A job applicant is typically interviewed by at least 2 or more people. These interviewers have different background and different skill sets. In order for a candidate to get the coveted job offer, s/he must impress most, if not all, of the interviewers. Having a complete command over your area of expertise will get an applicant 90% close to the goal of landing the job. However, the other 10% is dependent on the other â€œsofterâ€ side of the candidate that is explored during the interview. Typically, the higher-up the interviewer asking the question in the food chain of the company (read, his feedback about you is extremely important), the more s/he will ask these behavioral questions.
We have assembled below answers to some of the questions faced by most job seekers. By no means, they replace your knowledge and hence your confidence in your own field. These questions are in addition to queries specific about your skill sets and your background.
1. Tell us about yourself.
Usually an initial question, an ice-breaker. I have typically asked this question for different reasons. One, I did not get a chance to review the candidateâ€™s CV beforehand and this will give me time to peruse through his CV while he is talking about himself. Another reason is because I want to hear the interviewee talk to ascertain how good of a communicator he is. A concise 2-minute answer to this question that hits all the main points of the candidate will impress upon me that the person can think analytically and is a good communicator. Generally speaking, this question maybe asked more from those candidates seeking non-technical jobs, or those seeking higher positions.
2. What do you know about our organization/ company?
A question asked typically toward the end of the interview. This should clue you that the interview is about to come to an end. You donâ€™t have to spend hours researching each company that calls you for an interview but you should at least visit their web site and get a basic understanding of their product offering and/or the services they offer. This will leave a very good impression upon the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in his organization. Remember, the interviewer has already made his decision to work for the company that he is interviewing candidates for. The few candidates who can walk in and tell him that they care enough to learn about his company will endear those candidates to the interviewer.
3. Why should we hire you?
This is typically asked to get right to the point. What do you bring to the table that other candidates do not? Why are you better than other candidates that came before you and ones that are going to come after you? Nailing this question will greatly enhance your chances of getting the offer. Think about what is being asked for a moment. You must link your abilities to the job duties. That is, you must establish that you have the qualities that will meet all the job requirements.
Impress the interviewer. Tell them about your achieved targets. Cite specifics from your resume or list of career accomplishments. Establish that your skills and interests & a result oriented history make you a valuable candidate. Mention your aptitude to set priorities, categorize problems and your experience and vigor to resolve them.
A 3-5 minute answer is something that the interviewer is typically looking for. Anything under either means that you donâ€™t have enough capabilities or that you cannot express yourself; either is bad. And anything longer means that you are rambling and are going to lose the interviewerâ€™s attention.
4. What do you find most/least attractive about this position?
To answer this question, you should have studied the job requirements and its duties. Mention anywhere up to four or five features of the job that fit well with your background or with your future plans. For example, if the position is for a PHP Web Developer, you can say that it attracted you because you have already some experience in this technology and you want to further enhance your skills as Web Development is an area where you want to build your career.
Be careful about the unattractive part. Again, you do not want to unnecessarily offend the interviewer. You can jokingly say that there is nothing unattractive, which is a reason why you are so interested in this job.
5. Why do you want to work for us?
A good answer comes from good homework to articulate a prompt reply in terms of companyâ€™s requirement. You can say that according to your research the company is working on projects that greatly interest you. For example, if the organization is known for quality management, your answer should mention that fact and show that you would like to be a part of the team that does quality testing. If the company places a great deal of emphasis on building products emphasize the fact that you want to create new things and that this company is a great place for such activity. Basically, your answer should be a combination of what the company does and what you want to do, or what you are good at doing.
6. What do you look for in a job?
Focus your answer to the opportunities available at the company you are interviewed for. Tell them about your yearning to perform and be acknowledged for your contributions. Emphasize on opportunity rather than personal security. That is, tell them that you value opportunities for growth where you will learn new concepts. Typically, we should all look for those job opportunities that would enhance our existing skills and get us to the next rung in the corporate ladder. Money and job security is important but something that should not be overly emphasized. Your research on the company should already tell you how secure the company is before going there for an interview. Like the companies who only call candidates that best match their criteria, so should you only call upon the companies that best match your minimum criteria of places youâ€™re where you will spend more than 8 hours every day?
7. How long will you stay with us?
Establish that you are interested in a strong and long career with the organization, but you would have to continue to feel challenged to remain with any organization. At no point should the interviewer feel that you are a job-hopper. This type of question is typically asked of those candidates that have switched multiple jobs too quickly. The interviewer wants to ascertain that you will stay with them for a long time. Your answer should put them at ease.
8. What if you are subjected to long periods of silence or your appearance is criticized?
Stress interview is a technique to check the candidateâ€™s patience level. In such interviews a candidate is made to wait before the interview and, in some cases, in the presence of the interviewers who apparently does not give any attention towards the candidate sitting their room. This is not something typical and is mostly limited to certain types of industries or job types such as Hospitality industry or Sales positions. This is a technique used to see how the particular candidate will react under stress or specific conditions related to the job nature. You need to be very patient during such interviews. Keep smiling and do not show that you are bored or irritated or angry. You can break the silence by politely asking the interviewer if there is anything that you can elaborate upon or anything else that you can answer. Remind yourself of the goal ahead i.e. getting the job.
9. What are your interests outside of work?
Tell them about your one or two favorite past times keeping in mind the job nature. This is more of a filler question where interviewer just wants to know what kind of a person you are or he is asking you this question while reading more details in your CV, or he is simply finished with his questions but wants another parting shot before he calls off the interview. Your answer should supplement the job nature. If it is a sales position, maybe you can say that I like to meet people outside of work. If you are applying for a Customer Support position, you can say that I like to read to help me in my communications skills (be sure to know what you read in case the interviewer probes you further).
10. What is your salary expectation?
Salary is a delicate topic. Donâ€™t sell yourself short, but continue to stress the fact that the job itself is the most important thing in your mind. The interviewer may be trying to determine just how much you want the job. Donâ€™t leave the impression that money is the only thing that is important to you. Link questions of salary to the work itself.
But whenever possible, say as little as you can about salary until you reach the â€œfinalâ€ stage of the interview process. At that point, you know that the company is genuinely interested in you and that it is likely to be flexible in salary negotiations.