This Is How You Prepare for Those Generic Interview Questions

"Tell me about yourself" isn't a green light for you to excerpt from that memoir you've been working on.

Without us telling you what they are, you could probably list them out right now, those universal questions that pop up in every interview you’ve ever had, the “Tell me about yourself” and its ilk. And yet, the fact that they’ve already been asked and answered doesn’t always make it easier on the next go around.

How do you compose an elegant answer in the face of all this open-endedness? For a start, don’t assume the questions are as ambiguous as they seem. Draw on all that research you’ve done on the firm to guide your response. Here, for example, is how can tackle the “Where do you see yourself in five years?” question.

Cruise through this question by harmonizing your own interests — the ones that made you apply for this job in the first place — and relating them to the direction in which the company is heading. “They are looking for how you look to add value, grow and be a part of the organization,” [Lisa K.] McDonald advises. Whether or not you’re aiming for a traditional path of advancement (like managing others), Linda Pophal, a certified senior HR professional and founder of marketing firm Strategic Communications, urges you to emphasize your desire for personal growth. If you’re aiming to bring your interactive media skills to digital platforms, for example, or would like to have the opportunity to nurture young writers or editors, this a great place to say that.

For more, read: How to Answer the Top 5 Interview Questions

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