Interviews are possibly one of the most stressful scenarios you can encounter in your adult life. This is an instance where your potentially new boss is judging you, they are judging your character, your appearance, and trying to picture you in the proposed job position. Of course you must be professional, but you must also find ways to stand out and let hints of your personality shine through as well. Today I’m going to be going over some of the most commonly asked questions in an interview and some responses that are professional but different from the standard answers.

Tell me a little about yourself.

Interviewers love this question because it opens up a window of opportunity to ask deeper questions about your education, work history, volunteer work, etc. In the desired response they are not looking for personal things about yourself but this is an opportunity to add in bits and pieces of your personality.

Response: Well, my name is Mackenzie and I am 21 years old. I graduated from Clark County High School in Kahoka, Missouri with the class of 2014. I was ranked 15 out of 85 with a 3.6 GPA. My main focus in high school was business classes which lead me to move to Quincy, Illinois and study at John Wood Community College with an intended major of business. While continuing my education I worked at Kmart part time and was trained in various departments including cashier, customer service, fine jewelry, softlines, hardlines, unit integrity, pricing, backroom locator, and integrated retail. As I obtained my associates degree with a 3.0 GPA, I was promoted to Pricing Specialist at Kmart and accepted additional responsibilities.

After this response an interviewer might ask additional questions about daily responsibilities while holding these various positions, or what the jobs entail.

What is your reason for leaving your current job?

This question can be difficult to answer because in most instances we don’t leave jobs that we truly enjoy. So you have to find a nice way to say that your job sucked.

Response 1: I have been looking for new opportunities for a while now, I have almost three years of retail experience and have been trained in various departments. I feel that I am prepared for an elevated job and am ready for a management opportunity that was never presented to me previously.

Response 2: I have three years of money handling and customer service experience, I am looking to branch out of retail and focus on a more intensely business-focused career.

What is your biggest weakness?

Words cannot describe how much I dislike this question. It is such a cliché. I guess that the point of this question is to give you an opportunity to say what is terrible about you or your worst habit and how you make it so that you aren’t the worlds worst employee. You can’t say, “Around 3 pm every day I just get tired and lose all productivity.” Even though that might be a really honest response, don’t count on getting that job. You also can’t say the most cliché answer, “I’m just a detail oriented person and sometimes I get caught up in making a project perfect which can cause me to take a longer time to get things done.” I came up with a response that has been a go to when asked this strange question, I find a way to incorporate what I know my responsibilities would be in this job and how I adjust my habits to compensate for my short comings.

Response: I’m really into planning and developing a clear path when there are activities that need to be done. Let’s say that tomorrow we need to change all of the signs in the store, but next week the entire store has to be rearranged. I might get so caught up in developing a plan of attack for this huge floor reset that I forget to take down or put up a few signs.

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