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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Interview tips for preparing for the perfect interview

In preparing for interviews, it is usually difficult to answer certain questions without conveying something negative. It is important to anticipate these tough questions and to rehearse how you will respond to them. Following are the ten most difficult questions along with suggestions on how to prepare for them.

1.”Tell me about yourself”
If you have not prepared yourself and rehearsed to this question, it is likely that you will come across in an unimpressive way. What you say in response to this question is not as important as how you handle it. The most frequent tendency is to say too much. Applicants usually give too much detail!
An effective strategy for answering the “tell me about yourself” question covers four areas: your early background: your education: your work experience; and a bridging statement such as , “and the background leads me here today to this assignment.

2.”What are your strengths”.
This question provides an opportunity to tell the interviewer about some specific and important attribute those you posses. in answering this question, mention at least four to five strengths. This enables you present a wide range of assets and also project a good level of self-confidence. If you present fewer than four, it does not say much about your self-image.

3.”What are your major weaknesses or limitations”
It is not good strategy to attempt to avoid mentioning shortcomings. On the other hand, you don’t have to condemn yourself either. Mention one or two limitations and state them in such a way that they are not damaging to you. There are two basic techniques for accomplishing this.
Ø Mention a weakness that is a “mirror reflection” of one of your assets, such as “”I am a high—energy person and push myself hard. I have to be careful not to move ahead before my staff is ready”.
Ø Mention weaknesses that are easily remedial, such as “I’d like to broaden my managerial skills. I plan to start my MBA by taking evening courses.”
4. What are your financial requirements
Do. Not say that it is not that important to me –opportunity’s my primary concern.” money is important not only for how it allows you to live but for what it says about the importance of the job and it’s incumbent. Two issues need to be weighted: how much do you want and how much they will pay?
One question to ask your self is “what is the minimum I will accept”? This figure should an amount below which you will not consider the job. A second question to ask is, “how much do I really want?” having decided upon the two amounts, you now have an acceptance zone in which to discuss salary.
This leads us to the next part of the equation; how much is the organization willing to pay? If you already know this and assuming the stated salary falls into your acceptable zones, you can mention a somewhat higher salary than is being offered. It is always easier to back down to the posted amount than to try to go up.
Try to determine the organization’s expectations before you mention your desires. If the interviewer states the range. It is prudent to select a figure that is halfway between the midpoint and he top of the salary range. You may have to back down to the midpoint, but if you mention a number below that amount, you have given away your negotiating strength.
If the interviewer is unwilling to talk about the salary range, one acceptable option is to mention an amount equal to your current salary plus 15%.

5. “Why are you leaving or did you leave your present position?”
The interviewer is looking to discover whether or not you were terminated, “eased out,” or quit because things were not going well for you on the job. More specifically, he is concerned about your ability to get along with people.
It is best to answer truthfully, but in way that is not self—damaging. Sometimes the actual situation provides a perfectly acceptable explanation. You might for instance, have left the position because the company was losing money and the future held little potential for growth.
If you were fired, do not imply your termination was caused by inability to work with others. Bad; “ I just couldn’t do enough to please my boss. Good; the job didn’t let me capitalize on my talents.

6. what are your career goals for the next five years?”
Usually the interviewer asks this question to determine your drive and ambition, and if your expectations for advancement match what the company can offer.
Even if you are uncertain about future, it is important to articulate a general desire for continued growth. If you indicate that you have no particular career goals, the interviewer will almost always interpret that response negatively.
If you have specific career objectives, it usually is helpful to state them. If you know enough about the organization, you can often judge how closely your goals match the company’s expectations. When they are fairly congruent, you can state your goals succinctly and confidently

7.”what kind of a position are you looking for”
From the interviewer’s standpoint, there is concern that what you want is different from the job the company is trying to fill. It may be looking for someone to travel a lot; you want more regular hours and schedule. Try to answer this one concisely, viewing it as an opportunity to highlight your strengths. It is usually safer, too, to avoid using specific job titles unless you applied for a specific job.

8.”what was your most significant accomplishment in your last position”
To best answer this question, you need to think of an achievement that was clearly “your baby” and which had a positive impact. It also will help if you can describe obstacles that needed to be overcome (such as initial resistance to your project or difficulties that were surmounted along the way).

9.”Doesn’t this job represent a step down from the level of work you’ve been doing.”
This is a likely question if the job for which you are being interviewed is at a lower level of responsibility or salary than your last position. The interviewer will be concerned that you are likely to leave as soon as something better comes along. Your job will be to convince the interviewer that if hired, you will make a commitment to the job.

10.”How would you describe your management style (or supervisory approach).”
There are three basic ways to answer this question, depending upon how hungry you a re for the position;
1. Be brutally honest. If you have a definite way of managing, spell it out clearly and confidently.
2. Key your style to that of the organization. If you know how management functions, you can mention how certain aspects of your approach to management dovetail with the company’s.
3. Play it safe. If you are uncertain of the company’s corporate style, you can present a very acceptable answer by mentioning one of the several management approaches that currently seen as effective. Pick one, however, that comes close to describing your actual behavior.

Asking your own questions

What do you say when the interviewer asks, “do you have any questions?”

If your response is, “I can’t think of any right now” or, “I don’t have any.” You are going to make a negative impression. It is important to plan before hand some of the questions you will ask, if you have the opportunity. Good questions can greatly enhance the impact you make. They also help you to determine whether or not the job is a good match for you.
Here are some questions you might ask.
Ø Whether I fill this job or not, can you tell me what your expectations are for the incumbent in this position".
Ø What would I be expected to accomplish in this job?
Ø What opportunities for advancement are typically available to people in this position?
Ø Can you tell me why this position is vacant?
Ø How much autonomy would I have in the job?
Ø How many subordinates would be under my direct supervision? Can you tell me something about these people?
Ø Will you please tell me about the person I would report to and other key people I would be dealing with?

After the interview

Handling the aftermath of a series of interviews, whether or not you actually receive a job offer, can require some difficult decisions and can stir up some deep-seated emotions. Whichever way the company decides, there are certain steps you can take to ease the process.

If you get an offer deciding yes or no.

Here are some questions that can help you make the right decisions;
1. Can you do the job?
2. Do you like the people?
3. Are you the kind of person the company needs in that particular job?
4. Do your values match those of the company?
5. Do the job, location, values, and people feel right?

If you said yes to questions 1through4, but you are not experiencing right vibes, take a hard look at the opportunity before you accept the offer.

When you get a turndown

When you’ve lost out on a job you wanted, there are three constructive steps you can take to get yourself back on track and to help turn a potentially negative experience into one that you can learn and profit from
1. do some “ rehashing” you may not have received the offer because of something you said or did that is correctable.
2. examine how you feel, if your feelings are negative, try to determine the roots of the feelings.
3. if negative feelings still persist, talk them out. One way to become free from the control of you feelings is to express them to people.

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