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Interview FAQ's. WoW your next employer

Wouldn't it be great if you knew exactly what questions a hiring manager would be asking in your next job interview?

Alas! Unlike a competitive exam question paper leak, more often than not, such things doesn’t happen in a corporate world.

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Now, let’s discuss about a few common interview questions. These questions although common, doesn’t have fixed template answers. These questions opens up possibilities to know about things that aren’t on your resume.

While we don't recommend having a canned response for every interview question (in fact, please don't), we do recommend spending some time getting comfortable with what you might be asked, what hiring managers are really looking for in your responses, and what it takes to show that you're the right man or woman for the job.

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Maybe you guessed this question to appear on this list and you are right. This is a very important question. There are many critics ridiculing this question and as matter of fact the all lack clarity.   

Now, this is not an invitation to recite your entire life story or even to go bullet by bullet through your resume. Instead, it’s probably your first and best chance to pitch the hiring manager on why you’re the right one for the job. Call this an Elevator Pitch. Start off with the 2-3 specific accomplishments or experiences that you most want the interviewer to know about, then wrap up talking about how that prior experience has positioned you for this specific role.

What do you know about the company?

Anyone can check a company’s About Us page and throws in snippets from there. But that’s not what this question means & that’s exactly what you are not expected to do. Start with one line that shows you understand the company's goals, using a couple key words and phrases from the website, but then go on to make it personal. Say, “I’m personally drawn to this mission because…” or “I really believe in this approach because…” and share a personal example or two.

Why should we hire you?

This is another critic’s favorite. This particular question may sound intimidating but if you're asked it, you're in luck: There's no better setup for you to sell yourself and your skills to the hiring manager. Your job here is to craft an answer that covers three things: that you can not only do the work, you can deliver great results; that you'll really fit in with the team and culture; and that you'd be a better hire than any of the other candidates.

What are your greatest professional strengths?

This is a tricky question. Maybe you have been asked umpteen times, more than i could count. Fair enough, but you have to tweak your answer to fit the conversation. Relevant (choose your strengths that are most targeted to this particular position); and specific (for example, instead of “people skills,” choose “persuasive communication” or “relationship building”). Then, follow up with an example of how you've demonstrated these traits in a professional setting.

What do you consider to be your weaknesses?

This is quite obvious. Even a followup question. What your interviewer is really trying to do with this question—beyond identifying any major red flags—is to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. So, “I can't meet a deadline to save my life” is not an option—but neither is “Nothing! I'm perfect!” Strike a balance by thinking of something that you struggle with but that you’re working to improve. For example, maybe you’ve never been strong at public speaking, but you've recently volunteered to run meetings to help you be more comfortable when addressing a crowd.

What is your greatest professional achievement?

Now, I call this a dream question. A Perfect answer to this question can be a deciding factor. You can summarize your entire professional journey for this question. But again proceed with caution. Nothing says “hire me” better than a track record of achieving amazing results in past jobs, so don't be shy when answering this interview question.

Are you aware about the S-T-A-R Method? Well, if you haven’t then there so much new stuffs that you are going to learn today through this article. The STAR method is a structured manner of responding to a behavioral-based interview question by discussing the specific situation, task, action, and result of the situation you are describing.

Now, back to question 6. A great way to do so is by using the S-T-A-R method: Set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context (e.g., “In my last job as a junior analyst, it was my role to manage the invoicing process”), but spend the bulk of your time describing what you actually did (the action) and what you achieved (the result). For example, “In one month, I streamlined the process, which saved my group 10 man-hours each month and reduced errors on invoices by 25%.”

Tell me about a challenge or conflict you've faced at work, and how you dealt with it.

This is another classic behavioral question. In asking this behavioral interview question, “your interviewer wants to get a sense of how you will respond to conflict. Again, You'll want to use the S-T-A-R method, being sure to focus on how you handled the situation professionally and productively, and ideally closing with a happy ending, like how you came to a resolution or compromise.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

No interviewer expects candidates to be able to describe EXACTLY what they will be doing in 1,820 days. Atleast, effective recruiters/hiring managers don’t

You may also hear one of these similar/related questions that are not quite as cliched as the old “5 years” chestnut:

  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • What is your ideal job at this stage in your career?
  • What are you looking for?
  • How do you define success?
  • What’s most important to you in you career?

The interviewer wants to understand more about your career goals and how this position would fit into your grand plan. They care about your career goals because they want to hire someone who is motivated, proactive, and likely to stick around and work hard if hired.

Your interviewer does not want to invest time and effort in someone who is already planning to leave for something better as soon as it comes along. After all, if she hires you and you quit after a month or two, she’s going to look really bad to her bosses.

When employers ask about where you want to be in five years, they’re likely looking for a few key pieces of information:

Do your expectations align with what the employer can provide?

Do you see yourself at the company in five years?

Do you have a sense of ambition or drive?

What are your interests?

A hiring manager wants to know a) if you've set realistic expectations for your career, b) if you have ambition (a.k.a., this interview isn't the first time you're considering the question), and c) if the position aligns with your goals and growth. Your best bet is to think realistically about where this position could take you and answer along those lines. And if the position isn’t necessarily a one-way ticket to your aspirations? It’s OK to say that you’re not quite sure what the future holds, but that you see this experience playing an important role in helping you make that decision.

What other companies are you interviewing with?

Companies ask this for a number of reasons, from wanting to see what the competition is for you to sniffing out whether you're serious about the industry. Be realistic. You don’t have to name the companies but be sure to communicate your thoughts effectively.

Why are you leaving your current job?

What can i say? This happens to be the hiring manager’s favorite. Definitely keep things positive—you have nothing to gain by being negative about your past employers.

Your reasons for leaving a job are always relevant for a potential employer. Here are some things your interviewer is likely looking for:

Did you leave for a good reason?

Did you leave voluntarily?

Did you leave on good terms? 

What are your work values?

The general rule here is that you should always be leaving to move toward a better opportunity. You should never position it as fleeing from a bad opportunity.

It’s best to avoid going down the slippery slope of discussing specifics regarding compensation, poor management, company finances, poor morale, or any other negative aspect of the job.

Frame things in a way that shows that you're eager to take on new opportunities and that the role you’re interviewing for is a better fit for you than your current or last position. 

What's a time you exercised leadership?

Depending on what's more important for the the role, you'll want to choose an example that showcases your project management skills (spearheading a project from end to end, juggling multiple moving parts) or one that shows your ability to confidently and effectively rally a team. And remember: The best stories include enough detail to be believable and memorable. Show how you were a leader in this situation and how it represents your overall leadership experience and potential.

We will add more questions in our upcoming posts. Stay Tuned

Now, give us a Hi Five and get back to your drawing room. Prepare yourself for a 'WoW'! next interview

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