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How to Answer Tough Interview Questions

Have an interview for an exciting new job lined up? Worried you’ll mess up? Let’s go over the basics.

Most-Asked-Job-Interview-Questions-and-How-to-Answer-Them

Credit to the guys at Sample Questionnaire for the original article.

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Three interview questions you need to be ready to answer!

Here are the three questions that Forbes says all other interview questions boil down to.

Employers are no longer relying on standard interview questions like “Where do you see yourself in five years?” To ace your interview, you need to be ready to answer a whole variety of new questions, including some rather odd ones, like “How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building?.”

But an insightful article on Forbes says all those questions really boil down to three:

  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you love the job?
  • Can we tolerate working with you?

Here’s why they’re so important.

Can you do the job?

In a time where jobs are becoming increasing complex and specialized, employers need to make sure you can do the job. That means not only making sure you have the right technical skills and experience for the job today, but the ability to learn and adapt, to think critically, to embrace new technology and approaches, to work in multidisciplinary teams, to communicate effectively with others, to take the job to the next level, to move to another area in the organization, etc. Because the job they are hiring you to do today will likely change fairly radically over the course of your employment with them.

The interviewer might not ask you all this directly, but you can be sure they’re looking for clues in your answers.

So make sure you share examples of how you continually adapt and learn on the job, stay ahead of technology trends, work with others, manage risks, think critically and make decisions. Give them a broader view of what you can bring to the organization and the value you can provide.

Will you love the job?

So much research recently has focused on employee disengagement and its cost to organizations. So employers aren’t just looking to hire people with the right skills and experience for the job and “fill the seat”. They’re concerned about finding the right candidate, who’ll be fully engaged in the role and be a high performer.

Here again, it’s hard for an interviewer to directly ask you about your engagement level. And clearly, if you’re looking for a new job, you’re likely not fully engaged in your present role. But many of the questions they ask give you the opportunity to express your passions for your work.

So make sure, as you answer questions about your work experience, you share with the interviewer the aspects of work that you love. What are the things at work that “turn you on” and make time disappear? Do you love solving problems? Are you passionate about satisfying customers? Do you thrive on the details or guiding the big picture? Do you need to work on teams? Are you jazzed by beating the competition?

What are the things you need in a role to be fully engaged? And what are the things that disengage you? Be honest about both; it’s in everyone’s best interests for you to work in a job that you love.

Can we tolerate working with you?

Cultural fit has also become a key consideration in hiring. So much work these days is done collaboratively that you need to be able to get along with your coworkers and work effectively with them.

But more than that, as organizations recognize that their employees are their only true source of lasting competitive advantage, organizational culture and competencies are becoming more critical. More than products/services or technology, this is what differentiates an organization from the competition.

So interviewers are likely to ask you questions that help them understand whether you share their core values and competencies. Afterall, if you’re a good fit, you’re likely to be more engaged and to perform better.

To help them determine this, start by getting as much understanding of the organization’s culture, values and core competencies as you can. There are lots of areas on their website that will give you clues to these. Look at their company history, careers page, mission and values. Look at the words they use to describe themselves, their products/services, market and customers. And decide for yourself whether the organization will be a good fit for you, and you for it.

Most companies will be looking for things like: customer focus, commitment to quality, innovation, integrity, speed, care for the environment, responsiveness… But each will live that in a different way.

If you think there’s a good fit, let them know. As you answer questions in the interview, tell them about your shared values and competencies. Give examples of how you’ve exhibited those on the job and outside of work. Let them know that you’re more than just the skills and experience you bring to the table and that you share a commitment to the same things.

 

Check out the original article over at Tech Republic. Credit to the original author, Sean Conrad.


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Skype interviews: Is it more tricky to be grilled by video?

The job interview is an ordeal that most people face at some stage in our career. But as video starts to take the place of the face-to-face interview, is it easier or harder now to land your dream job?

The job interview as we know it may never have existed if it wasn’t for Thomas Edison.

Frustrated with hiring college graduates who lacked the right knowledge, Edison devised the first employment questionnaire to narrow down his applicant pool.

