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Interview packet


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Interview packet

  1. 1. Georgia College & State University Career Center Professional Development Series Presents: University Career Center 232 Lanier Hall 478-445-5384
  2. 2. 2 Contents of this Guide: Purpose of Interviewing 3 Pre-Interview Preparation............................................................................pages 4 Recommended Interview 5 Additional Interview 6 During the 7-12 Give Examples During Job Interviews Article 8 Answering Behavioral Questions .....................................................pages 9 Questioning the Interviewer 10 Interview Wrap-Up and Evaluation 10 Handling Illegal Questions 11 The Salary Issue 12 Interview Resources 12-17 Sample Traditional Interview Questions .......................................pages 12 Sample Traditional Interview Questions for Teachers 13 Top 10 Interview Questions with Sample Responses 14-15 Sample Behavioral Interview Questions with Responses 16-17
  3. 3. 3 Purpose of Interviewing “What is an interview and why do I have to do it?” Many job seekers approach the interviewing process with a sense of apprehension borne of a fear of the unknown, but employment interviewing is simply a focused, goal-oriented exchange of information between two people. Impressive resumes and cover letters will get you employment interviews; however, the interview itself will typically be the most significant aspect of the employment process. In its most basic form, the employment interview is an opportunity for applicants and employers to mutually evaluate the fit between the applicant’s qualifications and the position being considered. It is important to keep in mind that interviewing involves a mutual exchange of information based on two-way communication. It is not designed to be a process of inquisition or interrogation. The Objectives of the Interview Although there is not one perfect formula for a successful interview, there are some important purposes behind an interview.  First, an interview is meant to expand on the information presented in your resume.  Next, an interview supplies information to an employer that is not contained in your resume. For example, your personality, oral communication skills, presentation capabilities, general style, etc.  An interview allows you to gain additional information about the organization and the position you are considering.  Finally, the interview provides an opportunity for both parties to discuss employment. Types of Interviews  Screening Interview: A general interview, relatively short (30-45 minutes). Its purpose is to eliminate unqualified candidates from further consideration. For example, when employers recruit on campus, they use screening interviews to decide which of numerous candidates are potentially best qualified to meet their organization’s needs.  Selection Interview: Once the top candidates have been screened, they are invited to an employer’s office/location for a longer more thorough interview. This is designed to identify the most qualified candidate for the position. This the time when both the interviewer and interviewee have dual roles. Both parities will screen each other. You will present yourself and your qualifications to the organization and at the same time, you will be evaluating the organization and determining based on the information and impressions you receive during the interview if the organization is one where you would like to work. Reversely, the
  4. 4. 4 Top 10 Traits Employer Look for in New Hires 1. Oral Communication 2. Motivation 3. Initiative 4. Assertiveness 5. Loyalty 6. Leadership 7. Maturity 8. Enthusiasm 9. Punctuality 10. Appearance Can you think of examples that you can share with employers that highlight each of these factors during an interview? interviewer will be trying to determine your potential as an employee and present his/her organization in an informative and appealing manner. Pre-Interview Preparation “What should I do to get ready for an interview?” In most cases, all candidates interviewing for a given position have the qualifications necessary to do the job. However, it is typically the candidate who does the best job at presenting himself or herself who gets the job offer! In order to do this, you must prepare thoroughly for the interview! Preparing Part 1: Know Yourself  Consider these questions: o Are your interests consistent with the general career area and this specific job? o What are your employable skills and how do they correspond with this position? o Is this opportunity compatible with your work values? Preparing Part 2: Know the Organization  Knowledge of the organization, its products/services, locations, and needs is considered essential and expected!  Consider gathering research from both printed materials and the internet. Most organizations have websites that contain a great deal of information. Do this before any contact with an employer (e.g., screening interview).  Thorough knowledge of the organization will strengthen your self confidence and will demonstrate sincere interest in the job.  Remember: The more you know about an organization, its industry, the position under consideration, how all of this relates to your own career goal, the more effective you will be during the interview! Preparing Part 3: Clearly Define Your Goals  Employers look favorably upon candidates who have specific and well-defined career goals.  Avoid being too general with your career goals and focus on a specific goal. Preparing Part 4: Consider the Match  Can you answer these questions: How do your interests, values, skills, and needs relate to the specific position you are pursuing? How does this position fit in with my long-term goals?  Be prepared to discuss the answers to these questions with your interviewer.  The better you can relate your career interests and qualifications to the employer’s needs, the more successful you will be in your interview! Preparing Part 5: PRACTICE!  You must be able to communicate information effectively to an employer. A great way to get better at doing this is to practice interviewing.  Do you remember the #1 factor that employers seek in a successful candidate? Oral Communication. The only way to get better at communicating is to practice.  Contact the Career Center to schedule a Mock Interview!
