April 23, 2008

Common Interview Questions

Ever been stumped with a question while on an interview? See some common questions below in preparation to ace that interview!

  • Tell me about yourself. First off, let me say that I absolutely loath this question. It's so generic. Keep your answer professional and between 1-3 minutes. Highlight your education, job qualifications, and job history based on the qualifications and requirements of the job you are interviewing for.
  • Why should we hire you? Once again, I hate this question!! Keep your answer professional and highlight your qualifications specific to the position you are applying for. Most often this question is asked to see how you handle the pressure. Be prepared to sell yourself.
  • What are your weaknesses? This question is tricky and the fact that you work too hard is not a good answer. I recommend using the STAR method here (see previous posts on this topic). Outline the situation, describe the action you took to improve your weakness, and the result. Hiring manager's like to hear measurable actions like you increased your team's productivity by 35% by attending a 8 week class on leading and inspiring others using the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? Be very careful. You don't want to appear to be overly ambitious and say something like, "Well, Bob. I'd like to have your job." I recommend talking about expanding your knowledge and experience in a new product line or the fact that you will have finished your MBA by then. You want to be a team player and show that you are a great long term investment for company x.
  • What's your salary expectation? Tread carefully my friend. On one hand you don't want to overshoot and bet out of the running because you want too much money. On the other hand, you want to be paid a fair salary. I recommend doing your research for the industry and position in your geographic area. Salaries can vary widely even in the same city as do the benefits and perks that companies offer their employees. Give them a range and ask if falls within their requirements. I am always upfront with candidates but not every recruiter or hiring manager is.
  • Do you have any questions for me? YES! YES!! Be ready with questions, I mean really good questions. Use the company website or your network to learn about the prospective company and the industry. Ask some questions about the number of employees you would be supervising or challenges one might face in the position. I recommend asking, "what do you feel is the most important skill or qualification for someone in the Public Relations Director position to be successful?" This allows the hiring manager to tell you what they want from their new employee giving you some insight. This way you can touch on your skills and qualifications one more time.