Youth Awareness












 

Review these typical interview questions and think about how you would
answer them. Read the questions listed; you will also find some
strategy suggestions with it.

(Excerpted from the book The Accelerated Job Search by Wayne D. Ford, Ph.D, published by The Management Advantage, Inc.)

1. Tell me about yourself:
The most often asked question in interviews. You need to have a short
statement prepared in your mind. Be careful that it does not sound
rehearsed. Limit it to work-related items unless instructed otherwise.
Talk about things you have done and jobs you have held that relate to
the position you are interviewing for. Start with the item farthest
back and work up to the present.

 

2. Why did you leave your last job?
Stay positive regardless of the circumstances. Never refer to a major
problem with management and never speak ill of supervisors, co-workers
or the organization. If you do, you will be the one looking bad. Keep
smiling and talk about leaving for a positive reason such as an
opportunity, a chance to do something special or other forward-looking
reasons.

3. What experience do you have in this field?
Speak about specifics that relate to the position you are applying for.
If you do not have specific experience, get as close as you can.

4. Do you consider yourself successful?
You should always answer yes and briefly explain why. A good
explanation is that you have set goals, and you have met some and are
on track to achieve the others.

5. What do co-workers say about you?
Be prepared with a quote or two from co-workers. Either a specific
statement or a paraphrase will work. Jill Clark, a co-worker at Smith
Company, always said I was the hardest workers she had ever known. It
is as powerful as Jill having said it at the interview herself.

6. What do you know about this organization?
This question is one reason to do some research on the organization
before the interview. Find out where they have been and where they are
going. What are the current issues and who are the major players?

7. What have you done to improve your knowledge in the last year?
Try to include improvement activities that relate to the job. A wide
variety of activities can be mentioned as positive self-improvement.
Have some good ones handy to mention.

8. Are you applying for other jobs?
Be honest but do not spend a lot of time in this area. Keep the focus
on this job and what you can do for this organization. Anything else is
a distraction.

9. Why do you want to work for this organization?
This may take some thought and certainly, should be based on the
research you have done on the organization. Sincerity is extremely
important here and will easily be sensed. Relate it to your long-term
career goals.

10. Do you know anyone who works for us?
Be aware of the policy on relatives working for the organization. This
can affect your answer even though they asked about friends not
relatives. Be careful to mention a friend only if they are well thought
of.

11. What kind of salary do you need?
A loaded question. A nasty little game that you will probably lose if
you answer first. So, do not answer it. Instead, say something like,
That’s a tough question. Can you tell me the range for this position?
In most cases, the interviewer, taken off guard, will tell you. If not,
say that it can depend on the details of the job. Then give a wide
range.

12. Are you a team player?
You are, of course, a team player. Be sure to have examples ready.
Specifics that show you often perform for the good of the team rather
than for yourself are good evidence of your team attitude. Do not brag,
just say it in a matter-of-fact tone. This is a key point.

13. How long would you expect to work for us if hired?
Specifics here are not good. Something like this should work: I’d like
it to be a long time. Or As long as we both feel I’m doing a good job.

14. Have you ever had to fire anyone? How did you feel about that?
This is serious. Do not make light of it or in any way seem like you
like to fire people. At the same time, you will do it when it is the
right thing to do. When it comes to the organization versus the
individual who has created a harmful situation, you will protect the
organization. Remember firing is not the same as layoff or reduction in
force.

15. What is your philosophy towards work?
The interviewer is not looking for a long or flowery dissertation here.
Do you have strong feelings that the job gets done? Yes. That’s the
type of answer that works best here. Short and positive, showing a
benefit to the organization.

16. If you had enough money to retire right now, would you?
Answer yes if you would. But since you need to work, this is the type
of work you prefer. Do not say yes if you do not mean it.

17. Have you ever been asked to leave a position?
If you have not, say no. If you have, be honest, brief and avoid saying
negative things about the people or organization involved.

18. Explain how you would be an asset to this organization
You should be anxious for this question. It gives you a chance to
highlight your best points as they relate to the position being
discussed. Give a little advance thought to this relationship.

19. Why should we hire you?
Point out how your assets meet what the organization needs. Do not
mention any other candidates to make a comparison.

20. Tell me about a suggestion you have made
Have a good one ready. Be sure and use a suggestion that was accepted
and was then considered successful. One related to the type of work
applied for is a real plus.

21. What irritates you about co-workers?
This is a trap question. Think real hard but fail to come up with
anything that irritates you. A short statement that you seem to get
along with folks is great.

