I will encourage you to think ahead and plan for each interview. With the Internet, there is no reason not to be prepared for an interview. Following are some common questions to expect, some easy, others more difficult.
What do you know about our company?
This question helps reveal how you prepare, are you proactive or do you wing it? It may also give the interviewer a sense of how hard of a worker you are. Compare:
Candidate A) “Well, I was hoping to learn more about the company during the interview”,
Candidate B) “ I researched your company on line and spoke to several colleagues. Your company is __________, competition is _____________ most significant challenges seem to be ______________. My attraction to your company is _____________.”
Why did you leave you last position?
All organizations face significant challenges periodically. Hiring manager wants to know if you will quit her team when times get tough.
You work for a very good company with a lot of career opportunities, why do you want to leave?
Some people are never happy, others are handed lemons and make lemonade. Your chances of being hired if you are perceived as a “job-hopper” are slim.
What was the most recent book you read related to your career?
What you do on your own time is very revealing. Those who continue to read books and articles related to their work tend to be more successful than those who don’t.
If you were the hiring manager how would you compare candidate A to B:
Candidate A) “Well, with the kids and softball, I don’t have a lot of time for reading”,
Candidate B) I just re-read Peter Drucker’s The Practice of Management for the 3rd or 4th time and have just begun Drucker’s Managing for Results. I love his work.
What work related periodicals do you subscribe to?
See above. When you spend your own money to subscribe to work related periodicals, it reveals interest, commitment and motivation.
Tell me about your most significant career accomplishment? (problem or opportunity you saw or significant task employer assigned to you)
What was your solution?
How did you implement it?
Tell me about the hurdles and challenges you faced
What did you learn?
I love this series of questions. During interviews, everyone claims many significant accomplishments, this series of questions helps the interviewer get a sense for your job performance .
Tell me about a significant failure you experienced?
Interviewing 101, are you intellectually honest enough to recognize a mistake or failure and what did you learn from it?
What is your greatest strength?
Hopefully you have several to consider ! Keep in mind the company and the position. Your strengths should benefit both.
No one is perfect, tell me what your biggest weakness is?
Tell me how you see your 1st, day – week – month, etc., in this position unfolding?
This is a great 3rd interview question. It helps reveal if you are proactive, a competent planner, possible commitment to the position. Imagine the difference to the interviewer in the candidates’ responses:
Candidate A) “Um, well, I guess , maybe meet with HR and get signed up for benefits….” , Who do you think I need to meet ? ”
Candidate B) I’ve been thinking about that; the 1st couple days I would like to meet the managers of production and logistics and their key team members. I will need to have strong relationships with them if we are to solve the problems we have been discussing. I will need the following reports my 1st day ……”
For a management a position you may be asked your management philosophy or style. Lets compare 2 answers:
Candidate A : Well, I guess I believe in the “Golden Rule” you know do onto others…..
Candidate B: “Great question, here is how I lead people:
1st I hire the very best people that I can
2nd I give them the best training that I can
3rd I have a system in place for them to follow to better ensure their success
4th I hold them accountable for their performance . Their results should be measured and communicated back to them.”
Interviewer’s hand is on a stack of resumes on his desk, he asks, “ I have interviewed some very good candidates, tell me why I should forget about them and hire you?”
Here is your opportunity to think on your feet and sell yourself.
Look over your resume line by line. Sometimes, while conducting an interview, I ask a candidate about something specific on their resume. I am so dismayed when I hear responses like, “you know, my wife typed up my resume I didn’t know that was in there”! Or, candidate cannot explain an accomplishment that is listed on their resume.
Do not lie. Don’t make things up. Do prepare and be confident in your abilities.