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Their advertisement for the job may help you a little bit, but you should also think of the other qualities that may be required. These may include leadership ability, supervisory skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving, analytical skills, etc.
What can you contribute?
This is your chance to shine. Tell them about your achievements in your previous position(s) which are relevant to the new position you are applying for.
Why do you want to work for this company?
Emphasize the positive reasons why you want to join their company, but avoid aspects such as more money or shorter hours. These would not endear you to a prospective employer.
What do you know about this company?
This is your chance to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of their company. Give them a run down of their products/services, sales figures, news, company figures, customers, etc.
What interests you about our product (or service)?
Again, your research into the company should aid you in answering this question.
What can we (the new company) offer that your previous company cannot offer?
Tread carefully here! Again do not mention money. Stress opportunities for personal growth, new challenges, etc.
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Types of Questions!
Open questions-" Tell us a little about…….."
Keep in mind the selection criteria and your strengths.
Closed questions - Asked when the interviewer wants specific information, often factual or technical in nature, these questions can frequently be answered with a “yes” or “no”
Ask for clarification and elaboration of past experiences. Require you to demonstrate your technical knowledge in some area
Hypothetical questions-What would you do if…
These will assess your ability to think on your feet.
Leading questions- The answer seems logical…
As a grower representative you will require good communication skills - do you have good skills in this area? Do not give a yes/no answer. Give examples to support your response.
Multi-barrelled - two or more questions linked to Don't be afraid to ask to have the question the same topic repeated if you can't recall the full question.
Behavioural questions - uses your past experiences to predict future behaviours
Prepare examples of how your experiences have allowed you to develop specific skills and how these could benefit the employer. STAR: Situation, Tasks, Action, Result
Job Specific Questions
Can you do the job?
Do you have the knowledge sets, skill sets and personal attributes to allow you to do the job? What parts of your education do you see as relevant to this position? What prompted you to study…..? Tell me about a time when you had to communicate information to a group of people. Tell me about a significant achievement in your life. Tell me about a time where you had to work towards a deadline. Did you meet it? If not, what would you do differently next time? Do you want the job? Do you want to work in this position/organisation? Are you willing to learn? Are you ambitious and keen to succeed?
Why do you want to work for us? What do you know about our company/practice/business? What are your short term/long term goals? Where do you see yourself in five years time? Describe a time where you set yourself a challenging goal? What happened? What would you do differently?
Will you fit in?
The interviewer wants to determine if you will be a good team player, someone who will be absorbed into the organisation without disruption to the existing team dynamics.
Describe a time where you had to work with a group of people to achieve a common goal? Can you give me an example of working as part of a team. What was your contribution to the team and what was the outcome of this exercise? What would you do if…………………?
What makes you the best applicant for this position? Why should the employer take you over other applicants? Why do you think you are the best person for the job? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Can you give me five words that best describe you? What skills and qualities can you bring to this position? Is there anything you would like to add? This is an opportunity to bring particular skills or qualities to the attention of the interviewer. Have you stated your major selling points? Were you unhappy about a particular answer during the interview? This is an opportunity to address that. Why are you the best person for the job? Tell the interviewer! Is there anything you would like to ask us? This is your opportunity to find out more about the job, the company, and the industry. You could ask questions like: What are the career prospects within your company?
What staff training and development opportunities are available? Who would I be reporting to? Where would I be located? Avoid asking too many questions about salary and conditions of employment such as holidays but know what salary range you are prepared to accept. General Questions 1. Tell me about yourself
The most often asked question in interviews. You need to have a short statement prepared in your mind. Be careful that it does not sound rehearsed. Limit it to work-related items unless instructed otherwise. Talk about things you have done and jobs you have held that relate to the position you are interviewing for. Start with the item farthest back and work up to the present. 2. Why did you leave your last job? Stay positive regardless of the circumstances. Never refer to a major problem with management and never speak ill of supervisors, co-workers or the organization. If you do, you will be the one looking bad. Keep smiling and talk about leaving for a positive reason such as an opportunity, a chance to do something special or other forward-looking reasons. 3. What experience do you have in this field? Speak about specifics that relate to the position you are applying for. If you do not have specific experience, get as close as you can. 4. Do you consider yourself successful? You should always answer yes and briefly explain why. A good explanation is that you have set goals, and you have met some and are on track to achieve the others. 5. What do co-workers say about you? Be prepared with a quote or two from co-workers. Either a specific statement or a paraphrase will work. 6. What do you know about this organization? This question is one reason to do some research on the organization before the interview. Find out where they have been and where they are going. What are the current issues and who are the major players? 7. What have you done to improve your knowledge in the last year? Try to include improvement activities that relate to the job. A wide variety of activities can be mentioned as positive self-improvement. Have some good ones handy to mention. 8. Are you applying for other jobs? Be honest but do not spend a lot of time in this area. Keep the focus on this job and what you can do for this organization. Anything else is a distraction.
