Giving A Good Interview Essay, Research Paper
Giving a good Interview
Ten Interview Questions
Here are 10 questions and answers to help you prepare for your interviews.
1. “Why do you want to work here?”
To answer this question, you must have researched the company and built a dossier. Reply with the company’s attributes as you see them. Cap your answer with reference to your belief that the company can provide you with a stable and happy work environment – the company has that reputation – and that such an atmosphere would encourage your best work.
“I’m not looking for just another paycheck. I enjoy my work and am proud of my profession Your company produces a superior product/provides a superior service. I share the values that make this possible, which should enable me to fit in and complement the team.”
2. “What did you like/dislike about your last job?”
The interviewer is looking for incompatibilities. If a trial lawyer says he or she dislikes arguing a point with colleagues, such a statement will only weaken – if not immediately destroy – his or her candidacy.
Most interviews start with a preamble by the interviewer about the company. Pay attention: That information will help you answer the question. In fact, any statement the interviewer makes about the job or corporation can be used to your advantage.
So, in answer, you liked everything about your last job. You might even say your company taught you the importance of certain keys from the business, achievement, or professional profile. Criticizing a prior employer is a warning flag that you could be a problem employee. No one intentionally hires trouble, and that’s what’s behind the question. Keep your answer short and positive. You are allowed only one negative about past employers, and only then if your interviewer has a “hot button” about his or her department or company; if so, you will have written it down on your notepad. For example, the only thing your past employer could not offer might be something like “the ability to contribute more in different areas in the smaller environment you have here.” You might continue with, “1 really liked everything about the job. The reason I want to leave it is to find a position where I can make a greater contribution. You see, I work for a large company that encourages specialization of skills. The smaller environment you have here will, as I said, allow me to contribute far more in different areas.” Tell them what they want to hear – replay the hot button.
Of course, if you interview with a large company, turn it around. “1 work for a small company and don’t get the time to specialize in one or two major areas.” Then replay the hot button.
3. “What would you like to be doing five years from now’?.”
The safest answer contains a desire to be regarded as a true professional and team player. As far as promotion, that depends on finding a manager with whom you can grow. Of course, you will ask what opportunities exist within the company before being any more specific: “From my research and what you have told me about, the growth here, it seems operations is where the heavy emphasis is going to be. It seems that’.,; where you need the effort and where I could contribute toward the company’s goals.” Or, “1 have always felt that first-hand knowledge and experience open up opportunities that one might never have considered, so while at this point in time I plan to be a part of [e.g.] operations, it is reasonable to expect that other exciting opportunities will crop up in the meantime.”
4. “What are your biggest accomplishments?”
Keep your answers job related. If you exaggerate contributions to major projects, you will be accused of suffering from “coffee-machine syndrome,” the affliction of a junior clerk who claimed success for an Apollo space mission based on his relationships with certain scientists, established at the coffee machine. You might begin your reply with: “Although I feel my biggest achievements are still ahead of me, I am proud of my involvement with… I made my contribution as part of that team and learned a lot in the process. We did it with hard work, concentration, and an eye for the bottom line.”
5. “Can you work under pressure?”
You might be tempted to give a simple “yes” or “no” answer, but don’t. It reveals nothing, and you lose the opportunity to sell your skills and value profiles. Actually, this common question often comes from an unskilled interviewer, because it is closed-ended. As such, the question does not ,give you the chance to elaborate. Whenever you are asked a closed-ended question, mentally add: “Please give me a brief yet comprehensive answer.” Do that, and you will give the information requested and seize an opportunity to sell yourself. For example, you could say: “Yes, I usually find it stimulating. However, I believe in planning and proper management of my time to reduce panic deadlines within my area of responsibility.”
6. “Why should I hire you?”
Your answer will be short and to the point. It will highlight areas from your background that relate to current needs and problems. Recap the interviewer’s description of the job, meeting it point by point with your skills. Finish your answer with: “1 have the qualifications you need [itemize them], I’m a team player, I take direction, and I have the desire to make a thorough success.”
7. “How do you take direction?”
The interviewer wants to know whether you are open – minded and can be a team player. Can you follow directions or are you a difficult, high-maintenance employee? Hopefully, you are a low-maintenance professional who is motivated to ask clarifying questions about a project before beginning, and who then gets on with the job at hand, coming back to initiate requests for direction as circumstances dictate.
