputation, and hundreds of incredible clients. I feel there would be numerous opportunities for me here."
"This position fits into my long-term plans because you offer the exposure to enterprise clients that I have been seeking for many years. With this level of client base comes incredible opportunities and I would be unwise to let that go."
"I would like my first opportunity since graduating University to be a long-term position. It's important that I am on the right track with my experience, business exposure, and tenure - right out of the gates. There is so much to learn about your organization and your customers. For those reasons I see a solid long-term fit."
"I plan to offer a long-term commitment to your organization because I know, in turn, you will offer a robust career trajectory. Your organization's history of promoting your top performers is of great interest to me. I am competitive with myself and focused on growth. I know your company can, and will support me in many ways."
"My children go to this school, and I plan to live in this neighborhood for many years to come. Being my local school is just one factor that will keep me here long-term; however. Other reasons for a long-term commitment is that your school has the best reputation in the district, the most reasonable classroom sizes, and an active and involved parent community."
The interviewer would like to see how far back you need to reach, to answer this question. Are you a highly collaborative person, or do you spend most of your day with your head buried in your work and not looking for opportunities to be a team player? Big or small, quickly think of a time when you assisted someone else, helping them to be successful in their role.
"Just yesterday I noticed a junior accountant struggling with one of our SAP modules. He agreed to my help, and I spent my lunch hour walking him through the program and training him on shortcuts. It felt great to assist!"
"I will often jump in to help a coworker navigate our software or find a file that they need. I am known as the 'go-to' person in our office for small technical glitches as well. I am tech savvy, and if we don't need the IT department for specific fixes, I am happy to help a coworker avoid that."
"I recently took a team member under my wing after he asked me to be his mentor. He is craving growth in his career and is seeking out both professional and personal development opportunities. I meet with him once per week, for one hour, and give him small assignments and tasks to complete. It's been a rewarding experience for both of us."
"Just this week I helped a coworker write some sales copy for a client. She was feeling a bit stuck so we had a 30-minute brainstorm to get her mojo flowing again. I found it fun to help, and the client was thrilled with her final delivery."
"I helped a coworker to ring in a refund for an irate customer yesterday. She was nervous because the customer was a bit intimidating and I could tell she needed my help. I kept the customer occupied in conversation while she performed the refund on our point of sale. She thanked me later for noticing her need and jumping in. That's what teamwork is all about, and I know she would do the same for me."
"Last month I helped one of our newer sales reps to hit her monthly sales target. She was still in the onboarding process, and I felt that her sales numbers were a bit too high considering she was still in training. I approached our boss and proposed that I take over 25% of her sales numbers so that she could better focus on learning her sales script and getting to know her surroundings and client base. Our boss agreed to the plan, and we all finished the month strong."
"One of our teachers was retiring this year, and she was finding the workload to be a bit overwhelming. I offered to help her with the end-of-year marking, and she agreed. She certainly earned the extra help after 40 years of teaching! We formed a great friendship over the years together because we made a habit of lending a hand to one another on a regular basis."
This question is another open-ended one where it can be easy to ramble on and on. Avoid this by preparing a couple of statements regarding what makes you a stand-out candidate, but may not be on your resume. For instance, you may want to mention some current volunteer work, an exciting hobby, your favorite books on business or leadership, a pipe-dream that you have (career-related) or even additional languages that you speak. However, you choose to reply, ensure that it remains on track with a career conversation.
"One thing that I have not included on my resume, is that I am currently attending online courses in the evenings and weekends to complete my Masters' in Accounting. My estimated graduation date is next June. I am excited to reach this milestone as the added education can only support me further in my career."
"I did not include my volunteer work on my resume as there was not much room left on the document. For the past five years, I have spent every Saturday working at the local animal shelter, helping with pet adoptions. This work has taught me further software skills and has strengthened my people-facing and engagement skills as well."
