Tell Me About Yourself

“Tell Me About Yourself” is one of the most commonly asked questions in a job interview. Its likely to come at the beginning of the interview and how you answer this could affect the rest of the interview. This can be a challenging question to answer if you don’t know exactly what the interviewer wants to hear and what information you should include in your answer. The key thing to remember is the interviewer wants information relevant to the job you are interviewing for.

When you answer this question, you want to be prepared and give a strong answer that focuses on what you can bring to the job. You don’t want to fumble through a vague answer with unimportant information.

This is a question you don’t want to make up on the spot as it could definitely cause the rest of the interview to go downhill.

To start with, let’s think about why interviewers ask this question. Firstly, it gives them the chance to see how you answer a casual question without structure – this may be partly why this question throws us off. We are used to interviews having strict, structured questions so when one is asked so casually, it can make us second guess ourselves.

So seeing how you react to this can be telling for the interviewer. The second reason interviewers like to ask this question is because they get to see what you consider to be important – i.e. what information about yourself you think is important enough to use to answer this question.

When answering this question, what you want to work into your answer is around five strengths you have that are important to the job. These could be experience you have as well as traits and skills you have. For example, you could have strong communication skills which allow you to form good relationships with people easily.

There are some things you also want to avoid when answering this question. Firstly, you don’t want to just spew out your resume – the interviewer has already seen and read this, they want to know more about you, not what they already know.

They also do not want your life story. This isn’t your chance to start an autobiography, save the stories for after you’re hired for your colleagues. This is an easy trap to fall into however, as its the easiest way to answer the question, but if you keep in mind that you don’t want to do this, it should help you navigate your way around it. Added to this, you don’t want to keep talking about yourself for too long.

Don’t go on a 10 minute ramble about yourself – as they say, no one likes someone who only talks about themselves. You want to keep your answer short and sweet, between 1-2 minutes. Obviously you won’t necessarily be able to fit in all your best points into this time frame so this is why its important to plan and decide what are the best factors you want to include. Most important of all, don’t ask “What do you want to know?”. This is a big no-no!

All this screams to the interviewer is you are unprepared and this won’t look good in their eyes.
So now you know what you don’t want to say or do in answer to this question, lets think about what you should say. When answering the question, you need to focus on what the interviewer is interested in. Although you may find certain parts of your life interesting, are they relevant to the job and are they what someone who may hire you wants to hear?

So in your head, you need to be thinking that its not about you, its about them. So in your answer you want to include the primary selling points you have that apply to this job. But you also want to include why you are interested in this position right now.

You can explain why you feel the role you are applying for is the best step for you to take next, not only for yourself but for the company too. So lets have a look in some more detail at how to answer this question.

The first step to give a little bit of information on who you are. When doing this you want to give information on your professional self, for example, by saying I have been an accounts manager for 10 years. What you want to avoid is giving too much of a personal background on yourself, for example, where you grew up, how you performed in primary school etc. Avoid giving too much information and stick to your professional identity.

After this you want to give some detail of your strengths. Use this time to highlight a few key points that are unique and can make you stand out. This may have already been listed on your resume, but thats okay if you keep it short and as mentioned above, don’t spend the entire time just reeling off your resume. However, you want to keep it relevant so don’t talk about your first job as a paperboy when you were 14 but instead focus on points that could be beneficial to the role you are applying for.

Finally you want to finish by telling the interviewer why you have applied for this job and are here today. You do this by telling them why you want the position. You want to be positive about this for example, say you are looking for a more challenging role.

What you don’t want to sound negative or sound as if any job would do. You need to make the interviewer believe you want this job in particular and to work for the specific company. So you don’t want to say something along the lines of “I’m looking for new opportunities” as this could sound to vague and that you may be applying for every position going.

You also don’t want to sound as though you left your lsat position on negative terms, such as you had issues with your boss, as this could make the interviewer wonder whether you could issues with colleagues in their company if they hired you.

My last piece of advice would be, as hard as it is, try not to squeeze in to much detail into this segment. You will have time to talk in more detail about different aspects of your experience and expertise.

But if you reel off to much information in one go, it could cause the interviewer to tune out and they might not fully absorb some important information because it was surrounded by stuff they already know and are not interested in.

If you follow these three steps, your answer will be great!

• First, talk about past experiences and success.

• Secondly, mention your strengths and abilities that you can bring to the job.

