Job Interview Questions
Interview Tips – “Tell Me About Yourself”
Balance of Confidence & Humility
The secret to being likable in interviews is to find that fine balance of confidence and humility. There is a simple two-step process you can use when answering interview questions to help with that.
1) Always talk about yourself using quantifiable accomplishments. Back-up every statement you make about your abilities with facts and statistics to validate what you are saying.
2) Make it clear that while you are proud of these accomplishments, you did not achieve them alone. Give credit to those who helped you achieve those accomplishments as a way to prove you understand there is no “i” in “team.”
You Are Not Special, But You Are Unique
In interviews, your goal is to show the employer how you’re unique from other candidates. Specifically, how that uniqueness will provide the greatest return on their investment. It is not your goal to appear special – none of us are. Keep that in mind on interviews and you’ll not only find it easier to keep the crisis of confidence in check, you’ll be more likeable too.
Think about your reaction to people who have different cultural behaviors! For example, what does it mean to you when someone won’t look you in the eye?
First impressions take just ten seconds or less…
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It is equally important to understand which topics should be left alone.
With that in mind, here are a few categories of questions that job candidates would be well advised NOT to breach while interviewing. (Note: While many other career experts make lists of specific questions not to ask, having umbrella categories to stay away from will hopefully kick-start your common sense rather than getting you to memorize 10 things you absolutely shouldn’t say.)
Questions that show you haven’t done any research: Hiring authorities are looking for indicators that job applicants are not simply looking for a job, but the specific job for which they’re interviewing.
Consequently, asking questions that could have been easily answered with a bit of advanced Googling will quickly put you behind the candidates who probe into details that aren’t available on the company’s “About” page.
–“What does the company do?”
–“How long has the company been in business?”
–“What role am I applying for?”
–“What will my title be if I get the job?”
All of this information is easily accessible via independent research and often included in the job description. Throwing out these questions will make it seem that you didn’t take the initiative to do any research and imply that you’re plain lazy or otherwise not enthusiastic about the role.
Questions that suggest self-absorption: Along the same lines, hiring managers generally want team players who are interviewing because of the specific career opportunity rather than the personal or lifestyle benefits that supplement it.
Therefore, other questions to stay away from (most notably during a first-round interview) are those surrounding compensation. Of course the issue of money and benefits are important to any candidate, but when you begin to dig into them too early, it can indicate you’re more concerned with the paycheck than making an indelible imprint on the organization.
You can’t accept an offer if the money is not right, but it’s important to stay opportunity-oriented while building the relationship, lest a hiring manager assume you’ll jump ship the next time a competitor offers you a larger salary.
Questions that could suggest you’re interviewing for selfish reasons include:
–“What are the most exciting benefits you can offer me?”
–“How often can I work from home?”
–“How many vacation or sick days can I take?”
–“How many breaks do I get every day?”
These have nothing to do with the work you would do and may suggest you’re all about “me” instead of “we.” Save them for the end of the process when an offer is on the table.
Questions that pry into personal lives: There are many questions that will help you better understand the hiring firm and the role so that you can evaluate if the opportunity is right. However, asking questions that pry into a hiring manager’s personal life will not help you determine your fit, and can quickly make for an uncomfortable situation.
–“Are you married?” (What if his or her spouse passed away or filed for divorce?)
–“What’s your ethnic background?” (It’s really not your business)
–“Where were you educated?” (What if he or she didn’t go to college?)
You get the idea.
Questions that will make the interviewer’s mind wander to negative places: It’s reasonable to be curious about what might get you fired at a company or whether a company will have drug tests and background checks. However, asking “What has gotten employees fired here in the past?” “Will there be random drug testing?” and “Will I need to pass a background check?” can raise red flags; the hiring manager may think that you’ll engage in unprofessional behavior, use illicit substances and have a checkered past.
What is your Greatest Strength?
Review more interview questions related to your strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and accomplishments, along with examples of answers.
Answer = Non-Essential Skills
Analyze the key skills and strengths required for the position you are interviewing for and then come up with an honest shortcoming which is not essential for success in that job.
