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Most Common Job Interview Questions

October 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Job Interviewing is all about research, confidence and creating a good rapport. The hiring manager needs to know that you are capable of performing the tasks of the job and also that you will be a good addition to the team.

Without doubt the two most asked job interview questions are “what are your greatest strengths and weaknesses”. Below are some tips on how to answer these tricky questions.

1) What are your greatest strengths?

Few candidates can show up to an interview and answer every question with ease. Preparation is key to a successful interview. If you have to sit and think about what your greatest strengths are during the interview, you’ll risk appearing unsure of your own capabilities and the interviewer won’t be reassured in your ability to perform well in the position. Prior to an interview, you should know exactly what your top strengths are in the workplace. Make a list of all your strengths and then choose the top 5 you want to express in the interview based on the desired skills and attributes for the specific position you are interviewing for. You should always remember to back up the strengths you profess with examples of times you have demonstrated those strengths in the workplace. Use this question to highlight how your attributes will help you succeed in this position.

Tip: Use the job posting as a guide to match your own strengths with the skills and attributes the company is looking for in an ideal candidate. Although you might be a whiz with numbers, there’s no point listing it as your greatest strength if you’ll be working directly with clients and not using any numbers in the position. Be honest and don’t say you’re great at something you’re not, however you should prioritize the key strengths you want to express to the interviewer with the ones they list on the job description. For example, if the job description says the candidate they want is “highly detail-oriented and organized”, then one of the strengths you mention should be your strong organizational skills or that you are detail-oriented.

2) What is your biggest weakness?

This is a tricky question if you’re not prepared. You are trying to land the job, so of course you don’t want to tell employers all of your weaknesses that may make you look bad. On the other hand, you also don’t want to avoid the question, lie and say you have no weaknesses, or give a clichéd response. For example, I’ve heard a lot of candidates say their biggest weakness is that they are a perfectionist in the workplace…really? Although some interviewers will enjoy a joke to this question, most hiring managers want a real answer.

This is a key question you need to prepare for before the interview. Don’t mention any weaknesses that will prevent you from getting hired for the job. Remember the weakness should be work-related so hiring managers don’t want to hear about how you leave your dishes in the sink for over a week. A well thought-out answer can turn this tricky question into a positive. Be sure to back up each weakness with things you are proactively doing to improve on that weakness.

The best way to respond to this question is to either:

a) Mention a weakness that is irrelevant (or at least not critical) to the position you are applying for. In order to be effective, you should already know the key skills and attributes desirable for the position and think about skills that are not essential to succeed in the position. You can even find weaknesses that can actually be seen as strengths for certain positions. For example, if the position requires strong attention to detail you can say that sometimes you are overly meticulous about the details of a project.

b) State a weakness that is only a weakness because you haven’t had the opportunity to develop your skills in that area. For example, you can say that although you’ve taken a course in public speaking, you haven’t had the opportunity to use your presentation skills in your previous position and you’d like to develop your skills more in this area.

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Simple Steps to Job Interviewing

Job SearchingMaking the right impression in your job interview is one of the most important steps in your future career. Many people don’t realise that being successful in your interview begins before you even arrive at the interview. Job interviewing requires careful planning, otherwise you will significantly reduce the chance of getting the job. In the current economic climate, competition for jobs is extreme and hiring managers can receive hundreds of job candidates for every job they advertise. In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to properly prepare for your job interview.

Research is the key to success

The first (and sometimes most important) thing to do is conduct research about the job and company. With so much company information available online you can easily begin to educate yourself on the company’s culture, philosophy and values. The more information you can acquire the better your chances at impressing the interviewer. With knowledge of the company you can subtlety use this information during the interview (when appropriate). Don’t overdo it though – you don’t want to sound like you’re repeating their whole website!

Practice makes perfect

A great way to practice job interviewing is to role play with a friend or family member. Ask them to question you on your resume and the job you’re applying for to fully prepare you for the interview. Remember the 4 Ws – Who, What, Where and Why. The interviewer will ask ‘Who’ you are, so give them a little detail about your life without overdoing it. Interviewers will also get you to explain ‘What’ your skills are. If you have done your research about the company properly, you will have no problem doing this. Make sure you focus mainly on the skills that the company or job is looking for.

