Performing well in a job interview is crucial to your success. Photo Courtesy: Victor
Youâ€™ve seen your dream job and your dream job has seen you, youâ€™ve lovingly prepared your CV and theyâ€™ve invited you in for a chat, you can almost taste it, you can almost smell your new office – itâ€™s so close.
However, standing in between you and that dream job is the interview, itâ€™s mocking you, and itâ€™s laughing at you. It knows what awkward questions itâ€™s going to ask, you know what awkward questions itâ€™s going to ask and you both know thereâ€™s no way around it without sounding like either a complete idiot or a book of walking clichÃ©s â€“ really, you push yourself too much, thatâ€™s your biggest weakness?
Hereâ€™s how to trounce those annoying clichÃ© questions and bag that job:
Awkward Question: Why do you want to work for us?
Stupid Answer: Because I need the money/youâ€™re round the corner from my flat/no one else will hire me.
Sensible Answer: This really isnâ€™t rocket science, so have your answer prepared (before you get a case of verbal diarrhea and blurt out one of the stupid answers trying to make it sound like a joke). Do your research, look into the company history a bit; do they have some really impressive clients in the industry? Have they won any notable accolades recently? Do they have a reputation for treating their staff really well?
Letâ€™s assume youâ€™re leaving your current job and youâ€™re in an interview with another company…
Example: â€œTo be honest I really love working for (insert current employer here) but when I heard (insert hiring company here) was looking for (insert job role here), I really couldnâ€™t pass up the opportunity. Iâ€™ve admired (insert hiring company name here) for a while, and with clients like (insert some of their flag ship accounts here), Iâ€™d love the chance to work for such an established company.â€
Awkward Question: What are your strengths/weaknesses?
Stupid Answer: â€œI find I push myself too hard; Iâ€™m always the first in the office and the last one home each nightâ€
Sensible Answer: Really? You push yourself/work too hard? I canâ€™t believe anyone has really walked into an interview before now saying “yea, Iâ€™m really lazy, the second it hits 4:59pm Iâ€™m out the doorâ€. Call your interviewer presumptuous but theyâ€™re going to assume youâ€™re a hard worker so come up with something a little more original and maybe even something a little more truthful. Tell them something you know you can work on, or something you know isnâ€™t going to be absolutely essential to your potential new role. In your last role you didnâ€™t get to be as client facing as youâ€™d have liked, or youâ€™re looking to develop your management capabilities as you only had a small number of staff under you at your last job. Just make sure youâ€™re not saying something thatâ€™s going to hinder you from doing this new job.
Example: â€œIâ€™ve always loved talking to people and building new relationships but my last role wasnâ€™t as client facing as Iâ€™d have liked, so I think my customer care skills can be improved uponâ€ or â€œmy (insert name of popular industry software) skills are something Iâ€™m continuously working on, I love the creative side of my job but unfortunately it means my more technical skills arenâ€™t quite up to the standard Iâ€™d like them to beâ€.
Awkward Question: Why do you want to work for us/why should we hire you?
Stupid Answer: â€œBecause Iâ€™m amazing/youâ€™d be lucky to have me/my head wonâ€™t even fit through the doorâ€ etc.
Sensible Answer: Thereâ€™s being confident and thereâ€™s being such a cocky SOB you get punched in the face on the way out. Yes, they want someone who can sell themselves and show theyâ€™re proud to work for them but this can be conveyed without making it look like youâ€™re auditioning for a role in the latest reality TV programme about a bunch of chavs in their home town! Theyâ€™ve asked you in for a reason, so just be honest, tell them what you can do, what youâ€™ve achieved to date and donâ€™t forget to give others credit where itâ€™s due; if you didnâ€™t single handedly win all the business at your old job, donâ€™t try and pretend you did.
Example: â€œIâ€™ve loved working at/in (last company name/industry) and I find it exciting and challenging, I honestly believe this is reflected in my work. I have built up some very good relationships at (last job) and find that when Iâ€™m enjoying what Iâ€™m doing, it projects a sense of confidence. Iâ€™d love the chance to continue doing (insert job here) in a new environment and working for someone with your reputation and helping to build that reputation with (insert new company name here).
It may look easy on paper but so long as you find that perfect balance between coming across as too confident and too nervous, youâ€™ll be fine. If you donâ€™t quite make it this time, donâ€™t forget to ask for feedback so you can improve for next time.