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10 Interview Question and Answers to Help You Land a Job
Posted by webdon on 05 June 2012
If you've landed on this page chances are you are looking for some frequently asked interview questions and answers for them. You are off to a good start and ahead of a large percentage of interviewees out there because you are trying to prepare for your interview. Preparation for a job interview is key to being successful and confidently responding to the interview questions you will get. I have worked in management for multiple companies and have done hundreds of interviews, so I believe I can pass along some things to help you and give you an interview question and answers for it. I hope to be able to help you prepare for your interview with these frequently asked interview questions. If you do succeed in landing that new job do me a favor, and come back here to let me know. Deal? Great!
An interview is a conversation, but the person giving the job interview is trying to learn something. Many of the commonly asked questions during an interview are designed to dig out facts or personality traits to help determine the right person for the job. Just remember that while certain questions may seem crafted just to make you squirm, a confident attitude and honest response is always better than a canned response. I want you to use these interview question and answers as a guide to help you practice your own responses, but keep in mind that the answers need to be your own. These are merely examples to help you understand what kinds of answers are good. If you use them to prepare your own answers you will be better prepared to ace your interview and land that new job!
Interview question 1: "Tell me about yourself"
This question is open ended and often used to begin an interview. It is not simply an ice breaker since the interviewer wants to know more about what drives the person. Don't start talking about your sewing hobby or how you have 15 cats. That simply won't help you.
A: "I have an extensive background in _________. My past experiences have been in retail sales and mortgage loan origination (insert your own experience). I am positive that my background and experience have prepared me to work for (the company or job type you are applying for), and I enjoy learning about new aspects of finance. I work well either with a team or independently, and I am a fast learner, especially with new technology or software."
The key to answering this question is to tell the interviewer how you will help and what you can do or what you bring to the table. Incorporate education, volunteering, or anything else that has given you skills for the job or company you are applying.
Interview question 2: "Why do you want to work for us?"
This question sometimes catches interviewees off guard, and the answer is never a simple, "because your company is awesome and pays good."
A: "After finding out about how your company is leading in widget production and how you developed new and innovative avenues of distribution I was extremely impressed. I also learned that your company is involved in the community by its sponsorships of _____ and how it has given to _____. I would really like to be able to contribute to the growth and positive influence of your company"
Again, what can you do for us? Not what can we do for you.
Interview question 3: "What influenced your decision to choose this as a career?"
A: "My past experiences have shown me that I like to be challenged and to overcome problems. In fact, when I am given a problem to solve, I become very focused on finding out the best solution, and do not give up until I find it. While obtaining an engineering degree, I acquired the tools I needed to effectively solve the problems I was given and became very good at it. Since my solutions can help others, I decided that was the best way to make a difference using my talents."
The question is designed to determine your decision making skills. As long as there is a clear reason you ended up where you are and have a logical path that you can tell the interviewer, you will have given a good answer.
Interview question 4: "Give me an example of...."
You need to be prepared with some specific stories that show your experience in different situations related to the job you are interviewing for. There are hundreds of variants of this type of question, so it's good to try and come up with some stories that could apply to different situations. These questions can hurt you if you have no experience in the field you are interviewing for. For instance, if you are interviewing for a job waiting tables in a fine dining restaurant the question may end with "...how you deal with an unhappy customer who sends their food back."
A: "Once during a busy Sunday brunch service there was a family who had all ordered frittatas, and half of the table received omelets when the food was brought to the table. One of the ladies at the table was extremely upset and demanded to speak to the management. I let her know that we would get the error corrected immediately, and right away went to tell the kitchen what was needed on the fly. I asked the manager to speak with them, and then went right back out to the table with some fruit cups I made up quickly. I saw the manager was on his way over, so I went to the kitchen and found the remaining fritatas coming up. I got another server to help, and we ran the food out to them. After getting them settled and they were done, the lady was very nice and thanked me for taking care of things so fast. I told her I hoped they would be back soon, and she said that they would."
Often these types of questions may result in a follow-up question, so it is important not to make anything up here. Do not worry if there is 20 seconds of silence while you find the perfect story as long as it is relevant and answers the specifics the interviewer asked for.
Interview question 5: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
If you haven't thought about it, you need to consider before going for the interview. It's not like anyone is going to hold you to whatever you say, but the question is designed to determine if you have any goals and if you are a possible long-term candidate for this position.
