POTENTIAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Employers have to determine from your résumé, cover letter and generally one interview if you are a good match for their company. If you clam up and only give yes and no answers, you leave them with nothing to work with. And you definitely don’t want to impress them with your astounding dialog of “uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” The following questions are ones that can sometimes trip up job seekers, but with some prior practice and realization of what they are REALLY asking, your interview can be a success!
- Tell me about yourself. They don’t want to know your favorite color or who you are currently dating. The employer really wants to know why you should be considered for the job. “I am a hard worker, dedicated to helping others in a team environment and I work independently as well, needing little supervision.”
- What are your biggest accomplishments? Be specific and keep it job related. “While I feel my biggest accomplishments are ahead of me, I find that my biggest accomplishment so far was being part of a team of graphic design artists in converting the newspaper from manual paste-up to electronic pagination.”
- Why should we hire you as opposed to another candidate? Now is the time to show how your accomplishments, your talent and skill fit with the company’s needs. “As I understand it, you are looking for a self-starter to lead the pressroom staff. My background includes working with all aspects of printing and layout, so I would be able to troubleshoot potential printing problems before they happen.”
- What do you know about our organization? Breathe! You did your homework. Tell them what you know!
- What did you like/dislike about your last job? Even if you hated your last job, find some positive things to say. This question may be used to screen potential problem employees.
- What is your major weakness? This is not the time to flippantly announce that you do not have any weaknesses. Remember, employers are not looking for the PERFECT employee, just ones that are honest and competent. Be positive. Turn your shortfalls into strengths. “I often worry too much over my work. Sometimes I work late to make sure the job is done well.”
- What are your career goals? An employer wants to know if you are motivated; are you a “go-getter”? Exhibit your ambitions to learn more and improve your performance. Show the employer how your goals and the company’s are compatible.
- Why did you decide to seek a position with our company? Using the research that you have done, a good angle would be, “I have seen your company’s commitment to employees, as well as to the customers in your marketing brochures. I want to be a part of that type of company. I believe I can contribute to that by…”
- What are your expectations of your future employer? Basically they want assurance that you will not need your hand held constantly to get the job done. Here is your chance to show that once you have the proper training, you can take the bull by the horns and run with a project.
OTHER QUESTIONS TO CONTEMPLATE
- What factors did you consider in choosing your major?
- What three things are most important to you in a position?
- What kind of work do you want to do?
- Tell me about a project that you initiated.
- What is your GPA? How do you feel about it? Does it reflect your ability?
- What was the most useful criticism you ever received and who was it from?
- Give an example of a problem you have solved and the process you used to solve the problem.
- Describe a situation where you had a conflict with another individual and how you dealt with it.
- What are your team-player qualities? Give examples.
- How have your education and work experience prepared you for this position?
QUESTIONS TO ASK EMPLOYERS
This is your opportunity to find out if you and the company are a good match. But LISTEN during the interview! You don’t want to ask a question if it has already been covered during the interview.
- What would my first assignment be?
- What training process is offered?
- What skills are necessary for advancement in the company?
- Does your company encourage further education?
- Has there been much job turnover in this area?
- What are some of the skills and abilities necessary to succeed in this position?
- What is the greatest challenge of this position?
- What particular computer equipment and software do you use?
- When do you expect to make a hiring decision?
ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END
During the wrap-up of the interview you should find out when they will be making a decision. If the employer does not offer that information, it is your responsibility to inquire. But you have one other responsibility before you can consider this interview “complete”. It is very important to send a handwritten note thanking the employer for their time, stressing your enthusiasm for the position and why you would be a great addition to their team. “Follow-up will dramatically increase the number of job offers you get. It is one of the most powerful tools you have to influence the situation.”