"One thing you would not know about me, from reading my resume, is that I am an avid reader. I aim to read one new book on leadership, management, business, or professional development, once a week. Currently, I am reading 'Good to Great' by Jim Collins. Last week, I completed 'Leaders Eat Last,' by Simon Sinek."
"I did not put my GPA on my resume, but perhaps I should have - I am very proud of it! I graduated with my MSc in Digital Marketing with a 3.7 GPA. All of this, I accomplished while also working part-time."
"I speak three languages fluently which is a great help in my current retail sales position. Because of my language skills, I can assist customers in English, Spanish, and Mandarin."
"Back in 2007, I spend a few months working in Japan. This experience was earlier in my career, so I no longer include it on my resume. Just after graduating with my business degree I took an internship with a global organization where I immersed myself in the Japanese business culture. The skills and knowledge gained were immeasurable."
"One thing you would not know about me, from reading my resume, is that I started my education career in the private school sector. It was just for one year, where I taught at a private charter school. The experience was nice; however, I much prefer the challenges that come with public education."
When you walk the interviewer through a typical workday, you are allowing them to visualize you in their position. From your answer, the interviewer will also be able to gauge if your activities match the seniority level of this position. If they are calling you for a junior role, for instance, and you let them know that you currently manage a team of 20 people, they will likely conclude that you are overqualified for the position. If you have a job description in front of you, do your best to match the list of role responsibilities with the day-to-day activities in your current, or most recent, position. Keep your answer as brief as possible. With open-ended questions like this one, it is easy to begin rambling.
"A typical work day for me includes managing a team of three junior accountants. I oversee their work and review the incoming financials. Most of the day is spent on data analysis, coaching, and reporting. I also spend some phone time with clients who may have questions regarding their monthly invoices. I see the list of responsibilities in your job posting and can confidently say that I perform most of these tasks on a weekly basis, and some of them, daily."
"My average work day includes answering about 150 calls per day, 200 emails, and greeting over 300 people who visit our office in person. We are busy, yet highly efficient. When I am not performing customer-facing tasks, I am confirming appointments for the executive team and making their travel plans and schedules for the upcoming week. I believe these responsibilities align very nicely with the needs of your role."
"My days are rarely the same; however, my primary responsibilities on a daily basis include training new warehouse staff, working closely with the contingent workforce. I focus a great deal on workplace safety, whether that be training, certifying, or auditing. There are at least 3 hours of paperwork for me each day, and often phone calls with our clients and vendors. Your role sounds very similar to what I do now but for larger distribution accounts and a more robust team. I am confident that I would excel in this position."
"I work with a lot of small to medium-sized clients and, as the project manager, I spend a lot of that time in client-facing situations. I hold many meetings on a weekly basis to update our clients on the status of their project. I also cross-collaborate with a variety of departments to ensure smooth communication all the way through. Except for your agency offering a more significant client base, I am well-versed in the responsibilities required in this new position."
"Most of my workday is spent on customer service functions. I greet, assist, and ring through approximately 80 customers per day. I will perform refunds when necessary and also receive new merchandise and inventory every Tuesday. Cleaning duties are also common in my daily activities. Reading your job description, I am confident that I would exceed your expectations in all areas of responsibility."
"I spend much of my day cold calling from the lead sheet that I receive every morning. It sounds monotonous, but I enjoy the fact that every day, I am speaking to new people. I learn about their company, their industries, and their leaders, so a lot of research is involved as well. Once I have booked an appointment, I pass the warm lead onto our account managers to demo and close. That is a typical day! Could you walk me through a typical day in this particular role?"
"The majority of my day is spent in the classroom. When I am not educating, I am marking papers, putting out fires between students, providing added tutoring time to struggling students, and volunteering my time during lunch to supervise or run intramurals. I enjoy what I do and look forward to learning more about your schools' environment."
There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but you do need to be honest. If the interviewer is asking for travel in this role you should clarify just how much, and what type of travel, will be required of you. Keep your answer brief and ask as many questions as you need until you fully understand the travel requirements.
"I am willing to do some daytime travel as well as some overnights for events and conferences. Could you share with me the travel expectations for this role?"
