A successful interview actually depends to one thing: detailed prep. If you search the internet for information, practice answering questions and persist in your personal growth, then you will be ready to give the right answers even to the most difficult recruiter/manager.
Think about it: Even you, if you were an interviewer with a bad day, determined to put your interlocutor in the most difficult situations, when you see that the person in front of you is well prepared and does not take your not-too-bright attitude personally, you will feel a personal satisfaction like: finally!!! look at someone who does backing out and continues to show that he is a true professional, ready to bring value to an organization!
So, here we are, before an interview. It's clearly a good idea (and I'm sure everyone agrees) to think: what will they ask me when I'm there? In that meeting room so cold and impersonal ...
I've selected a few interview questions you should think about before: common questions, career history questions, situational questions, behavioral questions, and bizarre / funny questions. I have specially arranged them for you to read and prepare your answers in order to gain confidence and to act professionally at your next interview.
1. Tell me about yourself
One can expect this question or variants of it right from the beginning of the interview, because recruiters use it as an ice-breaker, and its role is to obtain a summary of our professional experience.
Hmm ... they have the CV in front of them ... can't they read it by themself ?? Didn't they prepare for this meeting with me at all ?? And here goes again, I have to say what I did five years ago…. I hope I don't talk much and go on like I did in my last interview!
Hey! Don’t worry! Here are some tips:
1 | Limit yourself to answers from professional life, so we don't say, "After I gave birth to my second child," or "... It was right after the divorce."
2 | Please start from… beginnings, only if it is relevant. Stay with the jobs in the current industry.
3 | As you narrate, summarize. Not necessarily on every job. Better on periods.
“I started my career in retail sales but after a few years I decided to go into the B2B customer service and management. I started as a sales representative and after 2 years I was promoted to a position of Key Account Manager. I really liked what I experienced and learned and now is the time to focus on a new challenge in a senior management position. ”
- Yep! quite short, right?
2. Why are you leaving your current job?
Yes. The question we all are afraid of. The internet says in vain: "Employers ask this interview question to get an idea of how you feel about your current (or past) role." Bullshit! (pardon my French).
It still seems to us that all eyes in the room are fixed on us ... to see what we are going to do now, and how are we going to deal with it, and are we going to be credible when we say those typically American words that sound good only in English? Those expressions that we have learned from blogs, recruiting sites, or advice from friends?
…cuz in fact my mind screams (loud! ... oh so loud!) other reasons and disappointments, frustrations and upsets, dissatisfactions and distresses. So much so that it seems to me that others are hearing these thoughts in my mind, and when I actually answer the question, they will be amazed at how come I say something different than what’s in my head!
Relax! We’ve all been there! Here are some tips:
1 | The secret is to focus on the future. No-no - don't look back! Never ever.
2 | Let me be crystal clear: Focus on the opportunities that open up in front of you.
3 | Stay positive. We. Do. Not. Gossip. Judge. Never. Ever. Former. Current. Bosses.
“I learned a lot in my current position – not only about the industry but also about myself and how I relate to my team. However, after 3 years in the same position, I really want to take a step forward, take on more responsibilities and use my experience for new challenges in a larger organization with growth opportunities.”
- Clean “Interviewer”! What!?! ... You know what I'm talking about!
3. How do you work under pressure?
Pressure: ...to be read as deadlines, short execution time, top-down stress, head audit, demanding bosses, colleagues who let me carry all the hard work ...
Why are they asking this question?? It’s simple. Recruiters know that the best indicator for future behavior is past behavior. And they really want to know how you manage your time. Oh, let me not forget! It will take you a longer answer than an "Yes" or "No".
I have to show that I'm brave, that I work hard at work, that for me stress is ..how can I say? ... flower power! I'll say: Sure! I can handle a stressful situation. But… how do I say it? Won't they think I have the answer “too” ready? How can I show you guys that I can cope? Just give me the d*** job once and I'll prove it to you!
Okay, let's take it slow. Here are some tips:
1 | Prepare a response that shows your ability to stress or conflict.
2 | They may ask you for an example. It's a good idea to think ahead!
3 | Choose an example that ended with a positive experience and that makes you stand out.
“I perform well [extraordinary/excellent/outstanding] in stressful conditions due to the environment in which I worked on the team leader position [to be replaced with any other job, really!] in the call center. That job taught me to respect deadlines, to organize myself and to expect any turn of events. I am efficiently using my time and I focus on deadlines."
- That's it, you have an answer! If you do not perform well under stress, you may decide to remove completely the word “well/excellent/…”
4. Why do you want to work with us?
Here's my career coach opinion: do you want this job? Or ... any job ??
Because, yes, recruiters are trying to figure out if you're going to “hit replay". Which replay? The one where you say the saaaame thing in all you past six month interviews ^_^. As a recruiter, I need to make sure you're not going to be a problem with our retention rate. I want YOU to want to work for us! Yep!
It is obvious that, if you want this job, you will have to study it, be interested in the company and its online activity and results. Moreover, if it's a company you admire and even follow on social media, it will be even better! Thus, use what you know in your answer.
