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Whether you’re looking to be the next CEO of a Fortune 500 company or to operate a forklift at an auto parts factory at some point you are going to be subjected to an interview. Employers are looking to protect their interests and only hire the right person for a position and, based on the job you’re pursuing, the interview process can be pretty intense. However, there are a few questions that always seem to make their way into the conversation. With a little time to prepare for these questions ahead of time you can take some of the pressure off of yourself and concentrate on gaining a better understanding of the job.

AtWork recruiters from around the country have helped us put together the top five non-job specific interview questions they ask candidates, as well as some insight into what they are looking for in an answer. They are:

Tell me about yourself. Most likely your recruiter is not wanting to hear about your personal life when they ask this question. Instead, offer them details about your education, past positions and why you’ve made major professional decisions throughout your career. Just be certain to keep the conversation relevant to the job you are actively interviewing for.

What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses? Most often candidates try to pull the wool over a recruiter’s eyes with their answers to this question, but that’s a flawed approach. Go into the interview with at least one major strength and one area in which you are working to improve. Keeping the conversation relevant to the position you are interviewing for, honestly tell the recruiter why you feel you are strong or weak in certain areas, and what you are doing to continually improve.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Many people try to answer this question with lots of ambition, describing how they want to climb the corporate ladder, become a leader in the company, and so forth. What recruiters want to hear about, however, are your hopes, dreams, passions, and interests, so frame your answer around what makes you unique and how you intend to use those attributes to succeed in the position and beyond.

What do you consider your biggest professional achievement? Before any interview take a few moments to reflect back on your body of work and pick out at least one achievement you take pride in. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a ground-breaking accomplishment, just a piece of your work that mattered to you on a personal level.

Why do you want to leave your current job? An honest answer to this question is important, but can also cause problems, especially if you are leaving because of an issue with your current employer. Do your best to answer this question in an optimistic, upbeat manner. For example, don’t say you are leaving because Suzy in accounting stole your tuna salad from the fridge. Rather, explain how you’re looking for a new challenge and to find new opportunities.

Nothing can take the stress out of the interview process but having answers in mind to some of the more common questions you may encounter can be a great start. And, if you’re on the hunt for a new job but don’t know where to begin, AtWork can help. Click HERE to find a branch near you today!