The survey was thought to be so difficult that in 1921 the New York Times nicknamed it a “Tom Foolery test” and claimed only a “walking encyclopaedia” could succeed.

Questions included: “What is the weight of air in a room 20ft x 30ft x 10ft?” and “Where are condors to be found?”*

But today the trick to making a good impression at interview may be less about what you know and more about how you come across on camera.

Jean Luc, a 30-year-old marketing professional from Greenwich, recently had his first video interview for a role at a web start-up company based in Berlin.

“I had the usual nerves before my interview. But I Skype all the time as my parents live in South Africa so it felt like a much more familiar process. What I found quite disconcerting was when I first turned on the video, my interviewer had his camera turned off.

“It would have been awkward if I turned my camera off and on again so I just went through the interview with a black screen. It was a bit like talking to myself.”

Looking in the wrong place is just one of the common pitfalls of video interviews, says New York-based career coach and blogger Megan Broussard.

“It’s tempting to watch yourself in that little box to make sure your hair isn’t in your face or that you’re not making weird facial expressions. But the truth is that it is very distracting to the other party and can come across as shy and even insincere – two qualities both employers and new hires want to avoid.

“It’s OK to watch the speaker on the screen, but respond by looking into the camera to create the illusion of direct eye-contact, always.”

In the US more than six out of 10 HR managers now use video to interview job applicants, according to a survey.

 

How to cruise a video interview

  • Set the stage: Make the room you’re in a reflection of your work -polished
  • plain backdrop can be less distracting
  • Test the lighting: Even if your camera isn’t the highest quality, make sure it flatters your features and the interviewer can see you clearly
  • Dress the part: Be as conservative as the organisation – wear smart bottoms in case you have to get up during the interview
  • Work the camera: Minimise the video image of you so you’re not tempted to watch yourself
  • The employer expects eye contact and anything else will distract him or her
  • Do a test run: Call a friend or family member to make sure speakers and microphone are working and they can hear you clearly

Tips from Megan Broussard – aka Professional – a career coach and blogger from New York

 

Click here to read the original BBC article.

Credit to the original author, Hannah Briggs, over at BBC News.


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Goldman Sachs Career Quiz

Would you make the cut ?

How it works:

Answer a few questions – all multiple choice with no wrong answers. The questions will ask you about your educational background, as well as how you approach challenges and solve problems.

You will not need to provide your name, as this isn’t an application for employment.

Based on your answers, the firm will suggest a short list of Goldman Sachs divisions that may suit your skills and interests.

Goldman Sachs Career Quiz


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25 Of The Most Outrageous Interview Questions

Have you heard the one about the penguin in the sombrero? Here are 25 of the most outrageous interview questions!

“If you could get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why ?”

Florida ? C’mon, you’ve always had a thing against Florida since that whole hanging chad business. California ? Alaska ? One of the Dakotas ? Do we really need two Dakotas ?

This is just one of the 25 weird questions that job site Glassdoor.com found in its annual survey of oddball interview questions. The question was asked by a Forrester Research interviewer for a position as a research associate.

Most people walk into a job interview expecting, “Tell me a little bit about yourself,” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses,” but the truth is, these crazy questions get asked at all types of companies, from Bank of America to Amazon.com.

“What do you think about when you are alone in your car ? “

That question was asked during an interview for an associate analyst position at Gallup.

How would you answer it ? I suppose “a string of profanity and karaoke” would be an unacceptable answer.

“I would say, ‘On the way to work I’m thinking about the 20 things on my to-do list when I get into the office,'” said Amanda Lachapelle, director of HR and talent acquisition for Glassdoor. “That demonstrates that you’re on and ready to go when you get there.”

“What song best describes your work ethic ?”

That question was asked at Dell for a consumer sales job.

“‘Under Pressure’ by Queen!” Lachapelle said.

“‘I’m a Rolling Stone,’ because I take it as it comes!” one man said.

“‘She Works Hard for the Money!'” a woman responded.

Watch a video of employees randomly asked some of these oddball questions by Glassdoor.