22. What is your greatest strength?
Numerous answers are good, just stay positive. A few good examples:
Your ability to prioritize, Your problem-solving skills, Your ability
to work under pressure, Your ability to focus on projects, Your
professional expertise, Your leadership skills, Your positive attitude

23. Tell me about your dream job.
Stay away from a specific job. You cannot win. If you say the job you
are contending for is it, you strain credibility. If you say another
job is it, you plant the suspicion that you will be dissatisfied with
this position if hired. The best is to stay genetic and say something
like: A job where I love the work, like the people, can contribute and
can’t wait to get to work.

24. Why do you think you would do well at this job?
Give several reasons and include skills, experience and interest.

25. What are you looking for in a job?
See answer # 23

26. What kind of person would you refuse to work with?
Do not be trivial. It would take disloyalty to the organization,
violence or lawbreaking to get you to object. Minor objections will
label you as a whiner.

27. What is more important to you: the money or the work?
Money is always important, but the work is the most important. There is
no better answer.

28. What would your previous supervisor say your strongest point is?
There are numerous good possibilities:
Loyalty, Energy, Positive attitude, Leadership, Team player, Expertise,
Initiative, Patience, Hard work, Creativity, Problem solver

29. Tell me about a problem you had with a supervisor
Biggest trap of all. This is a test to see if you will speak ill of
your boss. If you fall for it and tell about a problem with a former
boss, you may well below the interview right there. Stay positive and
develop a poor memory about any trouble with a supervisor.

30. What has disappointed you about a job?
Don’t get trivial or negative. Safe areas are few but can include:
Not enough of a challenge. You were laid off in a reduction Company did
not win a contract, which would have given you more responsibility.

31. Tell me about your ability to work under pressure.
You may say that you thrive under certain types of pressure. Give an
example that relates to the type of position applied for.

32. Do your skills match this job or another job more closely?
Probably this one. Do not give fuel to the suspicion that you may want
another job more than this one.

33. What motivates you to do your best on the job?
This is a personal trait that only you can say, but good examples are:
Challenge, Achievement, Recognition

34. Are you willing to work overtime? Nights? Weekends?
This is up to you. Be totally honest.

35. How would you know you were successful on this job?
Several ways are good measures:
You set high standards for yourself and meet them. Your outcomes are a
success.Your boss tell you that you are successful

36. Would you be willing to relocate if required?
You should be clear on this with your family prior to the interview if
you think there is a chance it may come up. Do not say yes just to get
the job if the real answer is no. This can create a lot of problems
later on in your career. Be honest at this point and save yourself
future grief.

37. Are you willing to put the interests of the organization ahead ofyour own?
This is a straight loyalty and dedication question. Do not worry about
the deep ethical and philosophical implications. Just say yes.

38. Describe your management style.
Try to avoid labels. Some of the more common labels, like progressive,
salesman or consensus, can have several meanings or descriptions
depending on which management expert you listen to. The situational
style is safe, because it says you will manage according to the
situation, instead of one size fits all.

39. What have you learned from mistakes on the job?
Here you have to come up with something or you strain credibility. Make
it small, well intentioned mistake with a positive lesson learned. An
example would be working too far ahead of colleagues on a project and
thus throwing coordination off.

40. Do you have any blind spots?
Trick question. If you know about blind spots, they are no longer blind
spots. Do not reveal any personal areas of concern here. Let them do
their own discovery on your bad points. Do not hand it to them.

41. If you were hiring a person for this job, what would you look for?
Be careful to mention traits that are needed and that you have.

42. Do you think you are overqualified for this position?
Regardless of your qualifications, state that you are very well
qualified for the position.

43. How do you propose to compensate for your lack of experience?
First, if you have experience that the interviewer does not know about,
bring that up: Then, point out (if true) that you are a hard working
quick learner.

44. What qualities do you look for in a boss?
Be generic and positive. Safe qualities are knowledgeable, a sense of
humor, fair, loyal to subordinates and holder of high standards. All
bosses think they have these traits.

45. Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a dispute betweenothers.
Pick a specific incident. Concentrate on your problem solving technique
and not the dispute you settled.

46. What position do you prefer on a team working on a project?
Be honest. If you are comfortable in different roles, point that out.

47. Describe your work ethic.
Emphasize benefits to the organization. Things like, determination to
get the job done and work hard but enjoy your work are good.

48. What has been your biggest professional disappointment?
Be sure that you refer to something that was beyond your control. Show
acceptance and no negative feelings.

49. Tell me about the most fun you have had on the job.
Talk about having fun by accomplishing something for the organization.

50. Do you have any questions for me?
Always have some questions prepared. Questions prepared where you will be an asset to the organization are good. How soon will I be able to be productive? and What type of projects will I be able to assist on? are
examples.

