One of the most important things to remember about these questions is they are rarely asking what they appear to be. They are all designed to allow you to demonstrate specific qualities. Establishing what those qualities are and then preparing answers that demonstrate those qualities is the key to successfully answering them.
Tell me about yourself?
This is asked in almost all interviews and yet due to the ridiculously open ended nature and ambiguous meaning of the question, it can be very difficult to answer. While you should not necessarily be afraid to mention aspects of your personal life, keep them very brief. They are interested in your professional life and you need to illustrate that you are the sort of person that holds that aspect of his life in high regard and that you have a definite interest in the field that you are applying to work in. Keep your answer to a maximum of three minutes and finish with “would you like hear more?”
Why should I hire you?
Because I am the best candidate for the job. This is one of the few common interview questions that has no hidden meaning. Nobody wants to hire somebody that believes they are smarter than everyone else. This attitude is the opposite of being a team player. Therefore while arrogance is not a quality that you want to portray, the confidence to state that you are the best person for the job is one that you definitely do want to portray. Remember however, the statement requires evidence and you should not wait to be asked for it. State exactly why you believe you are the best person for the job.
Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or co-worker?
The answer to this question is yes. Whether it is true or not, saying no not only seems unlikely, it also removes the opportunity for you to explain how you dealt with it. They are looking to know how you will handle a conflict when it arises if you are hired. Therefore provide an example that demonstrates your ability to handle conflict effectively, speedily and without ill feeling. Good examples are that you tried to see the other person’s point of view, that you ensured that they could witness this attempt and that you were willing to compromise without completely backing down.
What is your biggest weakness?
Many people think that this is a no-brainer. They simply cloak an obvious strength in the disguise of a weakness. Fact is unless you are indeed some form of alien, you have got a weakness and all employers are perfectly aware of this. Of course that does not mean that you tell them a glaring weakness that makes them not want to hire you. You simply need to state a relatively minor weakness and then elaborate on how you are overcoming it. An example would be that you are unorganized but you have recently started listing almost everything. The key is to show that you accept your faults and that you are actively trying to better yourself.
What is your long term objective?
This question is very simple but many people get it wrong as they do not adequately research either the position that they are applying for or the company that is offering it. Your long term objective is to achieve exactly what they want the successful candidate to achieve. To answer this you need to simply ask why they have advertised the position. If you can figure this out and answer accordingly being careful to include organization specific elements, you have found the perfect answer. The right answer is not that you want to make X grand per year.
Why are you leaving your old job?
This question has an endless number of wrong answers. Remember that talking negatively about any aspect of your old job is in fact talking negatively about yourself. You need to look at it from the employer’s perspective and how they would be happy to let an employee go. Don’t mention money as this can appear ungrateful. Perfectly reasonable answer however include that you do not feel sufficiently challenged, that you would like the opportunity to have more responsibility, that you feel limited in terms of upward mobility at your current employer. One thing to remember though, if you say that you are leaving to achieve or experience something, make sure that that thing will be present at the position that you are applying for.