  5. 5. 5 Recommended Interview Attire “What should I wear to an interview?” Part of preparing for an interview involves planning for first impressions. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. Whether you’re doing a mock or real interview, looking for an internship at a career fair, or visiting a company’s information table, you want to make a strong first impression. When you begin the interview process and ultimately land a full-time job, your wardrobe will need to reflect your new level of professionalism. The following information will help you determine the appropriate clothing while also maintaining your sense of style. When you begin searching for a full-time job or professional internship, invest in one or two comfortable, attractive suits you can wear to all your interviews. Once you secure a job, slowly add clothes to your wardrobe that reflect your office’s business environment. You can save money by shopping the off-season sales and buying shirts, slacks, skirts, and jackets that you can mix and match All Genders  Shower and wash hair the morning of the interview.  Hair should be neatly trimmed. Clean and trim nails.  If it jingles, flashes, or dangles, don’t wear it!  Remove piercings that may cause an interviewer to judge you unfairly.  Avoid strong colognes and perfumes.  Attire should be clean and pressed. Men  Business suit in a conservative color such as black, navy, gray, or brown. Avoid busy patterns or bright colors. A light pin stripe is acceptable.  Tie with a conservative pattern and color to match the suit.  White shirt with sleeves that extend one-quarter inch beyond the suit jacket.  Dress socks in a color that complements the suit (not white athletic socks!)  Leather lace up shoes, recently shined, in a color that complements the suit.  Shave or trim beard for a neat appearance.  Remove noticeable piercings that may cause interviewer to judge you unfairly.  Limit jewelry to a watch and wedding or class ring.  Alternative to the suit: At the very least, wear a long sleeve, button down shirt with a conservative tie. Women  Pants or skirt suits. Skirt-hem should be no shorter than the knee and no longer than just below the knee.  Best suit colors are gray, medium to dark blue, burgundy, or black. Conservative and subtle checks and plaids are also acceptable.  Choose a classic suit that fits well. Too short and too tight is not acceptable.  Always wear skin colored hose.  Classic closed toed pumps with a mid-height heel and little or no decoration.  Wear make-up but style should be light or neutral.  Limit jewelry to a watch, wedding or class ring, small earrings, and pearl necklace.  Hairstyles should be classic and not distracting to the interviewer.  Carry a purse or a brief case but not both.  Don’t have a suit? Black or other dark color pants or skirt with a sweater seat or coordinating jacket. Business Fashion Standards Business Dress: Business suit for men and women, almost always appropriate for an interview or other career related events. It’s always better to be over dressed than underdressed. Semi Casual: A dress, skirt, or pants with blouse for women; jacket or sweater optional. Sport coat, dress slacks, and tie for men. Casual Dress: For men, khakis or other similarly styled pants, collared shirt or sweater. For women, a dress or skirt and blouse and/or sweater. Small heels or flats for women; loafers for men.