 

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{December 12, 2010}   When in the hot seat

By: Mariam Naeem Khan

Interviews can be nerve-racking especially when you have little clue on what might impress the interviewers. A weak performance in answering questions can sabotage your chances of getting the job, hence read between the lines. While answering, be specific and match your skills with the company’s requirements, staying within the parametres of your job description.

A fter submitting your resume to numerous vacancy advertisements in the newspapers, networking with many contacts and filling thousands of on-line application forms, you finally receive that long awaited interview call.

However, are you ready to make the impression of a lifetime? Here are a few interview tips that can help you make a lasting impression and can increase the likelihood of landing you a job offer: Choose your outfit carefully In lots of cases, interviewers make a mental decision in the first 10 seconds of the interview whether a candidate is right for the position. This is why personal presentation is essential.

Select an outfit that fits nicely and makes you feel confident. Avoid wearing dark colours as they generally represent authoritative personalities; medium shades are more approachable and pleasant. Remember to cut and file your nails; if you wear them long and like applying nail varnish, make sure they are manicured.

Also, while you should always wear a deodorant or a perfume, don’t over-use them. Your employer/s may be allergic or the scent may simply make them uncomfortable. Shoes must be polished, hair combed and adorned with sober accessories to give you a professional look. Go prepared Before appearing for an interview, it is essential for the job seeker to do some primary research about the company and learn about its projects, its products, its services and most importantly its recent development in the industry. An interviewee should be prepared to respond to the most common question a majority of employers like to begin their interview with, “What do you know about our company?” A wrong or misinformed answer can be disastrous.

Next, know your job description. Why? Because most of the interview questions are likely to revolve around your job description and the skills needed to deliver the tasks. Match your skills with those mentioned in the job description and evaluate which skills you’ve used on your previous job. This will save you from any unannounced hiccups during the interview. Also, do not forget to take your CV along. Remember your manners Punctuality and good manners can take you to your dream job! Be punctual and arrive only five to ten minutes before the interview time.

“Reaching too early makes a candidate anxious and they keep rehearsing the interview in their head. It’s a bit frustrating on the interviewer’s part too, as they need to rush things to facilitate this individual who’s been waiting for long. This could affect the performance of both the parties,” says a top recruiting manager from a multinational company.

Smile a bit and be courteous. Don’t appear shy or confused. Politely ask the receptionist for the officer who will be interviewing you. Greet and shake hands firmly when they appear. Don’t take a seat until asked and thank the panel after being seated. Interviewers usually start by introducing themselves, so listen attentively and acknowledge each one of them. Your body language counts The old adage, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,” is still a relevant motto. Slouching back in the seat with disinterested eyes will not help your application even if you’re giving the best possible answer. Similarly, leaning too much in the chair with clasped hands and an extremely earnest look will put the interviewers off.

The best position is to sit up straight and slightly lean towards the interviewer when they ask a question. If there is more than one interviewer, change your body direction to the individual who’s putting forth the question. Carry an interested countenance and nod moderately to show your enthusiasm. Maintain a direct eye contact with the interviewer whose question you’re answering, but also, occasionally, look at other examiner.

Do no fidget about as it shows nervousness. Sitting crossed-legged with one shaking above the other is bad manners. Also, folding your hands on your chest implies that you’re getting defencive. Interpret the meaning of questions Interviews can be nerve-racking especially when you have little clue on what might impress the interviewers. A weak performance in answering questions can sabotage your chances of getting the job, hence read between the lines and hit the nail on the head.

A common interview question is, “Why do you want to work for us?” This is a tricky question. While answering, be specific and match your skills with the company’s requirements, staying within the parametres of your job description. A detailed response would show the interviewer you’ve done your research and that you are worth investing in.

For instance, they may ask you about your greatest weakness. You may reply that you have none or that you’re weak at Math. But a better response would be to identify a weakness during your inter view preparation phase and say, “I’m emotional, but I’m practising self-reflection on my behaviour, responses and thinking patterns.” Such a response would show the employer you’re self-aware, are willing to take feedback seriously and will take action in the areas that need improvement. Always ask a question when they give you a chance Towards the end of the interview, employers always give candidates a chance to ask questions. Sadly, many job seekers don’t realise the importance of the questions they ask. The kind of question you ask will give interviewers a fair idea of how professional you are. Asking either silly questions or no questions is a mistake.

A common question that interviewees do ask is, “When can I expect the result of this interview?” Please, ask something more productive and informative. Ten candidates before you have asked the same question and this leaves no difference between you and them. A few good interview questions can be:

“How would you describe your management style?” This will give you an insight of how things work in this company.

“Can you please describe the qualities that you’re looking for in the ideal candidate?” This will give you a chance to evaluate your answers during the interview.

“What do you like the best about this firm?” He/she gives his/her opinions and feels valued. ¦

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