Interview Help, Interview Advice, Interview Tips


Interview Advice

1- Job Interview Tip: Look Out for These Five Interview Questions!

The most important interview strategy to remember is to keep your answers positive and honest. To prepare, think about the truthful answer to a question, and look at it from the interviewer's point of view. Ask yourself how the information can be framed so it remains truthful but also validates your professionalism and insight into a situation.

Here are five examples of tough interview questions the "right" answers, and the strategies behind them:

  • 1. What would your previous employers want to change about you?

  • When presented with this question, some people may want to deny that anyone would want to change anything about them. After all, it's everyone else who has annoying habits, not you. Right? Wrong. Speak about something that is credible and sincere, but also mention how you have learned from the situation. Be sure that your topic is not a skill directly related to your position but rather something that you can work around. For example:

    "I was once made aware of how poor my handwriting is; my boss was concerned handwritten notes to other staffers would be misread. With that in mind I developed a strict policy of typing all notes to my teammates, even if it is just a quick message."

    Alternatively, you could talk about a situation that has created a side benefit for others, like so:

    "One of my previous employers thought I could speed up progress on projects. After some reflection, I realized I was getting distracted during projects by doing tasks that could be delegated to my quite capable assistant. Now, when starting a project I make a list of tasks that can be done by my support staff. I also find now that my staff members stay productive and learn more about their jobs."

  • 2. What do you think management should do to allow you to function more effectively?

  • Your response to this question should reveal your attitude toward work and management. Again, keep your answer positive! Think about your response and frame it in a constructive, yet effective way.

    "I've found that the more management shares their ideas and vision, the better I can function in my position. When they clearly communicate the organization's goals and the reasons behind some of the actions they take, I'm ultimately better able to buy into those ideas and represent the company in the best way possible."

    You might also share an example of a time that this worked very well for you. Be sure to give the interviewer some background on the situation, including management's approach, your actions, and the results.

  • 3. What has prevented you from progressing as fast as you would have liked?

  • This is a tough question; it implies that you are not where you should be in your career and that, possibly, it is someone else's fault. Don't fall into this trap by blaming any lack of success on anyone or any company. Your response should be something like:

    "Some circumstances within my current position have limited my upward mobility; it's a small company with a loyal staff. Since there's not a lot of turnover, it makes advancing difficult. That being the case, I always make sure I take on as many new projects as time allows. I have always wanted to continue to learn and grow, even if my title wasn't changing."

    Again, continue your answer with an example or two that demonstrates your philosophy. Whatever your response, think about what it will sound like to an employer. Does your answer present you as someone focused on achievements and goals or as someone who is "entitled" to recognition for doing the basics?

  • 4. Tell me about the best and worst boss you've ever had? What was his or her management style?

  • Approach each part of this question with an overview, then use examples and insight to give definition to your thoughts. Moreover, especially with a question like this, keep in mind even your worst boss has desirable characteristics and skills that got them where they are.

    "The best boss I had would have to be Jane Jeffries, the CEO at Octagon Financial. She was a skillful leader, an excellent communicator, proactive and involved in the company. She knew our products well and made sure the staff did also through quarterly educational seminars and motivating team meetings. She and I are still in touch."

    "The worst boss, wow that is a tough one, I think there is something to learn from everyone. At Junior Films, the President of the company could have been more communicative. I found him to be stoic, and he often held information within a close-knit circle of upper management. Because of this, it was sometimes hard to deliver what the company was looking for on a project. On the other hand, the company was very successful because he was also skillful at keeping information away from our competitors; the company was often first to market, with the competition lagging a bit behind."

  • 5. What have you been doing since you left your last position?

  • itsnotyouritsyourresume
    If you've been out of a traditional paying job for quite some time, it's smart to develop hobbies and activities that you can discuss during an interview. In your answer to this question talk about your continued research to show you still have industry knowledge. Discuss your volunteer work and how the skills you apply there relate to the job at hand.

    "I have spent a great deal of time furthering my education and keeping my credentials intact with continuing education courses at Albertville Community College. I also stay in touch with industry trends by reading the New York Times and Accountants World Weekly. In addition, I volunteer my accounting services at the local youth community center." Maybe you were trying a new career but decided you didn't like it -- that is OK as long as you frame the experience in a positive light and explain you are now "returning to your first passion: the (fill in the blank) field or industry."

    Throughout your interview preparation, follow these strategies to formulate your ideas. When working on interview answers to an interview question, make connections between these questions and others. For example, in question #1 above, the answer could also be given to a question relating to your weaknesses. In #2, a similar answer could be given to a question about your learning style. In #5, a similar answer can be given for a question relating to professional development pursuits.

2- Simple Tips for Help with the Interview: In short, relax! You've made it this far... Be as natural, pleasant and honest as possible!

- Job seekers often get too nervous during their interviews and want to ask questions to sound articulate, interesting or memorable. This is fine, but keep it simple. They have brought you in for a reason. It costs money and time for them to interview you, so know that they saw/see something in you!

- Remember to treat everyone with respect- including the receptionist. You never know who is going to give feedback on your interview.
- Don’t wait to respond when asked a questions and don’t give false/promissory or inaccurate information in your response!

- Be honest. Give truthful answers. The interviewer will likely have your resume in front of them for the interview and will know if you are stretching the truth. Also, why would you want to lie your way into a job that is not a good fit for you? Wouldn’t that just lead to more headaches down the road?

