Monday, July 30, 2012

The Seven Golden Questions for Successful Job Interviews

Can you please introduce yourself?

This is often the opening question in most of the interviews, be extra careful to answer this question. Most candidate fumble while answering this most expected question and end up with a wrong answer. Needless to say that the first part, the introduction part, is one of the most important parts in any job interview – the initial impression, the first interview seconds/minutes, affect the entire application process for a prospective candidate. Don’t skip preparing your answer to this question correctly. A well prepared answer can put you, as a candidate from the beginning of the interview. Asking this question, the interviewer wants an introduction speech, a briefer – he will wait to hear the main points about you.  You can expect follow up questions based on your answer. 
The interviewer doesn't want to know details about your personal life, but to know that you can do the job based on your qualification and what you’ve achieved in your previous jobs – that your professional abilities fit into the job and its requirements. 

Always start with your most recent job, explain why you are interested in this position and how you are qualified for the position – your key qualification and professional qualities. Highlight your greatest achievements. Answer the Questions concisely and avoid repeating the phrases from your resume. We always suggest you to prepare the answer to this question and writing and practice it so that you can answer it confidently. It is very important that you completed this answer in less than 5 minute, preferably 3 to four minute. 

What are your strengths? 

Make sure that your answer is relevant to the position you are applied for. Which means, tailor your strengths to the job requirements and project how you qualify as the right candidate for the job opportunity. 

Don't make the mistake of frustrating the interviewer as you describe what a great sportsman you are and list your latest sports achievements during a marketing job interview. However, you can point out how the determination and discipline you need to be a good sportsman are certainly important strengths in a marketing position. 

Don't just list your strengths, back them up with facts. An attribute is far more powerful if it is rooted in a relevant example. For example, "I'm an adaptable person. I work for 4 different managers, they have very different management styles and expectations of me. I am able to adjust my approach to meet each of their needs" 

Focus on three or four strengths. Good examples include planning and organizational skills, communication skills, leadership ability, stress tolerance, ability to learn, flexibility, problem-solving, initiative etc. 

What are your weaknesses? 

Here the interviewer is assessing your self awareness and insight rather than your weaknesses. The ability to acknowledge a weakness is often seen as a sign of maturity and wisdom. Refer to a true weakness but then turn it into a positive by describing it as an area for development with steps you have taken to try and improve. 
For example, "I am bit disorganized, I am aware of this and make sure I answer my emails and messages straight away. Also I update my calendar as soon as I have a new task, this really helps" 
A good guide is to acknowledge one or two weaknesses, describe the efforts made to overcome these and end your story on a positive note. Some weaknesses can be interpreted as strength as well. Aggression can be a weakness for certain jobs, at the same it is strength for a sales job. 

Why should we hire you? 

Don't try to say that you are the best qualified candidate for this job as you are not familiar with the other candidates' skills and experience. Instead highlight the reasons why you are the right candidate for this job. For that, review the job description and note down the job requirements, then refer to your skills and experience relevant to the job requirements and the company's needs. What benefits are you bringing to this job from your skill set. Be straightforward and confident about your abilities. Be enthusiastic about why you want this job. 

Why do you want to work for this company? 

Please do adequate background research about the target company and understand their products, services, company structure, history, future plans etc. Focus more on the area were you applied for the opportunity. Differentiate yourself from the other candidates by this way. 
Find something specific about the company to hook into. Look at the company values, mission, vision and successes. How do you complement and contribute to these? Some general example answers are like 
"I understand that this company is expanding its product portfolio as the company website showing the future product launches. I would like to be a part of this exciting growth" 
"I know that your goal is to become the number one service provider of office supplies. I can contribute well as I have a substantial experience and in this area. I would really enjoy the challenge of growing this business" 
"I have always wanted an opportunity to work with a company that gives more important to the community services" 

What has been your greatest achievement to date? 

Review the job description, if you have it or the job posting or add. What skills are listed as necessary for the job? This will guide you to the most relevant answer for this employment interview question. It is often difficult to identify one achievement when answering this question especially those who have vast experience. Choose an achievement that is related to the position and is fairly recent.  
Interviewers particularly looking for achievements that increased revenues solved problems and decreased expenditure etc. "I believe I have had as many successes to date. Hence I am going to focus on my recent achievements as being relevant to this opportunity ..." and continue to explain the recent relevant accomplishments.

Why are you leaving the current Job? 

Regardless of why you left, don't speak badly about your previous employer, superiors and coworkers. The interviewer may wonder if you will be bad-mouthing his company next time you're looking for work. Prepare answers to typical job interview questions, like this one, in advance. Practice your responses so you sound positive, and clear, about your circumstances and your goals for the future. For example 

"There isn't room for growth with my current employer and I'm ready to move on to a new challenge" 

"I am seeking a position with a stable company with room for growth and opportunity for advancement"