• Finish by summarising your current situation.

For example, you might be looking for a job where you have the opportunity to use your customer relation skills and to work with a company for values this.

Continue reading: Tell Me About Yourself

What Are Your Weaknesses?

This may be one of the most difficult questions you can face during the job interview.

It’s one a lot of people forget about because when we are preparing for a job interview, we are thinking about how to get all our strengths across and you wouldn’t exactly wow the interviewer by talking on and on about what you aren’t good at!

So although this question is relatively common in job interviews, it can be very difficult to answer – particularly if you aren’t prepared for it.

The first thing to consider when thinking about this question is why the interviewers ask it. Its easy to think its just to try and trip you up for their own fun but in fact this question serves an important purpose for the interviewer.

What they are looking for is how you answer the question, rather than what you answer.

The reason they ask this question is because they want to see how you respond to a question that is meant to throw you off your game.

Talking about your strengths and how good you are at dealing with the unexpected is all well and good, but this gives the interviewer a chance to see this in action.

So now you know why they are asking the question, this gives you a good chance to answer in the best way – with some preparation of course.
Let’s start with what you want to avoid when answering this question. First and foremost is denial. You know, I know and the interviewer knows that everybody has a weakness so trying to deny it is not going to look good and this could potentially end your chances of getting the job. Secondly, do not use a strength as a weakness.

As clever as this might seem, to try and turn the tables, and not give an actual weakness without using just plain denial, its not.

The interviewer isn’t going to buy it and they want someone authentic to join the company, not a fraud. Speaking of not giving an actual weakness, this is not time to make an awful joke about what your ‘weakness’ is.

Don’t try and make it a joke because this is a serious question. Here is a how a management consultant looks for an answer.

I know this may be some people’s go to escape when they feel under pressure – to make a joke to try and hide the fact they are nervous – but now is not the time for it. And if you prepare for the question, you won’t have the need to go to (often unfunny) jokes.

So now we have covered what not to do in terms of denying or hiding a weakness, you equally don’t want to overindulge.

Don’t start listing off every weakness you think you have and a big hearted explanation as to where these weakness come from, because quite frankly, the interviewer does not want your life story and to become your counselor. Added to this, don’t share a weakness that has nothing to do with the job, for example don’t talk about how you cannot sleep in the same room as a spider etc. Although this is an open question and doesn’t specifically say what is your weakness in relation to the job, that is what the question is about.

Don’t forget you are in a job interview, not a get to know me seminar!

Right, so we’ve covered what not to say when answering this question, lets look at how to answer the question. First things first, you need to work out what your weaknesses are for example, are you shy when you meet new people, are you impatient or are you afraid of change? Whatever weakness you pick, you need to make sure its minor and workable, not one that is instantly going to get your name on the ‘Not Hired’ list.

Once you’ve found your weakness, you need to think about whether or not you are fixing them? How have you addressed the weaknesses and worked around them? Now, once you’ve done this, you need to apply it to the job specifically and how your weakness fits in with this role.

This way we can answer the question in relation to the actual job you are applying for, rather than rambling on about something unrelated and the interviewer may not care about.

When it comes to answering the question in the interview, you want make sure that you do outline the weakness, but also explain how you are working to fix it and you are being proactive about it. If you tell them what your weakness is, they know you are self-aware however if you are making no attempt to work on this weakness and have it under control, the interviewer may think that you uninterested in improving yourself and this may be an undesirable trait.

This is not a question that you can write and learn a script off by heart for. You need to be genuine but also tailor your answer to the job and company you are interviewing for.

You can also not script this question because it is likely that it could be asked in a few different ways.

For example the question could be worded: “What are your greatest weaknesses?” or it could sound more like “If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?”. Although they are worded differently, both questions are about weakness, however you can’t use word for word answers for both these types of questions.

Remember, what you want to avoid when answering this question is:

• To sound in denial about having any weaknesses.

• Using a strength as a weakness – not matter how cleverly you word it.

• Make your weakness a joke.

• Overindulge and turn the job interview into a therapy session.

And what you want to include when answering the question is:

• A weakness that is relevant to the job you are applying for.
• How you are working on your weakness and keeping it under control.
• Be honest – it is like that the interviewer will follow up this question with further questions relating to your answer. If you are honest then these will be easier to answer, and if you aren’t honest, it won’t take long for the interviewer to work out!

Continue reading: What Are Your Weaknesses?

