Mind Reading Your Interviewer (from Labtuit)

Tricky questions and how to dominate them from Labtuit.com

Brian Richie
7 min readOct 29, 2019
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Brian Richie

Oct 24 · 6 min read

You’re dressed head-to-toe in your best professional attire.

You’ve got a freshly-printed, top-notch resume in hand.

You’re called into the executive’s office and you greet them with a warm smile and firm handshake.

You take a seat across from them, and then the pressure starts.

We’ve all been there. Interviews can be stressful, even for the most prepared candidates. Sometimes even the seemingly harmless questions, like “tell me about yourself,” can be tricky.

Luckily, Labtuit.com is here to help you understand the meaning behind some of the more common interview questions, and some tips for answering them.

“Tell me about yourself”

What is the meaning?

Companies want to know more than just what is listed on your resume. Generally this is the first question to kick off an interview, so they’re looking for how you speak and what you focus on as a sample of how you would speak in meetings or to the team and management.

For example, if this question stumps you or you don’t know where to begin, it may show a lack of preparation or ability to prioritize what is important. If you ramble with too many unnecessary details or irrelevant information, it may be a precursor to how ineffective you might be in speaking during team meetings. If your answer is choppy or scattered, the interviewer might view this as a lack of social confidence. At Labtuit, candidates are provided with a clear structure to answer, removing the guesswork from this question.

Labtuit.com’s tips for answering:

Labtuit’s philosophy is to keep a simple structure, but don’t try to memorize an answer to this. Remember this is the start of a conversation, so this should feel natural.

Talk briefly about your most current experience or role and how it relates to the position you are interviewing for. Then describe some previous relevant experience, aiming to show impact and not just tasks you completed. Finally, always tie in your timeline with the future, meaning where you intend to go next and how that led you to the interview with this company.

Photo by Hannah Nicollet on Unsplash

Why do you want to work here?

What is the meaning?

This is code for, “Just how much do you know about our company?”

Companies want to hire candidates that fit well into their culture and vision. These types of candidates provide better value to the company due to longer tenure and higher passion for work.

Labtuit teaches that an interviewer is asking this to separate the volume candidates from the quality candidates. Put another way, they’re trying to determine if they were just another company on your list of 100+ you applied to, or did you take time to research them before deciding it was a good fit?

Labtuit.com’s tips for answering:

Do your research!

It’s worth it to take the time to understand the companies you are interviewing at.

Labtuit suggests reading through their website. Take notes on things that stand out, such as their mission statement. Dissect the job description. There are tons of hidden clues about what a company is looking for everywhere. Align your strengths and passions to companies that clearly reflect the same, and be prepared to share this in your answer.

Why should we hire you?

What is the meaning?

Who gets the job will usually be the one who exhibits the most readiness for the position.

While it may be disheartening to hear that many companies will disclude candidates hoping to be “given a chance” despite lacking certain skills, this is often the case. It’s a bigger risk to hope that someone can learn and perform a job than to hire the one who has already proven they can.

Labtuit.com’s tips for answering:

Confidence gets you hired, and confidence comes from preparation.

To be confident in your ability to provide more value than any other candidates, Labtuit suggests knowing the job. Take a highlighter to the job description to pull out all hard and soft skills listed in the requirements.

Then, think of detailed examples from past work where you’ve shown an expert ability for these skills.

For example, if the job description mentions leadership or team management, prepare your best example of leadership in the form of a story that you can tell to prove to the interviewer that your leadership ability led to an increase in performance for the business. Remember to be specific and show value, and avoid any vague interview buzzwords like “quick learner.”

Has anyone ever admitted they were a slow learner in an interview? Probably not.

Show your value.

Why are you looking for a new job?

What is the meaning?

This is a question that will show the interviewer what is most important to you.

Judging by your answer, they can see where your priorities stand and predict your future success or failure.

Responding with a high level answer that can apply to almost any job such as, “I find the job interesting” or” I just relocated and I need a job,” isn’t a strong answer.

On the other hand, if your answer matches the company’s vision or values, you’ll give clues to your future success at the organization.

Labtuit.com’s tips for answering:

Be honest with your answer, but avoid anything negative. Even if you were laid off or fired from your last position and you need a source of income, avoid divulging anything that might come across as desperate.

Instead, think about what is truly important to you within your career. Maybe in your last position you felt capped at a ceiling. Talk about how important growth within a company is to you, and why this company offers that.

Maybe you were simply bored in your last role. Talk about how you’re seeking to be challenged more, and give examples of times you thrived under pressure.

Labtuit teaches candidates to be organic and genuine with your answer, but keep it positive and ensure it matches the company’s mission and values.

Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

What is your biggest weakness?

What is the meaning?

Ah, the dreaded weakness question. Why in the world are we asked to talk about what we’re not good at if we’re trying to impress this company?

Look, nobody’s perfect. Labtuit know this.

Instead of searching for a non-existent perfect candidate, they look for those who have high awareness of their flaws and are actively seeking solutions.

Labtuit.com’s tips for answering:

Candidates who can show honesty and vulnerability here while also displaying effort for improvement win bonus points.

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you’re terrible with public speaking. You’re the one who averts eye contact during presentations, or shakes like a leaf in the wind when addressing a group of people.

Will that necessarily keep you from getting hired? No, but are you working on it? The answer should be a yes.

Perhaps you took initiative to enroll in a public speaking course, or you’ve asked for supervisor feedback from past public speaking situations. Perhaps you’ve researched tips on YouTube on how to overcome your fear.

When answering this question, Labtuit suggests that you be honest. Don’t use fluff answers like, “I work too hard” that will have the interviewer rolling their eyes.

Give a true example of a weakness, but only if you can explain the steps you’ve taken to address it and improve. This will show growth and value to the interviewer, who will know you’re capable of learning new things if they hire you.

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Labtuit is a Silicon Valley-based startup that helps professionals and recent grads land the right job (get the position and pay they deserve). We’ve helped candidates land at great companies such as Google, eBay and Boston Consulting Group. We are founded by a Harvard PhD, ex-Uber and ex-McKinsey. Everyone lands a job but most don’t land the right job. For example, a Software Engineer we’ve helped was happy with a 150K position, but we helped him land a senior Engineer position at 190K. We rewrite resumes to make them stand out, give our users mock interviews (role-related/technical and behavioral), and guide them on getting referrals.

Because we aim to give to the 99% what the 1% has — top-notch career advising- the service is free until the candidate lands a job. After the candidate starts work, we charge 2% of the first-year base salary to be paid in 3 installments. The goal at Labtuit is for our service to pay for itself from the improvement in the offers that the candidate gets. To learn more, visit labtuit.com.