THE BIG THREE JOB QUESTIONS

 

Even for the most fearless amongst us, job interviews can be nerve wracking. In order to give us the best chance of success we tend to prepare for many of the difficult questions we anticipate, questions like:

Why should we hire you?
What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
What are your key strengths and weaknesses?
1. Have you got the skills, expertise and experience to perform the job?

Think about the key skills you might need for the job you have applied for and assess your own level of expertise and experience in that context. It makes sense to identify the more specific or technical skills that your potential employer might expect as well as some more generic skills such as being a good communicator, having good IT skills, being a team player, etc. Once you have prepared for this question it will help you answer many different interview questions without getting sidetracked into talking about things that are not relevant. Remember that you want to demonstrate that you are aware of the key skills, expertise and experience required to do the job and that you have what it takes to perform it. Always go back to the key skills, expertise and experience when answering scary (and sometimes silly) questions like:

Tell me about yourself?
What are your greatest strengths / weaknesses?
What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
Why do you think you are right for this job?
What do you think the main challenges will be?
Etc.
2. Are you enthusiastic and interested in the job and the company?

Any potential employer wants to know that you are interested in the company and excited about the prospect of working there. You therefore want to demonstrate that you have researched the company, understand its strategy, current performance, structure, market position and products and that you can’t wait to join them. For most, you will have done your homework before you even applied for the job, but if you haven’t then check out the ‘about us’ section on their website and search for the latest strategy documents, annual reports, key statistics as well as the company history. Show that you know them and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and company. Here you might also want to think about your ambitions and how they fit into the company you have applied for. You can then use the insights for answering questions such as:

What do you know about our company?
What do you think our company is aiming to achieve?
What do you know about our products and services?
Why do you want to work for this company?
Why do you think this job is right for you?
What motivates you?
Etc.
3. Will you fit into the team, culture and company?

This final key question is about your personality and your style and how you as a person fit into the team and culture of the company. Companies have different cultures, which translate into different ways of behaving and working. It is important to make sure you fit in and don’t feel like a fish out of water. In fact, it is important for the company as well as for you. Again, hopefully you will have done some research prior to applying for the job. Sometimes, it can be tricky to find detailed knowledge about the company culture, in which case you simply talk about your assumptions and why you feel you fit in. One relatively new website that offers a glance inside companies is Glassdoor. The site is still in its infancy but provides a growing amount of data and information about what it is like to work for different companies. You want to map the culture of the company or the team you are planning to join and compare this to your personality traits, style and behaviors. Again, once you have done this you can use it to answer questions such as:

How would you describe your work style?
How would you describe yourself?
How would your colleagues describe you?
What makes you fit into our company?
What makes you a good team member?
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
Etc.
Of course, any interview is a two-way process. In the same way the interviewer wants to find out that you are right for the company, you need to assess whether the company is right for you. Each of the questions can be turned around so that you can assess:

By joining this company, will I make best use of my skills and expertise and will they help me to grow them further?
Is the company excited about having me work for them and will they give me the necessary support?
Is the company culture the right fit for me so that I can flourish and be myself?
If you ask relevant questions from your point of view then this will make the interview more balanced and create a more natural conversation.

 

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STEP-BY-STEP JOB INTERVIEW PREPARATION:

 

You’ve landed a job interview. Now you need to make sure you’re ready for it. Follow our handy checklist to help you take the right steps before, during, and after a job interview to maximize your chance of landing the job.

When You Get ‘The Call’
Things to remember when an employer phones to schedule a job interview:

Be positive and enthusiastic about the opportunity to interview.
If you’re caught off guard, be honest (for example, “Forgive me, but I’ve sent out several resumes this month. Could you refresh my memory about the position you’re referring to?”).
Write down the date and time of the interview you have scheduled.
Write down the Name, Title, and Department of the person you’ll be meeting.
Ask about parking lots or public transportation and where to enter the building – then write it down.
Ask if there is anything specific the interviewer would like you to prepare or bring to the meeting.
In closing, be sure to thank the caller and confirm the interview date and time (for example, “Thanks again, Ms. Lee, I look forward to meeting you on Monday the 16th at 9:00.”).