How To Prepare A Letter of Interest

We have all heard of cover letters. They basically introduce you, describe a handful of your skills, and explicitly request a future meeting with the employer.

Many people, however, have not heard of letters of interest.

A letter of interest is alike to a cover letter, including similar information, but is overall very different.

Cover letters are specifically submitted along with the resume. They are sent when there is an open position that the employer is looking to fill, and when you are actively applying for this position. On the contrary, letters of interest can be sent to employers at any time, regardless of whether or not that company is hiring, or if there are any job positions available.

In short, a letter of interest is still a way to introduce yourself, except the purpose of sending one is to inquire about employment opportunities. You may have guessed, but letters of interests demonstrate your interest in the company.

 

How Do I Write an Excellent Letter of Interest?

That is a good question. First, let’s discuss the benefits of writing a letter of interest in the first place. When done correctly, letters of interest will express your interest in the company, as well as describe why you would be a very valuable asset. These letters grant you another chance to further describe your capabilities.

Letters of interest can also be particularly useful for those who are seeking new job opportunities, but who do not want to leave their current jobs before knowing they have another in line. As you are able to send these letters regardless of whether or not the company is advertising a job opening, you can market yourself and learn more about potential opportunities without making significant commitments beforehand.

This being said, let’s now discuss how to write a truly excellent letter of interest. Crafting your letter can be a delicate task, but with the help of this framework we provide you below, it is made simple and straightforward. The key things to include are: information catered specifically to your audience, your qualifications/experience, and a request to hear about job opportunities.

Information Catered to Your Audience

It is very important you cater all of the information in your letter of interest to your audience’s wants and needs. It is very wise to extensively research the company to which you are applying. You should understand the mission of the company deeply, and also what qualities they will find most appealing. It should be very clear to the reader that you did not just send out a bulk load of letters of interest to many different companies.

After all, it is possible the company does not currently have any explicit job openings. If you are attempting to voice why you will be very valuable to them despite that fact, you should ensure you explain why that specific company is special. Furthermore, you should explain why they should take the time and energy to consider how they might integrate you.

In addition, it is generally wise to know a sufficient amount of information about the company you are interested in working for anyway.

When applying, those who generally know more about the company appear more prepared, and are generally more favorable.

Plus, there is likely a specific reason why you are taking the time yourself to draft a letter of interest in the first place.

You likely know enough about the company to know you would enjoy working for it. Make sure you expressly communicate why this is the case in your letter!

Qualifications/Experiences

The letter of interest is your opportunity to introduce yourself, and highlight your most desirable and valuable traits. It is also important describe your qualifications, and other experiences that might make you attractive to the company of which you are interested. It is very important that you do not simply list all of your strengths.

This is unoriginal, and generally viewed as arrogant and unaware. Instead, provide two or three examples of the skills or qualities you possess, and then supply a very brief statement as evidence for each.

For example, you may write, “I am very skilled with leading large groups. In 2010, I organized and led Mission of Mercy, which provided free dental services to impoverished individuals for two full days.” This statement shares one of your valuable skills, and then provides a brief supporting statement that legitimizes the skill.

Moreover, as mentioned, it is very critical to cater this information to your intended audience. For example, the aforementioned statement is likely unwise to include in your letter of interest if the company never works with large groups.

Request to Hear about Job Opportunities

This is perhaps the entire purpose of writing letters of interest. Individuals write them in order to inform themselves about potential job opportunities a company has available.

In the case you are writing a letter of interest, and you are unsure if the company has job opportunities available, it is wise to directly ask if the reader believes there is any possibility the company might find you valuable.

Moreover, you should specifically express your interest in taking the jobs if they are available. For example, if you are interested in obtaining a finance job, you can write something such as, “I would be very interested if you had any finance positions available for hire.” This statement is succinct, and clearly expresses your desires to work for the company. On the other hand, if you are writing a letter of interest, and know certainly that the company has job positions available, it is wise to inquire more about these positions.

For instance, you may state, “I am very interested in learning more about your available finance position. I believe I am an excellent fit.” Writing this, you express both that you would enjoy working for the company, and also that you believe you would benefit the company.

Letters of interest are fantastic mechanisms that, when used correctly, can further highlight you as a wonderful addition to the company, as well as provide information regarding new job opportunities that are relevant to you. It is very important to understand the correct approaches to take when writing these letters. Fortunately, with the aid of this framework we have provided, this process is made simple and straightforward!