"My commitments require me to be home on the weekends, and evenings, as often as possible. Before I answer yes or no, could you provide me with further details on any travel required in this role?"
"I have traveled for work in the past and am open to travel again if the opportunity is right. For this particular role, do you require a lot of overnight travel? I would love to learn more about the expectations in this position."
"I am happy to travel, as required, for this position. I understand from your job posting that approximately 20% overnight travel is a job requirement. Could you share with me the details regarding which clients I would be seeing and where?"
"I have been a district retail manager for the past five years, and am no stranger to travel. I would love further details regarding locations and what percent would be overnight travel, but otherwise, I am happy to commit to the needs of your multiple locations."
"Travel and sales seem to go hand in hand! Currently, I travel 50% of the time, primarily for overnight trips. I would like to cut that back slightly to around 30%. Are you able to share with me further details on the travel expectations for this position?"
"As a middle school educator, I am rarely asked to travel outside of school hours. I will move around for field trips, conferences, and other school-related activities and events from Monday to Friday. I would like to keep overnight travel to a minimum. Could you tell me more about any annual travel requirements?"
Assure the interviewer that the challenges you look for in a position are ones that will push you to grow in your career. Interviewers want to see that you are never complacent and that you like to set goals for yourself. Also, if you have read the job posting, you should address the challenges present in this role and how they align with what you are seeking.
"I am looking for a position where I can better exercise what I learned while earning my CPA. My current position has simpler accounting concerns, and so I seek to join an organization, such as yours, where I can be part of more complex accounting projects."
"When I read your job posting I was thrilled to see that you are looking for an expert in Excel as well as someone with training and onboarding experience. I have been seeking a role with further opportunities in leadership and also on the technical side."
"As an experienced manager, I am looking for the greater challenge that comes from leading a larger team. I currently manage 15 people, so my interest was piqued when your job posting mentioned a team of 28."
"I have worked as a freelance marketer for many years and seek the challenge that comes from working for a larger agency with enterprise level clients. Your company has been on my radar for quite some time, and I would be thrilled to join your experienced team."
"My previous role offered part-time hours in a non-commissioned environment. Now that I have completed my business degree I would like to join a company full time, in a commission driven environment. The challenge of meeting a sales quota is exciting to me."
"The quotas in my current role are quite conservative, and my client list is warm and primarily full of long-time clients. Now, I seek the challenge of further business development activities, a more aggressive sales quota, and hotter leads."
"As a teacher, there are always challenges in the classroom. What I am seeking is further professional development opportunities. When you mentioned in the job posting that professional growth is a significant focus in your school that was very appealing to me."
The interviewer wants to gauge better if their hiring timeline fits with your current schedule. Your answer will determine if they continue to engage with you, based on their timing and needs. If you are actively interviewing: "Yes, I am very active in my search and have had multiple invitations to interview. Currently, I am in the second interview stage with one company and third interview stage with another." If you are not interviewing with other companies: "I just started my search, so I am not in final interviews with any other company. I am aggressively seeking, however."
"Yes, I am very active in my search and have had multiple invitations to interview. Currently, I am in the second interview stage with one company and third interview stage with another."
"I am currently exploring opportunities with other organizations or similar roles. At this time, I am not at the offer stage but will keep you apprised should that change."
"I often have my eye on new opportunities, but at this time, your position was the only one that has genuinely caught my eye. Are you looking to find your candidate soon or is your timeline and interview process lengthy?"
"I am interviewing with a couple of other companies, but I am not yet in the offer stage. Could you share with me your timeline?"
"I am incredibly choosy about my next move, and I value your organization head and shoulders above all others. Right now, you are the only company for which I have applied. I am not looking for a new position because I have to, but because I believe the time is right for me to expand my horizons, which aligned perfectly with this current opening."
"I do have an interview on the books next week as a third, final round interview. I much prefer the sound of your role; however. If you and I can successfully progress over the next week or so I can certainly consider delaying an offer."
