Rashid Jamil

10 Popular Interview Questions

1) "Tell me about yourself?" This is not an invitation to ramble on. If the context isn't clear, you need to know more about the question before giving an answer. In such a situation, you could ask, "Is there a particular aspect of my background that you would like more information on?" This will enable the interviewer to help you find the appropriate focus and avoid discussing irrelevancies. Whichever direction your answer ultimately takes, be sure that it has some relevance to the world of your professional endeavours. The tale you tell should demonstrate, or refer to, one or more of your key behavioral profiles in action--perhaps honesty, integrity, being a team player, or determination. If you choose "team player" (maybe you're the star player on your team tennis group), you can tell a story about yourself outside of work that also speaks volumes about you at work. In part, your answer should make the connection between the two, such as, "I put my heart into everything I do, whether it be sports or work. I find that getting along with teammates--or professional peers--makes life more enjoyable and productive." Or you might describe yourself as someone who is able to communicate with a variety of people, so give an example from your personal life that indicates an ability to communicate that would also apply at work. This isn't a question that you can answer effectively off the cuff. Take some time in advance to think about yourself, and those aspects of your personality and/or background that you'd like to promote or feature for your interviewer. 2) "Why do you want to work here?" To answer this question, you will need to have researched the company and built a dossier. Reply with the company's attributes as you see them. Cap your answer with reference to your belief that the company can provide you with a stable and happy work environment--the company has that reputation--and that such an atmosphere would encourage your best work. "I'm not looking for just another paycheck. I enjoy my work and am proud of my profession. Your company produces a superior product/provides a superior service. I share the values that make this possible, which should enable me to fit in and complement the team." 3) Why should I hire you? Your answer should be short and to the point. It should highlight the areas from your background that relate to current needs and problems. Recap the interviewer's description of the job, meeting it point by point with your skills. Finish your answer with: "I have the qualifications you need [itemize them], I'm a team player, I take direction, and I have the desire to make a thorough success." 4) "What did you like/dislike about your last job?" The interviewer is looking for incompatibilities. If a trial lawyer says he or she dislikes arguing a point with colleagues, such a statement will only weaken--if not immediately destroy--his or her candidacy. Most interviews start with a preamble by the interviewer about the company. Pay attention: That information will help you answer the question. In fact, any statement the interviewer makes about the job or corporation can be used to your advantage. So, in answer, you liked everything about your last job. You might even say your company taught you the importance of certain keys from the business, achievement, or professional profile. Criticising a prior employer is a warning flag that you could be a problem employee. No one intentionally hires trouble, and that's what's behind the question. Keep your answer short and positive. You are allowed only one negative about past employers, and only then if your interviewer has a "hot button" about his or her department or company; if so, you will have written it down on your notepad. For example, the only thing your past employer could not offer might be something like "the ability to contribute more in different areas" You might continue with, "I really liked everything about the job. The reason I want to leave it is to find a position where I can make a greater contribution. You see, I work for a large company that encourages specialisation of skills. The smaller environment you have here will, allow me to contribute far more in different areas." Tell them what they want to hear--replay the hot button. Of course, if you interview with a large company, turn it around. "I work for a small company and don't get the time to specialise in one or two major areas." 5) "What would you like to be doing five years from now?" The safest answer contains a desire to be regarded as a true professional and team player. As far as promotion, that depends on finding a manager with whom you can grow. Of course, you will ask what opportunities exist within the company before being any more specific: "From my research and what you have told me about the growth here, it seems operations is where the heavy emphasis is going to be. It seems that's where you need the effort and where I could contribute toward the company's goals." Or, "I have always felt that first-hand knowledge and experience open up opportunities that one might never have considered, so while at this point in time I plan to be a part of [e.g.] operations, it is reasonable to expect that other exciting opportunities will crop up in the meantime." 6) "What are your biggest accomplishments?" Keep your answers job related. You might begin your reply with: "Although I feel my biggest achievements are still ahead of me, I am proud of my involvement with . . . I made my contribution as part of that team and learned a lot in the process. We did it with hard work, concentration, and an eye for the bottom line." 7) "Can you work under pressure?" You might be tempted to give a simple "yes" or "no" answer, but don't. It reveals nothing, and you lose the opportunity to sell your skills and value profiles. Actually, this common question often comes from an unskilled interviewer, because it is closed-ended. As such, the question does not give you the chance to elaborate. Whenever you are asked a closed-ended question, mentally add: "Please give me a brief yet comprehensive answer." Do that, and you will give the information requested and seize an opportunity to sell yourself. For example, you could say: "Yes, I usually find it stimulating. However, I believe in planning and proper management of my time to reduce panic deadlines within my area of responsibility." 