The interviewer will also ask you ‘Where’ you have worked before. It’s worth calling up your previous job (if any) and asking them to write a reference just to back up your claims. Explain the position and the responsibilities that you had with your last job. The final W – ‘Why’ – is the most important of them all. The interviewer will ask you ‘Why’ you want this job. Think of a clever answer for this one. Don’t just say you’re doing it for the money, for example. Say something about bringing and valuable skills to their workplace.

Dress to impress

After completing your research you can begin to plan your attire. Remember that you should always dress to fit the context of a job. If you’re applying for a casual gardening company, a suit might not be ideal, but if you’re applying for a position as an accountant or a banker, then a full suit would be the required minimum.

Final point:

Don’t forget that non-verbal messages are often more important than words, so make sure that you greet your interviewer with a firm handshake. Maintaining correct posture and eye contact are also two very important non-verbal messages as they portray a more confident and presentable image.

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Job Interview Time And I Am Freaking Out

freak-outResume writing and applying for jobs was easy. Now I have been called for a job interview and I am freaking out.

Preparing for the job interview requires you to get a few things in order first before you appear at the official interview. Remember that first impressions are the most lasting and you’ll want to make your job interview the best impression possible so you can maximize your chances of getting the position.

Find below 4 simple tips to keep in mind when you are going to your job interview. Doing each of them right will help your chances of getting hired.

Be on Time:

This cannot be stressed enough. If you can’t make it to your job interview on time, you shouldn’t bother to show up at all. Showing up late not only presents an unprofessional image, but it also tells the hiring manager that you are either not that interested or cannot be trusted to show up. Would you want to hire someone who comes late to a job interview?

The easiest advice is to leave early and allow plenty of time for traffic. If you have not been to the office location before, ensure that you have printed off directions and have a clear understanding of how to get to your destination. The most optimal time to get to an interview is 15 minutes early. This will also allow you to complete any paperwork that may be required. If you do find yourself arriving for the interview extremely early go and find a coffee shop and relax before the job interview. Sitting in the business offices for an extended time is not advised. Imagine being invited to someone’s house for dinner at 8pm and showing up at 6.30!

Dress Appropriately:

Wearing a tattered t-shirt and ripped blue jeans will probably not help you get an office job. Conversely, showing up in a tuxedo will probably not help you land an auto mechanic job either. When you walk through the doors to your interview what you are wearing will impact on the first impression the hiring manager will make. Believe it or not, but how you dress can make a huge impact on your interview.

Elaborate your Answers:

I have sat face to face with many job seekers who have answered all interview questions with only yes or no answers. It goes without saying that none of these candidates got the jobs. When preparing for your interview you need to be able to anticipate the type of questions that you will be asked and prepare answers accordingly. My secret is to write down 10 career accomplishments with specific examples and adapt these achievements into your answers. This way you have examples ready to go, no matter what type of questions are asked.

Ask Questions:

Don’t be intimidated by the job interview. The interview process is much about you finding out about the business and if the business is the right fit for you. Prepare yourself before the interview with several questions that you can ask. Don’t ask about money or benefits, but ask instead about the culture of the business, the organizational future goals, the responsibilities of the job position and other questions that are important for you and your career.

© RedStarResume Publications – http://www.redstarresume.com

Click here to buy the brand new Ebook from RedStarResume “Interview Secrets Exposed” is an insider’s guide on everything you need to know in order to nail your job interview.

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Job Interview Preparation

Interview Secrets Exposed - CopyPreparing for a job interview can be quite stressful, especially if you haven’t been to one in quite some time. For many, it really comes down to preparation because the better prepared you are, the greater your chances of landing that position you’ve been working so hard to get. In this post, you will discover some important job interview preparation techniques to help you rise above your competition.

Gather and prepare your job search documents:

There are a few documents you’ll need to have on hand when going on an interview, and it will be extremely important to have them all before leaving. Some of those documents include your ID, a completed resume, reference pages, cover letter, reference letters, performance reviews, diplomas, certificates, or anything else that pertains to the specific position you are interviewing for.