This particular question can also be defined as “How do you take direction?” and “How do you accept criticism?” Your answer should cover both points: “1 take direction well and recognize that it
can come in two varieties, depending on the circumstances. There is carefully explained direction, when my boss has time to lay things out for me in detail; then there are those times when, as a result of deadlines and other pressures, the direction might be brief and to the point. While I have seen some people get upset with that, personally I’ve always understood that there are probably other considerations I am not aware of. As such, I take the direction and get on with the job without taking offense, so my boss can get on with her job.It’s the only way.”
8. “Tell me about yourself.”
This is not an invitation to ramble on. If the context isn’t clear, you need to know more about the question before giving an answer. In such a situation, you could ask, “Is there a particular aspect of my background that would be most relevant to you?” This will enable the interviewer to help you find the appropriate focus and avoid discussing irrelevancies.
Whichever direction your answer ultimately takes, be sure that it has some relevance to the world of your professional endeavors. The tale you tell should demonstrate, or refer to, one or more of your key behavioral profiles in action-perhaps honesty, integrity, being a team player, or determination. If you choose “team player” (maybe you’re the star player at first base on a community team), you can tell a story about yourself outside of work that also speaks volumes about you all work. In part, your answer should make the connection between the two, such as, “1 put my heart into everything I do, whether it be sports or work. I find that getting along with teammates – or professional peers – makes life more enjoyable; and productive.
Or you might describe yourself as someone who is able to communicate with a variety of people, and give an example from your personal life that indicates an ability to communicate that would also apply at work.
This isn’t a question that you can answer effectively off the cuff. Take some time in advance to think about yourself, and those aspects of your personality and/or background that you’d like to promote or feature for your interviewer.
9. “What is the most difficult situation you have faced?”
The question looks for information on two fronts:
How do you define difficult?
and, what was your handling of the situation?
You must have a story ready for this one in which the situation both was tough and allowed you to show yourself in a good light. Avoid talking about problems that have to do with co-workers. You can talk about the difficult decision to fire someone, but emphasize that once you had examined the problem and reached a conclusion you acted quickly and professionally, with the best interests of the company at head:.
“What are some of the things that bother you?” “What are your pet hates? …. Tell me about the last time you felt anger on the job.”
These questions are so similar that they can be treated as one. It is tremendously important that you show you can remain calm. Most of us have seen a colleague lose his or her cool on occasion -not a pretty sight and one that every sensible employer wants to avoid. This question comes up more and more often the higher up the corporate ladder you climb, and the more frequent your contact with clients and the general public. To. answer it, find something that angers conscientious workers. “1 enjoy my work and believe in giving value to my employer. Dealing with clock-watchers and the ones who regularly get sick on Mondays and Fridays really bothers me, but it’s not something that gets me angry or anything like that.” An answer of this nature will help you much more than the kind given by a California engineer, who went on for some minutes about how he hated the small-mindedness of people who don’t like pet rabbits in the office.
10. “Do you prefer working with others or alone?”
This question is usually used to determine whether you are a team player. Before answering, however, be sure you know whether the job requires you to work alone. Then answer appropriately. Perhaps: “I’m quite happy working alone when necessary. I don’t need much constant reassurance. But I prefer to work in a group – so much more gets achieved when people pull together.”
STEP 1 – Know Thyself
The first step is to review your own qualifications. This step will make you much more organized and fluent during the interview. You’ll be less likely to have regrets after the interview about what you failed to mention if you review the following areas of your background in relation to the requirements of the position:
+ Education, course work, seminars
+ Skills and abilities
+ Work experience
+ Extracurricular activities and their value to you
+ Strengths and weaknesses
+ Values, likes and dislikes–especially as they pertain to your work life
+ Career goals–clearly and precisely stated
To prepare in this area you may want to take vocational assessment tests, work with a career counselor, buy a workbook, or simply sit down with pencil and paper and make some notes. Whatever your approach, don’t omit this step!
STEP 2 – Know the Employer
A standard part of most interviews is a question about your knowledge of the employer. It is imperative to do your homework. A weak answer to this question is devastating. These are the areas to learn about:
+ History of the organization
+ Products and/or services
+ Primary clientele
+ Current earnings
+ Organizational structure, hierarchy, chief officers
+ Major competitors
+ Ranking among competitors
+ Parent company and subsidiaries
+ Prospects for growth
To research an organization, make use of the Internet, the Career Services Center Library, the reference sections of the university libraries, local public libraries, and chambers of commerce. Consult annual reports, newsletters, and trade association publications.
