1. Ten "Common" Interview Questions
There are some common interview questions that you will typically hear throughout various stages of the interview process. We recommend you prepare ahead of time for these questions, which will facilitate your ability to sell yourself in the interview.
Tell me about yourself?
Your answer should be no more than two to three minutes. Be clear, concise and logical in your delivery. Pick a specific starting point, and if possible illustrate positives and accomplishments.
Why are you leaving your current position?
This is a tough question. You never want to talk in the negative about any aspect of your previous employer, while not coming across as a sales person. Whatever your answer, be truthful and talk in the positive.
What do you like or dislike most about your current position?
Be careful with your answer, specifically in regards to things you dislike. The interviewer is probing to see if there are potential obstacles with their open position. Instead, utilize this as an opportunity to talk about the positives of your previous position; learned technical skills, challenges and areas of personal growth. The golden rule is not to talk in the negative about previous or current management, and always present a positive image.
What are your most significant strengths?
Be prepared with at least three specific strengths. You will want to qualify the strengths with specific examples and quantifiable accomplishments. Discuss strengths that would be applicable, advantageous to the open position and facilitate results in regards to your performance.
What are your most significant weaknesses?
Provide areas that you have identified and been working on to improve. You can actually turn it into a positive or strength if you can communicate specific improvement. The goal is to turn the fault into a character quality.
What is your most significant career accomplishment?
This is an important answer. Your past performance and accomplishments are the best indicator of future performance! Prepare an answer that goes into who, what, where and why of the accomplishment and relate the results it had on the organization. Talk about the details and your personal involvement if it was a team accomplishment.
How do you work under pressure and stress?
It is important to illustrate your ability to perform in pressure and stressful situations. People who are top performers have the ability to work well under pressure. It is recommended that you provide a specific example of an accomplishment in a stressful situation, why it was stressful and the details of how you overcame the adversity.
Why should we hire you for the position?
Your objective is to summarize the qualities and strengths you bring to the organization, show how your past accomplishments predict your success in the role and most importantly, reveal how you can help them overcome the immediate challenges in the position. You want to let them know that you feel confident about your ability to make a contribution to the team, but not come across as egotistical.
Describe a situation in which you failed.
It is important to recognize that the best people in business fail. You have to be able to communicate the failure, the potential effect on the organization and most critical, how you overcame the failure and succeeded. The interviewer is trying to gauge your ability to recognize your mistakes and how you react when faced with adversity.
What are your career goals?
Where do you see yourself in five years? Be honest and realistic with yourself. Think about where you want to be in five years and communicate that answer to the interviewer. Be careful not to tell them what you think they want to hear. This can get you in trouble. Your answer should incorporate that if given the opportunity you want to still be with the organization in a role allowing you to make an even stronger contribution with greater responsibility.
2. Telephone Interview Tips
Objective: There are two main objectives of a telephone interview. First, it is your opportunity to sell the company on "why you want the position" and "what can you do for them" = what do you bring to the table. If you successfully do this, it typically results in a second interview either via the telephone or in person (on-site). Second, it is your opportunity to qualify the position as the "right fit" for your job search criteria. Expand & read more
If you are interested in the position then tell them specifically. It is OK to be politely assertive.
Setting: Set aside an hour in a place where you will be comfortable and can talk confidentially without interruption. If you don't receive the call within 15 minutes of the scheduled time, call the contact or send an e-mail to seek further direction.
Attitude: Your enthusiasm and animation will be important in conveying your interest. Make sure that you are alert and ready. Make sure you are smiling while you are talking. Be honest and try to relax. Remember that the interview is a two way street. Avoid long rambling responses to questions and try not to monopolize the conversation.
Preparation: Obtain some background information on the company. Visit their web site. Prepare several questions about the opportunity and position. Be able to succinctly summarize your "having" attributes such as education and work experience and more importantly your "doing" attributes, which are quantifiable things you have done that have added value to your employer.
Things to Avoid
You can close the door as quickly as you open it on a new opportunity. Below are some pitfalls that could exclude you from further consideration by the company contact.
If you are interested in the position then tell them specifically. It is OK to be politely assertive. Ask them what the next step is. Tell them you are interested in a personal interview. After concluding the interview, immediately send them e-mail thanking them for their time and expressing your desire to move forward in the process.
3. Personal Interview Tips
The Do(s) and Don't(s) of Interviews
4. Turning Negatives into Positives During the Interview
Dependent upon your experience and work history, you may have to overcome some obstacles during an interview. Sometimes you will know what questions will surface which allows the opportunity to prepare in advance for overcoming any issues. Expand & read more
Regardless of the negative, the goal is to overcome the obstacle and get back to selling yourself through positives and accomplishments. Sometimes, the perceived negative can even be turned into a positive. Below is a proven way to address negatives during an interview.
Some common negatives or objections you might face during an interview are outlined below. If you know these are parts of your past and will come up during the interview, prepare in advance to utilize the above method to turn the negative into a positive.
5. Questions to Ask During an Interview
In almost every interview it is a given that at the end you will be asked, "Do you have any questions"? This is a great opportunity to set you apart in a positive way from other people being considered for the job. It pays to research a company before you arrive for an interview. Expand & read more
Employers say that they are interested in candidates who ask quality questions and make intelligent conversation based on what they know about the organization. They are unimpressed by candidates who know nothing about the company, what the company does, or the position being offered. Below you will find some appropriate questions to ask during an interview. When asking questions make them precise and definitive, and do not ask questions that are vague or take several minutes to answer. You do not want your questions to consume 15 minutes of a 45-minute interview.
6. How to Dress for an Interview
How many times have you heard, "You only have one chance to make a first impression"? When you interview, you are going to be judged on every possible factor, including what you wear. You want to look sharp and show that you will fit into the culture at your prospective employer. If in doubt, be conservative, even if the prospective employer has a "business casual" dress policy. You can take a jacket or tie off if needed, but can't overcome being underdressed. If you err, it should be on the side of being conservative. Below are some suggestions for appropriate interview attire and how to make a strong first impression. Expand & read more
The goal for men and women is to look professional and classic. Everything should be done in moderation and remember, you are being evaluated on what you wear in an interview, so "Dress for Success".
7. Furthering Your Education
One of the best things you can do to obtain a job is to further your education. One partner is Franklin Virtual Schools, where you can obtain guidance and support as you study for a GED.