Top Interview Mistakes – Part 2

June 4, 2008 at 4:38 am 1 comment

Continuing my series on the worst mistakes people make during interviews, here’s number #5 – Insufficient answers.

Did you know that 30 percent of hiring managers think that interviewees do not provide sufficient answers to questions during interviews? The best way to prevent insufficient answers in your own interviews is to prepare for difficult questions ahead of time.

1. Tell me about yourself. Spend about a minute or so talking about your education, work history and recent experience.

2. What do you know about our company? Demonstrate you’ve done research on their products/services, reputation, goals and even organizational challenges without going into too much detail.

3. Why do you want to work for us? See my post on three easy ways to score interview points.

4. Why should we hire you? Talk about your accomplishments, combined with your skills and interests make you a valuable addition to the company. Mentioning your ability to set priorities, identify problems, and using your experience to solve them are all good ways to demonstrate that you’re a smart choice for the position.

5. What’s your biggest strength? Don’t pick just one! Determine which strengths would fit best with the position for which you are applying and give examples of how you’ve applied your strengths to measurable successes. (“I believe my greatest strengths are my leadership and time-management skills. During my last major project, I headed a team that surpassed my manager’s expectations and came in ahead of schedule.”)

6. What’s your greatest weakness? Tell the truth by sharing a real weakness. The important thing is to emphasize what steps you’re taking to improve yourself. (“Unfortunately I have a tendency to procrastinate. In order to overcome that problem, I’ve started breaking down large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks to make sure I stay on time and on task.”)

7. Why are you leaving your current job? Don’t spend too much time detailing this answer. Regardless of your answer, be truthful because employers do check references!

8. What did you like best about your last job? The worst? Avoid personality problems or negative responses. Talk about what you liked about the position and then what you’re looking for in your next position.

9. What are your long-term goals? Relate your goals back to the company with which you are interviewing: “At a company like XYZ, I would like to…”

10. What are your salary requirements? Avoid exact numbers for as long as you can politely do so. Early in the interview process, you may say you need to know more about the position’s responsibilities before you could give a meaningful answer to that question. Continue to emphasize you’re most interested in finding out more about the opportunity than talking about money. Try to find out whether there is a salary range attached to the job prior to the interview by doing research. So if you’re pressured to give a number, you can share that based on your understanding of the job, an appropriate range is between X and Y dollars.

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Top Interview Mistakes – Part 1 You heard the people

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