 

Continue reading: How To Prepare A Letter of Interest

When Can You Start?

They are the magic words every eager job seeker wants to hear – “when can you start?” However, be careful how you answer and don’t quit your current job just yet.

It’s Usually Great News, But Not Always

Hearing that question at the end of an interview is definitely a positive sign that the interview did not go badly; but, it’s not absolutely a sign that you’ll have the official job offer in your hands shortly. It’s not unusual for interviewers to ask that question of every candidate who could still be selected, although less so for senior management positions.

The thing is, it could either be a sure sign that you have been selected for the position or may as well be the deal breaker.

If you were initially approached by a third-party recruiter, and even more so if all the candidates were recruited, which isn’t unusual for jobs with mid-size or smaller firms without an internal recruiter, the interviewer understands that you may not have even been actively seeking a job and could really just be kicking tires to check on your current market value.

He might ask all the candidates that question as a way to eliminate anyone who really isn’t committed to accepting an offer even if it were extended. He would not want to waste your time or his.

Still, such a scenario is the exception. In most cases, hearing that question is a good thing. However, don’t submit your resignation to your current employer just yet.

The hiring manager could very well have every intention of offering you the job, and then something changes – the position is cut, he gets fired or accepts another position elsewhere, the hiring could be delayed by budgetary constraints, or the company could even be sold. These things happen a lot more often than you’d probably think.

I’ve even heard of companies intentionally hiring away a star performer from one of their main competitors – makes sense, right? – but then firing him a couple of months later knowing that it would be unlikely that he would be rehired by the competitor. Evil? – yes. Unheard of? – no.

It’s hard to predict or to protect yourself from this last scenario, short of simply not accepting an offer from your company’s competitors, but that sure limits your career opportunities.

For the previous scenarios, your best bet is to not resign a current job until receiving a firm job offer in writing and after notifying them in writing of your acceptance.

If for some reason the job offer was withdrawn after that, you would have an actionable cause for damages, and most companies would quickly acknowledge their responsibility for your loss without you resorting to legal action.

So, How Do You Answer?

If the “when can you start” question surprises you, as in nothing up to that point indicated that you were about to receive the job offer, don’t act too eager. The question is not an official job offer, and you could still raise their suspicions by seeming willing to start immediately.

Most people are required to give a two-week notice to current employers, and they want a few days off after that and before starting the new job in order to prepare for the transition.

If you respond to the question with an offer to start immediately, they’ll suspect that you either have already been let go by your last employer, which will raise a whole lot of issues, or that you’re acting unethically by not submitting your two-week notice, which doesn’t bode well for the likelihood of you acting ethically as their employee.

On the other hand, if the question is prefaced by a detailed discussion about you joining their company and included multiple statements indicating that they will be extending you an offer, the question becomes a relevant tangent to that conversation, and you could feel free to answer more openly.

Continue, however, to maintain ethical standards regarding your commitments to providing notice to a current employer. It should be noted, however, than many employers will allow an employee to terminate immediately upon giving notice, figuring that he will not be motivated to work hard during that interim period. You may also have vacation/sick time accrued that can allow you to take off the last days you are otherwise required to report for work.

The best response in many situations is to simply reverse the question – “When would you like me to start?” If the interviewer does not respond clearly, you’ll just have to answer the question.

It is easier to ask for more time and have to honor their request for an earlier start date than it is to promise an early start date and then have to ask for additional time before starting. If you are currently employed be aware that there could be legal issues affecting your job transition. To wit, you may have to adhere to:

  1. Your employer’s written policies.
  2. The terms regarding notice stated in your employment contract.
  3. The terms of a union collective bargaining agreement to which you are a member.
  4. The notice required by local government regulations.
  5. A commitment you made to a current employer regarding completion of specific work.

When Should You Start?

Most HR consultants recommend that a new hire take at least one week off before starting a new job. Two weeks is common. You need the time to wrap up your now-completed job search with regards to any prospective employers with whom you were communicating. Also, because your commitment to a new employer usually results in long hours for training and on boarding over the first couple of months, you might take the opportunity between jobs to catch up on household projects that had been delayed and enjoy some family time while you can. Changing jobs is also very stressful, and if you had been out of work, even more stressful. A few days of rest and relaxation can make a big difference in your performance at the new job.Still, the new employer may have an urgent need for your services, so don’t answer the question with a hard time. Instead, suggest how long you’d like before starting, but also offer to begin earlier if they need you to.