STEP 3 – Know the Position
You should have a good idea of what the job entails, both in general,, and as it exists in the particular organization to which you are applying. When researching: the position look for this type of information:
+ A typical job description
+ Skills required
+ Personal traits that are desirable in this field
+ Salary information
+ Growth in the field–how competitive is it?
+ Current trends and major issues in the field
The place to start this research is with any written job description that the company provides. Spend some time analyzing this and committing it to memory. You will need to draw on this information in the interview. Friends and business contacts can also be very informative.
When you have finished your research of the employer and the position, match your skills, personal traits, and experiences (jobs, internships, volunteer experience, academic courses and extracurricular activities) with those that qualify you for this job. Think through how you will present this information in a concise, organized manner. The interview is a matching process for you and the employer. Your research of the company and the position will allow you to present your case effectively.
Determine the most important material to present. Practice including this material in your answers and strategize what to do if not asked for this information. There is usually a time for you to ask questions and make comments at the end of the interview. If you haven’t made some important point, this provides an opportunity.
A Final Word about Preparation
Use relaxation and visualization techniques. When completely relaxed, picture yourself answering questions in an articulate, knowledgeable, organized way. Visualize your interviewer responding positively. Visualize yourself as confident and relaxed. Supply as much detail as possible to these images. Most importantly, visualize yourself receiving the
What Employers Are Seeking
The following list of traits was compiled from surveys conducted by UCR’s Career Services Center and by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
+ Communication skills
+ Interpersonal skills
+ Problem-solving ability
+ Leadership skills
+ High energy level
The rule of thumb in dressing for the interview is to dress professionally’ and conservatively. For most environments, a gray or navy business suit is appropriate. Stay away from trendy clothing, flashy jewelry, colognes, and heavy make-up. The image should be toned down and professional. There may be some exceptions to this, in fields that involve fashion or entertainment, for example. But do your research, and when in doubt, err on the side of being conservative. First impressions, while they can’t substitute for sound preparation are, nonetheless, highly important. Decisions are often made in the first minute or so of the interview. or “talk with your hands.” Try to maintain a relaxed, open manner. Keep your voice level at an appropriate volume. If you speak very softly, this may be interpreted as shyness or a lack of assertiveness. Speak clearly and in complete sentences, avoiding one word answers.
+ One of your main objectives in the interview is to establish good rapport with your interviewer. The interviewer is looking for someone he or she would be comfortable: working with. If you are overly nervous and monosyllabic, or if the interviewer feels that information has to be dragged out of you, chances are the job will go to someone more forthcoming.
+ Listen well. Don’t interrupt. Tune in to the interviewer’s responses and body language. If you momentarily lose concentration, ask that the question be repeated, rather than answering the wrong question. This is a frequent occurrence in interviews. Get clarification before proceeding.
+ Keep your answers focused on the job description and the employer. Your research should now begin paying off in helping you to provide information that is relevant to the job at hand. Be specific in your answers by giving appropriate examples.
+ If asked about something you don’t know, be honest, but try to avoid negative qualifiers in your answers. For example, “I really don’t have much background in that, but I did have a summer job in which…” This answer would be much more effective if it began, “I once had a summer job…” Perhaps you don’t feel the experience you gained that summer was very significant. It’s difficult to predict how the interviewer will evaluate it, but don’t sabotage yourself.
+ You also want to avoid negative comments about your previous jobs; or bosses. Discuss the positive aspects of your experiences. Above all, don’t ramble. Focus on the question that was asked. Give direct, well-organized answers.
Tell me a little about yourself.
This is often used as an opening question and requires a brief, well-prepared 60 second advertisement of yourself. A 20 minute soliloquy is definitely not in order. If you are going to display any nervousness in the interview it will be during the first few minutes. Keep your answers to the initial questions fairly brief. This will give you a chance to settle into the situation, will force the interviewer to talk a little more, even if only to ask another question, and will create more of a dialog between the two of you. And a dialog or a good conversation is definitely what you want.
Discuss your work experience.