"At this time, I have two other schools who are engaging me in their process. With that said, I have been very clear with the interviewers to let them know that I am not looking to make a move until September. I am interested in each role for a unique reason and will not just take the first offer that comes my way. This decision will be one full of thought and discernment."
The type of culture you are looking for will vary based on your field and personality. However, every candidate is looking for a positive work environment and growth opportunities, so be sure to stress these aspects in your response. In regards to the position, think of three traits that get you excited about your ideal job. What work elements evoke happiness? Be sure to demonstrate to the interviewer how excited you are about this position.
"Ideally, I am seeking a role that offers a positive work environment with room for growth through challenging projects and continued training. I work best in a positive team environment where employees are respected and given some form of autonomy."
"I am looking for a role to which I can contribute value. An organization with a culture where administrative associates feel valued and appreciated. I'm passionate about working within a culture where people are recognized, ideas are celebrated, and innovation is happening all around you."
"My ideal workplace is somewhere that challenges me, allows for growth, and just somewhere I look forward to being, day in and out. So many hours are spent at work, that I want to make sure I'm a good culture fit for the rest of my team, and they for me."
"I am looking for a business that I believe in, with people who believe in what they're doing. Culture is essential to me, and I seek a company that values its people enough to go out on a limb for them. In a position, I'm looking for growth opportunities in the marketing department. I want a hand not only in execution but also planning the strategies and promotions."
"My dream workplace is comprised of a great team, selling solid products that I can stand behind with pride, and a place that values me as an employee and leader, and takes steps to nurture my growth."
"As far as my dream sales position, it's a team-oriented, sales position that pushes me daily and inspires me to stay on my toes, learn, and grow. I love a fast-pace and a collaborative team, and from looking at the entire section online dedicated to team culture and employee happiness, it's certainly super compelling and something I want to see for myself!"
"My ideal workplace is with a school and faculty that encourages collaboration, praises dedication, and fosters a safe learning environment for all."
Background checks are widespread in many industries. If you are keen for the position, you much comply fully with their onboarding process. Show that you are cooperative. If there are any marks in your history, this is the exact time to disclose them.
"Yes, I am happy to comply with any background checks required. My record is clean."
"That is a great step in the process, and there will be no issues with me participating in this. I am happy to provide any supporting documents to help along the way."
"You are welcome to conduct a background check on me. I will disclose upfront that I have a DUI on my record from 2009. This mark does not affect my ability to travel for work, and I no longer have any restrictions on my drivers' license."
"I am happy to do any background check or references you'd like. There is nothing in my background that will hinder my ability to be successfully on-boarded."
"I do have a mark on my criminal record from a few years ago. If you can review and still accept me as a candidate, I would be happy to continue the interview process with you."
"No problem. I'm also happy to provide references or documentation you may need in addition to the background and education checks."
"Rest assured; I will pass any background check that you have for me. I have worked with vulnerable persons such as children, and the elderly, for the bulk of my career. There has never been an issue present."
Before applying for any position, it’s best to have an idea of your long-term career goals, and a great sense of the potential growth the hiring company offers. This way, you can highlight for the interviewer all of the great reasons why this position will fit into your long-term goals! Maybe you hope to be in a management position with them down the road! Whatever your reasons, be sure to provide a response that allows the interviewer to see your desire to stay with them long term.
"I feel that this position fits in well with my long-term career goals because it provides the project management piece that I have been missing. I would love to become great in this role and then earn a promotion to a leadership position where I can mentor other project managers."
"My primary career goal is to find a position where I can stay long term. Because your company has such a strong reputation for workplace culture, it fits perfectly with my desires for a long-term fit."
"I know that this position is precisely the best next step in my career. Not only is the position right, but the company is where I need to be. I am looking or more responsibility and an opportunity to grow into a director level position. I look forward to climbing the ranks in your industry. I plan to take additional coursework on leadership to prepare myself for regular promotions."
