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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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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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Interview techniques that get results, from HP

Do you think first impressions are accurate, or are you often surprised by how people turn out to be?

If you’re interviewing someone for a job, for example, or an agency to work on a project, how can you judge them on the basis of a short interview? The fact is, until you’ve spent time with someone, it’s difficult to find out what they are “really like”.

Luckily, communication skills can help. And, of course, they can be used in all social situations.

1. First impressions aren’t always right
Quite often we judge people within the first few minutes of meeting them.  But don’t be too influenced by first impressions. What people look like, what they’re wearing, their accents and their haircuts can tell you a lot – but they certainly don’t tell the whole story.

Interview situation: To get below the surface of someone in a short time, it’s essential to approach them with an open mind. Make a list of the character stereotypes you’re influenced by – such as, “people who wear glasses are clever” or “fat people are easy-going and happy” – and then think about how rational these preconceptions really are. If you form a negative first impression just because of the way they look or speak, you might miss the fact that they are experienced and professional and would do a great job in your team.

2. Relax and smile
Most of us are a bit shy when we meet new people. So if someone has a sweaty handshake, sits right on the edge of their chair and seems ill at ease, it probably just means they don’t feel comfortable in the social situation. To put them at their ease, show you’re interested in them; talk calmly and smile. Once they are relaxed, and start to trust you, they will open up and reveal more of their true nature.

Interview situation: Non-threatening body language signals help other people relax and reveal more about themselves, their personal goals and their intentions. Be aware of yourself and the impression you give: relax your face and shoulders, speak calmly, and draw them out gradually, starting with easy questions and small talk. Remember: if they seem uncomfortable, it is partly because of you.

3. Consider body language
Broadly speaking, you can see whether someone is a relaxed or a nervous type from the way they hold their body and from their facial gestures. For example, we exhibit interest and openness by directly facing the person we’re talking to, tilting our faces towards them, maintaining steady eye contact, smiling, and keeping our hands, arms and legs uncrossed. However, don’t read too much into this unless you know a person well enough to be familiar with their normal patterns. Body language is strongly based on culture: what’s normal in one culture or social group may be unacceptable in another. This is not a real science.

Interview situation: In an interview, when you have so little time, anything that can help build up an impression of a person is useful. For example, notice a few details about how they use their bodies, hands, faces and especially their eyes – do they have a confident, firm handshake or a flabby one? Is their body facing you, or turned away? Do they look at you confidently when they speak or avoid your eyes? However, remember that although we’re good at recognising facial expressions, it’s hard to tell whether these expressions are genuine or not. The best way to learn how to “read” people is to spend time in different social settings – or, as David Funder of the University of California at Riverside says: “A good judge of personality isn’t just someone who is smarter – it’s someone who gets out and spends time with people.”[1]

4. Ask follow-up questions
Asking questions is a sign of interest in another person, though in some cultures it’s more acceptable to ask direct or personal questions than in others. However, generally speaking, if you’re talking to someone and they don’t ask you a single question, then the normal conclusion to draw is that they aren’t really interested in you. To avoid giving this impression, make sure you ask questions – and then listen to the answers!

Interview situation: A good interviewer asks lots of follow-up questions and asks for explanations. So don’t be afraid to probe the applicant and press them for details: your second and third questions, the ones that get below the surface, will elicit the most revealing and honest answers. Avoid those that only need a yes/no answer. For example, you can say, “That sounds interesting. Why did you decide to do that?” or, “How did you approach that? Can you give me some examples?” or, “What happened then?” This gives the job candidate the chance to open up (and if they don’t, that will also tell you something about them).

With these basic communication skills, we can learn a great deal about other people, even if the time we can spend with them is limited. Learning to listen and to ask the right questions builds trust and encourages people to reveal their true personalities and intentions. And that way, we shouldn’t be in for too many shocks at a later date.

[1] Psychology Today, 1 May 2004

 

Credit the original author, HP. You can read the original post here.


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Top 25 most difficult interviews

Glassdoor has come up with a list of the top 25 most difficult companies to interview with. Here are the top 10;

1. McKinsey & Co

2. Boston Consulting Group

3. Oliver Wyman

4. A.T. Kearney

5. ZS Associates

6. ThoughtWorks

7. Bain & Co

8. Shell

9. Google

10. Unisys

See the full list and the original article here.


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9 Common Mistakes Folks Make When Looking For A New Job

Here’s a note of the 9 most common mistakes people make when looking for a new job.

1. Not allocating sufficient time for the job search

2. Becoming demotivated if things don’t immediately go their way

3. Being over-confident and pausing a job search in the belief that a new opportunity may be in the bag

4. Focusing all efforts on just one job opportunity, or going to work for just one firm

5. Not doing enough research – either online or face-to-face

At Interview

6. Being over-familiar with the interviewer – for example, calling him / her by their first name

7. Talking about your personal life (even though you haven’t been asked about it)

8. Slagging off your current or previous employers

9. Not asking meaningful questions – come prepared

Credit to HereIsTheCity for the full article;

http://hereisthecity.com/2012/07/20/9-most-common-mistakes-made-when-looking-for-a-new-job/