Youve been searching for a job for some time and after a frustrating few months, you finally landed an interview for an interesting job at a great company. Congratulations! But this is only the beginning of a series of interviews as the organization narrows their search for the right candidate.
In your heart of heart, you feel you are the right fit. This job was made for you and the companys mission and values align with your own. So how do you position yourself well? How do you prepare for tough interview questions and showcase your talent and experience?
Here are some sample questions and how best to prepare for each one:
1. Please tell me about yourself.
- Be prepared to discuss what is not included in your resume about your family, hobbies, your volunteer work etc.; anything that accurately demonstrates your values and commitment. If you can align your values with the companys, thats great. What you do in your spare time often reflects how you approach your life and work in general.
- What do you contribute, not only to the bottom line, but to the culture, the team, the organization as a whole?
- Paint a picture for the interviewer of what its like to have you on the team.
2. Whats your biggest weakness?
- Identify at least one area where you need to improve.
- Choose a small (practically insignificant) weakness that leads to one of your strengths. An example, In the past, Ive lacked patience when projects are not completed on time. Ive learned to direct my energy to empowering the team and giving them as many resources as necessary so we complete the projects well within the deadline.
- Practice discussing this so you sound confident, strong, and professional.
3. Why should I hire you?
- Write down your value proposition and practice saying it.
- When discussing your resume, make sure you articulate how your value proposition benefited each organization in your work history. Be specific about how you impacted business results and outcomes.
- Write down how this company will benefit from having you in the position.
- Be prepared to discuss how you deliver the work. In other words, how do you achieve results?
4. Can you tell me about a recent accomplishment that youre proud of?
- Choose a recent achievement that showcases your talent. Talk specifically about how you contributed to the success of the project or situation; how YOU made it happen. Be prepared to discuss this in detail highlighting how your role in this situation is an example of how you will bring value to this organization.
- As you answer this question, make it clear that this was not an isolated incident. Be clear yourself on how you contributed to the success and what that says about you in future work situations. Can you also refer to past situations where you utilized the same skills?
5. What has been your biggest career disappointment so far?
- Interviewers who ask this are looking to find out your resiliency and attitude. Discuss a career set back with a positive spin.
- How did you turn this around into an opportunity?
- Be careful not to be present yourself as the victim in this case. Talk about the situation without emotion and regret to show that youve moved on and used this as a learning opportunity
What was the toughest interview question you ever had and how did you respond?
To learn more about how to handle difficult interview questions, tune in to this weeks GPS Your Career radio on Wednesday, August 29th or download the podcast. Im interviewing Vicky Oliver, author of “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions”.