Provide well-organized, well-supported, specific information. Keep it relevant to the job at hand. It’s not necessary to bethorough, giving each job equal time. Focus on the jobs that relate and highlight the parts of the jobs that would be of interest to the interviewer. Cover the rest in a brief, general statement.
What are your goals?
Keep your goals consistent with the goals of the field for which you are interviewing and with those of the employer. Again, your research is important for this answer. Stay away from interviews in which your goals are not in concert with either those of the position or the employer. At best, that just wastes everyone’s time. At worst, you might end up getting a job that won’t take you where you want to go.
Where do you want to be in five years?
Phrase your answer to this in terms of the next job up the ladder. Don’t tell the interviewer you want his or her job! Don’t talk about being the president of the company eventually. Keep your answer more immediate.
Why do you want this job?
This question gives you a chance to discuss all you know about the .job and why you’re such a good match for it. This is another tough question to answer without having done the homework.
How would you describe yourself?. What are your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
In describing yourself use only your positive traits. This is no time to present a balanced view. On the other hand, outright bragging doesn’t come off well either. Provide some objective support to your answer in discussing your achievements by recounting situations you’ve been in and how you’ve behaved, or how you’ve solved problems.
The weaknesses question may be the most difficult one of the interview. Plan for what you’ll say. Stay away from the trite approach, “I’m just a workaholic.” Some interviewers might perceive this as threatening. Most will hear it as inauthentic. There are at least two better approaches.
You might focus on a preferred, but peripheral qualification in the job description, particularly if it could be easily learned. Minimize the deficit and focus on your eagerness to learn more about it.
Another effective approach is to actually think about problems you have faced in your life. We seem to be given multiple opportunities to learn lessons in our weak areas. If you can think of a weakness that has given you trouble, you might consider using it. You will probably score points for being genuine. A word of caution–obviously, this flaw can’t beirrelevant (like a weakness for chocolate). More importantly, it can’t be a fatal flaw, e.g., “I can never seem to meet a deadline,” or “I’m always late,” or “I hate numbers.” It should be something that won’t have a profound impact on the work of this position and something you are striving successfully to correct.
Why should I hire you?
Focus on your assets, what you have to offer the employer, the strengths you would bring to the position.
What are your greatest achievements?
Keep these as relevant to the job as possible. Tailor each answer to the objective at hand.
How much of your college expenses did you earn?
Keep in mind that employers are looking for work ethic and they fear it is missing, often as not. If you held the normal part-time and summer jobs to keep yourself in clothing, food, incidentals and your car in gasoline, remember that those expenses add up–possibly to 25 percent or more of your overall living costs.
What are your educational goals?
This may not be the time to divulge that you only want the job to earn money to go back to graduate school full-time. Frame you answer around your love of learning either through formal or informal means, especially as the organization and position might demand.
Why do you want to work for us?
This is a good opportunity to discuss all that you’ve learned about The organization and to use that as a major part of the reason you want the job.
Other Commonly Asked Questions
+ How did you select your university?
+ What were your favorite classes? Least favorite?
+ Tell me about a problem you’ve had and how you solved it.
+ How has your education (or experience) prepared you for this position?
+ What did you like most about the jobs you’ve held? Least?
+ Why do you want this particular job?
+ Do you feel your transcript reflects your true ability?
+ Of what value were your extracurricular activities?
+ What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
+ How do you spend your free time?
+ What type of relationship do you like to have with your supervisor?
+ How does this job contribute to your overall career goal?
+ Are you willing to relocate?
+ Do you work well under pressure?
+ How do you define success?
+ Describe your ideal job.
+ What do you know about our organization?
Ending the Interview
You are generally asked if you have questions or comments at the end of the interview. This is a good point to interject any important points not covered by the interviewer, or which you forgot to mention earlier. Questions should be few in number and not require lengthy explanations. This segment of the interview is usually allotted five or ten minutes before the conclusion. Don’t annoy the interviewer by detaining him or her. On the other hand, it is considered very bad form if you have no questions or comments. Thoughtful questions display your interest in and enthusiasm for the job. They might include:
+ Who would my supervisor be?
+ What type of equipment is used (computers, software, etc.)?
+ What type of training is provided?
+ Tell me about the evaluation process for this position.
+ What are the most important skills and abilities that you are seeking?.
+ How does one advance in this organization?
+ If I were offered the position, when would I start?
+ When can I expect to hear from you?
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