A: "I an going to be directing a successful marketing campaign to help Widget Company obtain market share in Asia."
This is another fairly open-ended question, but there are some don'ts here. Don't say things like traveling with a rock band or starting your own widget company. Also, don't focus on family goals since this is a job interview question. Be honest, though, but only to the point that your honest answer doesn't conflict with your aspirations for this job. And, if you honestly don't want to work here, then why are you interviewing?
Interview question 6: "Have you ever had difficulty with a previous instructor or supervisor, and if so, how was it resolved?"
If you have never had an issue at all, then either you just started working or you have been lucky to have great superiors.
A: "One of my bosses came to me to tell me they found a report I had written contained errors. I reviewed it and found that everything was correct, and that the supervisor had made an error, but I did not say this. I told him that I would correct it, and turn it back in. I then contacted someone in accounting to double-check behind me. They sent an email back saying my figures were correct, so I saved the documentation. When I went back to my supervisor, he still refused to see my side. I did not say anything more, and he set up a counseling meeting for me with him and his boss. I brought the email from accounting back and provided it to back up my case, and my supervisor's boss agreed that my report was correct. My supervisor was reassigned to a different department."
Again, if you have an example, it is better to give the specifics than to be dishonest. The question is really supposed to give those who would rant about a former superior an opportunity to see if they will badmouth their former employers. Don't take the bait.
Interview question 7: "Have you ever been asked to leave a position?"
In other words, have you ever been terminated. If you haven't then your answer, of course, is no.
A: "Yes, I was let go from a company once for violating the attendance policy due to an ill family member I was caring for. I had not been there long enough for my job to be protected under FMLA, and I had previously agreed to their attendance policy."
Just honestly answer the question, and don't allow yourself to be bitter or make accusations or paint either your former supervisors or your former employer in a bad light.
Interview question 8: "What had disappointed you about a job?" or another version: "What did/do you dislike about your previous/current job?"
This is not the place to be negative, but again find something to say honestly. Empty answers like, "oh, I like everything," or, "I've found nothing disappointing," are just that...empty. Everyone has something to say, but keep focused on a positive attitude.
A: "I simply didn't find enough of a challenge because I was asked to repeat the same tasks without further encouragement or a chance to work at a slightly different task occasionally."
At least that is an honest answer and lets the interviewer know up front that you left because of wanting additional responsibility or training, or you simply wanted to do more.
Interview question 9: "What have you learned from your mistakes on the job?"
Don't whiff this one. It requires an answer, if only because saying you never make mistakes or not remembering what they were and the lesson learned only makes you look arrogant, dumb, or both. Find a small and well-intentioned mistake you've made in the past to draw from.
A: "In my enthusiasm to get my teams portion of an advertising campaign done, I failed to recognize what input would be coming from another department working with us. Since I didn't maintain communication with them, we ended up having to go back to a vendor to redo some of the printing we had ordered. This ended up costing us more time on the project. I learned that regular communication with both my own team and those outside of my charge is essential to coming in on time and under budget."
Interview question 10: "Tell me what are your greatest weaknesses."
There it is, the most dreaded interview question to the unprepared. While it may be tempting to say you don't have any, don't. During the many interviews I have conducted, I have asked this question every time, and often the responses were not surprising.
A1: "I am often trying to accomplish many tasks at once, and have learned that I need to tell myself to stop and focus on the important ones in order to improve the quality of my work."
A2: "I need to try to delegate more. I realized as a manager that I was taking on too much myself and was unable to get everything done, so I am training myself to delegate the smaller tasks to others."
Let me just say that the advice to say you are a perfectionist is so overused that, for me, it automatically made the resume go to the bottom of the stack.
This question is less about what your actual weaknesses are and more about if you are concerned enough to have identified any to work on. If your answer is one of the canned responses that are so overused, it usually tells the interviewer that at best you are unprepared and at worst you are full of it or dishonest. Either way, it can hurt you.
Well, hopefully these frequently asked interview questions help you better prepare for your upcoming interview. Practice some of these interview question and answers in front of a mirror or, even better, with someone else acting as the interviewer. Remember, confidence and honest responses have the best chance of helping you ace your interview and landing you a job.
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