Tips For Great Job Interviews
From researching the company to handling certain key interview questions, make sure you make a great impression and ace your next job interview by following these 20 tips.
Want to ace your next interview and land thatopen job youve been seeking? Here are 20 tips to help you prepare.1. Research the industry and company.An interviewer may ask how you perceive his company’s position in its industry, who the firm’s competitors are, what its competitive advantages are, and how it should best go forward. For this reason, avoid trying to thoroughly research a dozen different industries. Focus your job search on just a few industries instead.
What Are Your Greatest Strengths
In your answer to this question, share your most relevant technical and soft skills. While it may feel uncomfortable to talk highly of yourself, remember that this is your opportunity to tell your interviewers what makes you a great candidateand they want to hear it. To answer, follow the formula below:
1. Share one to a few positive qualities and personal attributes:”Ive always been a natural leader…
2. Back them up with examples:”…Ive exceeded my KPIs every quarter and have been promoted twice in the past five years. I look back at those successes and know that I wouldnt have reached them if I hadnt built and led teams composed of highly skilled and diverse individuals. Im proud of my ability to get cross-functional groups on the same page…
3. Relate them back to the role for which youre interviewing:”…Ive also regularly honed my management skills through 360 reviews and candid sessions with my team, and I know continuing to build my leadership skills is something I want from my next role.
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What Makes A Team Function Successfully
Your answer to this question lets the employer know if their team environment might be the right one for you. Your answer can help them measure your idea of teamwork against their own company culture. Choose a recent example and maintain a positive attitude when speaking about your previous employer and teammates.
Example: In my internship, I worked on an efficient, successful team that had a strong manager. That person checked in with our team and with individuals on a bi-weekly basis. She trusted us, but also cared about our work. We all felt invested in the project because leadership showed their own investment.
Related: A Guide To Developing High Performing Teams
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How To Answer Tough Interview Questions
Before we get into tough interview questions and answers examples, lets take a step back. Theres a good chance youre wondering, why would a hiring manager ask tough interview questions anyway? Well, there are a few reasons.
One is that making the process challenging boosts later job satisfaction. Thats right when an interview process is 10 percent harder, employee job satisfaction down the road is 2.6 percent better. Crazy sounding, but its true.
Second, replacing an employee usually costs 33 percent of that workers salary. Thats why finding a great candidate the first time is such a priority. It saves money. So, hiring managers may use hard questions to help them find the best.
Now that you have an idea of why a hiring manager may throw you a curveball during the interview, lets move onto another important topic. Its also critical to know how you should approach answering any question. That way, if you get hit with one you didnt see coming, youll be able to tackle it.
Lets face it, run of the mill job interview questions arent that tricky. Usually, the hiring manager has to spend at least part of the meeting gauging your abilities in a typical manner, so they go with a straightforward approach to touch on those topics.
For example, Do you have skill X? is a breeze to answer. All you have to do is confirm whether or not you have it, provide a relevant example, or showcase your willingness to learn, and youre done.
If You Were To Take Over As Ceo Of Your Current Company Tomorrow And Had To Increase Your Company’s Current Rate Of Growth What Three Areas You Would Invest In
Jeanne DeWitt heads up Revenue & Growth for North America at Stripe, so naturally her favorite question has a growth bent to it. But by asking candidates to play CEO, shes uncovered a sharp way to assess them on a few different variables.
Ive found it gives candidates an opportunity to highlight their strengths and strategic thinking, she says. But it also provides a chance for them to exercise empathy. If they get into how their hypothetical actions as CEO will affect the team, that signals a certain thoughtfulness about how their own working style impacts their peers or reports.
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Example Answers To What Makes You Unique For Sales Department Interviews
“I bring to the table seven years of customer service experience and excellence. My time in wholesale and retail has made me a candidate with a unique set of skills. Skills that have been refined by face to face customer and client interactions. I am an excellent communicator, an excellent listener, I take direction well, and excel in a team environment. These are all skills which I know will fit well with the position youre looking to fill.”