Clothing is Vital – select something appropriate for the occasion

When people say that first impressions are everything, it’s the truth. Dress to target the position you are applying for. If you are applying for a framing position in construction, for example, you will not arrive to the interview in a 3 piece suit. Look at what others are wearing within that company and dress accordingly.

Scope out the location:

It’s always better to get the directions sorted out before leaving for the interview. If you’ve never been there before, go there a day ahead of time and search the place out. This way when you leave on the day of the interview, finding it will not be an issue. There is nothing worse than getting lost on the way to the interview and showing up late.

Perform your due-diligence on the company:

Do your research on the company and find out information about what they do, how they are perceived in the marketplace, and any other information that can be used in the interview during the Q & A session. The more information you know about them, the greater your ability to tailor your interview answers accordingly.

Practice Q & A’s

Practice makes perfect! Prepare a list of potential interview questions and answers. Have a friend or family member fire questions at you to get you prepared for the intensity of the interview.

Arrive at least 15 minutes early

Always get to the job interview early. Rule of thumb is to arrive at least 15-20 minutes early. There are several reasons for this. The main reason is to show interest in the company and to show you are on time. The other is there may be a lot of paperwork that will need to be filled out ahead of the interview, so getting there early will help the process move along smoothly.

Final points:

With the current state economy, you simply have to prepare better than the next person in order to nail the job interview. The greater your preparation and research, the greater your chance of finding success. If you do miss out on landing that new job, don’t fret – just learn from it because each time you will get that much better.

© RedStarResume Publications – http://www.redstarresume.com

Click here to buy the brand new Ebook from RedStarResume “Interview Secrets Exposed” is an insider’s guide on everything you need to know in order to nail your job interview.

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10 Great Questions To Ask In A Job Interview

Interview_Secrets_Exposed1 (1)In a job interview, the majority of the questions are directed at you. Interviews can seem very one-sided and intimidating at times. However at the end of each interview, most employers will leave some time to ask you if you have any questions for them. Some candidates get taken aback by this question or are too nervous to think of any questions to ask. Employers say most candidates don’t take advantage of the opportunity to ask them questions enough, leaving them to assume that maybe the candidate is not serious about the position or thinking seriously if the job is the right fit for them.

Be prepared with some questions about the position you’re applying for before you go in for an interview. If your questions are answered during the interview, try to at least ask some follow-up questions to the information they provided. Asking questions is a great way to show the research you’ve done on the company—new projects, partnerships or campaigns they’ve launched, and express your seriousness about the position. Through intelligent, inquisitive questions you can end the interview with a bang and leave the interviewers with a positive impression of you even if the entire interview wasn’t perfect.

Remember that the more detailed questions you can ask specifically about the company, the better. Just be sure to phrase them in a professional way, keep it positive and don’t bring up any controversial topics. Check out some of the best questions to ask in an interview below. You can tailor them to the position/ company you’re interviewing for.

1) If hired, how could I best help the company meet its goals?

2) What do you like most about working here and what would you say is the most important aspect of your company culture? What is your ideal communication style with your staff?

3) If I were to start tomorrow what should the top priorities be on my to-do list?

4) What are your expectations for this position and how can someone surpass your expectations?

5) What are the top skill and qualities you feel the right candidate needs to excel in this position?

6) What improvements or changes do you hope the new candidate will bring to this position?

7) What does a typical day or work week look like for the person in this position? Could you tell me any examples of projects I would be working on if I were to get the position?

8) Does the company offer any continued education or professional training opportunities?

9) Is there anything that stands out to you that makes you think I might Not be the right fit for this position?

10) What are the next steps in the selection process? When do you expect to make a decision?

© RedStarResume Publications – http://www.redstarresume.com

The Brand new Ebook from RedStarResume “Interview Secrets Exposed” is an insider’s guide on everything you need to know in order to nail your job interview.

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Starting to Prepare For The Dreaded Job Interview

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Rule number 1: Research:

Congratulations! You have been invited for the interview. Now what do you do?

The first step is beginning to research the company. Once you have done this you will be ready to prep for the interview questions, learn how to improve your interviewing skills and begin to think about what you’re going to wear to the interview.