Continue reading: When Can You Start?

What Is Your Greatest Achievement?

While this question is not asked as often as some others are, you’ll still see it in interviews, especially when applying for jobs that don’t typically have quantifiable goals.

Ask this question of a candidate for a sales position, and you’ll probably hear how she greatly exceeded sales quota one year, which is a reasonable answer, which is why it’s rarely asked of sales candidates.

Hiring managers don’t ask this question just to hear of your career successes; they want to understand what you consider a success; what are your values and priorities. But, don’t be fooled by that simple explanation. Unless you tie that success back to your candidacy, you may make a friend, but you won’t land the job.

For example, ask any parent about their greatest successs, and you’ll very likely hear a story about something their child accomplished.

But, if you tweak the question to read “What is your greatest achievement that would make me want to hire you,” which is really what the hiring manager is asking, you would get a much different answer. This is a job interview, not a beer with your buddy at the local sports bar, answer the question as you would if you wanted to be hired.

Your values and priorities should be focused on getting the job offer, and your answer to this question should reflect that.

What Not to Say

It is much easier to blow this opportunity with a bad answer to the question than it is to win the job by knocking it out of the park with your answer.

So, let’s start by preventing you from shooting yourself in the foot:

1.Don’t repeat a statistic from your resume. The hiring manager has your resume. This is an opportunity to show him something new about you. That’s not to say that your accomplishment can’t relate to a success stated in your resume; it just can’t be so one-dimensional. The success should involve your skills and experience; but, it should have also included personal initiative and going above and beyond what was required of you.

2. Your answer should not reflect overcoming a personal struggle or moral dilemma. Remember: focus on the job opportunity and what you can say that will improve your chances of getting the offer. While it may be tempting to gloat over a few personal challenges you overcame, remember this will add no value to the situation at hand and the fact that the challenges were personal means you may not give a balanced presentation of facts. You may get all too sentimental and lose the entire focus of your purpose.

3. Stop short of arrogance or making yourself look good at the expense of others. You want to project the image of a team player who makes everyone around him better. Even if an achievement would be utterly attributed to you, desist from claiming personal credit for it.

4. Keep it short. Again, this question is used to eliminate candidates more than it’s used to advance them. Be prepared to answer with a solid response that you can explain in a couple of minutes at the most.

While practicing to perfect your answer, I strongly suggest you work on your written essay answers as well. Some companies are known to ask this question in their online tests. Uber is one of those companies. Uber’s test extensively covers both analytics and essay type questions.

Prepare for Success

You should have an answer to this question already prepared before you arrive for the interview.

The question is not so different from several others that are routinely asked that it requires a lot of additional thought. “Why should we hire you?” “Tell me about yourself” “What is your greatest strength?” and several others all require the same basic preparation – identifying the qualifications that are most important to the employer, mapping your skills and experience to those qualifications, and then choosing relevant success stories that illustrate how you are the best candidate with respect to each qualification. Create that qualification-skill/experience-success map once, and then simply cite the stories during the interview that are appropriate for each question.

You should also practice answering the question so that you can speak naturally and easily in front of the hiring manager.

He also wants to see how you think on your feet, and if your response sounds nervous or to the other extreme, memorized and canned, he could conclude that you don’t handle pressure well.

Answer the Question

With your preparation completed, you’re now ready to answer this seemingly simple question. Here’s how:

  1. Don’t respond too quickly. Again, you don’t want to appear to have memorized an answer. You also want to appear to think through your answer – maybe you have so many accomplishments that it’s hard to choose the greatest. It shouldn’t take long, certainly no more than 10 seconds, but you shouldn’t blurt out the answer as soon as he asks it either.
  1. Set up the story if required. Think of it like telling a joke – don’t reveal everything too early; build it up and then knock him over with the punch line. You want to grab his attention and hold it, then maximize the effect of the story by having a surprise ending – if possible.
  2. Tie it back to the job responsibilities. The success story sells your candidacy, not you personally.
  1. Quantify the success. You weren’t just the “top producer,” you “had the highest percentage of quota in the company at 145%.”
  2. Include team members rather than excluding them if applicable. If you had to overcome weaknesses of your team to succeed, don’t mention it.
  3. Speak confidently and without hesitation. You may have paused to consider the question, but once you decided on the answer, tell the story in a clear and concise manner.
  4. Avoid arrogance. You can even be humble. The bigger the accomplishment, the more humble you become. Let the accomplishment speak for itself; however, don’t understate the accomplishment. Act like you have more great accomplishments to come; that you consider great accomplishments to be mandatory.