"My long-term career aspirations are to lead a large organizational effort around improving global marketing. This role as a Marketing Director will help elevate my experience towards that goal. Along the way, I will continue to develop my business and financial acumen to be a more well-rounded leader."
"I have been seeking a retail environment outside of typical big box stores. Your brand and brand story resonates with me, and I like the fact that you encourage continued education opportunities for your management team as well."
"I feel I have learned all that I can in my current role, and your Senior Account Executive focusing on Strategic Accounts is precisely the role I would have written for myself in an ideal world. I would love to be able to leverage my experience in the industry to help propel your company to the next level. After succeeding in the SAE role, I'd look to move into a management role. From what I understand of your company, you seem to promote from within, and I look forward to proving myself so that I can lead a sales team at ABC Company."
"I am, and will always be, a teacher first. This role fits with my career goals because you also offer opportunities for me to participate in extra-curricular activities like being a soccer coach. I love physical activity and have a strong belief in encouraging kids to be active."
Before answering scheduling questions, it's important to be clear on the interviewer's expectations. If you haven't had a chance to clarify their scheduling needs, now would be the perfect time to ask! Consider asking, 'What are the scheduling expectations for this position?' If they expect you to work 12 hour days, it would be important for you to know that before you respond with, 'Absolutely! No problem!' You want to be sure that you can meet their expectations. If it turns out their schedule expectations won't work for you, think about what you CAN offer and see if you can meet in the middle. It's much better to discuss these things in an interview than for you to commit to a schedule that won't work for you.
"I am available for full-time work which is preferably 8-5 Monday to Friday. I am happy to be a team player and work some overtime, as required. Will these hours meet your expectations?"
"My scheduling availability is flexible and adaptable to meet the needs of your organization. I am not afraid to put in hard work or long hours when needed."
"Whenever I ask my team to stay late to complete a project, I do the same. I would never ask anything from my team that I am not willing to deliver myself. Rest assured, I am a team player and will do what it takes to ensure the organization is successful."
"I am certainly a team player and willing to pitch in to help reach a goal outside of the standard hours, but I am accustomed to typical business hours and am looking to retain those. Is there a particular time of year or initiative that comes to mind when you refer to atypical hours?"
"I'm used to working nights, weekends, and holidays. I am flexible for days or nights, weekdays or weekends, and the like. In my current role, we are offered overtime pay for holiday hours and Sundays. Is this what your organization offers as well?"
"I know that sales roles can have some long hours, and am open to that as needed. For the majority of my days, I was hoping to retain my current schedule of 8-5pm Monday through Friday. As extenuating circumstances arise, with KPI's in mind, I will certainly do more than my share to pull the weight."
"I work many additional hours in a week whether that be with students who need help after school, helping to coach a sport, or leading a club. I am certainly willing to do the same at your school."
Employers want to know if you are willing to grow with their company by investing in your industry related knowledge. Depending on the position description, relate your desire to gain additional education or certifications to the position for which you are applying.
"I currently have a Bachelor's Degree in Communications. I would love to earn my PMP Certification down the road, as my career seems to be focusing more and more on project management. This circumstance would, of course, be in tandem with full-time employment."
"I am currently on the lookout for conferences and forums that will help expand my knowledge and help me become more competent at my job. As the daughter of a teacher, I am a lifelong student and have learned to value the continuing education hours, whether mandated or otherwise."
"I have attended school for my Master's Degree in International Business. I am constantly looking to learn more and seek to obtain advanced educational certificates to be better at what I do."
"I'm always interested in learning and expanding my knowledge base. At this point, I don't know that I'll seek an additional degree, but certainly always looking to learn from others, from conferences, classes, or seminars. I often seek out online tutorials and videos to help increase my skills in the graphic design arena, so I'm no stranger to continuing my education."
"I am interested in continuing my education, formally or otherwise. Currently, I jump at any opportunity to attend seminars, conferences, or other continuing education courses offered to me. Also, I have often peeked at the local college's brochure to see if they offer any classes that would help further my career. For now, it seems the best way to continue my growth and education is through mentorships and seminars."
