1. Can you tell me about yourself?
This can be one of the most terrifying questions of all time, not to mention the most challenging to answer as well. As a candidate for a specific position, when this question is asked you are quick to wonder what the interviewer wants to know. What could be the point of asking this question? Relax. This as your opportunity to impress your potential employer. Here’s what you do, answer with information that supports your career goals. This is not the place to mention things like: where you were born, your birthday, hobbies, or your extracurricular activities. Do, use specific and relevant experience and education you may have that make you the best candidate for the job.
2. What are you top 3 strengths?
Think of the skill set you have that will help you excel in the job you’re applying for. Talk specifically about your qualifications and technical skills. Feel free to mention how you were successful in using those skills in a past position. Don’t forget to give examples or samples to drive the point home – you have just what they need.
3. What are your weaknesses?
Now, this one is tricky if you are not paying attention. At no time during an interview are you to point out negatives about you. Don’t lie either. Saying you are always late, you like checking your Facebook every 10 minutes, or you like to take unauthorized extended lunches is not going to help you get the job. So why mention it? Don’t. Instead, you can answer with new skills you may have recently learned, but have not had an opportunity to use. For example, you are applying for an administrative assistant position and have recently completed a course in QuickBooks, you can tell the employer you are newly certified in QuickBooks. Mention you are looking forward to becoming more efficient in this area. Make sure whatever weakness you use does not damage your potential as the right one for the job. Never just tell your weak points, if you have to mention one be sure to explain clearly how you are working to improve in your area of weakness.
4. How do you manage stress?
Some companies interview candidate in groups and ask questions in a manner designed to purposely stir up emotional responses, all to see first-hand how you handle the stress. When you are asked this question remain calm, remember you are being observed and describe how you cope with pressures of work. Again, be honest and prepared to provide an example of a time you had to deal with stress on the job.
5. What do you know about our business?
In order to show the interviewer, you did more than submit your resume to any opening, do some research on the organization. Take out a pad and paper and make notes of key points like: their mission statement, awards won, agency partners, etc. This will help lower your anxiety while making the interview more interactive. Also, make note of questions you have about the company, this will show you are interested in the company as well as the position, and the team you are seeking to be a member of.
6. Why do you want to work for this agency?
If you have ever been asked this question, your first though may have been “Because you have a job opening and I want a job”. While that’s a valid answer, it’s not the one that’s going to get you additional interview points. That answer can come across sarcastic and may run the risk of possibly annoy the interviewer. Conducting research on a potential employer before your interview can help you communicate as a competent applicant.
The point of asking this question is to screen out those not truly interested in the company and position and are just looking to collect a check. The interviewer wants to know you have given serious thought to how you can be an asset to the employer.
7. Why are you looking to leave your current job?
Interviewers know not all candidates can provide a straight forward answer to this question. They are sure you have your own reasons why you want to leave your current job, be careful how you answer. Keep your reason or reasons as positive as possible, don’t give indications you are leaving because you hate your current your boss or the people you work with. This is an attitude test. Firms want to hire an individual with the potential to become a positive team contributor and not a negative life sucker bringing the team down. Who wants to be around a negative Nelly for eight hours or more a day? You don’t and neither do they.
8. Where do you see yourself in five to ten years?
When responding to this question, emphasize your career-advancement goals that relate to the position you are applying for. Be ambitious, but realistic.
9. What contribution can you bring to our company?
Think of all the fantastic, creative, progressive, and relevant, professional qualities you possess that will help you succeed in the position. Take the time to give some ways you can contribute to helping the company grow. Leave the interviewer with one really good practical idea to remember you by and earn more interview points. This is another opportunity to show your commitment and willingness to being part of the team.
10. Why should we hire you?
Basically, sell yourself, just like with the first question. Like a prepared sales person with a well-rehearsed elevator pitch, develop and practice your personal sales statement. Point out your unique qualities and what contributions you can make to the company. Highlight your qualities that address what the employer is looking for.
10. Where do you see yourself five or ten years from now?
In answering this question, you should focus on your career-advancement goals that are related with the job you are applying for.
Some interview questions can be very tricky and you should pay close attention to what you are being asked and how you answer. Your prospective career relies on how well you prepare and deliver your answers. Take a deep breath and relax. Respond appropriately and be yourself.
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Pharice Brown & Associates, LLC focuses on consulting aimed at increasing efficiency, creation of value and determination of strategy in both the public and private sectors. We manage corporate issues including marketing, business growth performance and administrative management.
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