Transcript: Job Interview Questions and Answers
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Welcome to a new video! It’s crazy how comfortable I feel in this chair! After the last 2 weeks of shooting one video in my kitchen, where I shared my busy person-yummy recipe with you and last week in the make up chair, both very new formats for me, this feels so… nurturing!
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Back when I was a recruiter, there was 1 question I would ALWAYS get asked. And that was “What kind of questions will I get asked in a job interview?” Quite recently I got asked something like that and it sparked the idea of making a video about it. If you’re in the market for a new job, I really… really hope – that this video will help you be better equipped. Or if you know somebody that could benefit from it please share the love, and let me start with question #1 – these are not going to be asked necessarily in exact order, but they are the 10 most frequently asked questions.
1. Tell me about yourself.
Now this is not exactly a question, but it’s typically the first thing you’ll go into and your answer IS what will help the interviewer initially determine whether or not you may be a good fit.
For that reason, it is very important that you deliver a concise but confident answer. A horrible approach is to share your life story, go off on tangents, that is damaging, so I really advise your rehearse this before the interview. Rehearse enough to where you don’t sound rehearsed if that make sense. You need to keep your chin up, and answer confidently with an appropriate smile on your face. Show enthusiasm.
Make sure that you identify areas that reflect the job you are being interviewing for, and you CAN figure that out from the job ad the company put out there. This can show the interviewer how you are well suited for the job.
For example, let me read you some job requirements from a random ad:
Ability to analyze all contracts to ensure compliance.
Excellent administrative and organizational skills.
Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
So these are qualities that company is looking for in a candidate.
So you can answer with – I’m a very curious person, I have a constant hunger to learn things, and that’s why I love to read a lot and watch documentaries. I’m very stimulated by productive environments, I love getting things done well and organized, because that gives me a sense of self value. Over the past years I’ve been really learning how to openly communicate, to be more constructive and I’m very excited about that because it’s helped me in different areas of my life.– you see, I added a more personal factor in there, to make the delivery of some of the qualities, not sound theatrical, or overly salesy, but natural and seamlessly delivered.
Now be prepared – in this scenario you might get asked: what’s a book you loved since you mentioned you like reading. Or what’s the last documentary you watched. You need to be prepared so you’re not like. Ummm….
I personally like this answer because you don’t hear it that often. Almost every person I’ve ever interviewed, answered this question with: I’m timely, organized, hard-working – BLAH! It’s like they were all put together by the same manufacturer. Answering like that shows no originality, you don’t stand out in any way and odds are that person WILL forget you. So talking about books and documentaries was a fun add, but relevant because they revolve around you seeking knowledge, and that’s what smart people do. Now I want to know more about you.
So – highlight some of the key attributes the company is looking for, in a short and concise delivery, peppered in with some personal facts but that are still relevant to the question. That’s why it’s good to practice, so you can think of all these things in advance.
#2. What do you know about our company?
I’ve said this since I can remember: “Be prepared, or lose to somebody that is.” – not doing your homework will most likely kill your opportunity. It’s tacky to go interview for a company you don’t know much about and odds are that you won’t get the job because you’ll come off uninterested.
Anybody can read and regurgitate things written on the “About” page. So, in addition to reading the “About”, check out the other web pages, to learn more about the company’s work, the type of products and services they may provide, locations, who the executives are…
Google the company and read some of the articles that pop up.
You’ll be doing this not only to be prepared in case you get asked the question, but to cement your presence in the interviewer’s mind, because this research will help you relate to the company with some of your own passions, interests or experiences. For example, “I like doing ___X___ and honestly, that’s one of the reasons WHY I’m drawn to your company, because I really believe in your mission to _______insert blank ________ .
#3. What interests you about this job?
This question also needs to be answered to the point and can be answered easily if you’ve done homework on the company. The answer could be offered by simply explaining the alignment in views, your interest in the industry vertical and how your skills match their requirements. Show enthusiasm and smile the entire time.
#4. Why did you leave your last job? Or why are you leaving your current job?
If there’s only one thing you’ll take out of this is – to never speak badly or criticize your previous employer. No matter what happened, who did what, you always need to answer this question positively. If you do otherwise, you will appear unprofessional, and most likely the hiring person won’t want that at their company.
Here are some examples:
– if you’re leaving because your boss sucks – you can say you’re leaving because of difference in work philosophies.
– if you got fired – you can say that you were unfortunately let go, but you understood the reasoning and recognized what you needed to work on and improve, which is what you’ve been doing and will be a significantly better team member because of it.
You essentially need to relay the message that you’re ready to apply everything you’ve learned out of every experience and be the best possible fit for the new company. Always keep it classy! Humility is highly recognized.
