Employers use all kinds of interview strategies. We’ll look at specific questions, then delve deeper into questions that require greater attention to detail and storytelling, as well as those that provide valuable clues about how you’ll fit into the work environment.
Can you tell me more about yourself?
This is an open question which is often asked during an interview to break the ice. It is important to remember that the answer must be related to the task. Your answer to this question should last about two minutes and be particularly well practiced.
Why are you interested in working for this company?
This will show the employer that you have done your homework. Highlight the positive things you’ve learned about the company and how they align with your career goals. Mention that you have just read an article or seen a report on a company. Emphasize whether you have been affected by the performance of an individual entity or the company as a whole in the past year. “Your 20% sales growth was impressive” is pretty much a sign that you’ve done your research.
Can you tell us about your training?
Even if you include this information on your resume, some employers want you to delve deeper into the topic. Mention your score if it was above 3.0 and how your education has affected your understanding of the world and your professional field. Always write down the courses, seminars, workshops and continuing education you have attended that help you achieve your professional goals.
Why did you choose this particular field?
It is a way to show your enthusiasm and dedication towards your career. Share your constant desire to become a nurse, technologist, teacher or truck driver.
Can you describe your best and worst bosses?
It could be a trap. Don’t create a negative picture of former employers. If you have a choice, always talk about your best boss. If you have to describe the worst boss, choose a work-related attribute that can be phrased in a positive way. For example: “I had a supervisor who gave a vague assignment. I learned to ask questions to know what was expected of me.
What interests you the most in your work and what interests you the least?
This will give the employer another measure to measure how well you are a fit for the job.
What is your main weakness?
“I don’t have to” won’t work or sound less honest. Change the question to a positive question explaining how you overcame the weakness. Martin Yate, author of Kill ‘Em, The Complete Search Guide, gives the example of a job seeker who isn’t always good at paperwork. His manager asks him to work to get his papers in order. He “takes it to heart”, changes his behavior and remarks: “You only have to tell me something once”. The script, adds Yate, gives you “the added bonus of showing that you accept and respond to criticism.”
Can you give an example of how you have solved a problem in the past?
It’s important to be able to show the process you follow when you encounter a problem. State the problem and the steps you took to find the solution. If a problem is hard to trace, move on to the project and how you did it.
What are your strong points?
Now is the time to outline the skills you have identified that will allow you to progress most effectively as an employee. Provide a reassuring and balanced response describing the skill or skill set and how they have led to your success in past jobs and will benefit another employer in the future.
How do others describe you?
This is another way for an employer to ask, “How would you fit into this work group?” If you don’t like this question or don’t know how to answer it, call some of your friends or people you’ve worked with and ask them to describe you.
What do you think was the most important idea or most notable achievement at your last job?
Give examples of how you saved employer time or money, or developed an office process that increased efficiency. All opportunities for leadership should be highlighted.
Where do you see yourself in three years?
Tell the interviewer, “At your job!” This is not a good idea. Indicate that you hope to acquire sufficient skills and knowledge to make a positive contribution to the company during this time. You may pick a job a notch or two above the job you’re applying for, but tell the interviewer that you only want a promotion you’ve earned and you definitely want to pass.
Are you planning to join this operation?
It’s time to express your interest in the position and the employer’s knowledge. The more you learn about the operation, the easier it will be for you to answer this question.
If hired, what ideas/talent would you bring to this position or to our company?
This is another great opportunity for you to sell your skills. By giving examples of past achievements, you help the employer visualize your contribution to the company.
Can you give an example where you showed leadership and initiative?
Even if you didn’t have the title of key worker, supervisor or manager, give examples of when you knew there was work to be done and you did it. Again, use samples from outside the labor force if appropriate.
Give an example where you were able to contribute to a team project?
Any task that requires communication with others usually requires teamwork. For example, teamwork is used in sales because both parties must state their needs and expectations before negotiating a sale. Teamwork is required for family, social activities and school.
What have you done to grow or change over the years?
It shows a willingness to challenge and improve. Employers are looking for people who are ready to further their education. Tell us about formal and non-formal education opportunities that you have tapped into. Mention the books and magazines you read related to your area of interest.
do you have questions for me?
You show interest in the work again by asking questions. The rest of this chapter lists some of the questions you would like to ask in an interview. Answers should be concise and related to the task. Focus on your skills. Help employers see you at work.