Showing posts with label Interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interview. Show all posts


15 common INTERVIEW QUESTIONS and how to ANSWER them

Let’s face it; no one likes the interview process. Well, certainly not the people being interviewed anyway. If there was another way around the interview process, most of us had gladly take it. For an interview, you have to be on your best behavior, you only get one chance to get it right, and it’s like taking your driving test all over again.

Remember, being interviewed is a skill, and if you do the preparation you should ace it every time. Here are some 15 interview questions and how to go about answering them. 

Do you have any that you’d like us to know, simply drop it in the comment box with an appropriate answer – never can tell who you’re helping out.

1. So, tell me a little about yourself.

I’d be very surprised if you haven’t been asked this one at every interview. It’s probably the most asked question because it sets the stage for the interview and it gets you talking. Be careful not to give the interviewer your life story here. You don’t need to explain everything from birth to present day. Relevant facts about education, your career and your current life situation are fine.

2. Why are you looking (or why did you leave your last job)?

This should be a straightforward question to answer, but it can trip you up. Presumably you are looking for a new job (or any job) because you want to advance your career and get a position that allows you to grow as a person and an employee. It’s not a good idea to mention money here, it can make you sound mercenary. And if you are in the unfortunate situation of having been downsized, stay positive and be as brief as possible about it. If you were fired, you’ll need a good explanation. But once again, stay positive.

3. Tell me what you know about this company.

Do your homework before you go to any interview. Whether it’s being the VP of marketing or the mailroom clerk, you should know about the company or business you’re going to work for. Has this company been in the news lately? Who are the people in the company you should know about? Do the background work, it will make you stand out as someone who comes prepared, and is genuinely interested in the company and the job.

4. Why do you want to work at X Company?

This should be directly related to the last question. Any research you’ve done on the company should have led you to the conclusion that you’d want to work there. After all, you’re at the interview, right? Put some thought into this answer before you have your interview, mention your career goals and highlight forward-thinking goals and career plans.

5. What relevant experience do you have?

Hopefully if you’re applying for this position you have bags of related experience, and if that’s the case you should mention it all. But if you’re switching careers or trying something a little different, your experience may initially not look like it’s matching up. That’s when you need a little honest creativity to match the experiences required with the ones you have. People skills are people skills after all, you just need to show how customer service skills can apply to internal management positions, and so on.

6. How are you when you’re working under pressure?

Once again, there are a few ways to answer this but they should all be positive. You may work well under pressure, you may thrive under pressure, and you may actually PREFER working under pressure. If you say you crumble like a pack of cards, this is not going to help you get your foot in the door.

7. What motivates you to do a good job?

The answer to this one is not money, even if it is. You should be motivated by life’s noble pursuits. You want recognition for a job well done. You want to become better at your job. You want to help others or be a leader in your field.

8. What’s your greatest strength?

This is your chance to shine. You’re being asked to explain why you are a great employee, so don’t hold back and stay do stay positive. You could be someone who thrives under pressure, a great motivator, an amazing problem solver or someone with extraordinary attention to detail. If your greatest strength, however, is to drink anyone under the table or beat your opponent in a game of FIFA11, keep it to yourself. The interviewer is looking for work-related strengths.

9. What’s your biggest weakness?

If you’re completely honest, you may be kicking yourself in the butt. If you say you don’t have one, you’re obviously lying. This is a horrible question and one that politicians have become masters at answering. They say things like “I’m perhaps too committed to my work and don’t spend enough time with my family.” Oh, there’s a fireable offense. 

I’ve even heard “I think I’m too good at my job, it can often make people jealous.” Please, let’s keep our feet on the ground. If you’re asked this question, give a small, work-related flaw that you’re working hard to improve. Example: “I’ve been told I occasionally focus on details and miss the bigger picture, so I’ve been spending time laying out the complete project every day to see my overall progress.”

10. Let’s talk about salary. What are you looking for?

Run for cover! This is one tricky game to play in an interview. Even if you know the salary range for the job, if you answer first you’re already showing all your cards. You want as much as possible, the employer wants you for as little as you’re willing to take. 

