During an employment interview, the opportunity for the job candidate to ask questions is a goldmine that should not be squandered. When the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” The worst response you can give is “No.” Smart interview questions not only allow job seekers to glean meaningful insights and company intelligence that can give them an edge over their peers, but they also offer the final opportunity to win over the employer and demonstrate that they are the best job candidate.Thoroughly research the company so that you do not ask questions that you can easily find the answers to, this does not present you in a good light. It makes you appear lazy, and not sufficiently interested in the company. Weave your company research findings into your interview questions. Here are 15 interview questions that will show prospective employers that you are enthusiastic about their company. Because of time constraints, you will not be able to ask all the questions, so choose a few that are most meaningful to you from the list, and customize them for your situation.How would you characterize the organization? What are its principal values? What are its greatest challenges?What is the organization’s plan for the next five years, and how does this department or division fit in?What do you expect me to accomplish in the first six to 12 months on the job? What is the one thing I cannot fail at in the first year?”What particular achievements would equate to success at this job? What would success look like?What are three key things that really drive results for the company?How does this position contribute to the company’s goals, productivity, or profits?What is the most pressing business issue or problem for the company or department?Can you give me some examples of the types of projects I may be working on?What do you think are the most difficult aspects of the job I’m interviewing for?Based on the interview, do you have any concerns about my ability to perform the job that would prevent you from selecting me?Work-life balance is an issue of retention as well as productivity. Can you talk about your own view of how to navigate the tensions between getting work done and encouraging healthy lives outside the office?How does the company support and promote personal and professional growth?Corporate culture is very important, but it’s usually hard to define until one violates it. What is one thing an employee might do here that would be perceived as a violation of the company’s culture?In the recent past, how has the company acknowledged and rewarded outstanding performance?What is the next step in the process? When do you think you will be making a decision?This is by no means an exhaustive list of possible interview questions for job candidates to ask hiring managers, but they are questions that demonstrate to the employer that the job seeker is confident, prepared, and interested in the organization.
15 Interview Questions to Ask Hiring Managers
6 Ways to Prep for an Interview
By the time you step into a room for an interview, nothing should come as a surprise. You should be familiar with the company, its strategic goals, the people you’re meeting and your own strengths and weaknesses. Like an athlete training for game day, the interview is a chance to show all your preparation and let your skills shine. To show up ready, here are six ways to prepare for your interview. Research the company and interviewers Prepare a scouting report for yourself. What positions do the people interviewing you hold? Check their LinkedIn profiles or get information from your contacts about them. Find out which issues the company is grappling with and identify the company’s top strategic objectives. Bring supporting materials Show, don’t just tell. Bring a portfolio of your work, even if you haven’t been asked to. If you are interviewing for a higher level position, perhaps you can also bring a draft of a 30-60-90 Day Plan. It must outline what you intend to do when hired, and demonstrate to the hiring manager that you are the best candidate. Prepare answers to common questions Some questions are asked by almost every interviewer you'll encounter. Here's how to answer the most common interview questions. Polish your presentation It’s not just what you say; it’s how you say it. Pay attention to how you are going to carry your body posture. If you don't display confidence and professionalism during the interview, you will lose a competitive advantage. Practice how you’re going to present eye contact, handshakes and even your listening. Conduct a mock interview Your answers may make sense in your head, but how do they sound when you communicate them? The career center at your college more than likely will have services to conduct a mock job interview. If this service isn’t available, rehearse your answers with a friend during each step of the interviewing process. Have questions Finally, when interviewers give you the opportunity to turn the tables, don't waste it. Know in advance what you want to ask. Here are interview questions to ask hiring managers. Preparing for job interviews includes knowing as much as you can about the company, as well as knowing what you have to offer to help it be more successful. Be prepared. Be confident. Be ready.