In order to succeed in the interview you need to do your homework on the company. There is no set of rules to how to do your research but preparing yourself as much as possible will greatly enhance your chances of getting hired.

Make sure you use every available resource to help you with your preparation. By doing a basic Google on the company you can easily learn important facts about the company. Publically listed companies are easier to prepare your background research than privately listed companies as public companies are legally required to make certain information available. In the 21st century the Internet has made a lot of the pre interview research more available and easier to find. Don’t forget that you can also use other sources of information like public libraries or bookstores. Many magazines and journals can provide important and up to date information on your company and also provide you with information that your competitors who are also applying for the same job won’t know.

A true story…

A candidate of mine was applying for a job at one of the large investment banks. Out of 150 candidates the hiring manager had selected the top 10 best resumes to perform first round interviews. Every interview was 15-20 minutes long. The final question the hiring manager asked to each of the candidates was “Tell me something about the company.” Nine out of ten of the candidates rattled off information they had read from the company’s “about us page”, but one candidate stood out. After reading about the company’s strategic purchase of a new acquisition, the candidate was able to impress the hiring manager with his (somewhat different) knowledge.

The hiring manager later offered this candidate the role not because he was the smartest candidate, but because he showed his dedication by going the extra step in his interview preparation.

Your research for the job interview preparation should give you a better insight on:

The history of the business

How old the business is

The types of services the business offers

The hierarchy structure

How many offices/locations the business has

Number of employees

Career progression

The business culture

Competitors

Benefits

Check out the Competitors websites as well – they are also a good source of information for your job preparation.

© RedStarResume Publications – www.redstarresume.com

During the last decade, RedStarResume has successfully written hundreds of professional resumes for candidates across the globe. From the student or entry level position to the CEO, our unique, custom-made resumes are written specifically to match the goals and desires of our clients and to help them land jobs.

How To Answer Behavioural Job Interview Questions

August 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Interview questions are typically divided into three main categories: Traditional interview questions, Behavioural Questions (competency-based interview) and Situational questions (hypothetical questions).

Behaviour Job Interview Questions:

“Past behaviour is a better predictor of future behaviour”

It is estimated that 80% of the interview is made up of behavioural questions. In order to understand how to answer behaviour questions we need to first define what a behavioural question is.

This type of interviewing is based on the philosophy that your past actions and behaviours will be a good indicator of your future behaviours. Therefore, how you acted to certain circumstances in your previous job is a reliable indicator of how you will act in your new job. As there are literally thousands of behaviour type questions, you can best prepare for this type of questioning by researching the culture of the company to get an understanding of the behavioural traits that are essential to working at that particular organisation.

Behavioural questions differ to standard interview questions as they focus more on experiences, behaviours, knowledge, skills and abilities. Rather than the standard question of “Do you have leadership skills” a behavioural question is more likely to be “Give me an example of your previous role when you displayed leadership abilities.” As the interviewer has already determined which skills are necessary for the role it is important that you are prepared for these questions.

The best way to begin studying for these questions is to look at the job description! The list of skills that they require are the skills they will more than likely focus on. When the job description mentions they require a person with good teamwork skills or negotiation skills, it is more than likely that this will be turned into a behavioural question to see if you really do possess these skills.

In good news, behavioural questions are not to be feared. When prepared properly, these questions can be easily answered.

How To Answer Behaviour Job Interview Questions:

The best way to answer a behavioural question is to use the STAR format.

Situation: The interviewer wants you to present a recent challenge and situation in which you found yourself.

Task: What did you have to achieve? The interviewer will be looking to see what you were trying to achieve from the situation.

Action: What did you do? The interviewer will be looking for information on what you did, why you did it and what were the alternatives.

Results: What were the outcomes of your actions? What did you achieve through your actions and did you meet your objectives. What did you learn from this experience and have you used this learning since?

The Star Model:

© RedStarResume Publications – www.redstarresume.com

During the last decade, RedStarResume has successfully written hundreds of professional resumes for candidates across the globe. From the student or entry level position to the CEO, our unique, custom-made resumes are written specifically to match the goals and desires of our clients and to help them land jobs.