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The job interview. Considering the importance that most companies place on it to determine the person who will be the best fit for an open position, it’s not surprising that it causes most interviewees sleepless nights and bags of nervous energy.

The plethora of books that have been written about ‘how to be a good interviewee’ highlight how to get your resume in order, how to handle nerves, how to look confident when it’s the last emotion your brain can find, and so on.

But, all in all, it’s simply a conversation where you are trying to persuade and influence one or more people that you are the best candidate for the role you’re trying to fulfil. The company naturally need to find out if you’re the one who will take their company forward and achieve better results than if you weren’t there. Hence the depth of questions that are asked to ‘test’ your ability to think on your feet, when under pressure and uncover your character and talent.

Interviewers want to know, not only if you can do the job, but also what you’re like as a person. So they often cover points that will test your thinking and confidence to the limit. Here are five of the most testing questions we’ve come across and some suggested answers that might get you through them.

‘What got you to this point in your life?’

The interviewer wants a clear picture of how you view yourself, and you must be careful not to be too generic and waffle too much. Cover areas that have tested you, and made you the type of person you are today. Highlighted successes and the characteristics those achievements developed in you. Build confidence in the interviewer that you have the perseverance to overcome challenges, the capacity to think creatively and the ability to learn new ideas.

‘What skills do you think you’re lacking?’

The interviewer is looking at how you deal with weaknesses. Don’t lie about this, as everyone has something they need to develop. But you shouldn’t draw negative attention to a specific weakness that will make them think you wouldn’t be the best fit. Mention a quality that might appear a weakness but actually makes you appear helpful to the company. Then back it up with examples of how you have or are trying to work on it. For example, say something like ‘Sometimes I find it too easy to say ‘Yes’ and get overcommitted. I’ve been trying to set myself limits and am becoming more organised with my work and time’

‘Why should I hire YOU?’

The interviewer is looking at how you ‘sell’ yourself while being honest and trustworthy. You have to demonstrate why you’re the best person and the best fit for the job. Ensure you know specifically what the job entails and highlight the skills and talents that you can bring to it. Remember to identify how you have used those skills in previous positions

‘What criteria do you use to judge your own performance?’

The interviewer wants to know if you are externally or internally motivated. Many people need to have the approval of a manager or someone else before they are content with their work. Others know they have done a good job themselves, without the need for external praise. Say that you set yourself a high standard for every piece of work that you do, and strive for excellence when possible. Give examples of when you have completed work and been complimented by the client or your manager, and used that as a benchmark to spring forward. You want to convince the interviewer that you have the confidence and ability to achieve without being supervised every step of the way.

‘Why did you choose to apply for a job with US?’

The interviewer wants to know what background work you did before the interview and are wondering if they are just one of many job applications you have made because you’re desperate! Highlight the things you know about the company, the job and the expectations they have of you, and then describe how they match your values and ideals. Outline how your past history matches with their expectations. Naturally, the interviewer will appreciate you’re probably looking at other companies, but they will want to know how valuable a team member you would become if they hired you.

Being prepared for these and other questions designed to identify how valuable you would be to the company will give you confidence and belief that you will make the right impression.

 

Author Bio: Founder and MD of international management development firm MTD Training, Sean McPheat is widely regarded as a leading authority on modern day management and leadership. Sean is a bestselling author, and has been recognised for his own business building skills through the British Business Awards. Click here to follow Sean online.  

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