The Art and Science of the Interview Thank You Note
The thoughtful post-interview thank you note matters more than ever in an era of e-communication.The human brain is programmed to compresses experiences into three phases: The beginning, the peak and the end. In the case of job interviews, we often put emphasis on the first impressions and how you present yourself in the interview. The final handshake is an afterthought. But how you follow-up afterward can play a crucial role in how you are remembered. Sending a proper thoughtful thank you note can make all the difference. Here are tips on how to make the most of a post-interview thank you. Put it on paper It’s easy to dash off a quick thank-you note via email right after you leave an interview. But an email is apt to get lost in the pile of electronic communications, especially if it’s not urgent. Instead, take the time to write your thoughts down on paper. In today’s electronic-dominated communication, a tangible paper note has the power to cut through the clutter. Writing out your note on paper will also have the benefit of forcing you to be more thoughtful about what you’re writing. Personalize it A thank you note can be forgettable or memorable. The difference is personalization. Instead of a generic “thank you for your time,” tell the person what you appreciated about your meeting. What quality about the encounter stood out in your mind? Was there a moment that demonstrated why you want to work there? What do you want the interviewer to know you took away from the interview? Assume others are also sending a thank you note, and personalize yours so it stands out as unique. Don’t copy and paste If you’re sending more than one thank you note, take the extra time to personalize each one. You sound disingenuous if your recipients compare notes and realize you copied and pasted. Be real but be neat Writing out your note in longhand is a small window into your personality. Penmanship may be a dying art, but making sure your writing is legible and neat will help put your best (type)face forward. Hurried chicken scratch writing won’t reflect well on you. Take care especially to make sure your signature is readable, so they know who sent the note. Extend your thanksYou don’t have to thank just the people with the loftiest titles from your interview. Who else helped you? Did you have a receptionist help with your scheduling? Did you privately talk with any current employees to get a sense of the workplace culture? Take a moment to thank these people, too. Not only is it a nice gesture, these connections can put in a good word for you. Sometimes it’s people on the periphery that can make all the difference in a close decision. This article is contributed by Right Management, www.rightmanagement.sg, the global career experts within the ManpowerGroup.
A Psychologist's Guide To Answering 'What Is Your Greatest Weakness?' In A Job Interview
Although well-designed job interviews are very useful recruitment tools, the typical job interview is far too improvised and unstructured to predict candidates' future job performance. This includes situations where interviewers ask random, arbitrary questions to candidates, and where there's no pre-defined algorithm or scoring card to interpret candidates' responses. As a result, too many interviews are a waste of time. Unsurprisingly, scientific research shows that the majority of candidates engage in deliberate tactics of manipulation during job interviews, including impression management, deception, ingratiation, and showing off. And who can blame them? After all, it pays off to impress your interviewers, even if such impressions are uncorrelated with future job performance and therefore an invalid signal of your talent or potential. It is perhaps for this reason - the fact that bragging and boasting are so pervasive during job interviews - that recruiters and hiring managers love to ask candidates about their greatest weakness - and there's no shortage of suggestions on how to answer this question. Yet few guidelines take into account the vast amount of academic research on impression management and deception, which is no doubt critical to enabling candidates to pick the right answer and craft their message in the most effective way. To this end, here are a few points to consider before you decide on how to answer "your biggest weakness" question:1. Act surprised:Regardless of the quality of your response, it will be stronger if it doesn't seem rehearsed. Inevitably, this requires some acting, since you probably already expect interviewers to ask you this question. However, the more prepared you seem, the less credit they will be able to take for asking the question (which equates to making them feel less competent), and the less truthful your answer will seem. In line, research shows that both verbal and non-verbal communication that seems authentic is generally linked to more positive perceptions of personal attributes, including job potential. Therefore, your ability to pretend that you are thinking on the spot - or, even better, that you have been put on the spot - and have been forced to sincerely report on your biggest weaknesses, is likely to make a better impact on your interviewers than seeming prepared or scripted would. For the same reason, you should avoid common cliches.2. Avoid common cliches:There's clearly a logic to most of the popular suggestions for answering the "what is your greatest weakness" question. For example, "I'm too much of a perfectionist" and "I'm too self-critical" represent attempts to mask positive and sought-after traits (perfectionism and self-awareness) as defects. The desired effect here - assuming fake modesty works - is to even make your defects seem impressive, for they are not even common as virtues. On the other hand, answers such as "I have little tolerance for selfish people" or "I don't enjoy working on projects that are not aligned with my personal interests or values" are somewhat more risqué, but hardly make you stand out (the majority of people in the world, including the interviewers, feel the same way). Then there is the worst category of answers, such as "I'm too honest" or "I care too much about others", which signal an inability to fake honesty, let alone be honest, or understand the actual question. In any event it is safe to assume that being original is as important as seeming honest and self-critical, and you are more likely to achieve this if you don't recycle the common cliches.3. Avoid being brutally honest:Whether you lack self-awareness or not, there are few reasons for telling interviewers exactly what you think about your greatest weaknesses - and, in any event, that is not what interviewers are interested in finding out. Rather, they want to evaluate your ability to portray a believable degree of fake modesty, ideally with some degree of self-awareness, while