Something unique about me is that Im the most friendly person I know. This might sound like a brag, but it can be both good and bad! When I was a young girl, my mom repeatedly told friends and family she had a dozen nieces and nephews. But that shed never seen a kid like me. At my last sales support position, 90% of the customers called were furious when they spoke with me. I took their anger in stride and worked with them without patronizing them. I spent the time to learn where they were coming from and made sure they knew I understood and heard them. Then I worked to solve their issues within the guidelines of our company policies. Technically I wasnt doing anything different from any of the other hundred customer agents on my particular floor. I really think my upbeat attitude and empathy is why my customer satisfaction scores were 30% above the company average.
Why Did You Decide To Leave Your Previous/current Job
When asking this question, the interviewer wants to learn:
- Did you have a good reason for leaving your last job? The HR manager doesnt want someone that just jumps ship the moment things go bad.
Oh, well, the company started bleeding cash and was on its way to bankruptcy.
I felt like it was time – I got to a point where everything I was doing felt monotonous. I learned as much as I could at this position while delivering amazing results. It was, however, time to switch to something new.
- Did you leave on good terms? Meaning, did you go through the offboarding process, instructing your coworkers on how to take up your responsibilities? Or did you just say Adios and stopped showing up at work?
Things started to get really boring, and the boss man was kind of mean. I totally deserve better, so I just ghosted them and now Im looking for a new company. Hi!
I didnt feel like the companys values coincide with mine. The management was too controlling and micromanaging. I prefer to have some control over my work, and being able to contribute by going above and beyond my requirements.
Of course, I went through the off-boarding properly. Meaning, gave a timely resignation notice, and transferred all the essential company knowledge to my replacement.
- Did you leave voluntarily, or were you fired?
I got fired for missing work for a week without an excuse.
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Share An Example Of A Team Project That Failed
Employers want to see success from their teams. They look for team members who can learn from their mistakes and produce positive outcomes. With this question, you have the opportunity to discuss examples of resilience and overcoming challenges. Be sure to share an example of a project that taught you something about teamwork.
Example: One of my past teams struggled with communication. Many tasks werent completed, deadlines passed and the project ultimately failed. I tried different methods of communication throughout the project. Through that experience, I learned how important it is to set communication expectations from the very start of a project. That way, everyone stays in contact and understands what they need to do to make the project a success.
Related: 5 Productive Ways To Cope With Failure
What Is Your Ideal Position And Why
This question gives your candidate the opportunity to tell you about the technical and soft skills they value most, and can help you determine how closely these align with the values, duties and responsibilities of the position they’re interviewing for. It can be a great way to determine if your candidate is content staying within one role for a long period or if they desire the chance to make drastic changes and advance within a team.
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What Are Some Challenges You Faced In Your Previous Job How Did You Overcome Them
The interviewer is looking to see if you can identify and solve problems that may come up in the job. Be sure to mention any challenges you faced in your previous job and how you overcame them. This may show that you’re resourceful and find solutions when problems arise.
Example:âOne challenge I faced in my previous job was dealing with a high volume of data. I overcame this challenge by developing a system to help me organize and keep track of the data. I also double-checked all the data before entering it into the system to avoid any mistakes.â
What Is Your Dream Job
Employers typically ask this question because they want to ensure that your interests and passion align with their job. A good answer will describe a role that matches the one youre interviewing for. Consider using this formula for your response:
1. Mention the skills you want to use:I enjoy guiding other team members on projects and making sure everything goes smoothly…”
2. Describe a job in general:”…My dream job would be a leadership position where the other team members are active participants and communication happens daily…
3. Discuss your values:”…I love seeing a project through to the end and celebrating everyones hard work…
4. Tailor to the job for which you are interviewing:”…For instance, if youre applying for a leadership position, you might discuss how your dream job would include supervisory responsibilities.”
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Tell Me About A Time You Messed Up
This one is pops up in many of the most popular interview playbooks and guides, it’s a great test of humility and self awareness. No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is what happens next.
Does the candidate learn a valuable lesson and use it as a motivation for self improvement, or do they point the finger and blame colleagues.
The answer to this question should show whether a person is willing to take ownership of their work or will be quick to shirk responsibility when the going gets tough.
