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Thursday, 21 February 2013

1st Steps...

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Three Dreaded Interview Questions

A job interview can be a daunting task for many people, and as a result, there are many guides and help pages to be found online all designed to help you answer certain questions properly. In this article, we don't intend to tell you how you should answer certain questions, more to advise you how not to answer three of the more daunting interview questions, and to suggest methods how you can find the answers. So here we have three dreaded interview questions:

What are your weaknesses?
Don't be afraid to list negatives about yourself, but only those you can turn into a positive. They don't want to know if you leave toenail clippings on the coffee table, but they also don't want to hear the common answer found on the internet; "I pay far too much attention to detail... so much so i'll stay at work 'til 10pm blah blah blah." They want to find out about you, and as a member of the human race, you will have weaknesses. You cannot 'google' the answer to this question, instead, ask your partner, parents or siblings and see what positives can be drawn out of your negative aspects.

Why should we give you this job over our other applicants?
This is a tricky question to answer because as the interviewee, you know nothing of the other applicants and it's not your decision. However they are not asking for your advice, they are trying to ascertain that you understand the job description and would like to hear how you feel your skills relate to it. This question isn't always asked but it one you should always prepare for, otherwise you could appear that you don't really understand the job you're being interviewed for.

Do you have any questions?
This question, I have in the past found particularly tricky. It is normal for everything about the package and the job itself to be explained throughout the course of the interview and 'do you have any questions?' always comes towards the end of the interview. By making a list of questions and referring to it will show that you've done some advance planning, but don't produce a list of 'What is the pay?', 'How many holidays do I get?', 'Do you pay sick leave?' as these are all 'me, me, me' and will have likely already been explained to you.

What you cannot ascertain throughout the interview is the work culture and atmosphere of the organisation. Is it the type of workplace which has the radio playing, or constant gossip?. You can also ask how they measure performance, through either time sheets, regular appraisals, etc. It takes balls, but asking them outright if they feel you are suited to this role shows that you are open to criticism and openly seek feedback. It also gives you the opportunity to iron out any misconceptions they may have and to reinstate why you feel you are suitable for the role applied for.

And last but not least, Where does the company see itself in five or ten years time? This could come across as a smug 'turning the tables' question, but with planning you can really shine with this. Every industry is subject to technological changes or outside influences, such as local competition or competitors from further afield such as the far east. Take time prior to your interview to explore such possibilities and present potential scenarios, coupled with ideas of your own. This will show that you're looking ahead, and thinking accordingly.

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