But there is an opportunity for you in that ambiguity—your interviewer is allowing you to choose how to respond. To keep you on track, here are a few questions to ask as you brainstorm ways to respond and structure your answer: What qualities make you a great fit for this position? Think of what makes you stand out as a job applicant for this role. Review the job description closely and note ways that you exceed the requirements. Why are you interested in the role? Why are you interested in the company or the industry?
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Including some of the most often-asked behavioral interview questions. Here are some of the most common interview questions , along with the best way to answer them: 1. The goal of an interview is to determine whether the candidate will be outstanding in the job, and that means evaluating the skills and attitude required for that job. Does she need to be an empathetic leader?
Ask about that. Does she need to take your company public? Explain why you left. Explain why you chose a certain school. Share why you decided to go to grad school. Discuss why you took a year off to backpack through Europe, and what you got out of the experience.
For example: "My biggest weakness is getting so absorbed in my work that I lose all track of time. Every day I look up and realize everyone has gone home! Be clear and precise. I just want to do a great job and see where my talents take me. The business a candidate would love to start tells you about her hopes and dreams , her interests and passions, the work she likes to do, the people she likes to work with Way too many interviewers ask the question and then sit back, arms folded, as if to say, "Go ahead.
Try to convince me. Maybe the conversation went in an unexpected direction. Maybe the interviewer focused on one aspect of their skills and totally ignored other key attributes. Or maybe candidates started the interview nervous and hesitant, and now wish they could go back and better describe their qualifications and experience.
Just make sure to turn this part of the interview into a conversation, not a soliloquy. Ask for examples. He or she is just looking for a job; often, any job. Show that you heard about the job through a colleague, a current employer, by following the company Life is too short. Instead, talk about an underperforming employee you "rescued," or how you overcame infighting between departments, or how so many of your direct reports have been promoted The goal is to share achievements that let the interviewer imagine you in the position -- and see you succeeding.
What happened? Mistakes happen. Sure, strengths come to the fore, but weaknesses also rear their heads. No one is perfect. But a person who tends to push the blame -- and the responsibility for rectifying the situation -- onto someone else is a candidate to avoid. Hiring managers would much rather choose candidates who focus not on blame but on addressing and fixing the problem. Every business needs employees who willingly admit when they are wrong, step up to take ownership for fixing the problem, and, most important, learn from the experience.
You can learn something from every job. You can develop skills in every job. Employers no longer expect "forever" employees. Instead, focus on the positives a move will bring. Talk about what you want to achieve. Talk about what you want to learn. Talk about ways you want to grow, about things you want to accomplish; explain how a move will be great for you and for your new company. If you like constant direction and support and the company expects employees to self-manage, focus on something else.
Having no answer is a definite warning sign. Everyone makes tough decisions, regardless of their position. My daughter worked part-time as a server at a local restaurant and made difficult decisions all the time -- like the best way to deal with a regular customer whose behavior constituted borderline harassment. A good answer proves you can make a difficult analytical or reasoning-based decision -- for example, wading through reams of data to determine the best solution to a problem.
A great answer proves you can make a difficult interpersonal decision, or better yet a difficult data-driven decision that includes interpersonal considerations and ramifications.
Making decisions based on data is important, but almost every decision has an impact on people as well. The best candidates naturally weigh all sides of an issue, not just the business or human side exclusively. Try sharing leadership examples instead. Explain what you did and that will give the interviewer a great sense of how you lead. And, of course, it lets you highlight a few of your successes.
What did you do? Show that you were professional. Show that you raised your concerns in a productive way. Every company wants employees willing to be honest and forthright, to share concerns and issues But I did ask it once, and got an answer I really liked. If I say I will help, I help. Then just layer in specifics that are applicable to you and the job. Weave those in with personal details. You want to be open and honest, but frankly, some companies ask the question as the opening move in salary negotiations.
Try an approach recommended by Liz Ryan. Is this position in that range? Each day he climbs up three feet, but at night he slips back two feet. How many days will it take him to climb out of the well?
All you can do is talk through your logic as you try to solve the problem. Here goes: Great candidates want to hit the ground running. They want to make a difference -- and they want to make that difference right now. They know every organization is different -- and so are the key qualities of top performers in those organizations.
Maybe your top performers work longer hours. Maybe creativity is more important than methodology. Maybe constantly landing new customers in new markets is more important than building long-term customer relationships. Maybe the key is a willingness to spend the same amount of time educating an entry-level customer as helping an enthusiast who wants high-end equipment. Great candidates want to know, because 1 they want to know if they will fit in, and 2 if they do fit in, they want to know how they can be a top performer.
Otherwise why do you have them on the payroll? In every job some activities make a bigger difference than others. You need your HR team to fill job openings, but what you really want is for them to find the right candidates, because that results in higher retention rates, lower training costs, and better overall productivity. You need your service techs to perform effective repairs, but what you really want is for those techs to identify ways to solve problems and provide other benefits -- in short, to build customer relationships and even generate additional sales.
Great candidates want to know what truly makes a difference and drives results, because they know helping the company succeed means they will succeed as well. Does that job matter? Great candidates want a job with meaning, with a larger purpose -- and they want to work with people who approach their jobs the same way. Otherwise a job is just a job.
The same is true for people in leadership positions -- people naturally try to bring on board talented people they previously worked with. And all of that speaks incredibly well to the quality of the workplace and the culture. So while some candidates may see your company as a stepping-stone, they still hope for growth and advancement. If they do eventually leave, they want it to be on their terms, not because you were forced out of business.
Another store is opening less than a mile away: How do you plan to deal with the competition? Or you run a poultry farm a huge industry in my area : What will you do to deal with rising feed costs? Published on: Jun 20, Like this column? The opinions expressed here by Inc. More from Inc.
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Including some of the most often-asked behavioral interview questions. Here are some of the most common interview questions , along with the best way to answer them: 1. The goal of an interview is to determine whether the candidate will be outstanding in the job, and that means evaluating the skills and attitude required for that job. Does she need to be an empathetic leader? Ask about that. Does she need to take your company public? Explain why you left.
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