Interview Tips and Questions, part 2

contributed by Dr. Stephen Bangert

Interviewing with success takes much preparation.  Last month some tips and questions were offered for your consideration.  Hopefully you found them engaging and helpful.  Many people responded with a request for more such tips and questions, and Executive Coaching & Consulting is please to provide these as an aid in your job search preparations.

As a quick review…here are a few points to recall from last month.

Interviewing is more than telling, it is selling.

  • Address the expressed corporate needs in your response.
  • Don’t assume; make the connection between your achievements and their needs.
  • Express yourself with confidence and energy.

Some related tips…

Once you understand the corporate needs, realize that each question that you are asked is an avenue for delivering your message that addresses these needs.  Next, it seems only prudent, knowing that you are going to be asked a number of questions, to anticipate such questions and develop possible responses to them.  And then you should read your responses aloud, practice them, not with the intent of memorizing but to gain a comfort level in hearing yourself.

Additionally: 1) don’t feel as though you need to literally answer the question; 2) be brief in your response yet be prepared to expand should you be asked to do so, or should you judge it a good opening for a more complete response; and, 3) be positive in your responses, even when the question is negative.

Test your selling ability by responding to these questions, then compare with the sample response.

1.         What types of problems do you like to deal with?

 Suggestion: Not all problems are negative; yes, it might involve fixing something that is broken, although it could also involve capitalizing on an opportunity.  Reflect for a moment on the position and why that position exists, then reference some responsibilities and activities on which you thrive and which you believe would contribute to that company’s productivity, grow and profit.

Example: “I enjoy a mix of problems, both the quick daily problems that I can address based on my knowledge and experience, as well as larger problems that involve input from many sources, some careful analysis and strategic thinking.  My preference, too, is toward quantitative issues that can be resolved in a matter of weeks.”

2.         How do you motivate others?

Suggestion: Think for a moment about human behavior and your philosophy of managing; then comment on your style of encouraging and supporting others toward completing a common goal.  Be prepared with concrete examples.

Example: “Ultimately, people can only motivate themselves.  The role of the manager is to understand what motivates them and provide the support for people to be successful.  It takes patience in listening and understanding others, an expressed confidence in people and a reinforcement of their progress toward a goal.”

3.         What would your boss say about you?

Suggestion: Although we have all been criticized from time to time, be positive and highlight some of your qualities and strengths.  If your relationship with your boss is strained or negative, generalize the response to bosses you have had over the years and the compliments that they have paid you.  Once again, choose comments that reinforce your candidacy for the position for which you are interviewing.

Example: “I’ve had the good fortune of having bosses who are very supportive of my work.  They have commonly complimented me my analytical and problem solving skills.  In addition they recognize my leadership abilities and willingness to push myself and others toward concrete results.”

4.         What do you hope to be doing in three years?

Suggestion: Indicate that you would be first looking to do an outstanding job in the position under discussion.  As to the future, show your ambition, yet be realistic and avoid mentioning positions by title.  Be careful not to set your self up as a competitor with the interviewer.

Example: “First, let me say that I would certainly look forward to being part of your team and am confident that I could do an outstanding job.  As to the future, I think my success would bring additional responsibilities; so regarding your question, I would see myself playing an increasingly important role in the company’s leadership and growth.”

5.         Why should I consider hiring you over other candidates?

Suggestion: Emphasize that, while not knowing the other candidates, you are confident that you have the skills, experience and demonstrated accomplishments that have prepared you for such a role and that assure your future success.  This question provides a perfect opportunity to close by asking for feedback and the interviewer’s full support in moving forward.

Example: “I have been in your position of making hiring decisions and I have always asked the question: ‘Who is skilled, motivated and most likely to fit with the team?’  From our discussions I hope I have clearly conveyed my skills and experience, and my strong desire to be part of your team.  Bottom line, I am confident I can get the job done for you in a timely and profitable manner.”

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