Tips #8: The best answers to interview questions
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale
OK, here you are, you’ve got an interview! It’s time now to convince your potential employer that you are the one he is looking for.
He/she wants to know who is in front of him/her. They want to hire an asset for the company – not a liability – and you want to have a good position that fits your goals in a good working environment.
This is a common agreement in which both parts must find what they’re looking for. If not, one part won’t be fully satisfied and the collaboration won’t be optimum !
Don’t forget that the company chooses you and YOU choose the company too !
Here is a list of the questions you have to work on to give yourself the maximum of chance to succeed:
Tell me about yourself
- Tell a story, focusing on your main achievement in line with the targeted position.
- Includes your strengths and specific skills that will add a real value to the company who will hire you.
- Finish by expecting what is your middle/long term goal in the company/position.
Keep is short! 3-4 minutes maximum and turn your story in a way where the interviewer will be interested and will ask more. Keep it as honest as possible, whatever your story is, the interviewer wants to understand how, what, when and why of it.
If you know what you want and are confident in what you say, this creates a first good impression!
Why should we hire you? What contribution can you bring to the company?
This is a basic question and I suggest you to answer as below:
- Technics: What skills and knowledge you can bring to the service/company. How confident are you, based on this to do the job and achieve the targets.
- Personal: Based on your personal experience at work or in your private life, think about things that helped you to grow or be a better person, change your vision, the way you act, your confidence. Try to find something that could really benefit to the employer and show how trustable your are.
Why this company:
For this question, talk about the values of the company, the environment, the sector, the size etc.. Eventually, you can explain that friends of yours have worked for this company and recommended etc..
Try to find something that make sense with your long term goal and your story.
What would people you don’t get on with say about you?
It’s another way to see how you analyze your weaknesses.
First, you can ask what they mean exactly by ‘get on with’.
Of course, you have to turn the question in a way where you look to get on well with everyone and manage your emotions. Explain what could be your improvement points and explain what you do to improve. Easy.
Who are your Heroes/role models?
Talk about your past experience mentors, how brilliant the people you worked with were.
Again it depends on the position/company and you can talk about people you don’t personally know but consider as role model and explain why!
How do you got out of a tricky situation?
Stop – Breath – plan – act.
With this question, the interviewer want to know how well you react to unexpected events. You have to show your confidence and calm state of mind, that you are able to take a step back from the problem.
How do you react to failure ?
Analyze what you did wrong and don’t do the same mistake again. You need to show that you are persistent even though you failed
Can you tell me about the time you had to solve a problem ?
This one needs to be prepared with one or two examples. The main thing is to explain that you managed to understand the root causes of the problem and found solutions (even better if you involved other team members in finding and solving the issue).
How do you deal with challenge ?
How do you feel when something challenging happens in your life (Pro/perso), what is your first state ?
Try to tell a good story about the time you faced a challenge and you got out of your comfort zone and show that you like this kind of situation.
> Related article: http://www.the-good-habits.com/habits-4-how-to-get-out-of-your-comfort-zone/
What is the best education for this career?
This one depends on what you’ve done. You need to show that your career path makes sense with the position you are applying for. If it doesn’t, try to find a way to explain why your different past experience/academics would be profitable for this position.
When were you the most satisfied in your job?
You can talk about the fact you like to build things and bring value to the company – have an impact. After it depends on the job applied. E.g. Showing that you were very satisfied when the collaboration and working environment was good shows to the employer that you’ll be happy and give the best of yourself in such environment…
Tell us about the last time you had to negotiated with someone?
You need to tell a story explaining how you negotiate with people, even if your story doesn’t tell you managed to convince. The approach I like to take is the ‘Why’, ‘What is the exact purpose of this’ approach. It helps see how confident the person in front of you is with his/her proposal to negotiate.. Again, there is no good answer, it must be truly based on your experience!
Ideal working environment
Look for information about the company and try to know the management style. Build you ideal working environment answer related to this company working environment.
How do you react to stress ? What kind of situation you find most stressful ?
Same, depends on people. And tell a story about a time you were under stressful situation and how did you deal with it!
You can also explain what stressful means to you. Which kind of situation etc…
For my own example, I’m superproductive under stress and I organize and priorize even better because I feel challenged.
What irritated you about the people you worked with ?
A good answer would be the exact definition the opposite of a good employee.
E.g. Lack of commitment or feeling that they want only benefits from company without giving enough effort.
What personality do you work with the best ? Why ?
If you are interviewed by your potential N+1, imagine which kind of person he/she is and make the link !
E.g. I like people who are committed, straight forward talks, ‘visionnaire’.
Of course, it has to be adapted with your interviewer and also with what you really like ! It’s not good to pretend you like something you don’t.. you might end-up in a pretty bad situation !
> Related post: http://www.the-good-habits.com/tips-7-how-to-read-body-language/
Tell me about a time you made mistake ?
Find a mistake you’ve made and explain what you learned from it.
Strengths ? Weaknesses ?
Honestly… This question is a non-sense and shows the little interview skills of your interviewer.
I think the best answer to this would be to respond: ‘I don’t know, we have been talking for a while now, what is your first impression about my Strength and improvement points?’
This will put your interviewer in a situation where he has to give you feedback that you can use to build a better image and respond to their fear/interrogations.
What do you do of your time out of work ?
Try to find examples of the activities you are doing, showing you are productive, that you keep learning and are interested by other things than work and the office.. It shows the recruiter a side of you he didn’t see before through the other questions of the interview.
Show that you’re a nice and interesting person, socialized, good to collaborate with easy to talk too. Diversity will show you employer other strength which are not related to the current position you’re applying for but could be an asset in the company!
And, that’s obvious to say that if you find common point with your interviewer, it’s even better.
The main thing is to create rapport with the interviewer, to give a good image of yourself and look like the person who fit the job and the company !
We then arrive to the conclusion and the interviewer will ask you: ‘Do you have any question ?”
You have to have questions ! even more if you have insisted on your curiosity side when talking with them earlier.
Below are questions or topics you can talk about and that will give you more insight on the company and people:
Question to interviewers
- How do you thing this interview has gone ?
- What is the biggest change your team has gone through in the last year ?
- If I get the job, how do I earn a ‘gold start’ on my performance review ? What are the key accomplishment you would like to see in this role over the next years ?
- What’s your leadership style ?
- About which competitor are you most worried ?
- What type of people are successful here, what type not ?
- How did you get your start in this industry ? What make you stay ?
- What keep you up at night, what is your biggest worry these days ?
- What is the reward system ?
- What is the the rhythm of work here ? over the year, month etc…
- Who are the heroes of the company ?
Questions about the company :
- How the structure is organized ? by brand / sector / country / transversal / BtB, BtC ?
- How is the business doint ?
- Management structure ? organization ? Relationship with head office ? How decision making are made ? Approvals ?
- Systems used ? Reporting requirement ?
- How are the factories running ? Capacity ratio ?
- Market shares ? future ?
- The last innovation to be released ?
- What are their challenges/ problems at this time.
Thanks a lot for reading and let me know what you feel about this in the comments !