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10 Crackin' Interview Questions.

08 June 2015

10 Great Interview Questions:

1. Why is there a gap in your work history?

Employers understand that people lose their jobs and it’s not always easy to find a new one fast. When answering this question, list activities you’ve been doing during any period of unemployment. Freelance projects, volunteer work or taking care of family members all let the interviewer know that time off was spent productively.

2. Can you think of a recent problem in which old solutions wouldn’t work?

This question is seeking a creative answer. The interviewer is trying to identify how knowledgeable you are in today’s work place and what new creative ideas you have to solving problems. Example: Your workplace swears by fax machines for signing contracts. Until the phone lines go down. Did you save the day with a scanner and an emailable .pdf? You may want to explore new technology or methods within your industry to be prepared for.

3. What would the person who likes you least in the world say about you?

This tricky question, a twist on the “what’s your biggest weakness?” standby, often leads to pregnant pauses as the interviewee struggles to present an answer that won’t present them in a bad light. Don’t  answer it quickly, because you should definitely answer it thoroughly. Highlight an aspect of your personality that could initially seem negative, but is ultimately a positive. Example? Patience—or lack of it. Used incorrectly this can be bad in a workplace. But always driving home deadlines can build your esteem as a leader.

4. What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

Some roles require a high degree of tenacity and the ability to pick yourself up after getting knocked down. Providing examples of your willingness to take risks is important because it not only shows your ability to fail and rebound, but also your ability to make risky or controversial moves that succeed.

5. Imagine you get offered this job. I'm your current boss and you come to me to hand in your notice. What do I have to say to you to make you change your mind and stay?

My absolute favourite! Most people will glibbly answer "There's nothing you can say..." - you reply "OK, I'll pay you £100k a year and you only need to work on Wednesdays..." They will smile and say "Ah well...that's different". Keep a straight face and say, "Between there and where you are now is a point where you would waver - where is that?" Keep the straight face and wait for the reaction. This question alone will tell you if they are interviewing for your job to use it as a bargaining tool with their current employer. This questio alone can save you so much heartache when you are making an offer.

6. Describe a time when you were part of a project or planning team that could not agree…

Questions pertaining to difficulties in the past are a way for potential employers to anticipate your future behaviour by understanding how you behaved in the past and what you learned. It’s important to clarify the situation succinctly and to explain what specific action you took to come to a consensus with the group and describe the result of that action.

7. If you could change one thing about your last job, what would it be?

Beware of making disparaging comments about former colleagues  or supervisors, as you never know what bridges you may be burning. An additional trouble point in answering this query is showing yourself to be someone who can’t vocalize their problems as soon as they arise. A good rule is to steer clear of people. Problems with technology are safe ground.

8. Explain a database in three sentences to your 8-year-old nephew.

Explaining mortgages, explaining just about anything in terms an 8-year-old can understand shows the interviewer you have solid and adaptable understanding of what it is they do. Do your homework, know the industry and be well-versed.

9. Tell me about yourself…

Seems simple, right?

It’s not. This is difficult because people tend to meander through their whole resumes and mention personal or irrelevant information in answering. Keep your answer to a minute or two at most. Cover four topics: early years, education, work history, and recent career experience. Emphasize this last subject. Remember that this is likely to be a warm-up question. Don’t waste your best points on it. Keep to your professional career! (e.g., don’t cover your family life, weekend activities, pets, collections, etc.)

10. Why should we employ you?

The most overlooked question—and also the one most candidates are unprepared to answer. This is often because job applicants don’t do their homework on the position, and as a result aren’t able to pinpoint their own unique qualifications for the job. What they are really asking is why you are more qualified than everyone else. You need to review the job description and qualifications very closely to identify the skills and knowledge that are critical to the position and then identify experiences from your past that demonstrate those skills and knowledge.