Interview questions can be tricky and sometimes responding to them can be difficult. The simplest answer to a question is usually the best. Complexity can get you into a tangle of conflicting replies. Here are a few confounding questions with some alternate answers:
- TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF – Be ready for this one! Provide a crisp but positive response. The hiring manager is looking for key knowledge, skills and abilities that will get results. Connect your achievements to the position description. Stay away from personal items.
- DO YOU WORK BEST AS AN INDIVIDUAL OR AS A TEAM MEMBER? – Careful here! State that you work best as a part of a team effort where you can also contribute as an individual. Cite examples of your team contributions, how you’ve gotten results as an individual, then as a leader of a team effort. Make sure your answer is credible.
- WHY SHOULD WE HIRE YOU OVER ALL THE OTHERS? – Match your most impressive results with the needs of the organization. Connect new ideas and alternatives. Identify experiences you had in solving problems that the organization may have currently.
- TELL ME ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL DISAPPOINTMENTS– Be ready with a story or two around promises or expectations that didn’t happen. How you handled it and what you learned. Don’t put down past bosses as the “bad guys”.
- TELL ME ABOUT PROBLEMS YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED WITH SUPERVISORS – This is a tricky question, as you don’t want to lash out, but rather indicate how you worked it through. You might say, “I’ve been lucky to have supportive supervisors, but there were times when I’ve had to work extra hard to help meet my bosses objective”.
- HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH PRESSURE AND CRITICISM?– Pre-knowledge of the company’s work environment would be helpful. The interviewer is looking for your attitude toward pressure and how well you respond to it. Criticism of a work product is different from a personal criticism. Each should be managed differently: People versus things.
And finally a curveball question that can kill an interview that has gone very well so far:
- WHAT DO WE NEED TO KNOW THAT HASN’T BEEN ASKED? WHAT ARE WE MISSING? Be prepared for this question. Caught unaware, most will answer in the negative because it’s almost an accusatory question like, “What haven’t you told us?” However, don’t be put off balance. Don’t’ say, “Nothing, We covered everything”.
There are two options:
- Fill in a major achievement that you haven’t covered that you want the hiring manager to know, especially if it affects the ability for you to do an outstanding job
- Cite accomplishments that parallel the interests of the company, like community activities, industry associations, and service clubs, especially as a leader.
Be ready for any question, even strange ones, likes, “What’s your favorite color?”
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