Focus On Your Uniqueness
Well, you never know what the other candidates have spoken in their interviews. It can be a good idea to read the common interview questions and answers online, and chalk out what answers other candidates might come up with. You can also relate this question to your current work place and see how different you are from your other candidates, and what qualities made you a unique professional.
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What Are You Passionate About
Much like the previous question about motivation, employers might ask what you are passionate about to better understand what drives you and what you care most deeply about. This can both help them understand whether you are a good fit for the role and if it fits into your larger goals. To answer, consider this structure:
1. Select something you are genuinely passionate about and explain why youre passionate about it:As a software developer, Im passionate about creating truly beautiful, efficient digital products to make peoples experience with technology memorable…
2. Provide examples of how youve pursued this passion:”…One of the things I loved about my last job was witnessing the results of my teams code update and watching as our months of work yielded positive user feedback…
3. Relate it back to the job:”…Having the opportunity to lead projects from ideation through launch was one of the reasons I was so excited to apply for this role.
What Would Your First 30 60 Or 90 Days Look Like In This Role
The goal for every new hire should be to hit the ground running. The best answers will be well thought out.
Before diving in, top candidates will talk through the things that they’ll require to get ramped up. In the first 30 days, they’ll need to familiarise themselves with your process, sit down with key employees and get acclimatised to their new surroundings.
60-90 days should give them time to make key contributions in a number of different areas and bring at least one major initiative through to fruition. This is a pretty complex question, so feel free to break it up into 3 separate questions if you prefer.
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Do You Prefer Working Independently Or On A Team
Your answer should be informed by the research youve done on the company culture and the job in question. Nevertheless, you should expect that most work environments will have some team aspect.
Many positions require you to work collaboratively with other people on a daily basis, while some roles require you to work on your own. When you answer this question, highlight the best traits of your personality and how they fit the job requirements. It could also be in your interest to answer this question by highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of both situations.
Example: I enjoy a blend of the two. I like having a team to strategize with, get diverse opinions from, and reach out to for feedback. But I am also comfortable taking on assignments that require me to work independently. I find I do some of my best work when I can focus alone in a quiet space, but I really value collaborating with my teammates to come up with the best ideas.
Why Do You Want To Work At This Company
Beware of generic answers! If what you say can apply to a whole slew of other companies, or if your response makes you sound like every other candidate, youre missing an opportunity to stand out. Zhang recommends one of four strategies: Do your research and point to something that makes the company unique that really appeals to you talk about how youve watched the company grow and change since you first heard of it focus on the organizations opportunities for future growth and how you can contribute to it or share whats gotten you excited from your interactions with employees so far. Whichever route you choose, make sure to be specific. And if you cant figure out why youd want to work at the company youre interviewing with by the time youre well into the hiring process? It might be a red flag telling you that this position is not the right fit.
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Do You Consider Yourself Successful
This question might make you uncomfortable. But you can think of it as an opportunity to allow the interviewer to get to know you better and to position yourself as an excellent choice for this job. First off, make sure you say yes! Then pick one specific professional achievement youre proud of that can be tied back to the role youre interviewing forone that demonstrates a quality, skill, or experience that would help you excel in this position. Youll want to explain why you consider it a success, talk about the process in addition to the outcome, and highlight your own accomplishment without forgetting your team. Zooming in on one story will help if you feel awkward tooting your own horn!
What Would Your Former Colleagues Say About You If You Weren’t In The Room
Hopefully nice things! Everyone wants to be thought highly of by their friends, family and colleagues, but if a candidate has significant drive and ambition it’s possible that not everyone was her biggest fan at her last company.
Most candidates will probably answer this awkwardly, it’s an uncomfortable idea, but the best responses will be balanced. Something like: “my colleagues would probably say that I’m pretty passionate about my work but that I can occasionally overlook small details”.
If everything goes to plan, your new hire will be at your company for many years to come. With that in mind, you should ask a few interview questions that give you an idea of how candidates see their career evolving and how they handle strategic decisions.
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If I Want To Do Well In This Role What Skills Do I Need To Focus On
Learn what hard and soft skills are essential to the role by asking this question. This gives your interviewer the opportunity to elaborate on what abilities can help you succeed in this role. If you already have a lot of the skills they are listing, this can be a sign that youre prepared for the job.
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