  6. 6. 6 Additional Interview Preparation “Is there anything else I should know before the interview?” Getting ready for an interview can take a considerable amount of time. But as mentioned before, the more you prepare, the more confident you will be during the interview. More confidence during the interview can lead you to your ultimate goal: being offered the position. Here are some other quick tips to consider pre-interview:  The Day Before an Interview o Do not party and drink the night before the interview. Alcohol and smoke aromas linger. You want to impress the interviewer not overwhelm them. o Know where the interview will be located. Drive by to see how long it will take you to get to the location. Check the gas tank or bus schedule to minimize delays on the day of the interview. o Review your organization research and your resume. Make notes on the skills you acquired in each job or activity. Come up with a short list of why your skills and experience is a match for the position. Prepare a small list of questions for the employer. If you have a portfolio of your work, mark relevant pages you may refer to during the interview. Think about what makes you stand out from other job candidates. o Lay out your interview clothing. Use a professional portfolio or bag to carry your materials. This is often better than carrying a purse. Include 10 copies of your resume, printed copies of your references, paper, and a pen. Also, if appropriate (as in the case of advertising, journalism, art, or education), bring a portfolio containing samples or illustrations of your work.  Day of the Interview o Eat a high protein, low carb breakfast to boost your energy. o Practice answering practical questions until you feel comfortable. o Read the newspaper or check the Internet to be prepared for the “ice breaking” small talk around the day’s events. o Be Punctual  Being on time is a great opportunity to make a favorable first impression with an interviewer.  Never arrive late for an interview! If for an uncontrollable reason you will be late, be certain to call ahead.  Check for directions before the day of the interview.  It is recommended that you arrive early (5 or 10 minutes) to allow time to check your appearance, study your notes, collect your thoughts, etc. o Handle Introductions Professionally  Introductions are important in getting the interview started on a positive note.  Be courteous to all support staff including the security guard and receptionist. You never know who is providing input to the selection  Greet your interviewer with a smile, firm handshake, and direct eye contact.  Be prepared for a general social comment (e.g., weather). React in a normal and cordial fashion.  Note the interviewer’s name and use it during the interview. Always address the interviewer as “Mr.” or “Ms.” Until he or she asks you to use a first name. o Handle Nervousness  It is normal to be nervous before an interview. However, it is important to not let your nerves impact your ability to appear professional to an interviewer.  If you get sweaty palms, wash and dry your hands during your early arrival time.  Try to take deep and slow breaths when feeling nervous.
  7. 7. 7 During the Interview “What should I expect during the interview?” The majority of the interview time is typically devoted to the employer asking you questions. Try to understand what an employer’s aim is when he or she asks a question. What are the underlying questions? For example, if an employer asks what qualities you think are important for someone in the position you are applying for, he or she probably really wants to know whether you have given thoughtful consideration to the skills and abilities necessary to succeed within his or her organization. Put yourself in the employer’s frame of reference and respond as directly as possible. Here are some other considerations:  Sit in the chair in a straight position.  Try not to convey nervousness. Playing with items on a desk, swinging legs, or cracking knuckles will distract from your presentation.  Maintain eye contact with the interviewer(s).  Don’t interrupt the interviewer. Listen to the questions carefully and do not respond until the question is asked.  Speak with confidence and enthusiasm.  It’s appropriate to pause before answering a question. Pull from your experience and knowledge as best you can so that you show confidence in your answer.  Take your time answering questions; be thoughtful in your answers.  Remember to ask them what the next step is and when you can expect to hear from them.  Be yourself and focus on your positive qualities! Avoid…  Sitting until the interviewer offers a seat.  Taking notes during an interview unless the interviewer has provided information you will need later such as a company website, a telephone number, email address, etc.  Smoking, chewing gum, or eating breath mints during the interview.  Listening in on telephone conversations or inspecting documents on an interviewer’s desk.  Standing if someone enters the office during the interview. It is only appropriate to stand if you are introduced to the person who entered the room.  Calling an interviewer “sir” or “madam”. Use the interviewer’s name in the interview, but do not over do it.  Criticizing others including past employers or associates. Always remember to be positive!  Using profanity or drinking alcohol, even if the interviewer does and you’re in a more casual interview.  Asking “Will I get the job?”  Discussing salary or benefits until later in the process.  Sharing jokes or being overly humorous. Doing so during an interview could cast doubt on the seriousness of your candidacy. It is better to be reserved, because after all, the interview process is formal.