9. Why do you want to work for this organization? This may take some thought and certainly, should be based on the research you have done on the organization. Sincerity is extremely important here and will easily be sensed. Relate it to your long-term career goals. 10. Do you know anyone who works for us? Be aware of the policy on relatives working for the organization. This can affect your answer even though they asked about friends not relatives. Be careful to mention a friend only if they are well thought of. 11. What kind of salary do you need? A loaded question. A nasty little game that you will probably lose if you answer first. So, do not answer it. Instead, say something like, That's a tough question. Can you tell me the range for this position? In most cases, the interviewer, taken off guard, will tell you. If not, say that it can depend on the details of the job. Then give a wide range. 12. Are you a team player? You are, of course, a team player. Be sure to have examples ready. Specifics that show you often perform for the good of the team rather than for yourself are good evidence of your team attitude. Do not brag, just say it in a matter-of-fact tone. This is a key point. 13. How long would you expect to work for us if hired? Specifics here are not good. Something like this should work: I'd like it to be a long time. Or As long as we both feel I'm doing a good job. 14. Have you ever had to fire anyone? How did you feel about that? This is serious. Do not make light of it or in any way seem like you like to fire people. At the same time, you will do it when it is the right thing to do. When it comes to the organization versus the individual who has created a harmful situation, you will protect the organization. Remember firing is not the same as layoff or reduction in force. 15. What is your philosophy towards work? The interviewer is not looking for a long or flowery dissertation here. Do you have strong feelings that the job gets done? Yes. That's the type of answer that works best here. Short and positive, showing a benefit to the organization. 16. If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Answer yes if you would. But since you need to work, this is the type of work you prefer. Do not say yes if you do not mean it. 17. Have you ever been asked to leave a position? If you have not, say no. If you have, be honest, brief and avoid saying negative things about the people or organization involved. 18. Explain how you would be an asset to this organization You should be anxious for this question. It gives you a chance to highlight your best points as they relate to the position being discussed. Give a little advance thought to this relationship. 19. Why should we hire you? Point out how your assets meet what the organization needs. Do not mention any other candidates to make a comparison. 20. Tell me about a suggestion you have made
Have a good one ready. Be sure and use a suggestion that was accepted and was then considered successful. One related to the type of work applied for is a real plus. 21. What irritates you about co-workers? This is a trap question. Think real hard but fail to come up with anything that irritates you. A short statement that you seem to get along with folks is great. 22. What is your greatest strength? Numerous answers are good, just stay positive. A few good examples: Your ability to prioritize, Your problem-solving skills, Your ability to work under pressure, Your ability to focus on projects, Your professional expertise, Your leadership skills, Your positive attitude . 23. Tell me about your dream job. Stay away from a specific job. You cannot win. If you say the job you are contending for is it, you strain credibility. If you say another job is it, you plant the suspicion that you will be dissatisfied with this position if hired. The best is to stay genetic and say something like: A job where I love the work, like the people, can contribute and can't wait to get to work. 24. Why do you think you would do well at this job? Give several reasons and include skills, experience and interest. 25. What are you looking for in a job? See answer # 23 26. What kind of person would you refuse to work with? Do not be trivial. It would take disloyalty to the organization, violence or lawbreaking to get you to object. Minor objections will label you as a whiner. 27. What is more important to you: the money or the work? Money is always important, but the work is the most important. There is no better answer. 28. What would your previous supervisor say your strongest point is? There are numerous good possibilities: Loyalty, Energy, Positive attitude, Leadership, Team player, Expertise, Initiative, Patience, Hard work, Creativity, Problem solver 29. Tell me about a problem you had with a supervisor Biggest trap of all. This is a test to see if you will speak ill of your boss. If you fall for it and tell about a problem with a former boss, you may well below the interview right there. Stay positive and develop a poor memory about any trouble with a supervisor. 30. What has disappointed you about a job? Don't get trivial or negative. Safe areas are few but can include: Not enough of a challenge. You were laid off in a reduction Company did not win a contract, which would have given you more responsibility. 31. Tell me about your ability to work under pressure. You may say that you thrive under certain types of pressure. Give an example that relates to the type of position applied for. 32. Do your skills match this job or another job more closely? Probably this one. Do not give fuel to the suspicion that you may want another job more than this one. 33. What motivates you to do your best on the job?