You may want to say, “well, that’s something I’ve thought long and hard about and I think someone with my experience should get between X & Y.” Or, you could be sly and say, “right now, I’m more interested in talking more about what the position can offer my career.” That could at least buy you a little time to scope out the situation. But if you do have a specific figure in mind and you are confident that you can get it, I’d say go for it.

11. Are you good at working in a team?

Unless you have the I.Q. of a houseplant, you’ll always answer YES to this one. It’s the only answer. How can anyone function inside an organization if they are a loner? You may want to mention what part you like to play in a team though; it’s a great chance to explain that you’re a natural leader.

12. Would you rather work for money or job satisfaction?

It’s not a very fair question is it? We’d all love to get paid a Trump-like salary doing a job we love but that’s rare indeed. It’s fine to say money is important, but remember that NOTHING is more important to you than the job. Otherwise, you’re just someone looking for a bigger paycheck.

13. Would you rather be liked or feared?

The genuine answer should be “Neither, I’d rather be respected.” You don’t want to be feared because fear is no way to motivate a team. You may got the job done but at what cost? Similarly, if you’re everyone’s best friend you’ll find it difficult to make tough decisions or hit deadlines. But when you’re respected, you don’t have to be a complete bastard or a lame duck to get the job done.

14. So, explain why I should hire you.

As I’m sure you know, “because I’m great” or “I really need a job” are not good answers here. This is a time to give the employer a laundry list of your greatest talents that just so happen to match the job description. It’s also good to avoid taking potshots at other potential candidates here. Focus on yourself and your talents, not other people’s flaws.

You may read more on how to answer these type of question here >>>"why I should hire you

15. Finally, do you have any questions to ask me?

I’ll finish the way I started, with one of the most common questions asked in interviews. This directly relates to the research you’ve done on the company and also gives you a chance to show how eager and prepared you are. You’ll probably want to ask about benefits if they haven’t been covered already. A good generic one is “how soon could I start, if I were offered the job of course.” You may also ask what you’d be working on. Specifically, in the role you’re applying for and how that affects the rest of the company. Always have questions ready, greeting this one with a blank stare is a rotten way to finish your interview. 

Good luck and happy job hunting.


Interview advice like no other

There is always a concern about what stunt you should pull in an interview especially when employing your playing tactics. In an interview, trust me, there are only three options:

1.   ATTACK: This may be a dangerous tactic because it means you are simply controlling the interview. This is a method where you go out and out without boundaries. You will be holding the key to the interview and the steering wheel is all yours. Be careful though with this style, some interviewers detest it grossly. You may appear in control but if you take it further and without any prior experience then you may take the conversation a stray.

2.   DEFEND: The worst method in the interview history is this and I promise you if you employ it then you are out. In this method, you wait for the questions to be asked and you respond precisely as they require. 

This method discourages dialogue because the responses are mean and straight to the point. After the interviewee finishes answering a question, he waits for another question. This is the worst position you can ever be in, for both the interviewer and the interviewee because it will raise tension in the room and discomfort all together.

3.   MID - CONTROL: This is what is encouraged by most human capital specialists. In this approach, you have both control and defense in your hands. You can respond to questions comprehensively when asked to, you can ask a question when you feel like and the gear engaged is neutral where everyone is in the conversation. Most human resource managers will agree with me that an interview should be more of a conversation than a question – answer session and this is the method that can guarantee that.

If you have had previous interviews, you may have asked yourself by now what the hell went wrong? Why did I not get the job? Because your interview was gross. That is the basic answer. When an employer decides to call you for an interview, he has probably seen your CV and liked whoever he saw through it. When he gives you a chance to show that you are the person he saw through the CV, please prove it. I highly think that there is no employer who calls you to an interview with an intention of not giving you a job. All you need to have in your mind while approaching the interview room is that someone in the interview room already likes you and you have an equal opportunity to getting the job like all interviewees.

