Useful information for Interviews 

 

During the interview

The first five minutes are vital, so greet the interviewer standing with a firm handshake and a smile.

You only get one chance at a first impression.

Ensure that you are well groomed and that your clothes reflect the business image you wish to project. Here are some points to consider for the interview:

  • Dress neatly and appropriately and arrive early.
  • Make sure your mobile phone is switched off.
  • The first five minutes are vital, so greet the interviewer standing with a firm handshake and a smile.
  • Wait to sit until the interviewer does or until they offer you a chair
  • Learn to listen as well as talk; it will give you valuable clues as to the responses required.
  • Watch your body language. Interviewers will recognise a lack of congruence between what you and your body are saying
  • Answer questions informatively but briefly. Never embellish the truth but don't be afraid to "sell" your skills and accomplishments.
  • Don't rush to fill in silence. Think before you speak.
  • Avoid negativity in statements and body language. Interviewers look for positive, likeable people and any persistent negative characteristics such as lack of interest, enthusiasm or purpose regarding your career will reflect poorly upon you.
  • Do not ask about remuneration until at least the second interview. If you are asked about your expectations, give as general an answer as you can until you know that they wish to make you an offer.
  • Understand that salary discussions could jeopardize your chances of joining the company.
  • Close the interview with a reaffirmation of your interest, eye contact and a firm handshake. Make a positive last impression.

  

What is the company's leadership / 
senior management team like?

This is an important question, especially if you consider strong leadership as a key factor in job or company selection.

Leadership can affect a myriad of areas, including expansion, the culture of the organisation, work practices and staff engagement. Suggest to ask the details from Consultants and study the clients homepage.

The leadership mix might also influence whether you join the company. For example, some family owned companies might have members of the family in senior management positions. Others might have senior management who are close to retirement age. Or there might be predominantly men or women senior managers in place.

All this will tell you something about the organisation and whether you will be able to work with it - and have a chance to work your way up.

The answer might also offer additional information about the company culture and the expectations of those you might end up reporting to. For example, you might discover that senior management is made up entirely of those with a marketing (or sales, or IT) background, or that the senior management team all worked in a particular industry such as property or manufacturing.

  

Why did you apply for this job?

Most applicants have faced the question of why they wanted a particular job. The interviewer would instantly dismiss you if you answered that you stumbled upon the advertisement for the job while going through the newspapers. Or, what caught your eye was the advertisement's coloured border.

A prudent answer would be on the following lines: "I have been targeting my search at major companies in this industry and after seeing your advertisement, I decided to research your firm. I understand you have introduced several new product lines in the past few years and I was impressed by your track record. Based on my career experience, I feel it could be a good fit."

This kind of an answer is likely to impress the interviewer. It shows that you have done your homework and have also put some thought and effort into your decision to work for that organisation. It also leads the interviewer to look into your career experience.

Simply state the responsibilities and opportunities you know the job offers and highlight what you can do for your potential employer. Give the impression that you are looking for the opportunity to use your talent - whether it is creativity, the ability to cut costs, widen margins or provide strong management skills.

No matter how the question is phrased, it is looking to test your knowledge of the specific job and organisation. Let the interviewer understand your thought process when you describe what you know about the position and the employer or when you discuss the reasons for choosing to work for the organisation. Show that you are making choices based on a thorough, logical thought process and accurate data, and not because the advertisement appeared directly above the comic strip in the newspaper.

  

Why do you want to work for our company?

It offers you the opportunity to score full points in the interview by giving a well considered answer and showing that you have done in-depth research beforehand.

If you have not done your homework, you lose; if you have, you win.

When the interviewers ask: "Why us?", state your case for joining the firm.

The best sources for researching this answer are the firm's annual reports, its website, people you know in the company or among its suppliers, and advertisements and articles about the company in the media.

However, do not overwhelm the interviewer with drab facts and figures gleaned from the company's latest accounts statement.

You may also have personal reasons for wanting to work for the company, so you should make those known. Depending on the situation, you could talk about how an older, established company is more traditional or a new firm probably more progressive. You could state how the company's corporate behaviour appeals to your values. Or, its size or makeup could be your valid reason for joining the company.

The key is to identify the type of firm that has more of what you want and less of what you do not want, and put that across in your answer.

It sounds simple, but is difficult to achieve, as is evident from the fact that many people switch jobs frequently and yet always end up working for the same kind of company.