Before the Interview
Congratulations, you’ve scheduled an interview. Now it’s time to do your homework:
Look closely at the company’s web site to get a feel for its culture, business goals, products or services, financial reports, and challenges.
Search the Internet for news or information about the company. Don’t overlook blogs in your search.
Formulate and practice reciting a clear and concise summary of your unique skills and qualifications that you could deliver in about two minutes. Avoid making it sound as if it’s a “canned” speech. Ad-libbing some of it can’t hurt, as long as you’re clear and thorough.
Prepare and practice answers to typical interview questions.
Make a list of questions to ask during the interview.
Write down examples of past successes that you can discuss in the interview.
Contact your three references and alert them that you’ll be interviewing, so they may get a call.
Look up the exact building location online and print out a map and driving directions or public transportation route, with planned contingencies for possible delays.
Do a “dry run” if possible – physically go to the interview site so you’ll know exactly where it is and how long it will take you to get there (Hint: If it’s a workday, check out what people are wearing as they enter or exit the building).
Plan your attire and accessories and make sure everything is clean. Unless the company explicitly tells you to dress more casually, wear a suit. Present your most polished image; your “real” style can emerge once you’re hired.

Things to Take with You to the Interview
Carry a professional-looking briefcase or organizer that contains all the items you might need during the interview:
Company address and directions.
Bus or train schedule, if applicable.
A photo ID (e.g. passport, green card, driver’s license).
Detailed dates of employment and salary history, if needed to complete the job applications (Note: Don’t provide the salary information unless it’s mandatory.)
Interview agenda with names of interviewers (if they’ve provided one).
List of names and dates of people you talked with already at the company (e.g. recruiter, phone screener, hiring manager).
Name, title, and phone number of person to ask for upon arrival.
Pen and paper.
A copy of the job description.
List of at least five questions you plan to ask the interviewers about the company or position.
Three copies of the resume and cover letter you sent to the employer, printed on quality paper.
Three copies of your list of pre-qualified references.
Samples of related work you’ve done in the past.
Food (something small, quick, and filling in case of an extended interview).
Medication, if applicable.
Comb, breath mints, lipstick, tissue, lint remover, or anything else that will help you feel confident and make the best possible presentation.

During the Interview
Don’t forget that you’re creating an impression from the very first smile to the final handshake. Follow these guidelines:
Silence your cell phone and keep it out of sight.
Treat each person you meet in a friendly, respectful manner (i.e., if you’re rude to the receptionist, you can bet the hiring manager will hear it “through the grapevine.”).
Stand and shake hands with each interviewer who enters the room.
Listen attentively and ask questions where appropriate. Take brief notes.
Be prepared to present your “elevator speech” – the short summary of who you are and the value you can bring to the organization.
Present your skills in positive terms (i.e., emphasize your strengths and how they relate to the job).
Ask for a business card from each interviewer, or write down their names and verify spelling (this simplifies follow-up, thank you letters, etc.).
Don’t ask about salary or benefits in a first interview unless the interviewer initiates the topic.
Ask when you can expect to hear from them again.
Ask whether it’s OK to contact them for a status update if you haven’t heard by a certain date they indicate they will take the next step in the process (and ask how they prefer to be contacted).

After the Interview
At this point, most candidates just sit back and cross their fingers. Your best course of action is to remain proactive. Take these steps to keep yourself in the running and add to the favorable image you’ve been building:
Send a thank you note ASAP (definitely within 24 hours) to each person you interviewed with.
Follow through on any promises you made during the interview (e.g., sending information you said you would provide).
Make sure to contact them on the agreed-upon date to inquire about their decision making.
Don’t give up hope! The hiring process can take many weeks!

Interview Tips: 5 Things Recruiters Think You Should Know

1. Impress EVERYONE

Many interviewees are not aware that some organizations seek the opinions of receptionists on their hiring decisions. After all, formal interviews do not reveal the social skills they may or may not possess. A well-rounded assessment may take into account what occurs behind the scene, particularly how interviewees act while waiting for their turn.

This is where they meet the other job applicants as well as the receptionist, so it’s a good chance for the potential employer to evaluate their people skills in an informal setting.

Body Language Speaks

Apart from that, receptionists can tell if the interviewee is well prepared and can even have a rough gauge of their personality from his or her demeanor.

For instance, if you’re fumbling through your interview notes or frequenting the toilet a lot, the receptionist would note that you’re anxious and insecure about yourself.

On the other hand, if you enter the waiting area composed, with a friendly smile and a positive outlook, the receptionist will probably think that you’re all thoroughly prepared for the interview.