8) "Why should I hire you?" Your answer should be short and to the point. It should highlight areas from your background that relate to current needs and problems. Recap the interviewer's description of the job, meeting it point by point with your skills. Finish your answer with: "I have the qualifications you need [itemize them], I'm a team player, I take direction, and I have the desire to make a thorough success." 9) "How do you take direction?" The interviewer wants to know whether you are open - minded and can be a team player. Can you follow directions or are you a difficult, high-maintenance employee? Hopefully, you are a low-maintenance professional who is motivated to ask clarifying questions about a project before beginning, and who then gets on with the job at hand, coming back to initiate requests for direction as circumstances dictate. This particular question can also be defined as "How do you take direction?" and "How do you accept criticism?" Your answer should cover both points: "I take direction well and recognise that it can come in two varieties, depending on the circumstances. There is carefully explained direction, when my boss has time to lay things out for me in detail; then there are those times when, as a result of deadlines and other pressures, the direction might be brief and to the point. While I have seen some people get upset with that, personally I've always understood that there are probably other considerations I am not aware of. As such, I take the direction and get on with the job without taking offense, so my boss can get on with her job. It's the only way." 9) "What is the most difficult situation you have faced?" The question looks for information on two fronts: How do you define difficult? and, what was your handling of the situation? You must have a story,one in which the situation was tough and one which will allow you to show yourself in a good light. Avoid talking about problems that have to do with co-workers. You can talk about the difficult decision to fire someone, but emphasise that once you had examined the problem and reached a conclusion you acted quickly and professionally, with the best interests of the company at heart. "What are some of the things that bother you?" "What are your pet hates?" "Tell me about the last time you felt anger on the job." These questions are so similar that they can be treated as one. It is tremendously important that you show you can remain calm. Most of us have seen a co-worker lose his or her cool on occasion--not a pretty sight and one that every sensible employer wants to avoid. This question comes up more and more often the higher up the corporate ladder you climb, and the more frequent your contact with clients and the general public. To answer it, find something that angers conscientious workers. "I enjoy my work and believe in giving value to my employer. 10) "Do you prefer working with others or alone?" This question is usually used to determine whether you are a team player. Before answering, however, be sure you know whether the job requires you to work alone - then answer appropriately. Perhaps: "I'm quite happy working alone when necessary. I don't need much constant reassurance. But I prefer to work in a group--so much more gets achieved when people pull together." (More Interview Questions ) Questions about your qualifications How do you think a friend or someone who knows you well would describe you? What do you think is your greatest weakness? Can you summarize the contribution you would make to our organisation? What accomplishment has given you the most satisfaction? Tell me about your experiences at school. What has been the most rewarding university experience? Please tell me about the greatest professional assignment you've ever handled. Tell me about your most significant work experience. How would those who have worked with you describe you? Why are you the best candidate for this position? Have you ever supervised anyone? Questions about your ability to work for the Company Why are you interested in this job? What do you know about us? What qualities should a successful manager possess? In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable? What criteria are you using to evaluate the organization for which you hope to work? Are you a team player? How do you handle conflict? How do you work under pressure? What major problem have you encountered and how have you dealt with it? How competitive are you? What do you expect from your supervisor? Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and those reporting to him or her Questions about your career choices What are your long-term career goals? When and why did you establish these goals and how are you preparing yourself to achieve them? What are the most important rewards you expect in your business career? What do you do in your spare time? What kind of salary are you looking for? Are you willing to relocate? Difficult to answer questions Did you ever have a group leader or boss you disliked? Why did you dislike him/her? How would someone who dislikes you describe you? Talk about a group situation in which there were problems. How did you handle the situation and what was the outcome? What role did you play in the group? How could the group improve its performance? Tell me about a time when you experienced a failure and how you reacted to it. Tell me about a time when you were under considerable pressure to meet one or more goals. Describe a situation where you had to resolve a problem at work and explain how you resolved it. Give me an example of how you are a risk taker. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? What motivates you? Why do you want to work for us and not for our competitor? Why should we hire you over everyone else we spoke to today? What do you think is the most important/difficult ethical dilemma facing corporations today? Give a one sentence positioning statement of yourself. How do you go about deciding what to do first when given a project? Tell me about an experience you have had in a working environment (school, work, or community). Describe a situation where you did not agree with something your boss asked you to do and how you resolved the problem. Can you work under pressure? What did you like/dislike about your last job? What would you like to be doing five years from now? Most Interviewed Questions

Rashid Jamil

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