Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sample Interview Q&A

Job interviews are similar to social conversation in many ways.  But however factual and sincere you are with your answers, it seems that job offers are still out of your reach. You wonder why you got no job offer even if you have a very good qualification. You know why, it is not at all times about being factual and sincere.  It’s also about the information that you give.  So you have to be selective with your answers during the interview. So much information about your personal life will bring you to nowhere. But too little will also give the interviewer an impression that you are hiding something. I hope that this sample Q&A will give you vast idea on how you can compose your answers to possible interview questions. I list 15 possible questions which are asked frequently and some questions that you should consider to ask them also. Let’s begin..

  1. Tell me about yourself? Give a brief overview of your personal details and more about your professional details. Limit your answer to about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Strength and Weakness? Give 2-3 strengths you possess.  For your weakness, give a conservative one and back it up with your continuous effort to improve or correct it.
  3. Why are you the best person for this job? This is similar to “Why should we hire you?” Emphasize on your career accomplishments, skills and ability to set priorities.  It is important to give examples in your “getting things done” experiences especially in identifying problems and your energy in solving them.
  4. How long would it take you to make a meaningful contribution to our organization? Give a realizable time line. Surely, you will have a pressing demands and responsibility from your first day (if hired). You also need to know the organization well enough to make a major contribution. Is 6-months enough be a real asset to the organization? This really depends on how fast you learn and adopt a new environment.
  5. How long would you stay with us? An interviewer wants to know how he can keep you in his organization. Admit your interest in a career with the organization and factors that will keep you.  Is it the challenges or achievements, or both?
  6. Your resume suggests that you may be over-qualified or too experienced for this position.  What’s your opinion? Sometimes, in establishing a long-term association with the organization, it’s better to start in a lower position. This is true especially if you want to transfer from local company to MNC. And if you perform your job well, surely new opportunities will open up for you. Tell the interviewer that since you are well-qualified, they will get fast return on their investment.
  7. What important trends do you see in our industry? In this question, your research about the company will help you understand the market beforehand.  Give two or three technological challenges or opportunities, demands and economic conditions related to their industry.
  8. Why do you want to work here? Give some company’s attributes or integrity as you see them like stability or working environment and relate it to your motivation to work best.
  9. Why are you leaving your present position? Don’t badmouth your previous boss. But rather focus on potential career growth and challenges.
  10. What’s your biggest achievement? Your answer should be job-related. And do not exaggerate your contributions to major projects.
  11. What would you like to be doing five years from now? Give realizable professional goals and what you might be doing in their company if some opportunity exists.
  12. Can you work under pressure? Show your willingness but don’t forget to emphasize that planning and time management can reduce panic deadlines.
  13. Describe the difficult problem you have to deal with.  Show your professional and analytical abilities. Ideal steps in solving any problem is to examine the situation, recognize the problem and its hidden factors, list possible solutions, determine the best solution and seek for your boss’ advice and approval.  It is best to give specific examples in your previous job.
  14. What are you looking for in you next job? Your answer should be related to 3 elements that you are looking for such as: job, company and, superior.
  15. How would you relate your key competencies to this position? Demonstrate your experiences & work ethics and how can you help them with their goals not only within the department but with the whole company as well.

Things to ask the interviewer at the right timing:
·         What would be the first priorities on the job? Identify their struggles or pain.
·         How would you describe your company’s culture?  Or what do you enjoy most about working here? Determine whether you are fit in.
·         What additional information can I provide about my qualification? Show you really are interested.
·         What are the next steps in the selection process? Know when to expect hiring result
·         Can you clarify what you said about……… or give examples of? Ask follow-ups
  • What are the short and long term goals of the company? Find out where the company is going.  This is the most important question to ask. In my previous job hunt, I got 3 tempting job offers: first company- MNC but I will have only 1 day off, second company – a junior managerial level but local company, third company – an MNC but I will be a “one-man team” and I am free on weekends. I choose the third one but you know what happened? The company closed down just before my 6th month. So, I came to appreciate this very important question.
By this time, you already have read all important steps in job hunting from writing a resume, writing a cover letter, interview preparation and this sample interview Q&A. I advise you to read these workplace related blogs once more or as many times as you can till it become part of you. {just like a mom reminding you not to skip breakfasts ;) }

My next workplace blogs will be now related to work ethics and workplace taboo. Please visit some time again soon.

Thanks & Godspeed!

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