What Should You Do Then?

Just behave like how you’ll behave if you know you are being watched or interviewed. Some interviewees tend to take those moments to rehearse or to relax a little before they enter the room.

Little did they know that they are being watched. So long as you don’t do anything weird or inappropriate, you won’t get marked down unnecessarily.

2. First Impressions (Really) Count

Yes, we all know that first impressions count when it comes to meeting someone new. This is more important when it comes to occasions like an interview: when someone is deliberately assessing you and scrutinizing your speech and body language. In fact, the first five minutes of your interview is the critical moment for you to impress them. Miss it and you might find yourself losing the deal even if you have sent in a top-notch resume.

 

 

One Chance To Nail It

Psychological studies have even showed that it takes only seven to seventeen seconds to make that first impression with someone new.  the point is that the faster you are in projecting yourself as a good potential employee during the interview, the higher the chance of you landing that job. After all, not all interviewers are well trained, so they are susceptible to influences like the first impression you give them.

The Bare Necessities

There are a number things you should take note of, and I’m sure you’re aware of them too. Things like being punctual for the interview, adhering to the dress code, maintaining a straight but relaxed posture, making eye contact and smiling matter when it comes to making an impression.

It’s also vital to give a good introduction of yourself when prompted by the interviewer. This is where you show your confidence and passion for the job by varying your tone of voice, and exhibiting the right kind of body language.

 

3. Gestures Speak Louder Than Words

Non-verbal communication includes facial expressions, eye contact, gestures or hand movements, posture, etc. Social psychologists believe that such non-verbal communication makes up close to two-thirds of any communication between people. What this means for you as the interviewee is that landing the job depends more on how you move than what you have to say.

Of course, to be fair, it probably takes a combination of both non-verbal and verbal communication to make an interview a success. It would be strange to see someone getting his or her dream job without uttering a word during the interview!

Confidence Rules

The rule of thumb is to stay positive and upbeat about yourself and about the position. Be as confident as you can as you give him or her that firm handshake, introduce yourself and tackle the questions one by one.

Another thing you should be aware of is what you tend to do subconsciously when you get anxious. Common symptoms of a person with the interview jitters include leg shaking, hair stroking and finger tapping.

 

 

4. Know Your Resume Inside-Out

Remember that you’ve already submitted your resume and had it read by the interviewer prior to the interview. This means that they are more than likely to question you based on that piece of paper.

The resume only holds critical information that you want the reader to capture. They would only have the chance to go into the details with you during the interview itself.

Practice What You Preach

Apart from practicing on how to answer the questions they will pose, know your resume like the back of your hand so you can cite evidence and concrete examples to support your claims. You may say that you have rich in-depth experience with customer service but they would expect you to explain why and how.

This is when you should trace back to a time when you handled a very difficult customer successfully. If you have already thought of this example while you were reviewing your resume, relaying the incident will come as a breeze.

Blow that Trumpet

Having examples of incidents when you exhibit a certain quality essential for the job is just one area to look out for.  . Anticipate questions that target those parts of your resume that are relevant to the position you’ve applied to.

5. You’re Expected to Ask Questions

Nearing the end of the interview, you should expect the interviewer to ask if you have any questions. Not asking any is a big mistake because it may reflect badly on you. It gives the impression that you aren’t really enthusiastic enough about the job to find out more. This is really the time for you to shine, but only if you ask the right questions.

Ask the Right Questions

First and foremost, try not to ask close-ended questions that can be answered with a YES or NO. Some interviewers may be kind enough to elaborate further, but you don’t get that all the time. It may result in a moment of awkward silence and chances are that you wouldn’t get the answer you want for your question.

Second, some interviewers actually judge you based on the nature of your question. If the question is pretty straightforward and the answer can actually be found if you took the time to explore the organization’s website, it goes to show that you didn’t do enough research for the interview. If, however, you demonstrated that you had done your homework with your questions, and had come up with an intelligent one, the interviewer would be impressed, which adds points for you.

Conclusion

There’re no hard and fast rules about the kind of questions you should ask, but you should keep in mind that it is your last chance for you to seal the deal before the interview ends. On the other hand, if you do have burning questions that needed clarification, go ahead and ask even if they don’t sound impressive. After all, an interview is a bi-directional process involving your participation to find that job that fits.