Interview Questions Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses. This is almost a standard question. It’s your opportunity to crow. For many of us, we find it hard to talk about our accomplishments and our best skills. After all, we’ve been taught to be humble and not to brag. Now’s the time to boast while you have the opportunity. For the second part, exercise caution. A potential employer doesn’t want to hear how much trouble you have sticking to or completing tasks. He or she also doesn’t want to hear about how you often have to rush in to work because you like to stay in bed until the last minute. Remember, within the scope of a job interview, a weakness is a strength overplayed. “Sometimes I get so involved in my work that I forget to eat lunch.” “I like to finish tasks whenever possible, so I often work too late and get in trouble with my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/children.” “I’m afraid that I make work my hobby so I take work home.” Why do you want to work for our company? This is a chance to prove that you’ve done your homework. Spend some time before the interview learning about your prospective employer. What is it that you find desirable about working for this company, besides earning a wage to pay your bills? Perhaps it’s their reputation for training or because they are a leader in their industry or it’s because they are known for their care of their employees. Interviewers love to hear about what their companies are doing well and what they’re known for. Where would you want to be in our organization in 2 years (5 years, 10 years, etc.)? The interviewer is typically looking for two things here: Do you plan to stay with this organization? and Are you reasonably ambitious? Depending upon the type of work, you can even be bold in your response. One of my fraternity brothers was interviewing for a sales position one time. He had a successful interview at the local level and was interviewing with the regional sales manager. When asked this question, my brother replied, “Your job looks pretty nice.” He was offered the job he applied for on the spot. Now don’t misconstrue my meaning. A principal doesn’t want to hear that the newly certified teacher she’s interviewing is gunning for her job right out of the chute, but you get the idea. If we interviewed other your current co-workers, what would they say about you? Again, it’s your time to crow, but don’t exaggerate. Remember, this interviewer has access to your recommendations and he may ask some questions like this when he calls your references. Be honest, but only talk about the positives with an occasional “middle-of-the-road” comment. “I keep the office social calendar.” “I make terrible coffee.” What are 2 or 3 accomplishments of which you are most proud? Be sure to talk about accomplishments that THIS interviewer will be interested in. You may be proud of your little league team’s record, but unless this interviewer/employer has a strong sense of community involvement, it won’t matter. Instead, if appropriate, talk about how you organize practices to maximize the time you have or talk about the extra one-on-one time you spend to make sure that your kids have the skills they need to succeed. These accomplishments say much more about what you will bring to the workplace. Tell me about you as a member of a team. Perhaps you’re the leader, perhaps you’re not. Talk about what you bring to the team. It may be your sense of organization. It may be motivation. You might be the person that attends to the little details. Remember, everyone doesn’t have to be, and can’t be, a leader. But if that’s your strength, be sure to talk about it. What kind of people do you find it most difficult to work with? This is not the time to make a joke by saying, “People like me.” Your best bet is to talk about workers who don’t carry their share of the load, or those workers who always have a negative attitude. These are just a sample of the plethora of possible questions. However, most will take some form that relates to one of these. So, at the very minimum, be prepared to answer these.
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