After working hard to get yourself in front of your recruiter it is time to answer some questions. All interviews and interviewers are different and are often tailored around the position you are applying for, your proven skills and abilities (as stated by your resume) and of course the company you are applying to. So it is not possible for me to give you the exact questions and the perfect answers, because these always change. The best I can do is break things down so you can be better prepared for your interview.
Interview questions will vary depending upon the role you are applying for. For example a chef will be asked technical questions related to the position. A managerial candidate will be asked questions relating to the management, supervision and counselling of staff, etc.
In addition to these questions you will be asked some more general questions and quite likely behavioral ones too.
Here are some examples:
1. Why do you think you are right for this position?Sounds simple right! Obviously you believe you are the best candidate and can’t understand why the interviewer has not yet recognised this. WRONG!
a. The correct way to answer this is to ensure that you have researched the company, their values and their goals. Your answer should show that you have the proven skills, given relative examples in previous employment. These proven skills should align with the company goals and values and assist the company to move forward.
2. What are your biggest strengths? You know you are a superstar but if you ell this to your interviewer they will see you as conceited so be humble whilst being your biggest fan.
a. This is your opportunity to demonstrate the what and why behind some of your accomplishments. What drove you to make some of the decisions you made. What goals you have yet to accomplish and why they are important. However, just pick 2-3 areas where you are really strong and can easily demonstrate this.
3. What are your greatest areas of growth potential? This is the same as what are your biggest weaknesses. And yes, believe it or not everyone, including yourself and your interviewer have weaknesses.
a. The important part of this question is not what your weaknesses are, but your ability to acknowledge them, be aware of them and de able to be transparent.
4. Why should we hire you? Because you are amazing? Doesn't everyone think they are amazing?
a. This is actually the interviewer asking you to convince them to hire you. It is a great opportunity for you to tie in all of your experience, your skills, background and more and show how it will enhance the value of the company.
Behavioural questions are an entirely different beast to general questions. Here the interviewer is asking about specific situations in your working life. General examples will not do and only serve to annoy your interviewer because it will show you are not listening to the question.
The correct answer in all instances it to be able to demonstrate an outcome that shows compassion, a good understanding of the challenge and a win-win outcome.
Here are some examples of questions:
1. Tell me about a time when you had conflict with a co-worker and what was the outcome. As well as death and taxes, conflict is inevitable. It just is. So here the interviewer wants to know how you handle disagreements within the workplace. The key words at the beginning are “tell me about a time” which should signal to you that your interviewer is seeking an actual example. Remember your response should show compassion and a win-win outcome so reporting them to your supervisor is not the right response. You should be demonstrating an example of sitting down with your co-worker, discussing the issue and how it makes you feel and coming to an amicable resolution. You may not be best of friends but you should be able to work together effectively.
2. Can you give me an example of a time when an employee was not performing well and what action you took? You can’t fire everyone and often it results in legal action distracting the company so that is not a great response.. The keywords here are “Can you give me an example of a time”which again signals that your interviewer is not asking for a general response. You should show here that you have good counselling skills and can put in place a pathway for the employee to reach the standards required in their performance.
3. Can you share with me a time when you were under pressure to reach a time sensitive goal and how you managed it? So here feigning illness and going home to avoid the deadline is not going to work. Here the interviewer is looking to see how your prioritise tasks, bring in extra resources and deliver on time.
There are no hard and fast rules regarding the questions that you may be asked at interview. However, the answers should always be seen as being positive and never critical of past employers or co-workers. The best advice is to always prepare for the interview well, listen to the question carefully and make sure your response is well constructed and avoid waffling.