  8. 8. 8 Give Examples During Job Interviews by Peter Vogt, MonsterTRAK Career Coach When you make claims like these in your interviews -- perhaps in response to a question like, "What is your greatest strength?" -- you're not likely to blow the recruiter away with originality. In fact, the recruiter may think, "If you only knew how many times I've heard that one. How do I know that's true?" Stand out by providing specific examples to back up the statements you've made. It's not difficult, especially if you prepare beforehand, and it will greatly elevate your standing in the recruiter's eyes. For example: A recruiter is interviewing a new college graduate for an entry-level job and asks, "What's your greatest strength?" Which statement would grab your attention more if you were a recruiter? 1. "Well, I'm very self-motivated. I often start projects on my own without direction from others, because I enjoy it. Compared to most people my age, I have more self-discipline and more willingness to try new things." 2. "Well, I'm very self-motivated. I know you've probably heard that before, so let me give you an example. For the last couple of years, I've volunteered part-time at my college's computer help desk. I wanted experience helping people with computer-related problems, so I approached the information technology director and asked her if she'd teach me to work on the help desk in exchange for my time and efforts. It's turned out to be great for both of us. She's gotten much-needed help, and I've been able to gain hands-on experience I wouldn't have gotten otherwise." Clearly, the second response is more compelling. Why? Because the student not only makes a claim, but he backs it up with tangible evidence. Recruiters like evidence, especially since they don't hear it from candidates often enough. You can even use this give-an-example approach to answer an employer's more hypothetical questions. The recruiter says, "You're working with a small team and you have a significant conflict with one of your team members. What would you do?" Which response is more convincing? 1. "I would try talking with the person first, to see what we could do about our differences. If that didn't work, I guess I'd probably go to my supervisor and see if he could intervene somehow. It would be important to get our conflict resolved." 2. "That actually happened to me once in a social psychology course I took. We were doing a group project, and it was clear that one person wasn't doing his share of the work. I talked with other people in the group about it, and they felt the same way I did. So I offered to talk to this person about our concerns. I'm really glad I did. As it turns out, he was stressed out, because his father had been in the hospital for several weeks having tests done. He was having trouble in all of his classes. So I mentioned the fact that our school has a counseling center and encouraged him to go there. He did, and he got the help he needed. The rest of us then divided up his work." Again, the second response is much more persuasive, because the student has gone beyond simply predicting what she would do in a conflict situation; rather, she's illustrated how she's handled such a situation before, leaving the employer to conclude that the student would likely resolve future conflicts in a similarly professional way. Examples will always beat mere words in job interviews. So as you think about the questions an employer will ask, be sure to prepare responses that feature your real-life experiences -- stories that will leave the employer thinking, "Now here's someone who isn't just telling me something, but showing me something. This one's a keeper."
  9. 9. 9 During the Interview: Answering Behavioral Questions Behavioral interviewing is a style that is becoming popular among employers. Not all employers use this style, but it is likely that you will encounter behavioral interview questions sometime during your job search. Behavioral interviews are based on the premise that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in similar situations. During a behavioral interview, an interviewer will ask questions to elicit real examples of your past performance in order to gain insights as to whether you will be successful in the position. During a behavioral interview:  Provide in-depth responses by drawing upon your background, experience, and knowledge of particular issues.  Use the C.A.R. method to frame your responses. This will ensure that you are providing a thorough response.  Provide appropriately detailed answers to interviewers’ questions.  Example question- Describe a recent situation in which you successfully persuaded others of your point of view. o C = Context, or Situation. Set the story.  Example response- In my public speaking course, I was called upon to develop a brief impromptu presentation. I was asked to convince my peers in the class to agree to come in on a Saturday morning to hear outside speakers during a panel discussion. This was an actual upcoming event being sponsored by the Communication Department. o A = Action taken. Explain your specific action.  Example response continued: I thought for a few minutes, developed my rationale, took a deep breath, and stood up to speak to the class. I made a strong proposal and supported it with logistical reasons, including the networking contacts we could make and the knowledge we would gain about jobs in our field. This was difficult to do, since most of us like to sleep in on Saturday if we can! o R = Result. What happened as a result of your action?  Example response concluded: While I was not able to persuade everyone, roughly half the class came to the panel discussion that Saturday. My instructor said it was the best turnout she had ever had for this event. I believe my arguments had something to do with its success.  Don’t be surprised if the interviewer probes further for more depth or detail. Warning- If you tell a story that is anything but honest, your response will not hold up to the probing questions from the interviewer.  Some questions try to get at how you responded to negative situations. You will want to have examples of negative experiences ready, but try to select ones that have positive outcomes or where you learned something valuable from the experience.