you are still selling yourself for the job. Note that if interviewers like you, the last thing they will want is that you "hang yourself" by providing them with a ruthless self-catalogue of flaws. You don't do it on a first date, unless you want it to be your last date - so why do it on a job interview? It is probably even better to say "I have no weaknesses" (which is a terrible response), than to go over the real list of actual weaknesses people would mention if they were not just honest with themselves, but also the interviewers: e.g., I tend to dislike my bosses; I've never been too interested in work; I tend to dislike many of my colleagues; if there's a way to do things with minimum effort I usually will; I' not a morning person (or an evening person); I'm usually grumpy during meetings; I can't deal with authority; I generally see work as a burden and wouldn't do it if I could avoid it. And if you think these statements are not emblematic of what the average person really thinks about their job, manager, or careers, then just google "my boss is", "my job is", or "my career is" to find out. To be sure, we shouldn't blame people for being in jobs or careers they dislike, or working for someone they despise - but such realities would no doubt be deemed part of an applicant's weakness during a job interview if they were mentioned (and they are a far cry from the rosy picture applicants actually report when asked about those very feelings). 4. What you should actually say:First, you will probably get bonus points for highlighting the things your interviewers already identified as weaknesses. And even if you are a strong candidate, they will almost certainly have spotted some gaps or flaws in your CV and background. Why is this a smart strategy? Because it demonstrates self-awareness - the ability to know how other people see you (yes, self-awareness is really about other-awareness) - and because you are in effect reassuring interviewers that there's probably no other obvious weaknesses they are missing out. Plus they will feel good about having guessed or identified your flaws, and having given you a killer question that made you confess them. In essence, this strategy makes them look good and feel good about themselves, without weakening you beyond what they thought... and arguably strengthening you because you are aware and honest about it. In contrast, failure to mention the things that they perceive as your weaknesses will make them suspicious that you are trying to hide them (this equates to dishonesty), or that you lack self-awareness. As confirmation bias research shows, people are generally interested in attending to events that support their prejudices and preconceptions, so you should just give interviewers what they want. Just like all other humans, most interviewers have a stronger need to protect their beliefs and misconceptions, than to accurately judge facts and reality. Second, use this instance to highlight the distinctive elements of your character and style. When identifying the core ingredients of your personality, you will inevitably find that all of your natural strengths can be weaknesses in other contexts. For instance, if you are introverted rather than extroverted, it is obvious that you are not naturally wired to connecting with new acquaintances, or that highly sociable or "extroverted" environments may seem taxing to you. By the same token, extroverted people who function well in such settings will find it harder to concentrate while working alone or pay attention to details. The same applies to any personality trait, so you can tell interviewers what you are naturally like by pointing out the things you don't like, or where your natural strengths are actually more of a liability. This will not only reveal truthful personal information, it will also help them understand how best to deploy your talents. Third, whatever weakness you report, explain how you are planning to mitigate it - or, even better, what you have been doing to self-coach it and contain it. We all have flaws and limitations, but it's our ability to keep them in check that determines our true potential.This article is contributed by Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a Professor of Psychology at UCL and Columbia University, and the Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup* This content was first published to Forbes.com on October 30th, 2018.
Answers to 5 Tough Interview Questions
Acing the employment interview requires that job candidates take the time to prepare. Tough interview questions force job seekers to think on their feet. And by participating in mock interviews, answering the toughest interview questions, any job candidate can survive even the most difficult and harrowing employment interview. In our popular blog post series, Answers to Tough Interview Questions, we deconstruct each of the seven questions, and provide a possible answer.Why are you looking to leave your current position?The interviewer is trying to determine if a job seeker is unhappy or dissatisfied with her current job, and if the possibility exists that the same issues will arise if she is hired. For job seekers who are currently unemployed, the interviewer wants to know why you were laid off.Why are you interested in this position/our company?The interviewer is really interested in what value you can add to the prospective employer and how your credentials can support the organization’s direction. He is also trying to discern if the job candidate is interested in the position and/or the company for the right reasons.What makes you the best candidate for this role?The interviewer is trying to determine if the job seeker has the proper credentials, knowledge and experience for the job. She is also assessing the candidate’s self-confidence and ability to perform in the role.Tell me about a specific situation where you failed.The interviewer is trying to determine if the job seeker is forthright when admitting to failure. He is also trying to discover if a job seeker learns from her mistakes, and if she is taking enough, too little, or too many risks on the job.Tell me how you handle conflict at work.The interviewer is trying to determine if the job seeker is level headed and fair when dealing with workplace conflict. Conflict is unavoidable in the workplace so the interviewer wants to know if you manage conflict in a constructive or destructive manner.When responding to questions in an interview, remember to keep it short (no longer than two minutes for each question), keep it positive and keep it truthful. Any job seeker who takes the time to practice answering each of the seven tough interview questions will find that the employment interview is less daunting and harrowing.This article is contributed by Right Management, www.rightmanagement.sg, the global career experts within the ManpowerGroup.
