When you think about the interview process for a new job, do you get goosebumps? Do you start sweating at the thought of having to answer questions about yourself and your skills? If so, you’re not alone: 73% of job seekers are stressed out by interviews. And when you’re going on interviews to change careers, it’s no easy feat. Many people need to reduce nervousness before job interviews so they can show their true skills and get hired.
At Thinkful, we have an experienced Careers team that helps our students navigate those treacherous job interview waters. They help our students break down the behavioral and technical interview process so they can let their true personality and skills shine.
We chatted with our Associate Director of Careers Delivery, Stephanie Bermudez, to get her tips on how to tackle tough questions. Here are three tricky job interview questions and how to answer them:
1. Who are you? Tell me about yourself.
There are a lot of nuances to this question. Do you tell the interviewer everything from that first science project in high school down to what you did yesterday? No, but Stephanie recommends sharing the parts of your story that show you are ready to do the job, and show you are confident in your skills.
“Many [students] have such inspiring stories and transferable skills that would make them ideal candidates at certain places, so our job is to show them how to own and showcase that narrative,” says Stephanie. Applicants have to own their story and show confidence in their new skills. “Instead of a sales consultant who knows web development, they're a web developer with a background in sales,'' Stephanie shares.
Answer: Elaborate on how your background, knowledge and skill sets make you the best candidate for the job.
2. How do you handle pressure? Tell me about a time that you overcame a challenge.
With this question, you want to show your interviewer that you can navigate complex projects, deadlines, and collaborate with a team when times get tough. For Thinkful students, a great way to show how to overcome challenges is “translating a technical project and tying it into their work at Thinkful,” Stephanie suggests.
Since our courses are intensive, Thinkful students have an opportunity to share their unique experience learning new technologies in a short amount of time. That is a good general example to give, but interviewers want to know how you overcome stressful situations and work problems.
Answer: Speak to your troubleshooting and problem solving skills by using technical examples of how you were able to create different applications and software projects regardless of the obstacles that came in your way.
3. What's your biggest weakness?
As a job seeker, this may be your favorite question to avoid. The interviewer wants to know your perception of yourself, and how you handle knowledge gaps. Do you stop moving forward if you’re unsure or do you do everything it takes to get the job done?
Answer: Choose a characteristic about yourself where you can articulate a clear path to improvement.
For instance, if you’re a data scientist interviewing for a data role with a heavy focus on biostatistics -- but you’re expertise is in deep learning, you can paint a narrative around your transferable skills and your ability to learn quickly. While you may not know much about biostatistics, which is considered a weakness, you still have the broad skills of data science and the opportunity to grow your knowledge.
Specifically, Thinkful graduates can talk about how quickly they had to learn new skills in our course. Showing an employer your ability to learn quickly, and the steps you will take to fill that skills gap, will help you stand out in the candidate pool.
Going on interviews to land a job can be tough, but not impossible! Thinkful offers valuable career development support for our students. Take this quiz to see which tech career is right for you.