  10. 10. 10 During the Interview: Questioning the Interviewer “Should I ask the interviewer questions?” As important as it is to provide good answers to interviewers’ questions, you must also be prepared to ask pertinent questions during the interviewing process. Many applicants mistakenly believe that they are evaluated solely on their response to interviewers’ questions. In reality, candidates are also evaluated on the basis of the questions they ask during employment interviews. Appropriate questions should:  Reflect a sincere interest in the organization.  Show awareness to the employer’s needs and how you can fulfill them.  Clarify your understanding of the organization without giving an impression that you have not done your research prior to the interview. Beware:  Avoid questions about salary and benefits. These questions should wait until after you have a firm job offer. Being overly concerned about these can decrease an employer’s interest in you as a candidate.  Avoid asking questions that are adequately covered in the recruiting literature and/or on the organization’s website.  If the interviewer appears pressed for time, do not prolong the interview by trying to fit in all of your questions. There will be time to ask further questions during subsequent interviews and before you need to respond to an employment offer. Interview Wrap-Up and Evaluation At the end of an interview:  Expect that most interviewers will conclude by indicating when you can expect to receive further word on your status as an applicant. If the interviewer does not volunteer this information, be certain to ask. Knowing this information can help you follow up with your interviews within a reasonable time frame.  Ask the interviewer for a business card or write down his or her full name, title, address, phone number, and email address for your records.  Once you return home, prepare a thank-you letter to the interviewer. Be sure to express your ongoing interest and mention that you are looking forward to hearing from him or her by the specific time frame. Immediately following your interview, take some time to evaluate your performance. Here are some points to consider when evaluating:  Have you set realistic job goals for yourself?  Do you need to do your pre-interview research more thoroughly? Are you presenting yourself in the best possible manner?  Does your resume reflect your career interests? Does it truly show your skills?  Are you conveying an enthusiastic and well-informed interest in the position and an eagerness to learn?
  11. 11. 11 Handling Illegal Interview Questions With the passing of Equal Employment Opportunity laws, certain questions pertaining to your private life, marriage, family plans, and related personal matters are considered against the law. These laws prohibit employers from discriminating in hiring on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age or disability. However, the laws do not specifically indicate questions that cannot be asked. Employers may have legitimate concerns about reliability, dependability, willingness to travel or relocate, but may not have been trained in how to assess these issues through appropriate questions. It is expensive to hire and train a new employee only to have him or her leave the job in a short time because of conflicts with personal or family responsibilities and obligations. Thus, employers legitimately want to reduce the likelihood of untimely turnover of new employees. Although you might feel upset or frustrated by an inappropriate question, it is best to react as positive and professional as possible. Here are three approaches:  You Can Refuse to Answer — Explain to the employer that you think the question is improper. Using this response may make you feel better, but chances are you will not get the job.  You Can Answer the Question as Asked — Provide a direct answer and stay in the running for the job.  You Can Answer the Legitimate Concern of the Employer — Ignore the improper question itself and respond instead to the concern underlying the question. This option allows you to present yourself in a positive manner and control the way you answer the question. The following are some improper questions and sample responses: Q: Are you planning to get married soon? (or, Do you have a serious boyfriend or girlfriend?) A: If you are concerned about my staying in the area or my ability to travel, I can assure you that I am looking forward to living in this area and travel has always been part of my job expectations. Q: What do your parents do? (Sometimes asked to find out how many contacts you might have for a sales job, typically in financial services.) A: I’m not sure how this relates to this job. Can you explain? Q: Do you plan to have children? (Sometimes asked of women candidates.) A: Regardless of whether I have children, my career will always be an important part of my life. Q: Where were you born? (Sometimes asked of international students.) A: I am a permanent resident of the United States and have a legal permit to work. -or- A: I have an F1 (or J1) visa and can obtain practical training experience before returning home. (The concern is about your work eligibility and you should respond to that concern.) Beware: Just because the interview may be winding up and the interviewer shares personal information with you, you are not obliged to reveal anything in your personal life to them. A luncheon interview is still an interview and you will be evaluated on your responses even though the setting may seem more casual.
