You have reached that all-important milestone; you finally got somebody out there to invite you in for a face-to-face interview. Do you know what you will answer? Are you prepared with concise and focused replies? Or are you going to stammer and stutter, peppering your remarks with “You know”, “I mean” or even worse, some prolonged “ehhh” which President Obama himself is trying to eradicate from his speech?
Getting Ready For The Job Interview: Know A Little Q & A
Whether you’re hoping to land your dream job or just looking to get any job in any employment market, you’ll need to get ready for that moment. When preparing for a job interview, there is only one solution if you are not quick witted and an accomplished orator with a fabulous memory: practice, practice, practice! Let me offer a few tips on how to prepare for that fateful moment:
1. Why do you want to work for our company? is one of the most tricky and fundamental questions you will face. That’s why you should never go empty-handed, or rather, empty-minded if you’ll pardon the pun. Do extensive research of the business in general and the company in particular. An unfavorable answer is evidently “because I need the money”. The smartest answer has to do with what you can offer that will benefit the business. Be concrete and detailed, showing the interviewer that you came prepared; rehearse in front of a mirror or with a capable friend till both of you are satisfied. Do not use “You know” (if they knew what you are thinking they wouldn’t even ask) or “like” unless it is needed. The teen expression “I am like” comes across as juvenile and unpolished, and shows a weak command of the formal English used in such situations.
Job interview at IKEA
2. Give me some idea of who you are can be a tricky question with some dangerous traps. Hiring managers and interviewers are not interested in your trophies as a boy scout: you’ll want to prepare a short description of your main accomplishments and include some positive traits. When asked about your weaknesses, the response “I am a perfectionist” plays very well in most cases. When asked about your achievements, the response “I saved my last company hundreds of dollars by suggesting X and Y” is a clear winner. Be careful not to come across as a vain and pretentious candidate, more interested in his/her image than in the good of the team. So don’t overdo the achievements and be truthful in every aspect.
3. You left your last job because… is also a loaded question. Many candidates will flatter themselves while putting down the old boss. Serious mistake! If you don’t show loyalty to the previous employer, why should they expect anything else once they hire you? Tell the truth but be tactful. If you had a problem with a supervisor, say so frankly, calmly and objectively. Most interviewers will appreciate your honesty, though they’ll wonder whether you are difficult to deal with within a team. So add that you fully understand what the new company wants and that you’ve become a better employee who’s able to learn from past mistakes.
4. Do you have a figure in mind? touches the delicate area of salary negotiations. The advice here is not to answer directly. Employers already know how much they want to pay you and they know that a weak job market allows them to pay less. Prepare yourself by researching the salary ranges for your intended position and answer in a broad manner: “I have a general idea but I am flexible. I know I have a lot to learn as the new guy (or gal) in the company. Can you give me an approximate number?”
5. Is there anything you wish to add? gives you the chance to fill them in on information that you have determined is important for them to know and that they haven’t asked. Keep it brief so that they won’t think you are desperate to get the job. Be professional and make a convincing argument explaining why you can be a great asset to the bottom line.
When you leave, make sure you give the interviewer a firm handshake (even if you are a lady) and keep eye contact. Smile as you take your leave. They must sense strength and confidence in you. Then ask them if you may call after a couple of days to find out about their decision; this will show them your persistence and interest.
Other writeups that may be of interest:
Here are more job interview techniques to get you hired!
Created December 7, 2009. Updated August 25, 2012. Copyright © 2012 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.