Confirm and Close

You’ve said it. The Big Elephant of your Greatest Accomplishment is standing there beside you in the interview. Don’t ignore it. Ask the hiring manager what he thinks of it. Ask whether there are opportunities for even greater success in the open position. If he engages your inquiries, say “Great, let’s talk about how I can succeed for your company.” Now, the interview progresses with a presumptive bias toward your candidacy, such that you can answer the questions that follow from the perspective of your future employment. It’s a powerful psychological advantage that plants a seed in the managers’ mind.

 

Continue reading: What Is Your Greatest Achievement?

Why Should We Hire You?

It doesn’t matter how perfect you know you are for the job, you could be the most suitable person to exist, ever! But, when that question comes, the dreaded question of “Why should we hire you?, suddenly you forget why you even applied for the job in the first place.

This is one of the hardest questions to answer in a job interview, purely because its hard finding the right balance of showing the interviewer that you are right for the job without sounding cocky and self-obsessed.

Most people find it hard to express what their good points are. The truth is that we tend to be too hard on ourselves, and when this is the case, its hard to convince yourself of the positives you possess, let alone someone else.

So, if you are unprepared for this question, it can leave you unsure of how to proceed. Add to this the nerves of being in a job interview and you are likely to go into freeze mode.

This is exactly what you don’t want, you need to be prepared for this question and have some idea of how to go ahead and answer it. So, what can we do to help you? Well, we can prepare you for exactly this question!

The first thing to address is, why are interviewers asking this question? What are they looking for? As hard as it can be believe, they are just trying to throw you off for fun.

Really, what they want to see if you truly understand what the role includes and that you do infact fit into what they are looking for. This is the best chance to really sell yourself to the company and show them how you are the best candidate for the position and they should hire you immediately!
Now, the ideal answer would include the qualities that the company requires for the role. These are the qualities the interviewer is looking for and would make the ideal candidate, so you want to demonstrate that you posses these qualities.

For example, the company might require management experience or someone who has experience working with accounts.

The key is to adapt the answer to ensure you include the specific qualities that company is looking for.

You can find out what qualities the company is looking for by looking over the job description to see if they include any specific requirements.

Alternatively, you can research the company you are interviewing with and see if they have any particular qualities they look for in their staff or an ethos that includes qualities they promote, for example they may be really focused on creating strong, lasting relationships with customers. You could also research the companies social media, where this be their Facebook page, Twitter or Linked In profile, to see if you can find out what kind of people they tend to employ and this can give you an idea of the companies culture.

Everyone is aware that some work places can have some tension so its becoming increasingly important to employers that the people they hire will fit in with existing staff and the general work environment so there is a positive environment for both the staff and the clients. If you can see what types of people the company is likely to hire and you can relate to them, and if you can then relay this in the interview, this could promote your chances of getting considered for the position further or even hired.

The above is all well and good, showing that you have the desirable qualities, however, what if other people do too?

How do you show to the interviewer that you should be hired above them? What you need to do is portray to the interviewer what makes you different to other people, what puts you above the rest. You can do this by focusing on a unique trait or skill that you have and demonstrating that this makes you the most suitable applicant. On top of this, you could mention how you could make the company better and how they could benefit from you – in terms of problem solving.

The company may belong in an industry that is known for a particular problem, for example call centres are renowned for a high turn over of staff and if you were applying for a managerial position, you could explain how you are a strong motivator of your staff and that in turn leads to job satisfaction and longevity.

Once you have all the above factors included in your answer, there is only one more thing you need to in order for your answer to be perfect.

That is, to deliver your answer in a confident manner. You don’t want to stutter or look like you have been caught in the headlights, however at the same time, you don’t want to sound over-rehearsed and false.

Over-rehearsing an answer can be a big issue. Understandably if you get nervous, particularly answering this style of question, you may be tempted to learn an answer off by heart, however this is not a good idea.

You cannot guarantee that the question will be worded in the exact same way each time, and if its not, your rehearsed answer may not make complete sense. Furthermore, you want to tailor your answer to the specific company and their exact job requirements. So the best thing to do is make sure you have taken into account the points listed above then your answer should impress the interviewers!