  12. 12. 12 $ The Salary Issue $  Investigate salary levels within your career field for similar positions.  Use sources such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the US Department of Labor: ; , and the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Salary Survey accessed through the Career Center. All of these can assist in accurate research.  Have an appropriate salary range in mind based on your research prior to the interview; but do not ask about salary until you have firmly been offered a position.  Asking about salary too early will give the employer the impression that you are more interested in salary than the opportunity within their organization. Sample Traditional Interview Questions
  13. 13. 13 Sample Traditional Interview Questions for Teacher Candidates
  14. 14. 14 Top 10 Interview Questions Many people find themselves looking for new jobs at unexpected and hard times. Most people know there are common questions they will be asked during a job interview, many people even have been asked these questions before. But nonetheless, too many people are unprepared for these questions. Read on to find out the top 10 questions you will likely encounter in an interview along with good and bad responses and how to prepare your answer with confidence. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Bad Answer: “My strength is I’m a hard worker. I can’t really think of a weakness, maybe I get too stressed when I miss a deadline.” Good Answer: “I pride myself on being a ‘big picture’ guy. I have to admit I sometimes miss small details, but I always make sure I have someone who is detail-oriented on my team.” This is a hard question for many. Before going to an interview, you need to sit down and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. When analyzing your strengths, there are 3 types of skills you can look at:Knowledge Based: Acquired from education and experience (e.g., computer skills, languages, degrees, training and technical ability).  Transferable Skills: Your portable skills that you take from job to job (e.g., communication and people skills, analytical problem solving and planning skills).  Personal Traits: Your unique qualities (e.g., dependable, flexible, friendly, hard working, expressive, formal, punctual and being a team player). Assessing your weaknesses is much more difficult. Everyone has weaknesses, but who wants to admit to them, especially in an interview? The best way to handle this question is to minimize the negative trait and emphasize the positive. Select a trait and come up with a solution to overcome your weakness. Why should we hire you? Bad Answer: “Because I need and want a job.” Good Answer: “From our conversations, it sounds as if you’re looking for someone to come in and take charge immediately. It also sounds like you are experiencing problems with some of your database systems. With my seven years of experience working with financial databases, I have saved companies thousands of dollars by streamlining systems. I’m confident I would be a great addition to your team.” Probably the worst (but most honest) thing you could say in response to this question is “Because I need and want a job. Instead, use this opportunity to sell your skills and abilities in terms of how they match the position. You will need to develop a top notch sales statement. Look at the job description. What makes you unique and appealing to the employer? What does the employer stress? What is required? What will it take to get the job done? Now look at what you have to offer. All of this information can be transformed into an excellent answer to the question. Why do you want to work here? Bad Answer: “Because you have an opening, and I need a job.” Good Answer: “Based on the research I’ve done, this company is an industry leader. When I visited your Web site, I found some impressive information about future projects you have planned. This is the company I’ve been looking for, a place where my background, experience and skills can be put to use and make things happen.” The obvious answer to this question is “Because you have an opening, and I need a job”. As true as this is, it won’t help you in an interview. When an employer asks this question, they are basically looking to see if you picked their company for a reason or if you’ve been sending resumes to anybody that’ll have you. To prepare for this question, go to the companies’ website. Look at what they do. Read their mission statement. Find out who the president and who other key members are. Knowing this information will allow you to let the employer know that you know why your here, and this is the company you want to work for. What are your goals (Where do you see yourself in 5 Years)? Bad Answer: “My goal is to go back to college and get my MBA.” Good Answer: “My goals are to grow with XYZ Company so I can continue to learn and take on additional responsibilities.” Do not discuss your goals of returning to school or starting a family. The employer is not interesting in hearing about these types of goals, as nice as they may be. Instead, try to respond to this question by including the company in your answer. The employer wants to know your commitment level to this particular job, company, and career field.