Answers to 5 Tough Interview Questions - "Tell me how you handle conflict at work."
In our series of answers to tough interview questions, “Tell me how you handle conflict at work” is the tough interview question that we are tackling today.In our series, we delve into what the interviewer is trying to uncover. For today’s question, the interviewer is trying to determine if the job seeker is level headed and fair when dealing with workplace conflict.Answer to tough interview question 7, “Tell me how you handle conflict at work.”“As a senior finance executive, I have been involved with 12 mergers and acquisitions, in three Fortune 500 companies, over a period of 25 years. For each merger and acquisition that I was involved in there were always conflicts in deciding which companies to merge and acquire, and how best to integrate the acquired companies into the existing one. In one situation, our CEO desperately wanted to acquire a company to get access to its technology, and was adamant about doing so. When I performed the due diligence, I discovered that doing so would put our company at risk. Our CEO did not respond very well to the news and refused to listen to me, but I remained calm throughout the meeting.After the meeting, I approached another senior level executive who went to university with our CEO, and I explained to him that the company that our CEO wanted to acquire for its technology was embroiled in a dispute about who owned the patent, and that the key people working on the technology had quit the firm. I inquired if having the conversation in a different environment would help and he indicated that the CEO loves to play squash. I invited the CEO to play a game of squash. After the game, the conversation turned to work and I was able to successfully make my case this time.”In the response you are demonstrating that you possess political and business savvy. You didn’t lose your calm when the CEO refused to listen to your point of view. Instead, you gathered information on how you could create an environment where the CEO would be more likely to listen to you. Your response to interview questions needs to be specific and succinct, as well as truthful and positive. Candidates who relate a particular situation to the interviewer for each question will be far more effective and successful than those who respond in general terms. The best way to answer tough interview questions is to briefly describe the situation and be specific about the action you took.The response offered to the seventh tough interview question, “Tell me how you handle conflict at work.” is only a guide, and therefore it is the job candidate’s responsibility to tweak the advice offered.This article is contributed by Right Management, www.rightmanagement.sg, the global career experts within the ManpowerGroup.
Answers to 5 Tough Interview Questions - "Tell me about a specific situation where you failed."
In our series of answers to tough interview questions, “Tell me about a specific situation where you failed” is the tough interview question that we are tackling today. In our series, we delve into what the interviewer is trying to uncover. For today’s question, the interviewer is trying to determine what lesson you learned from a mistake. It is a given that people make mistakes, and that adversity is the best teacher. Try to emphasize that, along with acknowledging openly that you made a mistake, that you can articulate what you learned from it. The interviewer wants to know that you already made that mistake, learned from it, and that it won’t happen again on their payroll. Answer to tough interview question 5, “Tell me about a specific situation where you failed.” “As a senior finance executive, I have been involved with 12 mergers and acquisitions, in three Fortune 500 companies, over a period of 25 years. About 15 years ago, a key member of our integration team became critically ill and was off work for most of the integration, another accepted another position midway through the process. We fell behind and were pressured to meet the original timeline despite having two fewer persons. To save time, I decided to eliminate steps in the integration process, which ended up adding an additional $2 million to the cost. We completed the process on time, but exceeded the budget. Immediately after that experience, I created a checklist, which outlines all the critical steps necessary to integrate all systems. Since then, whenever I am asked to accelerate the integration process, if it will jeopardize the organization, I build a case for why we shouldn’t and that has worked so far.” In this response you are not only demonstrating how you failed, but you are also demonstrating that a positive came out of a negative. And the interviewer can clearly see the lessons that you have learned from the failure. In addition, your response to interview questions needs to be specific and succinct, as well as truthful and positive. Candidates who relate a particular situation to the interviewer for each question will be far more effective and successful than those who respond in general terms. The best way to answer tough interview questions is to briefly describe the situation and be specific about the action you took. The response offered to the fifth tough interview question, “Tell me about a specific situation where you failed” is only a guide, and therefore it is the job candidate’s responsibility to tweak the advice offered.This article is contributed by Right Management, www.rightmanagement.sg, the global career experts within the ManpowerGroup.
Answers to 5 Tough Interview Questions - "Why are you looking to leave your current position?"