So remember, what you want to avoid when answering this question

:• Sounding overly cocky and self-obsessed

• Coming across whiny and feeling sorry for yourself

And what you want to include to ensure a good answer

• Specific qualities that the company finds desirable
• A unique trait that puts you above other applicants
• How you could help solve a problem the company may be facing

With all these factors, you are ready to prepare and deliver a great answer to this question and truly demonstrate to the interviewer that you are the ideal candidate for the job.

Continue reading: Why Should We Hire You?

Why Do You Want To Work Here?

We have all been in this position, you’re at a job interview and the interviewer asks “Why do you want to work here?”. Of course your first impulse is to say that you want to make money, need a job, or have rent to pay.

That’s obviously not what your interviewer wants to hear, in this quick guide, we will go over how to answer this question and impress the interviewer at the same time.

The thing about this question is that by asking it they are asking two questions, ‘why do you want this company?’ and, ‘why do you want this position?’.

You always need to prepare your answer to this question, because the chances are high that the hiring manager will ask it, so, how do you prepare?

Think about it, do some research, why do you actually want to work there, what makes you want this certain company over another.

Is it the opportunities you will get working there, or is it the people you will get to meet, it is important to know the true reason that you want to work there.

If you are not genuinely interested in the job and can’t think of any reason apart from that it pays well, you might want to consider looking at different opportunities that better interest and motivate you, because there is nothing worse than waking up every day, dreading going to work.
In order to convey why you want to work at this company, your answer needs to be specific, make a remark that applies to the specific company, and not a general statement that could be said about any other company you could apply to, this shows you are dedicated to this specific company, which is what the hiring manager wants to see, and not taking a stab in the dark, taking whatever you can get.

Do your research and be informed, show your knowledge of the company and industry at hand, impress the interviewer.

Talk about the company’s success, reputation, or even their philosophy.

Another thing is that in order to be successful, align what you say with the mindset of the company, the better you get along with the company’s ideals and values, the more likely you will be selected for the job.

Yet another major factor that will affect your success in answering this question is to be enthusiastic, you want this job, so show this to the interviewer through the enthusiasm in your speech, this tells them you actually want this job, and will be committed to your work. You want to show that you will commit the foreseeable future to the company, and won’t leave within the next few months or years.

In order to answer why you want the specific position at the company, refer to past experiences, such as if you think it is the next natural stepping stone in your career.

Also address what you can do for the company in the position you applied for, and potentially what you could do for the company in the future, because after all, the interviewer doesn’t care what you get out of the job, but how the company profits from you doing your job well.

It is important to convey that you are the right person job, and that have unique qualities above the requirements of the job that could potentially profit the company. Know the department you are going to be working at inside-out, what do they do, how many employees are there, what is expected from you.

This is sometimes not possible, as companies do not always share intimate details of their work force or operations, so if you can’t find anything, add something personal, a personal reason you admire the company and would enjoy working there, such as the fact that you have seen it grow from a small business into a major market player, or even an experience you, a friend or family member had with the company, it could be anything, as long as it does not portray the company you are applying to in a bad light, that is an instant red flag for hiring managers, they want employees who love the company and will spend most of their foreseeable future working for the profit of the company, they want loyalty and dedication.

Keep your answer short, just like every other question you will be asked, they are not looking for an extremely long-winded and boring answer, but a concise, enthusiastic and clear response that directly answers the question without any fuss or unnecessary details that might be wasting the interviewer’s valuable time, this will also give off the professional attitude of getting things done well and quickly that the hiring manager is looking for in potential employees.

Make sure that you answer the question in a genuine manner, and not as if you are reciting what you practiced, that shows the interviewer you are nervous and might easily crack in difficult situations, answer the question naturally and move on to the next question.

Most importantly, like every other interview question, don’t try to be funny, it is an absolute death sentence to your consideration for the job, trying to crack a cheesy joke, like “Cause I’m totally broke”, is not funny, even though it might be your first impulse and you think it’s funny, or you think that the interviewer would be amused , they won’t, they hear jokes all day from nervous interviewees that got scrapped off of the list.

To sum up, in order to answer this question successfully, you need to research the company; find a genuine reason you want to work at the company; find out what you can offer for the company and most important of all, stay calm, answer the question and move on, the question is meant to challenge your quick thinking and ability to deal with unfamiliar situations quickly and effectively. Be creative, interviewers are looking for something different and want you to impress them, but most important of all, be genuine and be yourself. If you’d like, you can check out this video for further information.

