Interview Questions – Don’t Be Caught Off Guard by These 3 by Dave Caruso

You know your job search efforts are starting to payoff when you receive that call to schedule an interview. A feeling of nervous excitement sweeps over you and your thoughts begin to race about what the interview will be like and how to make the best impression possible to convince them you are the best person for the job.

The bitter irony about job interviewing is that people who interview well don’t always make the best employees. Nevertheless, it is the standard tool used by every organization to make their selection on a candidate. Therefore, it is imperative to approach the interview with poise, confidence and professionalism. It is no secret that researching the company and its business model is an important first step in preparing for the interview. Once you have a good understanding of the company, you can begin to organize your thoughts as to how your skills and background will be of benefit to the organization. Now it is time to focus on a few common interview questions.

“Tell Me About Yourself” is a common lead off question for the interview. It is a chance to give your 30 second commercial about yourself by showcasing your education, skills and past work experiences. This is not a time to drone on about yourself and your life, but rather to target specific instances in your background to match the traits and skills needed for the job opportunity. It is best to appear natural and conversational in tone and avoid sounding rehearsed. Divide your attention equally among all those in the room who are participating in the interview while maintaining direct eye contact. Try to avoid too many pregnant pauses, or looking at the floor or ceiling. Body language suggests that looking at the floor can indicate deceit and looking up at the ceiling can show uncertainty.

“What Is Your Greatest Weakness” or another version “Tell Me About a Time You Failed” are questions that would ordinarily make us squirm, but that can be successfully answered without casting ourselves in a bad light. Resist the urge to reply with something cute like “ice cream” or “chocolate” or “messy desk”. The interviewer is trying to see how you handle uncomfortable situations with a keen eye toward how you act under pressure while also gauging your honesty. Present examples that show a challenge that you were faced with and how your unique skills or traits allowed you to overcome the challenge and lead the objective to a successful resolution in the end. For example, you relied too heavily on computer systems to track sales so you created paper backups on critical reports that could be accessed anytime, in the event the system was down.

“Are You a Team Player” is a question that should be welcomed in the form of a gift. It is your chance to elaborate on how your communications skills can help you to deal effectively with coworkers, management and customers. Provide examples of times when you have shared information with coworkers that has resulted in increased sales, customer satisfaction or process improvements. It is essential to show your focus is on that which is best for the company. Talk about a time when you embraced change and improved your job performance or made recommendations that were adopted by management.

Being well prepared for these 3 common interview questions will increase your confidence and help guarantee a successful interview. So put your best foot forward and remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so be prepared and make it a good one.

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  1. Written by Rick
    on 12/08/2009 at 10:23 pm

    I hired someone once who interviewed exceptionally well and ended up being one of the worst employees in the company.

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