This is a personal trait that only you can say, but good examples are: Challenge, Achievement, Recognition 34. Are you willing to work overtime? Nights? Weekends? This is up to you. Be totally honest. 35. How would you know you were successful on this job? Several ways are good measures: You set high standards for yourself and meet them. Your outcomes are a success. Your boss tell you that you are successful 36. Would you be willing to relocate if required? You should be clear on this with your family prior to the interview if you think there is a chance it may come up. Do not say yes just to get the job if the real answer is no. This can create a lot of problems later on in your career. Be honest at this point and save yourself future grief. 37. Are you willing to put the interests of the organization ahead of your own? This is a straight loyalty and dedication question. Do not worry about the deep ethical and philosophical implications. Just say yes. 38. Describe your management style. Try to avoid labels. Some of the more common labels, like progressive, salesman or consensus, can have several meanings or descriptions depending on which management expert you listen to. The situational style is safe, because it says you will manage according to the situation, instead of one size fits all. 39. What have you learned from mistakes on the job? Here you have to come up with something or you strain credibility. Make it small, well intentioned mistake with a positive lesson learned. An example would be working too far ahead of colleagues on a project and thus throwing coordination off. 40. Do you have any blind spots? Trick question. If you know about blind spots, they are no longer blind spots. Do not reveal any personal areas of concern here. Let them do their own discovery on your bad points. Do not hand it to them. 41. If you were hiring a person for this job, what would you look for? Be careful to mention traits that are needed and that you have. 42. Do you think you are overqualified for this position? Regardless of your qualifications, state that you are very well qualified for the position. 43. How do you propose to compensate for your lack of experience? First, if you have experience that the interviewer does not know about, bring that up: Then, point out (if true) that you are a hard working quick learner. 44. What qualities do you look for in a boss? Be generic and positive. Safe qualities are knowledgeable, a sense of humor, fair, loyal to subordinates and holder of high standards. All bosses think they have these traits. 45. Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a dispute between others. Pick a specific incident. Concentrate on your problem solving technique and not the dispute you settled. 46. What position do you prefer on a team working on a project?
Be honest. If you are comfortable in different roles, point that out. 47. Describe your work ethic. Emphasize benefits to the organization. Things like, determination to get the job done and work hard but enjoy your work are good. 48. What has been your biggest professional disappointment? Be sure that you refer to something that was beyond your control. Show acceptance and no negative feelings. 49. Tell me about the most fun you have had on the job. Talk about having fun by accomplishing something for the organization. 50. Do you have any questions for me? Always have some questions prepared. Questions prepared where you will be an asset to the organization are good. How soon will I be able to be productive? and What type of projects will I be able to assist on? are examples.
More employers are using behavioural interviewing in the hiring process. This type of interview is based on the idea that the best way to predict your future performance is to examine your past and present performance in a similar situation. It focuses on experiences, behaviours, knowledge, skills and abilities that are job related. With the Behavioural interview Employers predetermine which skills are necessary for the job for which they are looking and then ask very pointed questions to determine if the candidate possesses those skills. Currently, 30 percent of all organizations are using behavioural interviewing to some degree. Prepare for Behavioural Interviews by researching what job competencies an employer might seek. Why should you prepare for behavioural interview? Candidates who prepare for behavioural interviews are better prepared - even for traditional interviews.
