Friday, July 5, 2013

5 Important Interview Questions

1. Tell us about yourself

Because of its open-ended nature, this question often tricks people up.

  • Good answers:
    • Stick to the basics and provide relevant facts about your education, career and current life situation. Summarize your whole career into 2 or 3 brief sentences describing most important aspects of your career, which you want to use as influences to next career step.

    • Focus on what most interests your interviewer. The answer should target the job, not a personal biography. What really matters is how you can contribute to the company not where you were born.
  • Bad answers:
    • What would you like to know?
    • Do not tell your life history.

  • Though differently phrased, the following questions are basically same as the above question:
    • Why should we hire you?
    • Why are you the best person for the job?
    • What makes you a good fit?

2. What are your weaknesses?

This question is asked to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. Your answer gives the employer an opportunity to see what if anything you needed to make up, if you are hired.

  • Good Answer:
    • Your answer should tell them that you can overcome challenges. Try to address uncertainties in your background. Paint a weakness as a strength. For example, instead of saying that “I am a perfectionist”, phrase your answer as follows:

      “I always take extra time to check whether my work is complete and accurate. I hate redoing my work. Though taking extra time may sound like I make delays in submitting my work, my employers always appreciated the effort I put into and the quality of the work.”
  • Bad answers:
    • I can’t think of any!
    • I work too hard or I am a workaholic

3. What are your strengths?

  •  Good answer:
    • This is a confidence building interview questions. Later in the interview, these strengths become talking points. For example, if you say team work, the interviewer may ask you ‘Tell me an incident where you demonstrated team work’. Only strengths that count for this question are those which are demonstrable with actions at a workplace and add value to the position you are seeking. Be accurate, specific, and honest and don’t be too humble. Be prepared to demonstrate.
  • Bad answer
    • Don’t choose strengths that are not important for the job at hand or strengths that anybody could claim. Who wants to hire someone whose greatest strength is the ability to show up on time?

4. Why do you want to work here?

  • Good Answer 
    • Tell what you have learned about the company, why it is appealing for you. Be specific and share how you can be a benefit to the company. It is ok to reference people you know that are employed by the company. It is ok to tell why you are leaving your current job. But do not make any negative comments about your previous employer.

  • Bad answers:
    • I don’t know!
    • Because it seems like a good place to work.
    •  It’s a great growth opportunity for me.

The above answers lack research, thought and consideration. They have no relevance to the job seeking and are unimpressive.

5. Do you have any questions?

Always have questions for an employer when they ask the above question.

  • Some possible questions might be:
    • Why is this position open? OR Is this a newly created position? Based on the response you can assess whether the company is growing or not and also the importance of the position to the business.
    • Ask about whom you will report to, who reports to you, and which contacts you have day-to-day.
    • Ask how they feel about your performance in the interview.

Anuranjani Korrapati is an MBA Student at the Robert O. Anderson Graduate School of Management.

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