During a job interview, softball questions are those that seem easy on the surface. And, in fact, they are. Hiring managers include them in part to help candidates relax and move smoothly into the conversation. But there’s more to softball questions than meets the eye. Employers want you to reveal as much about yourself as possible, as they determine whether you’d be the best fit for their company and the job being offered.
“Bunting” as you answer these questions gives you more strategic control over your interview. In fact, if you properly prepare, you may do much more than just bunt: you could wind up winning by a landslide.
For instance, consider these typical softball questions:
“Tell us a little about yourself.”
This is a classic first question asked during an interview. Depending on how you answer, you can score some points right up front and set the stage for success.
- Give a one-sentence statement that summarizes your career history. Keep it concise. Paint a broad picture of your experiences.
- Follow by highlighting a key career accomplishment. This is not the time to provide a laundry list of all your best moments. Pick a truly significant one and then explain it in a sentence or two.
- Conclude with a summary of where you’d like to take your career next. It’s critically important that this is relevant to the position you are seeking.
“What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?”
You may be asked about your strengths and weaknesses in one question, or it may be broken down into two. In the event that you’re asked about both at the same time, discuss your weaknesses first, so you can end on a positive note.
- Follow this formula: Begin by stating your weakness. Then, add context and a specific example of how this trait has surfaced in your professional life. This context will give your interviewers insight into your level of self-awareness and commitment to growth. Personalize your example and the ways that you’re adapting and continuously improving yourself.
- It can be surprisingly difficult to talk about your strengths. You need to balance your humility with a projection of confidence. Use the job description as your guide. Here again, provide specificity and context. Address qualities that qualify you for the job and distinguish you as the right candidate.
“What are you most proud of in your career?”
The purpose of this question is to help your interviewer understand the way you think and to get a better grasp of your personality type. They’ll be trying to discern what motivates you the most, in order to determine whether the role you’re applying for will bring out the best in you.
- Focus on an incident where you solved a problem for a previous employer or made a significant contribution in some way. It doesn’t have to be extraordinary or amazing. It just needs to be a specific example with evidence to support it.
As you prepare for your next interview – and throughout your job search process – consider partnering with an experienced search consultant from TRC Professionals. We’ll help you find your dream position in tech, engineering, accounting, marketing, cybersecurity or logistics. Contact us today to learn more.