... OMG! OMG! Here it comes! Hm…I surely know what I’m goin’ to say! I stick to that answer from last week. I’ll tell them that I want to work for a company which promote people and where I can achieve my goals :D
Nope. Will not work that way! Here are some tips:
1 | Breathe. Pause. It shows that you are thinking that you are really taking this question seriously.
2 | Then speak with enthusiasm, with passion! And smile ... like, a lot !!
3 | Use in your answer: "I like", "I admire"!
“I read a lot about [say the name of the company] on internet & social media and I really admire the way it positions itself on the market [or products / services / latest innovation / etc.]. In my position of… [name the position you apply for] I will have the chance to contribute with my experience in the team for the growth of the company.
You know what? You will find on internet many other answers to this question, don't worry :) Key points here: the pause before answer and the smiling.
5. How would your current colleagues describe you?
Given that we spend SO MUCH TIME in life (º_º) at work, of course we want a job where we want to go with a light heart (ideally) or to have (at least !) peace! Right?
In fact, this is why recruiters use this question; they want to know what kind of person you are, the one your other colleagues work with. How do you contribute to this peace and harmony so desired by everyone.
If you follow the trends on social media (FB, Insta, LinkedIn) you will see posts like: employers put more and more value on the soft skills of their employees. Well, this is actually true.
Various studies have demonstrated this, so the question "how would your current colleagues describe you?" is the perfect opportunity to highlight your soft skills. Here are some of them that employers are interested in: excellent communication skills, customer service skills and conflict resolution skills.
... Is that a tricky question? Maybe what they really want, is to know what my weaknesses are!? Why are only negative situations with my colleagues coming to my mind now ????? Those when I didn't get along with some colleagues who were fighting with me for that promotion. Come on man! think fast! think fast and say a professional thing. Better be a positive and inspirational saying.
You know what? In fact, it’s normal for your mind to jump at all these unpleasant things at first, and do believe me: we’ve all been there! Here are some tips:
1 | Focus on those interpersonal skills that are difficult to achieve through education (therefore even more difficult to measure)
2 | These are the traits that have helped you all your life to collaborate with others.
3 | Be moderate but honest. If references are required, you would not want those to differ greatly from your answer.
“My co-workers would describe me as a flexible and easy-to-approach person. I collaborate well [very well, excellently] with everyone from my team and from our department. I really try to talk openly every time and I think they would also mention that my communicative way of being is one of my strengths.
"Doesn't the answer suit you?" Aren't you very communicative? Well. Could be... You know what? You still have time.Put tomorrow (1 day only!) into practice a way of being extremely open with colleagues, bosses and subordinates. And when you’ll get to the interview, and you will answer the question that way, you can rest easy. You will not lie. It will be the truth.
In the next part of the article you will find answers related to the challenges and achievements from your career. And Yes, there will be also the question: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
6. Can you please tell us which is your greatest professional achievement?
Recruiters want accomplishments, not tasks you have to do on a daily basis.
... Pff. I have to answer again to these questions! But didn't I just say what I do at work ?? Okay! Okay! Well, let's see ... I'm still thinking…. Why (cats!) I didn't think about it beforehand? Not that I wouldn't have achievements. If it weren't for me, nothing would move forward at work!! Iit takes me such a long time to answer, oh ...!
Okay. Is it hard for you to find that achievement which puts you in the best light? Choose it then by answering this question: When were you the hero of the day, at work?
What?!? Never...?? Because the boss didn't even notice the big thing that you did (but you didn't tell him either)? And the colleagues didn't even react? Who cares?? The real question is: When were you the hero of the day at work for yourself?
We do not compare ourselves with others, only with ourselves, those of yesterday.
So ... I guess now you've thought about it and chosen an achievement. Kudos! Do you know what else you need? Numbers. Statistics. Percent.
Here goes some tips:
1 | The selected achievement should be from your last job. And God! let it be recent. Not one from seven years ago.
2 | Have a pen and sheet handy. When you get to the numbers, write them down (underline, circle, draw arrows). Be prepared to explain them if you are asked.
3 | Always end with the impact or result achieved for the company.
“In my current position [or at my last job], I have reviewed the way I approached clients at the end of the contractual period. In addition to the classic official and legal reminder letter, I created a series of friendly emails sent in advance and wrote an article in the weekly newsletter. As a result, we improved our retention by over 25% compared to the previous year. Now this approach is part of the marketing strategy of the company "
- You don't work with clients and this answer is actually no helpfull?
Here is the structure you can use when preparing for the interview. It is also very good when you write your achievements in your CV / Cover Letter:
“In [my current position] [or at my last job], ... I [revised, improved, updated, introduced] ... [an old / new way of working in the company].
In addition to [what was done before], ... I [created, added, removed, corrected] ... [concretely what I did].
As a result / impact I [improved, increased, decreased, reduced, maximized] [retention, sales, defects,
market share] ... by [percentage] compared to [previous year / period, competition, market average].
Say something interesting about your business here.