One of the tips that I always give my clients is to be ready to talk about their personal lives as well. Yes, you should 100% spend most of your time prepping for an interview by researching the company, any challenges they may be facing, and how you can help.
I always caution clients though that this is not just an interview about your job readiness. When a hiring manager selects a candidate, they are likely going to be with this person more than their families. Think about it! You spend a LOT of time at work. Do you think a hiring manager would be likely to hire someone that they don’t find easy to get along with? I wouldn’t – would you!?
When getting ready for an interview, here’s three additional questions to add to your study list.
1) What was the last book you read? I have a BA in Communications and a Masters in English, so it’s a natural that I would be asked this, however many of my clients that regularly interview and hire have this question on their list. Not a reader? Have something else in your back pocket – as in, “I’m actually an avid moviegoer – I recently saw XXXX. Have you seen it yet? It’s great!”.
2) What do you do in your free time? This can be asked in a variety of ways, and believe it or not, can trip you up just as easily as What’s your biggest weakness. You want to be ready with something interesting that sounds natural. Stay away from anything controversial or too personal, while at the same time being truthful and a little intriguing. Interesting hobbies? Antiquing, hiking, cooking… Are you a fitness buff? How about “I really love to stay healthy so my family and I are always trying to find way to keep active, and I love cooking healthy and finding new ways to eat well without being boring.
3) What is your dream job? This can be kind of a disaster if you’re not prepared. Realistically, this job that you’re interviewing for may not actually be your dream job, or anything like it. In fact, you may not even know what your dream job is. Here’s my take. Most of us work to live and not the other way around. The best of what we can hope for is a job where you like the people you work with, feel challenged, have opportunity to grow, and feel like you’ve done something at the end of the day. This question is a chance to mention all that, as in “You know, I’m really open-minded, and what I am looking for is an opportunity to grow professionally, and make significant contributions to the company as well. I would love to have a mentor in the next role that I undertake, and after all the research I’ve done and talking to you, feel like Company Name would be a terrific fit.”
Like any other question list, the important thing is to BE PREPARED. Always be ready for anything, and try to be as poised and concise as possible. It’s ok to be nervous, employers will actually expect to see a bit of that, and it makes you look like you want the job..which is a good thing. Just remember, this interview is about more than just your job skills – your employer is also feeling you out to see if you’re a personality and culture fit as well.