Job interviews often cause anxiety in the minds of job seekers and for good reason. Your future career depends, in part, on the first impression you make on a hiring manager. But the experience doesn’t have to be stressful. By knowing what to expect, you’ll be prepared to answer an employer’s questions and to even ask a few of your own.

We talked with Adam Bogren, manager of recruiting for Tractor Supply Co., about how job candidates can put their best foot forward when trying to land their dream job. The following are his answers to our questions:

Q: What are some key questions job applicants should be prepared to answer during an interview?

A: “Tell me about yourself ” is an icebreaker often used when interviewing someone. Others are “What is your greatest weakness and strength?” or “What accomplishments are you most proud of?” “Describe a situation when you used your leadership skills” is a question asked for entry-level positions.

Q: When the opportunity arises, what questions should job applicants consider asking?

A: When people have thoughtful questions about our company, my role or their potential new role, it shows they took the time to prepare and are taking the interview seriously. Possible questions to ask a potential employer might be, “Can you share details of what a typical day would be like in this role?” “What are the prospects for growth and advancement?” “What are the biggest challenges of this job?” and “What are the rewards of the job and working for this company?”

Q: What things tend to raise a red flag about an applicant?

A: When interviewing candidates, I can tell early on if they are familiar with Tractor Supply Co. I don’t expect them to know the entire company history, but if they ask questions about information I know is readily available on our careers page, I know they didn’t take time to research the role. When people don’t take the interview seriously or don’t respect my time by not answering the phone or showing up late, it raises a red flag.

Q: Can you offer a few interview tips?

A: Research the company and, if possible, the people who will interview you. Many business people have profiles on LinkedIn.com, and that’s an easy way to learn about them. Always be yourself. Write down questions ahead of time.

 

Looking for more job resources?
The My Journey platform on FFA.org has the FFA Resume Generator©, cover letter template and job interview practice tips. Find them online at FFA.org/my-journey.