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Frequently Asked Questions

The following are questions that are commonly asked in interview situations, and you should be able to answer them right away:

Tell me about yourself
This is your “summary statement,” not a laundry list of tasks. It is relevant to the job position you are seeking. It is your elevator pitch … who you are in relationship to how you are the solution to the employer’s problem.

  • Example: “Currently… (talk about your jobs and what you do and want to do for them)

What are your strengths?
You should not have to think about this. Numerous answers are good, just stay positive. A few good examples:

  • Ability to prioritize
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to focus on projects
  • Professional expertise
  • Leadership skills
  • Positive attitude

Taking the StrengthsFinder assessment is a great way to identify your top five strengths. When you answer have a work example to back it up to show your success.

What are your weaknesses?
You should have a list of three. Keep in mind that the employers expect people to have weaknesses… And to see that they are working on resolving those weaknesses. If you don’t see yourself as having any great weakness, just ask your spouse or children! Example: Silence can be considered a weakness. It intimidates some people; makes others think you are not listening to them; because you don’t answer their questions right away, they think you are not knowledgeable.

What are your future career plans (and) Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Show how you plan to motivate yourself within the job. Also, don’t be too specific or state in 6 months you plan to move to Asia.

Why are you interested in us (working with us)? Why do you want this position?
Point out your assets and how they meet with the organization’s needs. Show how you can help the company, not the company helping you.

How did you get along with your last boss? Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved?
This is a trick question. It’s a test to see if you will speak ill of your boss. Never, ever speak ill of a boss. Find something positive and develop a poor memory about any trouble. Keep this answer short and sweet!

How would your peers, direct reports, or last manager describe you?
Answering this question gives you numerous good possibilities for self-description:

  • I am loyal
  • I am energetic
  • I have a positive attitude
  • I am a leader and team player
  • I am patient
  • I am hard working
  • I am a creative problem-solver
  • I am non-judgmental and caring

Tell me about a time when helped resolve a dispute between you and a co-worker
Pick a specific incident. Concentrate on your problem solving skills and not the dispute you were having.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
This borders on being too personal and they really shouldn’t be asking. Tactfully decline, or answer in generalities, unless you see that your hobbies are a connection to the boss.

What qualities do you feel a successful manager should have?
Be generic and positive! Safe qualities are knowledgeable, a sense of humor, fair, loyal to staff and company, and holds high standards. Usually all bosses think they have these traits.

And last, but not least, the one that may shoot you in the foot and keep you from getting the job:

Do you have any questions?
Do not go into an interview without having at least three questions to ask the employer. They should not be about salary or number of vacation days. You should do your homework by asking:

  • Is this position a new position?
  • How long has the previous employee been in this position?
  • What lead to the creation of this new position?

The Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is the key ingredient in your successful pursuit of a career. Think of it as an animated business card. This short, thirty second to two minute speech holds all of the information that you believe is crucial in order for others gain an understanding of who you are and what you’re capable of.

When you finally have the opportunity to express what makes you unique, it is imperative that you take advantage of the situation. In the world of immediate communication, your ability to convey key facets of your personality in a brief time period is a requirement. This is not just an option. It is an absolute necessity. Keep the following tips in mind and you will be sure to succeed:

Make eye contact
And always address the individual by his or her proper name. Old-fashioned manners can have a major impact from the beginning.

Know your audience
Better yet, research them. Find out who they are and how that is relevant to you. Knowing that you have done your homework will make you confident when the time comes to speak.

Emphasize key personality traits
You know that you have many strengths. However, it is important to focus on those that will appeal to this particular audience.

Prepare an outline
You may want to consider responding to the following questions when delivering your elevator pitch.

a. What are your key strengths or positive qualities?

b. What do you have to offer?

c. Why are you interested in this company or, more generally, this industry?

d. How do you work efficiently to solve problems.

e. What unique contributions will you make?

Perfect your pitch
Finalize a cohesive elevator pitch, ensuring that it can be easily followed and that it flows smoothly.

Be prepared
Answer any follow up questions the listeners may have.

Keep in touch
Provide the listener with contact information.

Never underestimate the potential of networking. Starting off on the wrong foot can prevent you from achieving your goals. Don’t ruin your chance for success. Although preparation is an important first step, the best way to guarantee an effective elevator pitch is through practice and feedback. Use InterviewStream today to work on this skill.


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