I promised you help on how to answer specific interview questions. Here is a start to a series on common interview questions and the best way to respond to them.
Tell me about yourself
I’ve written an entire post on how to answer this question, but here are a few basics in case you haven’t read it. When someone asks this question, they really are asking for specific things. They want to know: What are your skills? What is your experience? Have you had any education? What makes you a good candidate? Focus on the answers to these questions as you form your response. Do your best not to talk about things that aren’t related to work. I know it’s fun to talk about your kids and your hobbies, but these things can actually hurt you. While you chatter on about your adorable two-year-old, the interviewer is thinking “She has a kid. That means she’s going to have to call in because her child’s sick or because her babysitter cancels”. You really don’t want to put any doubt in the mind of your interviewer. Stick to work related topics and the reasons you would be a good fit with the company.
What do you know about this company?
It is important to always know something about the company. Go to their website after you are invited for the interview. Find out when the company was founded, what their goals are, where the company came from, etc. When they ask what you know about the company, don’t feel like you have to rattle off facts. Instead, general information about the business is fine. Let’s say you’re interviewing at JC Penny. You might mention that the company has been in existence for over a hundred years. You could also say that it is a national company. You might also mention that you like their products and that you shop there on a regular basis. The main thing to remember is that you need to know SOMETHING about the company. If you can’t answer this question in a knowledgeable way, then you look as though you don’t really care about getting the job.