Do you have an interview lined up? I do too!
While preparing for my interview, I decided to get some of the toughest interview questions together and out to you PRONTO! Of course I am a little nervous, but mostly excited to talk to the interviewer about how I can greatly contribute to their organization.
I am using my Professional Story to assist me with this. Keep your eyes open for my next post about Your Professional Story.
Let’s discuss some of the toughest job interview questions. The best way to get over interview jitters is to treat it like the first dip in the pool. Just jump in and get it over with! J
Once you have a feel for some of the questions you may be asked and have an opportunity to think these over, feel free to answer these questions with your professional story. Many times these simple questions are used to open a conversation.
If you still have questions about how to answer these toughies in an interview, let me know. I am happy to help! Now let’s get to it.
What do you look for in a job?
Don’t talk about job security here. Or pay! Let the interviewer know that you are excited to contribute to their organization in whatever fashion the position requires. To do this, simply use the job posting or any other information gleaned from the interviewer as a reference to what you are looking for in a job.
If your passion is numbers and you are applying to an accounting position, talk about your passion. If you are applying for customer service and you love working with people, say so!
Tell me about yourself.
Keep this brief as it will most likely be one of the first questions asked. Don’t give it all away! Save your goals, etc for later in the interview. Too many times you can get carried away and ‘sell the farm’ here. Briefly cover your early years, education, work history, and recent career experience. Keep everything you talk about work related!
What do you know about our organization?
Here just let your answer show that you have taken the time to do some research, but don't over- do it. You should be able to discuss points made on the company’s site such as mission statement. Include any recent news publications. Make it clear that you wish to learn more about the company.
Please give me your definition of [the position for which you are being interviewed].
You should have a good idea of what the position is that you are interviewing for. Be brief but state here what you believe the position requires (found on the job posting). Without being redundant, try to capture what the job post claims. Be specific by talking about details of the position.
Your resume suggests that you may be over-qualified or too experienced for this position. What's your opinion?
This one can be tricky. Let the interviewer know that a strong company needs a strong staff. You could even suggest that since you are qualified, the employer will get a fast return on his investment. Say that a growing, energetic company can never have too much talent.
In this economy, this question may come up more often. Be prepared to list your qualifications as they pertain to the open position and re-iterate your desire to continue in your profession bringing your talent with you.
Why are you leaving (did you leave) your present (last) job?
This is one of those questions that can make or break an interview. Never mention personality conflicts or that you didn’t like your last boss. If you were laid off, say that here. Don’t dwell on the subject or claim unfairness. Likewise, if your last position was an awful experience and you left of your own accord, don’t hurt yourself but be honest. Keep in mind that your references may be checked so don’t make up a story. At times, a position you once held may have not been a good fit. Or maybe once in, you realized that the position didn’t offer the growth you expected whether it was experience or exposure. This question can best be answered tactfully when you explain your situation at the time, compared to what you are looking for now.
In your current (last) position, what features do (did) you like the most? The least?
State as many points that you liked about your last job as you can. Be thorough here as the interviewer is likely trying to get a feel for how you would be in the open position. ‘The Least’ is the trick question if you haven’t guessed. If there was something that you didn’t like about your last job, you may say so here but be warned! Never claim personality conflict with peers or supervisors.
As hiring managers are looking to see if you are a good fit for the position, they will likely use this as a conversation starter. Finding out if you are a good match with the company’s goals, expectations and so forth. Be sure that your answers are geared toward the position that you are applying for here is critical.
Are you a late starter? Maybe when asked this question you say something like: “I loved that I had time to prepare for the day by getting coffee with co-workers and discussing the weekend before I had to actually work.” Hm.. Really think about what you will say to this question. Will it sound like a negative?
What do you feel this position should pay?
Don't leave the impression that money is the only thing that is important to you. Link questions of salary to the work itself. The interviewer may be trying to determine just how much you want the job. Don't sell yourself short, but continue to stress the fact that the job itself is the most important thing in your mind.
Mention as little as you can about salary until you reach the "final" stage of the interview process. At that point, you know that the company is genuinely interested in you and that it is likely to be flexible in salary negotiations. Sometimes this may seem hard when you are asked what your salary requirements are. Remember to keep it open with “It depends on the positions responsibilities.” Follow with: “I would love to hear more about the position before I give a figure.”
What are your long-range goals?
Relate your goals to the company you are interviewing: “In a firm like yours, I would like to..." Don’t just say you want the job. Refer back to your job search and why you chose this job to interview for. If you did your research, these points will be in line with the company’s goals and yours.
Is there opportunity for advancement? Will the company provide any additional training to move forward? Does the company promote within? Don’t assume anything in the interview. Asking these questions during the interview will give you the opportunity to provide the answers that the interviewer is looking for. Remember that they are also looking for someone who is a strong candidate. Showing that you are thoughtful with your questions will prove that you are a serious candidate.
What can you do for us that someone else can't?
Here is where you need to give it your all and toot your own horn. Point out accomplishments, goals you have achieved, strong points, etc. Give them something to really consider as you tie your past performance to what you can do for their company.
If you have previous experience, lay out the bullet points here. Your past experiences can be of great assistance when you are a new employee.
Just knowing the answers is not enough. Practice speaking them out loud. Gain verbage to utilize in your interview by saying, not just reading or writing keywords or ‘buzz words’. When you tell your friends and family that you have an interview, open the conversation by being descriptive with why you want the job and why you are a good fit. Many times we may say we don’t want to ‘jinx’ it by talking about it. OOPS! Here is a big mistake! Talk about it! If you feel comfortable talking about the job to your friends, you are more likely to ace the interview by being prepared to sell yourself to the interviewer!
Good Luck! But the BEST luck is to be prepared for an interview!