There is no shortage of information on how to ace a job interview, and it is overwhelming when you take stock of the all the interview questions you must know how to answer. If you attempt to practice all of the recommended questions, you will never be prepared for the interview.Based on his over 20 years of experience hiring employees at all levels at multiple Fortune 500 organization, Russell Tuckerton distilled his knowledge and understanding to identify seven tough interview questions that job candidates must get right. In a series of seven blog posts, we will provide a sample answer to each of the seven tough interview questions.Answer to tough interview question, “Why are you looking to leave your current position?”“Like many organizations in the media industry, XYZ Media is going through major restructuring and downsizing. Unfortunately, this has meant the elimination of many positions, including my own. I am disappointed, of course, because I am proud of many of the contributions I made. However, I now have an opportunity to put my skills and experience to work in a new setting such as your organization.”When drafting your statement, consider these three points:1. Keep It Short- Generally, the more you try to explain, the more difficult your explanation becomes. You will be prepared to answer follow-up questions, but only if they are asked.2. Keep it Positive- Negative statements about your former boss or organization will only hurt you.3. Keep it Truthful- A number of factors result in someone leaving. Pick the reason that is most positive and easiest to explain.The response offered to the tough interview question, “Why are you looking to leave your current position?” is a guide, therefore it is the job seeker’s responsibility to tweak the advice offered.This article is contributed by Right Management, www.rightmanagement.sg, the global career experts within the ManpowerGroup.
Answers to 5 Tough Interview Questions - "Why are you interested in this position/our company?"
In our series on answers to tough interview questions, today, we will tackle, “Why are you interested in this position/our company?”As is true with many of the toughest interview questions, there is usually a question hidden behind the question asked. In this case, when asked, “Why are you interested in this position/our company?” the interviewer is really listening for what you know about his/her organization, what value you can add to the bottom line, and how your background and experience can support the organization’s direction and strategy. To answer this question first requires conducting research on the company. The firm’s website, of course, is the starting point, but the successful applicant will likely have used a variety of sources to come up with a richer understanding of the company’s current position. (Link to Best Websites for Company Research for the Job Seeker). Your response to the question must demonstrate first that you have a sense of, and secondly that you can contribute to the organization’s strategic initiatives.Answer to interview question, “Why are you interested in this position/our company?”“My research shows that you are growing through mergers and acquisitions, and your organization has recently acquired three companies, whose culture is very different from yours. As a senior finance executive, I have prepared several organizations, including XYZ, ABC, and ACME Materials, for mergers and acquisitions, as well as played an instrumental role in merging and acquiring firms and overseeing the integration. I have firsthand experience on what pitfalls to avoid, therefore, I feel that my background can really help with these specific strategic growth initiatives.” Your response needs to be specific and succinct, as well as truthful and positive. Candidates who tell the interviewer about particular situations that relate to each question will be far more effective and successful than those who respond in general terms. The best way to answer tough interview questions is to briefly describe the situation, what specific actions you took, and the effect – financial and otherwise - on the situation, and the positive result or outcome.This article is contributed by Right Management, www.rightmanagement.sg, the global career experts within the ManpowerGroup.
Answers to 5 Tough Interview Questions - "What makes you the best candidate for this role?"
“Why should we hire you?/What makes you the best candidate for this role?” is the tough interview question that we are tackling today.In our series on answers to tough interview questions, we delve into what the interviewer is trying to uncover. For today’s question, the interviewer is trying to determine if the job seeker has the proper credentials, knowledge and experience for the job. This is your opportunity to demonstrate the value that you are adding to the organization if they hire you.Answer to tough interview question, “Why should we hire you?/What makes you the best candidate for this role?”“Through my in-depth research, I have discovered that XYZ is in growth mode, and has recently acquired three companies. As a senior finance executive who has been involved with 12 mergers and acquisitions, in three Fortune 500 companies, over a period of 25 years, based on my experience, I guarantee that I will be able to successfully integrate your newly acquired companies into the existing business. I have written several case studies on the proper steps to take for the smooth integration of acquired companies, and these case studies are used in top business schools. Because of my expertise in the area, I am frequently asked to speak at international conferences, which has always benefitted my employers. I know without a doubt that I can successfully perform in this role. Do you have any follow-up questions I can address on this?”In the response you are demonstrating that you are both qualified to successfully perform in the role, and able to give your prospective employer visibility internationally. You are demonstrating how you can add value to the organization. In addition, your response to interview questions needs to be specific and succinct, as well as truthful and positive. Candidates who relate a particular situation to the interviewer for each question will be far more effective and successful than those who respond in general terms. The best way to answer tough interview questions is to briefly describe specific situations from your work history, and to also be specific in describing the action you took.The response offered to the tough interview question, “Why should we hire you?/What makes you the best candidate for this role?” is only a guide, and therefore it is the job candidate’s responsibility to tweak the advice offered.This article is contributed by Right Management, www.rightmanagement.sg, the global career experts within the ManpowerGroup.