Hello, Fresh Grad Looking For Your First Job. Hello to you too, Unemployed And Back Scouring The Job Market. We know that job interviews can be scary. They even say that it’s one of the situations in life that you lie the most because you know you have to sell yourself hard.

What a lot of us forget is that at the end of the day, we just have to be ourselves. To help you (see your true self and) ace your job interviews, we asked our HR Department what questions they normally ask and what answers turn them off. Here are 8 of them:

answers HR tired of hearing (8)

Question #8:

“Tell me about yourself”

Don’t say: “My name is… I’m 21 years old, I live…”

Instead: Refrain from reciting your resume. This question is an icebreaker. The person interviewing you wants to see what kind of personality you have and know how you see yourself. So make it interesting. Talk about your hobbies, what you do on weekends, your favorite movies, basically the things in your life that make you who you are.

Question #7:

“Why do you want to work here?”

Don’t say: “Anything about the money you’re expecting to get. We all need money but saying that will make it look like it’s all you’re in it for.”

Instead: Talk about how the job is going to benefit your career and who you are as a person. And if you’re really a fan of the company you’re applying to, enumerate the reasons and don’t just flatter them.

answers HR tired of hearing (7)
answers HR tired of hearing (6)

Question #6:

“What are your strengths? Weaknesses?”

Don’t say: “I’m workaholic” or “I’m too OC and detail-oriented”. The HR knows your weaknesses can be secret strengths if handled properly, so don’t use this opportunity to brag about “weaknesses.” Talk without sounding like you’re full of yourself but don’t be too modest either.

Instead: Talk about instances that show your strengths, and then talk about instances where you’ve seen your weaknesses.

Question #5:

“What are the things you still need to improve on? What do you do to improve it?”

Don’t say: “I have to work on my relationships with other people.”
People skills are very important in the workplace. Companies look for people who can work well with people they already have so they look for someone who’s going to keep the team intact. It’s not just about skills or background, it’s about how you will work everyone else.

Instead: Whatever your weaknesses are, you should first show that you are aware of them and that you are committed to improving yourself. Remember that you should talk about your shortcomings gracefully, and with dignity. This normally is the follow-up question for item 6.

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Question #4:

“What can you contribute to this company?”

Don’t say: “Skills and talents”. You’re just stating the obvious.

Instead: Talk about your network, the people you know and how these connections can benefit the company. You should also talk about your method, your way of doing things.

Question #3:

“What’s your dream job?”

Don’t say: “To work here!” Duh.

Instead: Tell the truth. It doesn’t have to be connected to the job you’re applying for, as long as you don’t say that you dream of working for the competitor. This question allows them to see how committed you’re going to be to the job, how long you’re going to stay and what is it that you want to get out of the job.

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Question #2:

“How do you handle pressure and stress?”

Don’t say: “I meditate and breathe deeply.” It’s too easy and obvious an answer.

Instead: Give a realistic answer. Do you take a break, step out? Do you make yourself a cup of coffee? Do you pick up your stuff and work elsewhere?

Question #1:

“What are your personal and career plans?”

Don’t say: “To be rich and have a family.” That’s what everyone wants, and you’re being too vague.

Instead: Be specific. Say something rational, tangible and attainable. Talk about how you intend to implement these plans. Maybe you want to build your own firm someday—talk about that and say how your experience will figure into that plan.

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Jozza Alegre Palaganas

Jozza has two life pegs: Martha Stewart and Jonah Peretti. She dreams of one day owning a juicer and the Internet. In the meantime, she's 8List's managing editor.

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