 

Interview Questions on Career Objectives

Before you start job hunting, you should think about what you want to achieve in your career. Doing so can also help you prepare for job interviews since most employers would ask candidates questions related to career objectives.

What would you be doing five years from now?
Of course, you have to tell the future employer that in five years' time, you will be working at their company. Then you can let the employer know your career plan, including the position you expect to climb up to by a certain time. You should point out areas in your plan that are in line with the company mission and developments.

How can we be assured that you will not leave as soon as a better job comes along?
Show the future employer that it is not your habit to change jobs frequently (if this is indeed the true account). Tell the employer that you are impressed with the team and the work environment. In addition, show that you are enthusiastic about joining the team to meet the challenges and development opportunities in this job. If your CV shows that you changed jobs quite frequently in the past, give reasons and try to ensure that this will not happen in the future.

What do you want to achieve in this job?
Tell the employer how and what you are going to contribute to the company with your career knowledge and experience. You can also mention the achievements and developments you expect in your career. Let the employer know that these can be realized in the job they are going to offer.

What kind of jobs are you looking for now?
Tell them you look for similar positions in corporations of similar rank. Let the employer know that you are in the process of job hunting can show that you are serious in looking for a suitable job.

Interview Questions on Character Traits

During job interviews, employers look for character traits of candidates since they would like to find out if the candidate is easy to get along with, and whether he / she has a bad temper when under stress, etc. Personality is equally important as job skills because certain industries usually look for staff with specific character types, e.g. an outgoing personality is required for people to join the sales industry. The following are a few questions relating to character traits that employers may ask in job interviews.

Do you like to work with people?
If the job requires teamwork, you can tell the employer that you can cooperate with others without difficulty (on the condition that this is your true account). You can also point out a few advantages of working as a team, as well as your strengths suitable for working with other people. Even if the job does not require much teamwork, you have to let the employer know that you can work well with others although you are a self-starter and can work independently.

What are the personal qualities that make you the perfect candidate for this position?
Highlight the personality traits that are match the requirements of the job, and avoid dysfunctional ones.

How would your boss describe you?
Tell the employer your boss' comments on your work performance, especially those which are your strengths. You can find these from reference letters of your former employers. If some comments are negative, present them as areas you need to improve but not weaknesses that are mortal.

What would you do if your viewpoint is different from that of your supervisor?
Let the interviewer know that you are willing to express your ideas but in a proper way not to embarrass others. In this way, you are telling the employer that you have sound job skills as well as good interpersonal relationships.

How well do you work under pressure?
Elaborate on the positive effects of work pressure such as bringing out untapped potential in people. You can also tell the employer how you cope with pressure, including ways to schedule your work to meet deadlines as well as the methods you use to relax after work. Let the employer realize that you have a positive working attitude.

Sample Q&A for Job Interviews

When you attend a job interview, you have to answer a lot of questions within some 30 minutes to an hour on average. The following are questions most employers would ask. The suggested answers are for your reference only. Before you attend any interview, spend some time reading these questions and customising the answers to your own vocabulary and target job.

Q: Tell me something about yourself.
A: (Tell the employer your current job and character traits which can relate to your job)
I am a sales executive. I am energetic and responsible. I like meeting people. I am a good listener and can communicate effectively with different levels of people.

Q: What are your strengths and weaknesses?
A: (Tell the employer your strengths which are specifically essential in the job area you are applying for) I can get along with people easily and I am a good team player. I am a fast worker.
(Tell the employer areas you need to improve or weaknesses that are not mortal) I occasionally received comments that I need to improve in the area of filing.

Q: What made you apply for this job?
A: This job offers everything I have been looking for in terms of position and environment. My past experience in organising corporate events and planning PR functions matches the requirements of this job.

Q: Why did you leave your current job?
A: The company I am currently working for does not offer opportunities for me to further develop my potential because the company is restructuring / downsizing.

Q: What is your long-term career goal?
A: In the field of advertising, I plan to get to the position of account manager. I have developed a career plan and would like to spend xx years to achieve my goal. This position you are offering is an important step in carrying out this plan.

Q: What do you know about our company?
A: (Find out some positive facts about the company) I know that your company has xx areas of business and the growth in business has been increasing 5% every year. I heard that your company provides a very creative environment for staff to work so that they can fully develop their potential.

Q: What do you think are your special qualifications for this job?
A: (You can mention specific training or experience you have) I have hands-on experience in dealing with a few difficult clients well-known in the market, and so I think I can help increase the sales of the company by expanding the client base.

 

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