We have all heard of the importance of first impressions. Many experts say they know within the first two minutes if the candidate is right for the job. Obviously, digging deeper for the right qualifications is necessary but good demeanor, polish, eye contact, body language (expressions), the handshake, and straightforwardness are signs that people read right away.
There is a clear-cut way to make the interview process less stressful -- to be prepared. Know the potential employer’s business and what the position you are applying for entails. How will your skills contribute to the organization? You know better than anyone else what you are capable of and what you want out of a job. You will not be intimidated by questions or have your self-confidence shaken when you know the employer’s needs and match them to your skills and strengths. Your confidence will be evident in the interview when you are prepared.
Part of being prepared is anticipating the questions you will be asked in an interview. Following are some general interview questions, which are fairly industry generic:
1. Why did you leave your last position?
2. Will your previous employer give you a good reference – or why not?
3. In your last position, what were the most and the least enjoyable aspects?
4. Considering the position you are applying for, what do you think it will take for a person to be successful?
5. What are the specific strengths you will bring to this position?
6. If you had to tell me what you were weakest at in your last position, what would that be?
7. Describe a typical day at your current job.
8. What would you like to be doing 5 years from now?
9. Describe the best boss you ever had and the worst.
10. What are your bosses title and responsibilities (current or previous)?
11. What might make your current boss more effective?
12. What is your most significant contribution since you’ve been in this type of work?
13. Describe your biggest failure and what you learned from it.
14. How do you go about handling a difficult personality?
15. Tell me about your style of management.
16. What do you want to know about our company?
17. What do you do in your free time? (This can be a tricky way to get you to answer some questions that are illegal to ask – such as, is this person religious, engaged in questionable activities, campaigning for a particular political party, etc. so be prepared with some good solid citizen answers without going in a direction you don’t want to go.)
18. What are the most important factors in selecting your next position, such as the company, commute, growth potential, salary, benefits, or hours?
The most prevalent question is the first one, why you left your last position. Be honest but do not get into office politics or personality clash discussions. There will be a big question as to your “fitting” into their political environment.
Being prepared is the best advice for interviews.