Using behavioural answers works well with inexperienced interviewers. Companies that invest the time and energy in developing behavioural interviews often attract top candidates. Top candidates make the company a more desirable place to work. Before the interview: One way to prepare for the interview is to first consider the job description. What skills are listed as qualifications for the job? For example, does the organization say they need team players? someone with a strong attention to detail? keen problem solvers? or someone with superior customer service? Once you have a greater understanding of the kinds of skills they are seeking, you can begin to reflect upon experiences in which you demonstrated these skills. If you don’t have a job description, think about the skills that might be necessary for the job or speak to an advisor in career services. When answering the question:
First, internally note what competency or skill the employer may be seeking (hint: it may be more than one) and then always make sure you:
Describe a specific, recent situation (if you can, try to keep it within two years) Detail your behavior or the actions you took to resolve the situation. (Be sure that your role is clear and significant) Share the outcome or the results of the situation.
Feel free to draw upon your experiences within an on-campus organization or sports team, volunteer work, prior internships, classroom experience or coursework. Some examples of Job Competencies are below: Adaptability Analysis Analytical Problem Solving Attention to Detail Continuous Learning Communication-Oral Communication-Written Conflict Management Assertiveness Control Creativity/Innovation Customer Service Decisiveness Delegation Entrepreneurial Insight Diplomacy Empathy Employee Development Energy Decision Making Equipment Operation Fact Finding-Oral Financial Analytical Ability Futuristic Thinking Initiative Goal Orientation Impact Independence Flexibility Innovation Integrity Interpersonal Skills Leadership Influence Planning and Organizing Listening Management Motivation Negotiation Judgment Personal Effectiveness Persuasion Participative Management Presentation Skills Risk Taking Process Operation Rapport Building Resilience Practical Learning Safety Awareness Sales/Persuasiveness Sensitivity Stress Teamwork Written Communication Professional Knowledge Technical Proficiency Tenacity Training Strategic Analysis
During a behavioral interview, always listen carefully to the question, ask for clarification if necessary, and make sure you answer the question completely. Your interview preparation should include identifying examples of situations from your experiences on your resume where you have demonstrated the behaviors a given company seeks. Before the interview process, identify two or three of your top selling points and determine how you will convey these points (with demonstrated STAR stories) during the interview. Whenever you can, quantify your results. Numbers illustrate your level of authority and
responsibility. For example: "I was a shift supervisor." could be "As Shift Supervisor, I trained and evaluated 4 employees." Be prepared to provide examples of when results didn't turn out as you planned. What did you do then? What did you learn? Your resume will serve as a good guide when answering these questions. Refresh your memory regarding your achievements in the past couple of years. Demonstration of the desired behaviors may be proven in many ways. Use examples from past internships, classes, activities, team involvements, community service and work experience.
Consulting What background do you have that would be helpful in consulting?
How do you think the consulting industry is structured?
What are some differences among the consulting firms that are important to you?
What were the sales of your last employer? What was its profitability?
Are you a generalist or specialist? Where do you see yourself specializing?
Are you competitive?
How are you going to make your decision if you get more than one offer?
Sales and Trading What other firms have you talked to?
What makes you think you can sell?
Would you like to do sales or trading? Why?
Tell me what you think a trader (salesperson) does.
Why choose selling debt vs. selling equity?
Why didn’t you choose corporate finance?
What do you think having an MBA does for you in this field?
What particular markets or instruments are you interested in? Why?
Will your personality make you a good trader? Why?
How will you motivate yourself to make the calls you hate to make?
What are your grades? (Yes, they know about the Yale SOM grading process.)
Sample Interview Questions
Why did you apply for this position? Tip: How do you think that you might fit into this company
Would you tell us what attracts you to a career with us? How do you see your studies, skills, experience and personal qualities contributing to the work of the organisation? Tip: How do you think that you might fit into this company
Describe a time when you had to deal with conflicting demands. How did you deal with this situation and what was the outcome?
Can you describe a time where you have been required to perform as part of a team? What was the situation? What part did you play in the team and what was the outcome of the exercise?
How do you establish a working relationship with new people? Tip: Team skills
Where do you expect to be in 5 years time? What will you do if you are not successful in gaining this position? Tip: Demonstrate to the interviewer that you have thought about what it is you want from work and what you hope to achieve. Let them know you are flexible however, and willing to explore new opportunities.
What particular skills and qualities do you bring to the workforce? What other skills would you like to develop in the future? Tip: Strengths and weaknesses
Tell me about a challenging situation you have faced. What was the situation and how did you cope with it?
