The above picture is of two men shaking hands. One is a civilian and one is a soldier.
Whether you're a new military veteran or a disabled veteran, you know how intimidating the job hunt can be. Especially, when you consider the intricacies of the interview process.
Not sure how you should go about the job search or worried that you'll flounder during the interview portion? Well, no need to fear! We're here to help by highlighting the most common interview questions for veterans.
Common Interview Questions for Veterans
When it comes to job hunting, the key to success is being as prepared as possible. That's why we've collected the most common questions veterans are asked during job interviews. By studying this list, you can prepare yourself for the occasion and show employers just how valuable you'd be to their organization.
Here are some interview questions you should expect during the process and the potential ways you can answer.
Why Do You Want This Job?
The first thing most civilian employers will want to know is why you're interested in working in their industry. They'll ask this question because they'll want confirmation that you're as passionate about this field of work as you were about the military. It's important that you really only pursue career opportunities that you're passionate about so you don't waste an employer's time (or your own).
There are many options for military veterans when it comes to their post-service life. You can go to school, work in the military in a different capacity, or explore a plethora of career paths. Think about what you want to do before you try to find your career, and outline what interests you in the position in a cover letter.
What is Your Greatest Strength?
This question is a bit of a doozy for anyone being interviewed. It's easy to make the mistake of boasting about great you are and fail to talk about transferable skills for that specific job.
The best way to answer this question is to talk about a specific ability or skill you have that makes you an ideal fit for the position you're interviewing for. From there, cite a few examples of this skill-set in action. If it's a skill you learned in the military, that's perfectly okay as long as you find a way to tie it to the job you're going after.
What is Your Greatest Weakness?
If an employer asks you what your greatest strength is, you should prepare for them to ask you for the opposite as well. Avoid engaging in doublespeak or pretending that a strength of yours is actually a weakness. Instead, talk about a genuine weakness you have, and the ways in which you're working on improving it. Many of the skills you learn in the military are transferable.
Employers aren't looking for a perfect candidate who possesses no flaws. Rather they're looking for self-aware individuals who can recognize their shortcomings and areas of improvement. By speaking to your weaknesses in a humble way, you can show that you're a mature and insightful individual who would make a great addition to the team.
What Skills Can You Bring to This Position?
First and foremost, employers are interested in how transferable your current skill set is to the job you're applying for. And while you may be inclined to think your military experience isn't wholly relevant to a civilian job, the opposite is true. Military veterans are loyal, they're team players who work well under pressure, and they're methodical, process-driven individuals.
Talk about the soft skills and hard skills you picked up in the military when appropriate. Don't let your fear that your job skills aren't transferable cause you to under-sell your talents in an interview.
Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?
This is an extremely common question employers ask during interviews, in fact; it's kind of cliche at this point. They ask it because they want to know what you want for your career trajectory, and if you'd feel content and fulfilled by the role you're interested in. Employers want ambitious employees who are looking to grow within the organization.
Before your interview, think about your answer to this question. Answer questions like, "are you looking to be a manager?" and "do you want to work in this industry long-term?" This is also an excellent time to ask the hiring manager what growth opportunities and long-term growth opportunities they can provide you.
What's Your Ideal Work Environment?
When it comes to hiring, employers aren't only curious about whether or not you can do the work. They also want to know if you're a good cultural fit for their company. They'll ask you this question to determine if your personal work approach matches that of the team you'd be working on.
Expect questions like "what's your style of collaboration?" and "what kind of management you prefer?" By answering these questions, you can help the hiring manager assess if you'd gel well with the company and its overall culture. This is also a great time for you to ask the employer the same questions to get a better understanding as to whether or not you'd like working there as well.
General Interview Tips for Veterans
Knowing how to answer the questions above will help you immensely during the interview process. But it won't be enough to make the interview a positive experience. Here are some other things you should do during your interview to make a positive impression.
Highlight Your Military Experience & Make it Relatable
Your military experience is what sets you apart from other candidates. Use your background to differentiate yourself from other candidates. Just make your military experience relatable and easy to understand so you don't confuse the hiring manager during the interview process.
Every job has jargon, and the military is no exception. But jargon can easily derail a conversation and make your interview manager feel disconnected and left out. You should always assume that your hiring manager doesn't know any military jargon.
By speaking in easy terms everyone can understand, you can make yourself seem easygoing and relatable, which are two traits hiring managers look for in new hires.
Final Thoughts on Common Interview Questions for Military Veterans
Transitioning from the military to civilian life is challenging. Especially when it comes to landing a new job. By studying the veteran interview questions outlined in this article, you can set yourself up for success during your job interview and score a job you truly love.
Have you recently left the military? Are you in need of a job? Browse a list of open jobs!