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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tough Interview Questions: Knock 'em Dead!

There are questions that get asked by some interviewers that make me cringe - You know the questions that after the interview you're thinking, "Why the hell would he/she ask that?" and you're left paranoid until they call you again.

It's not fun being on the receiving end as the applicant, but you can prepare yourself.

Previously, I had posted some questions on what to ask when the interview is over and it is good to have these in your back pocket, but if you're feeling lost during their questions - you may not have the guts to ask any questions at the end.

That is why you have to prepare!

Mental fear of the unknown is often what produces the physical symptoms of nervousness... ya, we can see you sweating... did you just studder? Not exactly the picture of confidence today, are you?

Okay I'm done.

In addition to preparing yourself physically, you need to prepare yourself mentally. The best way to prepare mentally is to know what may be coming.

Fear of the unknown can only exist when there is an unknown.

Take the time to understand some of these interviewing questions that are designed to knock the average applicant into the dirt.


What is your long-range objective?

Make their job easy for them. Make them want to hire you!

The key is to focus on your achievable objectives and what you are doing to reach those objectives.

For example: Within 4-5 years, I would like to become the very best accountant your company has.  I am presently working towards my designation, to take the steps I need to becoming the expert that others rely upon.

I believe my skills will continuously develop through continuing education so I will be fully prepared to take on any greater responsibilities which might be presented in the long term.


Are you a team player?

Almost everyone says yes to this question, and you're crazy not too; You'll probably be working with a team and they want to make sure you'll fit.  But it is not just a yes/no question. You need to provide behavioural examples to back up your answer.

For example: Yes, I'm very much a team player. In fact, I've had opportunities in my work, school and sports to develop my skills as a team player. For example, on a recent project . . .

Emphasize teamwork behavioural examples and focus on your openness to diversity of backgrounds. Talk about the strength of the team above the individual. And note that this question may be used as a lead in to questions around how you handle conflict within a team, so be prepared.


Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved?

Don't lie and say no.  If you say no, most interviewers will keep drilling deeper to find an example of a conflict - don't go down this road.

The key is your behavioural reaction to the conflict and what you did to resolve it.

For example: Yes, like anyone else I have had conflicts in the past. Never major ones, but there have been disagreements that needed to be resolved.

I've found that when conflict occurs, it helps to fully understand the other persons perspective, so I take time to listen to their point of view, then I seek to work out a collaborative solution. For example . . .

Focus your answer on the behavioural process for resolving the conflict and working collaboratively.


Now for the ass-kicker of all interview questions...

What is your greatest weakness?

I hate this question the most!  Most career counsellors/teachers tell you to select a strength and present it as a weakness.  This is why interviewers get answers like, "I work too much. I am a workaholic that works hard everyday."

Bullshit you do! Seriously, can you smell the BS wafting off that answer? I can!

First of all, using a strength and presenting it as a weakness is deceiving. Second, it misses the point of the question.  And third, you must think the interviewer is an idiot...and they can tell it now.  Be more authentic in tackling this one!

You should select a real weakness that you have been actively working to overcome.

For example: I have had trouble in the past with time-management. However, I'm now taking steps to correct this. I just started making 'to-do' lists at work as well as using a Blackberry...

See how much more authentic that is?


Those are takes on the 4 that I find the toughest - any tough ones that you have had?

Ian

9 comments:

  1. I find those open-ended behavioural questions to be a real challenge, especially if they are really specific to a situation. That's where, as you say, preparing so there are no unknowns, really comes in handy.

    For instance: Recall a time when you were assigned what you considered to be a complex project. Specifically, what steps did you take to prepare for and finish the project? Were you happy with the outcome? What one step would you have done differently if given the chance?

    Or even: Descibe some times when you were not very satisfied or pleased with your performance. What did you do about it?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ya exactly - thinking of a few of these situations beforehand is a good practice.

    It will increase your confidence and not leave an awkward silence while you scramble for an answer when you need one.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi

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    ReplyDelete
  4. No doubt, it's important to know what you are expected to say in the interview, as well as it's important to know what are right questions to ask. Check out another source on this topic http://hrjournal.ca/job-hunting/interview-questions.html

    Cheers,
    Nat

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi

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  6. I ordered the book "Knock em Dead" not knowing that this book has a new edition about every year. I have the 2002 edition and want to know if the 2011 edition is that much different.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  8. Tks very much for your post.

    Avoid surprises — interviews need preparation. Some questions come up time and time again — usually about you, your experience and the job itself. We've gathered together the most common questions so you can get your preparation off to a flying start.

    You also find all interview questions at link at the end of this post.

    Source: Interview Questions & Answers:

    Best rgs

    ReplyDelete
  9. Tks very much for your post.

    Avoid surprises — interviews need preparation. Some questions come up time and time again — usually about you, your experience and the job itself. We've gathered together the most common questions so you can get your preparation off to a flying start.

    You also find all interview questions at link at the end of this post.

    Source: Interview Questions & Answers:

    Best rgs

    ReplyDelete