2011-07-05

Interview questions to prepare for

Drake Editorial Team

A series of tough interview questions and suggestions for successfully answering them

 

1. Tell Me About You!

Keep your answer to one or two minutes; don’t ramble. Plan ahead by researching the employer and the particular job in advance. Have a concise answer prepared that focuses on your key skills, knowledge and experiences that are relevant to the position. Touch on personal skills and characteristics that translate into career strengths.

 

2. What Do You Know About Our Company?

Do your homework before the interview. Spend some time online or at the library researching the organization. Find out as much as you can, including products and services, the size of the  organization, reputation, image, management style, culture, company history, and philosophy. Project an informed interest—impress them with your knowledge and initiative.

 

3. Why Do You Want To Work For Us?

Don’t talk about what you want. First, talk about their needs: you would like to be part of a specific company project; you have the experience to solve a company problem; you can make a contribution to specific company goals. Conclude by referencing their work environment, or corporate culture, and how you would work well in such an atmosphere.

 

4. What Would You Do For Us? What Can You Do For Us That Someone Else Can’t?

This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate how your past accomplishments and skills relate to their specific requirements. Use past experiences that show you’ve had success in solving previous problems on the job that may be similar to those of the prospective employer. Speak to results, not just initiatives. The interviewer wants to know that you are willing to go above and beyond the basic requirements of the position.

 

5. What About The Position Do You Find The Most Attractive? Least Attractive?

List three or more attractive factors and only one minor unattractive factor.

 

6. What Do You Look For In A Job?

An opportunity to use your skills, to perform, and be recognized.

 

7. Please Give Me Your Definition of a.... (The Position for Which You Are Being Interviewed).

Keep it brief; give a results oriented definition.

 

8. How Long Would It Take You To Make A Meaningful Contribution To Our Firm?

Not long at all. You expect only a brief period of adjustment during the learning curve.

 

9. How Long Would You Stay With Us?

As long as we both feel I’m contributing, achieving, growing, etc.

 

10. Where Do You See Yourself In 5 To 10 Years?

The interviewer’s objective is to ensure that you will be satisfied in the position and you aren’t simply buying time until you find something better. Be realistic, but try to illustrate that you are goal oriented and you are looking to grow and progress within the company.

 

11. What Motivates You?

Avoid mentioning motivators such as money, benefits or vacation. You want to appear hardworking and interested in the responsibilities of the position. Focus on how you will benefit the company as opposed to how they will benefit you.

 

12. What Are Your Strengths?

If you’ve done your homework you should have an understanding of what the interviewer will be looking for in an ideal candidate. Focus your answer on the characteristics and skills that were listed in the job posting or that you feel are most relevant to the position. Highlighting attributes that show you have a good work ethic will also impress the interviewer. Be prepared to support your claims with specific examples from past experiences.

 

13. What Are Your Weaknesses?

A common mistake that many job seekers make is to answer this question by making a so called weakness seem positive. The classic example, “I’m a perfectionist” won’t get you very far. A better approach is to discuss a skill that you would like to improve upon and describe actions that you are taking to do so. For more advice on what to avoid in an interview, read Drake Infosheet 3: “Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your Job Interview”.

 

14. Why Should We Hire You?

This is generally a question that will be asked near the conclusion of the interview. It gives you an opportunity to reiterate the skills, experiences and accomplishments that will enable you to excel in the position. Think of it as a chance to summarize all of your relevant strengths and differentiate yourself from other candidates.

 

15. Do You Have Any Questions?

The wrong answer is “No”. Asking informed questions shows initiative and indicates that you are truly interested in the position. For information on appropriate questions to ask in an interview, read Drake Infosheet 4: “Asking the Right  Questions”.

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