  15. 15. 15 What are three positive things your previous boss would say about you? Bad Answer: “I don’t know, you would have to call and ask.” Good Answer: “My boss has told me that I am the best designer he has ever had. He knows he can rely on me, and he likes my sense of humor.” A list of good things your boss might say about you should hopefully be an easy question to answer. A good place to start when thinking about how you would answer this question is to refer to your most recent performance evaluation. How did you score in different areas? What kinds of things did your boss compliment you on? Why did you leave (or why are you leaving) your job? Bad Answer: “They didn’t pay me enough” or “Me and my boss didn’t get along so I was let go” Good Answer: “I’ve decided that is not the direction I want to go in my career and my current employer has no opportunities in the direction I’d like to head.” or “I was laid-off from my last position when our department was eliminated due to corporate restructuring.” What if you are just tired of your job, don’t like your boss, or need a change? The tricky part is telling the interviewer the reason you are leaving but not sounding like you’re “burnt out” on your current job. First of all, never bad mouth your current or previous employers. It will make the employer wonder if you would be a difficult employee, and wonder what you will say about them if you eventually look for another job. Before you go to the interview, sit down and write down why you are looking for a new job. If the reasons seem negative, try to reword your reasons so that they reflect that you are doing this to better yourself and your future. When were you most satisfied in your job? Bad Answer: “I was most satisfied when I received a well deserved raise.” Good Answer: “I was very satisfied in my last job, because I worked directly with the customers and their problems; that is an important part of the job for me.” Employers are well aware that giving their employees raises boosts their happiness. What they are really looking for in the question is what you enjoy doing and why. Employers want to make sure the people they hire are doing work that they enjoy as this will lead to better overall performance and motivation. Look back at your last job. Try to pick out the activities and tasks you performed that you found the most enjoyable. Think about why you found these things to be enjoyable. This will help you not only in the interview, but also will help you land a job that you enjoy. What can you do for us that other candidates can’t? Bad Answer: “I can show up to work on time every day and I can keep myself busy without being nagged.” Good Answer: “I have a unique combination of strong technical skills, and the ability to build strong customer relationships. This allows me to use my knowledge and break down information to be more user-friendly.” This question should be answered in the form of an assessment of your experienced, skills, and traits. Employers want to know what makes you any better than the next person. If you spend some time thinking about what you are good at, you can easily pick out a few select key things that would be valuable to an employer that not just anybody could claim. What salary are you seeking? Bad Answer: Give a figure way above or way below the industry standard based on experience. Good Answer: “I am sure that I am the candidate you are looking for. If you feel the same, then I'm sure your offer will be fair and equal with the value I can bring the company.” The most common mistake is saying a number that is too low. Others will provide a number that is too high with the intentions of negotiating the salary down to a more reasonable level. Unfortunately, employers purposely ask you this question because they want to know if they can get you at a reasonable rate compared to other similarly qualified candidates. Putting a high salary on your head is going to reduce the odds of you making the cut while shooting too low may get you the job but could hurt you economically. Make sure you do you research so you know the going rate for someone with your skills and abilities in your field. If you were an animal, which one would you want to be? There is no best answer to this question. The question is a psychological question employers ask to see how quickly you respond. This question is interchangeable with a slew of questions that are designed to catch you off guard. The best way to handle these types of questions is to quickly say the first answer that pops into your mind. Adapted from:
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