Have you ever stolen a pen from work ?”

That question was asked during an interview for a software architect position at Jiffy Software.

“Yes, but not on purpose!” the candidate answered.

We’re not connecting any dots here, but just sayin’ … that candidate did not get the job.

Lachapelle’s answer ?

“Glassdoor gives us free pens!”

Most difficult questions, such as, “How many balls would it take to fill this room ?” are designed to test your creativity, critical thinking, and how you handle pressure.

But some are designed just to see if you’re a good cultural fit for the organization.

Here’s by far the best one on the list this year:

“A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here ?”

That question was asked by a recruiter for a position as office engineer at Clark Construction Group.

If you’re really thrown off by an oddball question, stop for a moment. Take a breath … and think of something! A clever response is to use something like that to sell yourself.

“My penguin is going to come in the door and say, ‘You should hire Amanda – she’s organized and she has her stuff together. You want her to lead your team,'” Lachapelle said.

Uh, yeah, but what about the sombrero ?

“He had a margarita before he came in!” she said.

“It’s how you think. Your social fit,” Lachapelle explained. “Are you fun ?”

Incidentally, the candidate for that job answered, “Where’s the sun screen ?” … and got the job.

If you’re stumped, whatever you do, don’t say, “I don’t know.”

Employers are trying to test your creativity, critical thinking, and your ability to handle pressure and all you’ve got is, “I don’t know ?”

“Part of it is kind of creating good conversation,” Lachapelle said. “Saying ‘I don’t know’ stalls the conversation a bit,” she said.

I’d say. That’s a conversational dead end!

Seriously, do you really want an interviewer to conclude that, after knowing each other just five minutes, you have nothing else to say to one another ? God forbid you run into one another in the kitchen while heating up a Lean Cuisine – those will be the longest five minutes of your life!

On the “don’t” list, Lachapelle suggests, never speak negatively about a past employer or former co-worker.

And never, under any circumstances, miss an opportunity to sell yourself. Even if a penguin walks into the room!

 

Here’s the full list of Glassdoor’s 25 outrageous interview questions for 2013:

1. “If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why ?” – Asked at Forrester Research, research associate candidate.

2. “How many cows are in Canada ?” – Asked at Google, for a local data quality evaluator position.

3. “How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building ?” – Asked at JetBlue, for a job as a pricing/revenue management analyst.

4. “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here ?” – Asked at Clark Construction Group, office engineer candidate.

5. “What songs best describes your work ethic ?” – Asked  at Dell, consumer sales candidate.

6. “Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it ?” – Asked at Amazon, product development candidate.

7. “What do you think about when you are alone in your car ?” – Asked at Gallup, for an associate analyst position.

8. “How would you rate your memory ?” – Asked at Marriott, front desk associate candidate.

9. “Name three previous Nobel Prize winners.” – Asked at Benefits CONNECT, office manager candidate.

10. “Can you say: ‘Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper’ and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time ?” – Asked at MasterCard, call center candidate.

11. “If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us ?” – Asked at Trader Joe’s, crew candidate.

12. “How would people communicate in a perfect world ?” – Asked at Novell, software engineer candidate.

13. “How do you make a tuna sandwich ?” – Asked at Astron Consulting, office manager candidate.

14. “My wife and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend ?” – Asked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, advisory associate candidate.

15. “You are a head chef at a restaurant and your team has been selected to be on ‘Iron Chef.’ How do you prepare your team for the competition and how do you leverage the competition for your restauran t?” – Asked at Accenture, business analyst candidate.

16. “Estimate how many windows are in New York.” – Asked at Bain & Co., associate consultant candidate.

17. “What’s your favorite song ? Perform it for us now.” – Asked at LivingSocial, Adventures City manager candidate.

18. “Calculate the angle of two clock pointers when time is 11:50.” – Asked at Bank of America, software developer candidate.

19. “Have you ever stolen a pen from work?” – Asked at Jiffy Software, software architect candidate.

20. “Pick two celebrities to be your parents.” – Asked at Urban Outfitters, sales associate candidate.