#5. What are some of your strengths?
When answering this question, respond only with the relevant skills and strengths. Prior research plays into this as well, so you know ahead of time what will be best suited for the job. The ads companies put out, are great for buzzwords and you can tactfully use those trigger-words when answering this question.
Since I’m on the topic of buzzwords, if you have a couple more minutes, you can maybe check out the 2 videos I made about how to put together a creative resume and how to creatively market yourself. 2 very important things that together with this video will really help you craft a strong foundation and package yourself very attractively to employers. (videos listed below)
Now if you get asked about your weaknesses, please remember that we all have them and that’s not a bad thing. Don’t sound overly critical of yourself when answering this question though, but rather pick one of your “weaknesses” and turn it into a positive. You could say that you’re meticulously organized, and that perfectionist has sometimes led in the past to taking a little bit longer to deliver a task, but it’s something you’ve been working on, and have been finding the right balance between high quality and completion goals. Never talk about a weakness unless it’s something that you’ve conquered and it conveys a positive outcome if that makes sense.
And in doing that, you’ve answered this question without beating around the bush, without sounding awfully critical of yourself and shifted the nature of the conversation to something positive. Not to mention that people who can talk with ease about their weaknesses as well as their strengths, project a humble sense of confidence that’s very attractive and that’s typically exactly what these hiring managers are looking for! Think ahead of time and choose your “weaknesses” wisely.
#6. Give me an example of a difficult situation or task that you’ve dealt with.
That could be a time when you maybe had to deal with a difficult customer or a crisis…
This is asked so that you can share how you used problem-solving and communication skills to help resolve a problem.
How you handle a problem says a lot about your skills and emotional intelligence. Keep it simple but keep it positive, don’t throw anybody under the bus or speak negatively about anybody to explain the situation. It’s good to think about this question ahead of time, because I have to be honest, as a hiring manager, it’s pretty boring when people don’t have a story to share. Just think of a time when you had to demonstrate your skills.
#7. Why should we hire YOU? – Translation: What makes you better than anybody else, or what can you do that others can’t?
One thing I used to do, is I’d take with me a print out of the job description they advertised, and I had previously highlighted some of the key terms in their requirements. I’d answer the question by pulling out the print out, and pointing to one of the highlighted terms and adding “I’m the right person for the job because _____ and I’d say something pertaining to that quality that they’re looking for”, I’d then point to the second highlighted term and add “I believe in this because ____”, if the third term was “dedicated” I’d add “Everything I do is with the purpose of being the best.” – and so forth. And if you top it off with “My intention is to give you the reasons to think ‘I hired the right person” then…. BOOM!
#8. What Are Your Career Goals?
The interviewer will ask you that typically because they want to gauge how long you plan on staying at their company. Preparation is good here as well, because you have to figure out how to articulate the goal.
Although no one can really know where they’ll be in their career 5 or 10 years from now, beating around the bush kind of answers won’t be taken seriously. So you can say that you’ve thought about your future and have put some thought into career planning, no one can really know for sure where they’ll in 5 years, but ideally you hope to move up the ladder at this company, and based on your performance to be in some managerial position and continue helping the company in that way.
You basically want to reassure them that the job you’re interviewing for fits into your career plan, so they feel you’ll be committed to them long term, and not use them just as a stepping stone and quit after a year, because a lot goes into hiring somebody.
Even if you’re unsure that this position is really going to be part of your future, you can express that this experience will play an important role in your future and you’re ready to step into those shoes.
#9. What are your salary expectations?
I always try to avoid giving an exact answer to this question, because I don’t want to shortchange myself. What if I was making $80K at the previous job and I say that? If they were prepared to pay $90, I just shot myself in the foot. I’d usually tell the interviewer that if I’m being seriously considered, I’d love to see what they’d consider offering me. I will have a salary range narrowed down by then as well, so we can discuss this matter more seriously.
If the hiring manager insists on getting an idea, speak in ranges. I’d say If we can meet somewhere in the 80’s-90’s range it would be perfect. I am flexible and I’d just like to start with their judgment first.
#10. Do you have any questions for me?
Translation: How much attention have you been paying?
Here you can have a couple of potential questions already fabricated in your mind, from which to choose from, depending on which one will be most appropriate to the meeting and what has or hasn’t been covered so far.
I like questions like: “What attracted YOU to this company?” or “What advice would you give somebody hired in this position (that of course would be the position you’re interviewing for)?”
Now I’ve shared some KEY pieces of advice in this morning’s email to you. If you’d like to get that email, please feel free to visit my website and decide if you’d like to sign up for it, the link is in the description bar below. (see below)
Please read that, there are some important things to keep in mind there, that will help you in the interview and during the job searching process as a whole.
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