Best of luck!

Continue reading: Why Do You Want To Work Here?

How Do People Describe You?

This question will almost undoubtedly be asked when you are applying for a job, so make sure you know how to answer it, in this short guide, we’ll tell you how.

Like all other job interview questions, the answer is not as simple as it seems, and the interviewer is trying to trick you into revealing more about yourself than you think you are revealing.

There is a simple way to go about answering this question that will leave the hiring manager impressed at your abilities, and might land you the job.

The chances are high you will be asked this question, so prepare your answer, find out what people actually describe you as, and not how you would describe yourself, it is worthwhile to write down all the aspects that people describe you as, which allows you to better organize an answer to the question.

The important thing about this question is that the hiring director is trying to see how willing you are to admit to weaknesses, don’t try and make yourself seem perfect, saying for example that people would describe you as the reason they wake up in the morning, because that’s probably not true.

Admitting some of your less favorable attributes is actually beneficial to you, as the hiring manager is always looking for honest people, and no-one is perfect, being obnoxious and listing out only positive attributes about yourself is not genuine, be a bit modest, no-one has no negative attributes, be a real person and admit to them.

Go out and find out what people actually think about you, for example contact a co-worker and ask, it adds a lot of value when you cay say that one specific person said that they think you are very dependable, especially when it is someone who was in a higher level position than you, who is able to give you a reference.

One of the main reasons that the hiring director asks this is to see how well you get along with others, and to see how you would be able to work together with your co-workers in order to profit the company.

If people describe you as highly sociable and funny, it is likely you will get along with your future colleagues, so try to highlight social and communication skills when it comes to this question. Another quality that the hiring manager is looking for when you answer this question is good work ethic.

If people describe you as being a person dedicated to their work, or organized, this will be appealing to the hiring manager, they are looking for potential employees who will dedicate their foreseeable future to the profit of the company, so make sure to highlight anything people say about you relating to organization, dedication, punctuality.

There is no need to tell every single thing people describe you as, if you have made a list it is easier to see which ones you should tell the hiring manager about and which don’t apply to the job you are applying to, for example if you are applying for an administrative job, don’t waste the interviewer’s time by saying that people describe you as musically talented.

If the attribute has nothing to do with the job at hand, it adds very little or no value to your consideration.

When answering this question your answer needs to be structured, in order to convey your point to the full potential and impress the interviewer at the same time, you need to carefully structure answer, you should start with an introduction, followed by a list of aspects, and then a conclusion.

Tailor your answer to the specific company you are applying to, if you have one special quality that people describe you as having that could potentially benefit the company and that is above the basic job requirements, make sure to mention it, because it might be a deciding factor in whether or not you get the job that you applied for.

Acknowledge your negative aspects, trying to hide them never works, if for example you were fired from a job once, say so, there is no shame in it, otherwise the interviewer might ask later and you would need to justify it with yet another response that makes sure that you don’t get eliminated from the list of candidates for the job.

Don’t waste the interviewer’s time by reciting an essay on what people describe you as, keep it short and clear, answering the question directly and not avoiding an actual answer. Your ability to answer unfamiliar questions will greatly affect your consideration as a potential employee. Keep your answer short, professional and concise.

Keeping your answer short will give the interviewer a big clue to your work ethic and the way that you can handle situations, short answers tell the interviewer that you get things done quickly and well, it also shows that you can handle unfamiliar situations well under pressure, which might be an important deciding factor in whether you get the job you applied for or not.
Most importantly, be confident, don’t stumble over your words as you scramble for an answer, the best way that you can avoid being surprised by the question is to always expect it and prepare your answer accordingly, even if the question isn’t asked, it is always good to have prepared, it might even help you to answer another question.

In conclusion, in order to answer this question successfully and impress the hiring manager, it is worthwhile to plan ahead, make a list of attributes that people describe you as having, then cross out all the attributes that are unrelated to the job you are applying to, now all the attributes left over you can talk about during the interview and they will add value to your consideration for the specific job. Remember to be confident, keep the answer short and clear, and most important of all in this question is to be modest, bragging about how great people describe you a being does not give the interviewer a good view of you and might get you eliminated from consideration.

Continue reading: How Do People Describe You?