4. "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"
Since anything can happen and change in five years, this is an impossible question to answer. What they really mean is: "If I hired you, could I count on you to stay with this company long-term?" Therefore, avoid answers such as "I hope to be running my own business," or "I plan to be retired by then."
You can provide an answer that satisfies their interests by indicating that you hope to be well established as someone who is helping the company succeed.
You can also turn the question back to the interviewer, and ask where they see the company in five years. You might not know on a personal level where you'll be, but most companies have goals and plans that look out two to five years. Their answer might give you an idea if it's a company worth settling down with.
5. "Tell me about a time you failed."
Think of a work-related situation that didn't turn out quite as you had hoped. The interviewer is interested in seeing how you took responsibility for your failure, what you learned from it, and how you would prevent similar failures from happening again.
"I once rushed a project to make a shipping deadline but inadvertently skipped a couple of critical steps. We ended up discovering the mistake before the customer installed the products, but they weren't pleased. I never made that mistake again."
"I thought my aggressive sales tactics were a great quality until I lost a client for being too pushy. I've since learned to tone things down and really understand my clients' needs before determining how to help them."
Looking for answers to other common interview questions? Ask them in the comments below.
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