Answer = Skills You Have Improved
When you’re asked what your greatest weakness is, one option is try to turn a negative into a positive. Another option is to discuss skills that you have improved upon during your previous job, so you are showing the interviewer that you can make improvements, when necessary. You can sketch for employers your initial level of functioning and then discuss the steps you have taken to improve this area and then reference your current, improved level of skill.
Answers to Questions About Your Weaknesses
Here are 300+ more responses to interview questions about your weak areas share by About.com site visitors.
Give me an example of how you have handled conflict on the job.
Why did you leave your last job?
Be prepared to answer the most general interview questions like:
|What background do you have that would be helpful in consulting?…|
Questions related to a specific job position:
Behavioral interview is based on the idea that the best way to predict your future performance is to examine your past and present performance in a similar situation.
Why should you prepare for a BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW?
Candidates who prepare for behavioral interviews are better prepared – even for traditional interviews.
Using behavioral answers works well with unexperienced interviewers.
Companies that invest the time and energy in developing behavioral interviews often attract top candidates. Top candidates make the company a more desirable place to work.
Behavioral questions can be difficult if you are not prepared. Always try to be conscious about what the recruiter is trying to find out about you by asking you a particular question. Participating in a mock interview is an excellent way to practice!
One of the keys to success in interviewing is practice, so we encourage you to take the time to work out answers to these questions using one of the suggested methods, such as the STAR approach. Be sure not to memorize answers; the key to interviewing success is simply being prepared for the questions and having a mental outline to follow in responding to each question.
In a traditional job-interview, you can usually get away with telling the interviewer what he or she wants to hear, even if you are fudging a bit on the truth. Even if you are asked situational questions that start out “How would you handle XYZ situation?” you have minimal accountability. How does the interviewer know, after all, if you would really react in a given situation the way you say you would?
In a behavioral interview, however, it’s much more difficult to give responses that are untrue to your character. When you start to tell a behavioral story, the behavioral interviewer typically will pick it apart to try to get at the specific behavior(s). The interviewer will probe further for more depth or detail such as “What were you thinking at that point?” or “Tell me more about your meeting with that person,” or “Lead me through your decision process.”
If you’ve told a story that’s anything but totally honest, your response will not hold up through the barrage of probing questions. Employers use the behavioral interview technique to evaluate a candidate’s experiences and behaviors so they can determine the applicant’s potential for success. The interviewer identifies job-related experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities that the company has decided are desirable in a particular position. For example, some of the characteristics include:
|More employers are using behavioral interviewing in the hiring process. This type of interview is based on the idea that the best way to predict your future performance is to examine your past and present performance in a similar situation. It focuses on experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities that are job related. With the Behavioral interview Employers predetermine which skills are necessary for the job for which they are looking and then ask very pointed questions to determine if the candidate possesses those skills. Currently, 30 percent of all organizations are using behavioral interviewing to some degree. Prepare for Behavioral Interviews by researching what job competencies an employer might seek.|
Cross Cultural Interviews
JOB INTERVIEWS FROM THE HIRER’S POINT OF VIEW
Immigrant professionals face unique challenges as they interview for jobs. Language and cultural differences can make it more difficult to understand these applicants.
Learn to recognize how misunderstandings occur in cross-cultural interviews. Learn behaviors that will improve your ability to interview with candidates from different cultures.
It is very important to be well prepared for an interview. According to the University of Delaware’s career center, a common reason employers give for not hiring an applicant is the inability of the applicant to fully explain the contents of his or her résumé. Therefore it is paramount to be able to discuss in detail every item listed on one’s resume, and if possible to give examples when appropriate. It is also wise to research the company before the interview. To avoid being nervous, the applicant should practice answering difficult questions. Good sources of interview questions can be found by searching the Internet.
You might think that who can know you best that yourself? Well there’re many things that you must have clear about your skills, your career, your goals, your own potential, your plans, etc; that’s why we recommend you to write or type relevant information about yourself, including:
- What are my skills and abilities?
- What are my strengths and what are my weaknesses?
- What are my most important accomplishments?
- How do my skills and experiences relate to the position and employers’ needs?
- Am I willing to relocate?
- What points do I want to be sure to get across during the interview?
- How does this position fit into my career goals?