Interview Skills - QuestionsFriday, 27 April 2012
Today on Let's Get Working we are continuing with our discussion on interviews skills. This article will cover the questions asked by interviewers, how to answer these questions and the types of questions you should ask the interviewer.
Many people stumble through interviews because they don't know how to answer the question. It is important to answer every question that you're asked in an interview. When asked to give examples for a particular situation that you haven't experienced. The best practise is to state that you haven't been in this situation and then tell them what you would do, if you were put in that situation.
Obviously I can't list every question that might be asked. But by thinking about the questions in this article, preparing answers and practising them. You can confidently enter your next interview knowing you're ready to answer most of the question that will be asked of you.
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
This is usually the first question asked and is designed to ease you into the interview. When the interviewer asks this question they are trying to see if your abilities and your personality will fit well within their company.
To answer this question think about the things that you have done that make you suitable for this job. Give a summary of important education, skills and experience that make you perfect for the job.
It is also a good idea to add 1 or 2 personal interests or hobbies separate from the job into the answer.
This will give the interviewer a clue as to what you are like as a person. Telling the interviewer that you enjoy reading books or solving puzzles in your spare time shows that you like to pursue intellectual activities. Telling the interviewer that you enjoy volunteering your time shows that you like to help people, and telling the interviewer that you enjoy participating in yoga or jogging shows you like to stay active.
I have always been interested in all things computers ever since I was a child. I enjoyed finding out how they worked and solving any problems they had. This has led me to complete several Tafe courses and ultimately a university degree from the University of Technology Sydney. During my studies I completed work experience in a programming role which allowed me to show my strong communication and organisational skills and prove myself as a valuable employee.
2. What do you know about my company?
The interviewer is trying to measure your interest in their company. It is important to research their company and note down a few things that impress you about the work they do. Tell the employer what they do that you admire and mention any other aspect of the company that makes you want to work for them.
I am really impressed by the quick and effective customer service your support team provides to your customers. This coupled with the good public image and high level of customer satisfaction that your latest product has generated makes me want to join a respected a company such as yours.
3. Why should I hire you?
This question is simple. The employer wants to know what you have to offer the company that would make them hire you. Tell them about your relevant skills and experience that make you the perfect fit for their company.
I feel that my strong attention to detail, friendly personality and my 3 years of customer service experience would make a perfect match for your company, and help me to continue providing the level of service that your customers have come to expect.
4. What are your goals / Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The interviewer is looking to see if you have any ambitions or plans for your future. Be aware that saying things that indicate you would leave the company could change the interviewers mind about you, if they are looking for someone to stick with the role long term.
You should mention how you would like to continue to learn and grow as an employee.
To begin with, you could mention how you would like to master the responsibilities of the initial position. This shows that you are interested in sticking around and not leaving as soon as a different job comes along. Once you have mentioned this you could then discuss any new skills you would like learn and/or mention any results you want to produce. Make sure you mention how you would produce these results if you state you want to achieve them.
I would like to be employed by a company such as this one where I can grow with the company to master the responsibilities my initial role, improve my skills and knowledge and eventually taking on more responsibilities.
5. What is your greatest strength?
The interviewer is asking you what you are good at and what makes you the right person for the job. Pick a few of your skills that are relevant to the job and then give examples of how you have demonstrated them in the past. You may be an excellent problem solver, have the ability to learn quickly or work well under pressure.
I am a quick learner and I am able to adapt to changing circumstances easily. In my previous role I had to learn how to use a new set of software in order to complete the task I was given. I was able to adapt to incorporate the new way of doings quickly, this allowed me continue the day to day operations of my role with only a small amount of overall disruption.
6. What is your greatest weakness?
Sometimes when people answer this questions they try to give strength and present it in a negative way, such as I work too hard or I'm a perfectionist. The problem with doing this is you have missed what the interviewer was really after. They want to know if you are aware of areas that you need to improve.
The best practise for this question is to give the interviewer a weakness you are trying to overcome and then tell them how you have improved or overcome this weakness.
I don't have very good computer skills, but I have been taking a computer course to improve my skills and I am now more confident when using them.
7. Why did you leave your lost job?
There are many reasons why people change jobs. They may have wanted to pursue new and challenging opportunities, wanted more responsibilities or wanted new experiences. When answering this question it is important to stay positive and list the reasons why you left your previous job, stating that you feel that your previous job couldn't offer what you were after but the position you are applying for can.
The one thing you should never do when answering this question is say bad things about your former boss or company. This puts a negative tone on the interview and makes you sound petty.
I really enjoyed my previous job. But I really wanted greater opportunities to experience working closer with customers and my previous job couldn't provide this. From my research however I know that this role is very customer focused, which I like.
Sometimes we make mistakes and these mistakes can lead to us being fired. Being fired doesn't mean you won't get a job again and it doesn't have to be an obstacle if you address the question appropriately.
- Be honest
- Don't go into detail
- Stay positive
- Show how you have learnt from your previous mistakes and improved
- Never bad mouth your previous boss
Due to a misunderstanding on my part about the customer's needs, we lost one of our biggest customers. I've spent a lot of time reflecting on the customer experience and how to ensure I keep the customer's needs a priority in everything I do. I believe my new customer focus will be a tremendous asset in my next role.
8. What salary/wage are you expecting?
This is the dreaded question everyone tip toes around. They want to ask it, but don't want to seem rude. They want to say a reasonable amount, but don't want to under or overvalue themselves. The best thing you can do is research into similar jobs to see what the average salary is. This way you get an idea of what you should be paid.
If the interviewer asks you this, you can turn the question back on them by saying
I'm flexible on salary, what would you normally pay someone for this position.
If the interviewer doesn't ask you this question during the interview it is best to wait until they have offered you the job or you are certain that you are going to get the job. You should focus on proving why you are the best candidate for the job, before you start talking money.
To find out information about workplace rights and salary you can visit Fair Work Australia for more information.
9. If I were to ask someone else to describe you what would they say?
When asking this question the interviewer is looking to see if can view yourself from other perspectives, as well as learn about you from people that know you.
It is good to do some preparation for this question in case it is asked. Ask some people what they think your good qualities are and write these done so you can remember them.
I believe they would say I'm a very friendly and dedicated worker that is always willing to give something a go.
10. Give me an example of a time you had to work under pressure
When asking this question the interviewer wants to see if you have the experience to work when things get tough or if you will have difficulty. Think of a time when you had to complete a stressful task, list what it was and how you completed the task despite the pressure.
As I said at the beginning of this article if you haven't experienced working under pressure, state what you would do if you were in this situation.
I was asked to complete a report within one week. When I was partially through the report I was told that the report was now needed urgently and that I had to have it done by the next day. This task seemed very difficult at first but I focused on my work, put aside all other distractions and handled it section by section.
By breaking the report down into its components, it made the task seem not as difficult and I was able to complete it on time.
Until Next Time,