21. “What kitchen utensil would you be ?” – Asked at Bandwidth.com, marketer candidate.

22. “If you had turned your cellphone to silent mode, and it rang really loudly despite it being on silent, what would you tell me ?” – Asked at Kimberly-Clark, biomedical engineer candidate.

23. “On a scale from one to 10, rate me as an interviewer.” – Asked at Kraft Foods, general laborer candidate.

24. “If you could be anyone else, who would it be ?” – Asked at Salesforce.com, sales representative candidate.

25. “How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelet ?” – Asked at Petco, analyst candidate.

 

Credit to the ponyblog over at CNBC for the original content.


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Master the changing face of job interviewing

The new trend in hiring in 2013? Challenge-based and video interviews. Read how you can master these new challenges.

Just when you got the hang of the in-person or phone interview, things are changing. According to HireArt, a company that helps employers make hires, the new trend in hiring in 2013 is utilizing challenge-based and video interviews.

“Businesses and recruiters are using video interviews and work samples as a way to effectively vet job candidates before bringing them in for an actual interview so employers can “try before they buy” and ensure they’re finding the right candidate for the job.”

For example, if a business is hiring an engineer, they may present a coding challenge to candidates; if they’re hiring a social media manager they may ask candidates to create compelling tweets.

Here are some tips from HireArt to ensure that candidates are prepared for both the challenge-based and video interviews that are becoming more common in today’s competitive job market.

1. Act like you want to be there.

Being energetic over a video interview can go a long way in making you stand out against other candidates that seem bored or uncomfortable. Even though it might be more difficult to seem enthusiastic about a job when you are just talking to the camera, you should try to come across as excited and passionate about why you want to be there.

2. Watch your presentation.

You don’t look as good on camera as you look in person (it’s true!). So, don’t let basic components of your interview, such as attire and lighting, negatively affect how you come across. Dress as you would dress were the interview taking place in the office. Record the view in a bright place that allows the interviewer to clearly see you. And make sure the quality of your audio allows the interviewer to really understand what you are saying. Although these things are not related to your skills, they could count against you when other candidates have them and you don’t.

3. Don’t be sloppy.

Typos and lack of attention to detail in your online applications often immediately disqualify you. Take the time to be careful!

4. Know your own pitch.

Most video interviews require you to record a two minute pitch about yourself. Really think about what you want to get across, what experiences you would like to highlight, what sets you apart from other candidates, and how you want to say this in a succinct way.

5. Make sure you know the company, its competitors and the industry inside and out.

If you are invited to an interview, even if it is an online interview, companies expect you to understand the position and know the company well. Use this information to craft your pitch and at every other chance you get. Articulate specifically why you want to work at the company – what specifically drew you to this position.

 

Find the full, original article written by Toni Bowers, over at TechRepublic.


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Top 10 Career Management blogs of 2012

See what Tech Republic Career Management blog postings captured the most attention in 2012;

1.  Top IT skills wanted for 2012

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/career/top-it-skills-wanted-for-2012/3503

2.  Six lines your boss should never cross

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/career/six-lines-your-boss-should-never-cross/4196

3.  Questions you should never ask in an interview

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/career/questions-you-should-never-ask-in-an-interview/4627

4.  Four things that make your resume look dated

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/career/four-things-that-make-your-resume-look-dated/3993

5.  Sitting at your desk could be killing you

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/career/sitting-at-your-desk-could-be-killing-you/4671

6.  Four email types that can drive you crazy

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/career/four-email-types-that-can-drive-you-crazy/3953

7.  What is the best font to use in a resume?

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/career/what-is-the-best-font-to-use-in-a-resume/4331

8.  Certifications most likely to land you a new job

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/career/certifications-most-likely-to-land-you-a-new-job/3969

9.  Infographic: The tell-tale signs of an overworked employee

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/career/infographic-the-tell-tale-signs-of-an-overworked-employee/4270

10.  The three most dangerous management behaviors that you probably don’t know you’re doing

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/career/the-three-most-damaging-management-behaviors-that-you-probably-dont-know-youre-doing/4640