As August comes to an end everyone gets back down to business. Executives are back at their desks returning to a pile of work that needs to be done and decisions that need to be made. This, as many of you know, is probably the time when you will be called for an interview. Therefore, as a response to many readers who have asked for this information here are a few tips.
“The strangest question I was ever asked was ‘How did you get such blue eyes?’” recalls Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions. “I probably should have played the ‘straight man’ and said, ‘that would be through genetics.’ As it happened, I sputtered, looked down, felt embarrassed for both me and the interviewer, and needless to say, wasn’t offered the job.”
You may not have to prepare for a question like that, but here are some questions that you will likely be asked:
- What is your greatest strength and/or what is your biggest weakness?
- Tell me about a time when you failed at your job and what did you do?
- Can you tell me about a case that you are particularly proud of?
- What do you know about this company?
- Why did you leave your last job?
- Why should I hire you?
- What is your relevant experience?
This is your opportunity to demonstrate and raise examples of all your skills and show how they fit with the company’s needs.
“The main point about interviews is to remember why you are there — because the employer has a problem,” says John Kador, author of such books as The Manager’s Book Of Questions: 1001 Great
Interview Questions for Hiring The Right Person. “There’s profitable work not being done, customers not being served, opportunities being lost. In short, profits are at risk. That means candidates do best when they present themselves as solutions to the problem.”
He suggests rehearsing your answers. “(It is best to do it) with a group of jobseekers,” he says. “Every community has such unemployed groups who support each other and provide opportunities for role playing.”
Oliver says if you’re asked the same question over and over again, your answers might sound canned or stale after a while. “Force yourself to sit down and ask yourself, ‘How can I say exactly the same thing but in slightly different words?’” she says.