In limited time an interviewer has with you, their mission is to know you and assess your worth, especially in relationship to other candidates interviewed. Asking you questions is way they accomplish that mission.
You’ll be asked to tell interviewer about yourself, your qualifications (especially as they pertain to specific opening), your professional background, your likes and dislikes, your strengths and weaknesses, and your goals. So first step is to know yourself. Be prepared to talk about your skills, competencies, qualifications and accomplishments. Understand your strengths and weaknesses. Explore goals you have for yourself – both current and future.
Especially know how to convey value you bring to table – strengths, unique gifts and marketable assets that are distinctly yours. Know your value proposition; it describes your worth. It is what uniquely defines you, and differentiates you from crowd. If you want to stand out in huge ocean of candidates that represents your competition, you need to become fluent in this arena.
You may also be asked why you left your previous position. This is where interview can get a bit tricky. How you answer this question can make or break your chances. No matter how challenging your supervisor was or how grueling workload or sixty-hour weeks were, you must frame your response in a positive light. If you left your previous employment because you were downsized, that's ok. That's happened quite a bit in past few years. If you resigned, be very careful how you state this. Your attitude can enhance or end your chances. Be honest, and be sure to indicate your desire for stability as an overriding factor.
Keep in mind that while your answers will help interviewer assess your skills for position at hand, it’s how you respond that more importantly determines your overall fit with company. Personality is ninety percent of battle. You may answer a question factually, but your attitude might tell them no. On other hand, it’s far better to establish a rapport with your interviewer than to answer every question correctly. A skill can always be taught, but when was last time you successfully altered someone’s personality?
Find out everything you can about interviewer’s quirks and traits. Are they confrontational or laid back, serious or informal, friendly or stern? What is their position within company, and how long have they been employed there? Are they decision-maker and therefore in a position to make you an offer? They may simply be a screen, filtering out all non-viable candidates from further review by higher-ups. If they are a screen, try and discover upon whose shoulders hiring responsibility falls.