- Don't ask inappropriate questions just to fill space/time. This does not mean that you should look for opportunities to expand on the questions asked though; in fact, be sure to show them your qualifications at every turn. If you want help on the interview, help yourself- do research beforehand regarding questions pertaining to market position, direction, organizational structure and compensation are things that can be found out in the job posting, online or through a phone call to customer service. Get these answers before an interview so that you sound like someone who would be able to jump into the job immediately as opposed to someone who did not really care about the job and just flooded the job market with resumes.

- Show, don’t tell is a good way to remember how to answer questions in typical interviews. For more information about which questions are most often asked by interviewers and to learn the best way to handle the interview, buy the complete eBook here as it has tons more information than is on this site!

3- Interview Mistake. Five Reasons to Send Thank You Letters

Thank you letters are an excellent self-marketing tool and a critical component of your job search strategy. The time you spend crafting a targeted thank you letter after an interview will be well spent, and it will help you create a credible and efficient search. Here are five reasons why you should incorporate thank you letters into your search strategy.

Here are five reasons to send a thank you letter after the interview:

  • 1. A thank you letter creates an opportunity to reconnect with employers. Chances are you aren't the only candidate being interviewed for an open position. Writing a follow up letter allows you to build a relationship with the interviewer and develop rapport. By expressing your gratitude for the interview and recapping the highlights of the meeting, you revisit the reasons why you are the best fit for the position.

  • 2. Following up keeps your candidacy top of mind. Candidates often make the mistake of putting too much control in the interviewer's hands. They believe that, if they're the best candidate, the interviewer will remember them and keep them in the loop regarding the selection process. Unfortunately, this doesn't often happen. It's critical that candidates remind prospective employers of their interest in a position. The thank you letter is the perfect vehicle for communicating this interest.

  • 3. What has prevented you from progressing as fast as you would have liked. Written correspondence gives you another chance to sell your strengths.?While the thank you letter expresses gratitude for the meeting, it also serves a much more strategic purpose. It provides an opportunity for the candidate to present their skills and accomplishments in another format and market the value they'll add to the employer.

  • 4. The document enables you to address points you neglected to discuss during the interview. Many candidates, after leaving the interview, think of other things they could have said during the meeting. Don't label this a liability; turn it into an asset by discussing these points in the thank you letter. Remind the reader of your ability to produce similar results for their organization.

  • 5. A letter helps develop rapport and increases the employer's comfort level in your candidacy. A good strategy is to recap a part of the conversation where you and the interviewer shared similar views on a job-related topic. The thank you letter can also be a forum for demonstrating your consultative problem solving skills. By addressing current issues the employer is facing and proposing solutions, you are contributing to the company's success even before you are on board!

  • Thank you letters continue to be an important component of a successful job search campaign. But the focus has shifted from a simple courtesy and show of appreciation to a targeted self-marketing tool. By creating letters that validate your candidacy, build rapport, and remind the reader of your value added, you can significantly influence potential employers and -- most importantly -- increase your chances for subsequent interviews.

4- Interview Tip. Ace the Behavioral Interview!

"The most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation."

This statement is the premise behind behavioral interviewing, an interviewing technique created in the 1970's by industrial psychologists. This type of interview is now becoming popular with employers. For those of you unfamiliar with this interviewing style, a behavioral interview can be a challenging experience.

Unlike traditional interviewing, which requires opinion-based answers to questions (tell me about yourself; what are your strengths and weaknesses; why do you want to work for this company?), behavioral interviewing requires job candidates to relate stories about their past employment behaviors. These stories are prompted by questions directly related to the skill sets the company has determined are required for a position.

For example, if a particular job requires strong communication and team-building skills, then, in a behavioral interview, candidates would be asked to recount past accomplishments in those areas. Behavioral interview questions often start with phrases like, "Tell me about a time when..." or "Describe a situation in which..." or "Give me an example of..."

The challenge with the behavioral interviewing style is that, while your skills and experiences could be a perfect match for the position you seek, an interviewer could discount your candidacy if you are unprepared for, or struggle with, the behavioral interview format.

So, how do you prepare for a behavioral interview?

First, you'll want to put yourself in the shoes of the potential employer and imagine what the ideal candidate for the position would answer from the interviewer's perspective. Then, take the time to thoroughly review the job description and research the company and its culture. Look for cues as to which skills are necessary for the job and which are highly valued by the organization. Then, based on your research, identify what skills the successful candidate would have and which behavioral-based questions would correlate to those skills and might be asked in an interview.

5- Interview Mistake. Don’t forget to follow up!

Note cards, emails and sometimes phone calls are commonplace to show appreciation for the interview. Use the proper format follow up for the position applied and from the question you asked toward the end of the interview regarding follow-up.

If you are going to write a message, be sure to include some important content about the interview and, perhaps, include additional hints/tidbits that you would like them to know about you which further demonstrate your capacity for the position. It is recommended that you take notes after you interview to enable you to write a more concise and appropriate letter. MANY job seekers fail to do this, and if you chose to do so you will further distinguish yourself from the 'pack'. At the end of the interview, it is OK to ask, “what is the next step from here”, so that you can plan your follow up accordingly.


For more information about the best way to follow up, buy the complete eBook here, it is on sale until the end of the month, as it has tons more information than is on this site!

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