When an employer sees the CV, he likes it and calls you for an interview, you have around half an hour to prove and show that you are the right person for the job. This includes the method that you will use to approach the interview. If you choose to play attack or defensive, be careful because these methods require prior knowledge of your employer.

When to use attack.
This method is used on instances where you know that the employer is desperate for your specific skill. Normally, people in fields like qualified actuaries, tax specialists in transfer pricing or any other unique field can use these method. It involves you asking more questions than the interviewer, enquiring more about the employer, agreeing on matters like salary and allowances. The control here basically is with the interviewer. Be careful though not to go beyond the borders but maintain dignity as a prospective employee.

When to use defence
This method is not recommended in many instances but if you are applying for a job in a company that understands your past like if you were fired from your previous job and you may know that this employer needs your skill, then you need this method. It will be applicable when demonstrating the cause of you being fired or reasons for termination. It requires situations where there are bad stereotypes or perceptions about you and you need to clear them during an interview.

When to use Mid – Control
The truth is ……..Always. This is the best method that you can apply when not the above positions. It integrates the two approaches very well and it can easily give you the job. In this method, be drawn back and appear professional. Don’t be an extrovert or introvert but maybe lukewarmAsk questions when necessary respond to questions comprehensively and pose professionally while displaying a corporate attitude.

Whatever method you employ, we ask you to first consider the circumstances around your interview.


Why Should We Hire You?

This is another broad interview question that can take you down the wrong road unless you've done some thinking ahead of time. This question is purely about selling yourself. Think of yourself as the product. Why should the customer buy?

The Wrong Track

Spencer answers by saying, "Because I need and want a job." That's nice, but the bottom line here is, "What can you do for us?"

Mariana says, "I'm a hard worker and really want to work for this company." The majority of people think of themselves as hard workers -- and why this company?

The Right Track

Tom's answer to this question is, "Because I'm a good fit for the position." Getting warmer, but more details, please.

Sharon answers, "I have what it takes to solve problems and do the job." This is the best answer so far. Expand on this, and you've got it.

Develop a Sales Statement

The more detail you give, the better your answer will be. This is not a time to talk about what you want. Rather, it is a time to summarize your accomplishments and relate what makes you unique.

Product Inventory Exercise

The bottom line of this question is, "What can you do for this company?"

Start by looking at the job description or posting. What is the employer stressing as requirements of the job? What will it take to get the job done? Make a list of those requirements.

Next, do an inventory to determine what you have to offer as a fit for those requirements. Think of two or three key qualities you have to offer that match those the employer is seeking. Don't underestimate personal traits that make you unique; your energy, personality type, working style and people skills are all very relevant to any job.

The Sales Pitch: You Are the Solution

From the list of requirements, match what you have to offer and merge the two into a summary statement. This is your sales pitch. It should be no more than two minutes long and should stress the traits that make you unique and a good match for the job.

Example: "From our conversations, it sounds as if you're looking for someone to come in and take charge immediately. It also sounds like you are experiencing problems with some of your database systems. With my seven years of experience working with financial databases, I have saved companies thousands of dollars by streamlining systems. My high energy and quick learning style enable me to hit the ground and size up problems rapidly. My colleagues would tell you I'm a team player who maintains a positive attitude and outlook. I have the ability to stay focused in stressful situations and can be counted on when the going gets tough. I'm confident I would be a great addition to your team."

What Makes You Unique?

Completing an exercise around this question will allow you to concentrate on your unique qualities. Like snowflakes, no two people are alike. Take some time to think about what sets you apart from others.
"Never miss deadlines."
"Bring order to chaos."
"Good sense of humor."
"Great attention to detail."

Let the interviewer know that you have been listening to the problem and have what it takes to do the job -- that you are the solution to the problem.


Interview Tips - How To Overcome Interview Nervousness

"How To Overcome Interview Nervousness."

Does the thought of going on an interview make you nervous? Use these three quick tips to overcome your interview nervousness.


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