Is there an achievement of which you are particularly proud? What is it? Why is it significant?
Imagine that you are a member of a small team responsible for the development and production of an internal publication. Your team is dependent on another workgroup to provide the data which will form the basis of your publication. The deadline for completing this project is not able to be relaxed. (a) What factors do you think might affect the team's ability to meet the publication deadline? (b) What could the team do to ensure the project is completed on time? Tip: Hypothetical questions allow the interviewer to identify key competencies deemed important by the employer. No right or wrong answer
What are the key elements of measuring performance and how can you establish whether an outcome represents a success? (Answer this in terms of your own work or study experience.) More specifically, what do you think might be some key indicators of the successful performance of a national agency? Tip: (Behavioural +Situational question)
You have demonstrated in your CV that you have knowledge of entomology. Could you please expand on your experience and tell us what you think your strengths are in this field. An important component of the position will be the maintenance of water quality parameters within acceptable limits for the species. Can you outline your experience in water quality testing? What do you feel are the most important water quality variables? Tip: Multi-part question
The ability to work independently within a structured team is essential to the position. This will require the successful applicant to be self-starting, able to prioritise tasks, be a good communicator, as well as showing considerable initiative. Can you give us some examples where you have worked within a team environment and demonstrated these abilities? Tip: multi-part question
What do you feel is the potential for aquaculture in Australia and what are some of the major impediments to its development? What are some of the major aquaculture species cultured in freshwater? As well as the position involving general maintenance of the aquaria and pond facilities, a significant component will involve participation in scientific experiments through the
collection and collation of research data. Can you describe previous experience you have had in the day to day running of scientific experiments? Tip: multi-part question
The research project and facilities the successful applicant will be involved with receives considerable attention from the general public. Therefore, a component of the job will involve liaising with the general public and media. This requires the delivery of information in a simple precise manner. How confident do you feel you are in delivering sometimes complex information in a simple manner? Tip: give examples
What computer programs are you familiar with, and more specifically, what programs would you use to write a report, enter research data, and to prepare a poster or seminar. Tip: give examples of where you have applied the use of these programs.
You have had an opportunity to look at the statistical table from the publication (this was supplied before the interview). (a) Imagine you were asked to write a commentary on the information in the table. Are there any significant or curious or interesting features revealed by the data which you think should be highlighted, and if so, what might you say about them? Can you offer any suggestions to explain these features? (b) What is your opinion of the general layout of the table? How might it be improved? Tip: multi-part question
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Do… * Respond to the question positively without stating specific amounts. (Examples: “I’m earning in the low 30s.” “As a student, my jobs to this point have been geared toward gaining experience and making money to cover my educational costs.”) * Mention your desired salary, either saying that salary is negotiable depending upon the position
or giving a $3-5,000 range (if you know the market value for the position and for someone with your skills and background). You may also use terms like “competitive” or “open” if you are responding to this question on an application form. * Know your salary requirements as well as what you hope to make. You shouldn’t mention these in your response to the salary history question, but you need to give this some thought for when you get to the negotiating stage. * Be prepared to respond to a request for previous salaries in an interview. It can be handled by responding without stating specific amounts. Avoid specific amounts if at all possible. * Prepare a list of your positions (in reverse chronological order) for your own reference and just in case an employer in which you are very interested is absolutely adamant. (This will not happen often!) The list should include name of each company or organization, your position title, your compensation, and a brief synopsis of your position. * Research Salaries in Your Field: Look at recent salary surveys, talk to others working in your field, and contact your trade or professional association to find out what other people are paid for doing the same work. * Be Flexible: When going through a salary negotiation you aren't likely to get the exact amount of money you want. You will probably have to compromise. The trick is to figure out how much you are willing to compromise and what you will do if your boss doesn't offer you a salary you find acceptable. Don't... * Include your salary history on your resume. What you did in a job is much more important than what you were paid. * Lie about your previous pay rate. Employers can often verify your salary history through your reference checks. * Look at How Much Money Your Friends in Other Fields Are Making: You may be envious of your friends who are earning more money than you are. If they aren't working in the same field you shouldn't make those comparisons. * Talk About How Much Money You Need: When you are going through salary negotiations, don't tell your boss (or future boss) that you need to make more money because your bills are high, your house was expensive, or your child is starting college.
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