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Familiarize Yourself with Commonly Asked Interview Questions September 7, 2008

Posted by dapinoyemployee in The Application Process.
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There is no way anyone can accurately predict what questions will be asked during your interview.  However, there are certain questions that tend to get asked more often when hiring companies are looking to fill their job vacancies.  Learn what these commonly asked interview questions are so when it’s your turn, you’ll know what to say.

Tell me about yourself or Tell me something about yourself.
When you answer this question for the first time, please do not introduce yourself.  The interviewer already knows who you are.  Many applicants, for some unexplained reason, say their complete name, where they live and who their parents are.  Please don’t do this.  You’re not in a beauty pageant and you’re not campaigning for your high school student government.

Instead, why don’t you start with your education, why you took it and what exactly it was you meant to do that’s why you got that degree.  Or, if you’ve had some work experience, you could begin by telling the interviewer about what you do or did (the most recent jobs are fine), why you enjoy it and what drives you.

Next, you can then talk about your interests – clubs and associations you belong to, some training you might have had and a few personal stuff about you.  When I say personal, I mean information that will allow the interviewer to get to know you better and see you in a favorable light.  Pick the personal characteristics, hobbies and interests that make you the best choice for the job.  Leave out the irrelevant ones.

Why do you want to work with our company?
Hopefully, you’ve done your research about the company you’re applying to.  If you haven’t yet, please do it now.  You’ll need the information in order to answer this question convincingly.  This question is asked to determine if you know anything about the company, who they are and what they do. 

To answer this question, talk about why you feel the company is right for you – solid presence in the market, small but growing company (lots of potential for employee growth), challenges that you feel you are qualified for, the status and needs of the company against the job experience and/or skills you have that you think the employer will make good use of, etc.

Why did you leave your job or What did you not like about your last job?
Do not treat these questions as a chance for you to air your bad feelings about your former employers.  While it’s very easy to lash out with criticism, you will be putting your chances of getting hired at risk. 

Rule of thumb: Never bad-mouth your old boss or former employer or say bad things about your job.  You’ll sound like a wimp. 

Instead of complaining, say something like, ‘I did enjoy my last job.  It helped me gain experience in terms of _____.  However, I felt that this new opportunity with you could offer more in helping me develop ____ (skills, training, qualifications, job experience).’  At least, this statement will show that you’re an employee looking for growth.

What are your plans five or ten years from now?
Don’t say, ‘On a vacation’ or ‘Married.  With kids.’  What the employer wants to hear are the goals you have that are related to your work.  They want to see if you have the right motivation.  They also ask this question to spot a ‘jumper’ – someone who doesn’t stay long in a job and tends to grab the next big opportunity that comes his way.

Should you get hired, the employer will be investing on you by training you and giving you the experience.  They want to know if you will use that experience to contribute to their company or use it someplace else.

Never give a vague answer to this question.  Don’t ever say, ‘I have no idea.  I’m not psychic, you know.’  Instead, say ‘In five/ten years, I really hope to be working in a job that is challenging, allows me to learn and further my skills and experiences.’

Why should our company hire you?
This is the interviewer’s way to see how well you know your skills and qualifications.  Effectively, what they are asking is, ‘There are other job candidates out there.  Why should we pick you instead?  What do you have that others don’t?  What makes you special?’

When you’re asked this question, keep in mind that this is an opportunity for you to show the interviewer why your experience, skills and other qualifications are the right fit for the job.  Talk about what you’ve done in your past jobs that showed that you are a reliable, highly capable employee. 

Show that you like challenges and are able to handle them.  Show that you can work under pressure.  Were you able to participate or lead a successful project?  Tell your interviewer about that.  Were you able to increase sales or bring in more clients?  Don’t hide this fact.  The more the interviewer can see your potential (based on what you’ve done), the better your chances will be at getting hired.

Be careful, though.  Don’t fib.  Lying about something you did on the job could put you in a bad light if your employer finds out.

The interview
Interviews can be very uncomfortable.  To increase your chances of saying the right things, be ready.  A little preparation can go a long way.  Try to review your education, past job experience, skills, training and other qualifications.  That, combined with a good backgrounder on the company you’re applying to will help you come up with the best answers that are uniquely yours.  And that will help you make a good impression.

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