"I love to learn, to the level of "nerdiness," honestly. So, I'm always looking for opportunities, both formal and informal, to expand my knowledge base. My degree is a B.A. in Communications and Spanish, and I've always dreamed of getting my M.B.A., ideally in management."
"I would love to obtain my Masters' in Education eventually. I do attend teachers' conferences at every opportunity and have a keen interest in professional development. Do you have any recommendations for courses or events for me to attend?"
Before your interview, make sure you have your references prepared just in case the interviewer requests them. If you don't feel comfortable using your current employer as a reference, explain that you have other references better suited at this time. Those can be past supervisors.
"I am happy to provide you with a reference from my previous supervisor. Should the offer stage be reached, my current employer will be a reference. In the meantime, if you wish, I can provide you with a current client or character reference."
"Certainly! When we get to that point in the interview process, I will be delighted to have you reach out to my professional references."
"My director is aware that I am seeking a new role due to the recent company acquisition. I will include a few references to you via email which you are more than welcome to contact."
"I will be happy to provide you with any references you'd like and of course, can connect you with my current manager once I have a job offer in hand, contingent on references. Until that point, I'd prefer they don't know that I'm looking. I have some clients with whom I worked as a freelancer, so I'm happy to connect you with them at any point."
"This is so tricky, seeing as my current employer would be the absolute best reference for me, but I cannot yet let them know I am leaving. That said, I have many managers who have left the company who would happily provide a reference. Upon an offer, I would happily provide my current manager and store manager as references to my quality of work and character."
"I have some references, but I would not be comfortable with you contacting my current boss, seeing as they do not know I am looking for a new position. My previous manager has since left the company, and I would be happy to provide his information, as well as some other helpful references."
"My current Principal encouraged me to apply to your school once he knew that my family was looking to relocate I have brought a letter of reference from him. In the letter, he encourages a phone call from you should you have further questions."
Be sure when you respond to this question that you do not want to change aspects of your current position that are also the primary duties in the role for which you are applying. If you do this, the employer might think you are not that interested in the position and its functions. Keep your answer brief and avoid any negativity!
"I like a lot of things about my current role; however, if I could change one thing I would have my position be responsible for more graphic design and marketing material creation. I noticed one of the main duties of this position involves graphic design which is very exciting!"
"I would not change anything about my current role because I believe there are lessons everywhere in situations. As I evolve in my admin role, I would like to see it make more of an impact on the organization's bottom line. I believe that proper organization can save a company thousands of dollars in time and error avoidance, but my current company has yet to see that connection."
"If I could change anything about my current role, I would create a stronger line of communication between management and the production team. I have thought about the benefits this would bring the company and would love to be in a role where my ideas and thoughts are more valued."
"What I'd like to change about my current role is having a hand in some of the planning that I ultimately have to execute. I sit in on the calendar planning and strategy sessions but mostly am asked to be a fly on the wall for now. 18 months into this job, I want to be able to have my voice heard and be a contributing member who contributes to strategy."
"I know it sounds crazy to say I wouldn't change anything about my current job as I interview for a new position, but it's true. The role is as it should be, it's just that I feel I have outgrown the organization and need the next challenge. If I had to choose something, I would say that I wish we had a more cutting-edge inventory management system and CRM. I feel that we have lagged a bit behind the times and have not kept up with industry leaders such as yourselves with the advances in technology in recent years."
"I enjoy my current role, but if I could change anything, I would hope for more of a support staff onto whom I can pass the client after the sale, so that I can be more effective in my prospecting and selling, rather than also wear the hat of an account manager. I'm thrilled to see that you all have a dedicated customer success team that would be responsible for maintaining and growing the account after its transition from sales."
"If I could change anything about my current role, I would make the classroom sizes smaller than they currently are. It is a real challenge to be effective when you have 35 young students at a time. Currently, I do not have a TA which would also be very helpful. I hear that you have smaller class sizes and offer teaching assistants readily, which is very appealing to me."