Tip No. 111
Q.I have an important interview coming up and would like some ideas about how best to prepare for this interview. What types of questions should I expect and what will the interviewer need to know about me that will convince her that I am the "right" candidate?
A. The first step in the process is to garner as much information as you can about the company and the department you will be working in. The Internet will provide some basic, salient information that you can use to show that you have done your homework. In the interview, make sure and point out any areas, products, research, etc. that the company undertakes that you particularly find appealing or have a passion for. Once in the interview show the interviewer what they need to see to determine you would be the best candidate. You can accomplish this by listening as much as you talk, by letting them know that you are eager to learn and grow, that you work well with others and that you adapt to change readily. Use examples of your accomplishments to support the comments you have made about yourself.
Some of the questions that may be asked are the following:
1. Tell me about yourself? The interviewer wants to hear about your strengths, major accomplishments and your background/work skills.
2. Why do you want to come to work for us? Show that you have done your homework on the company or department and how that fits with your own vision for your career. Match your skills and strengths to the job description to show the interviewer how your skills are relevant to the job you are applying for.
3. Tell me about your best/worst boss? In both cases, show how this person helped you to grow or challenged you in a positive way. The "worst" boss question is tricky. Begin by stating that what you thought would be a negative situation turned out to be a great learning experience and then give an example or two as to how this person helped you grow into a professional.
4. What is the biggest setback/failure you have had in your career? Remember, you are not in a confessional! Admit to one less than successful solution and emphasize what you have learned and again, offer concrete examples of how you intend to handle similar situations in the future.
5. What type of salary are you looking for? Keep in mind that "money" is not the only equation in the compensation package. Total compensation package is the sum total of salary and the various benefits a company offers. Make sure you are aware of salary ranges for your skills and what the market will bear. In the interview, briefly reiterate your skills and accomplishments emphasizing how these will make you a valuable employee. You can also state that you have been compensated well in your career/last position and that you are sure that this company's compensation package will be competitive. If the question is again brought up, simply give a very broad range.
6. Do you have any questions for me? The only answer is YES! You are not only being interviewed but are also interviewing the company and the position. ASK for a formal job description so that you can study the requirements in more detail. ASK about the particular skills or attributes that the interviewer wants for this position. ASK about the people you would be working with or about the vision or corporate culture of the company. ASK the interviewer how she was drawn to this particular company and her position and what she likes best. ASK what are the biggest challenges that the staff, department or industry faces at this time. ASK about the organizational structure of the department and how that fits into the structure of the company's vision/goals. ASK when the hiring dedcision will be made.
After each interview be sure to send a thank you note to every one who interviewed you.
Career Management International
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