After going through several websites, here are my top picks of the top, and hardest, interview questions. Get prepared to answer these ladies and gents!
1. What were your starting and ending compensation levels? I HATE talking about salaries because they vary greatly. I would try to dodge this one with general numbers and statements. I have previously preceded my answer with the following true statement, “I was previously hired into a higher salary because my manager knew that the economy would tank and I wouldn’t be getting a bonus. Hence why I was hired at $x.”
2. What did you like or dislike about your previous job? This question isn’t as tough as it may seem. You should always start with a positive, talk a little about the negative but leave on a positive. That way the negative is sandwiched in between two great things about the last job and you’re saying more good than bad things about your previous employers, which is always a plus.
3. What was the biggest accomplishment/failure in your previous position? Again, I would absolutely use the sandwich approach.
4. Why are you leaving your job? This is the time when you can talk about your desire to grow and learn more. You can say that as much as you enjoy your current position it is clear that you won’t have an opportunity to expand your skills which is an important thing to do. No one wants to be a one trick pony, your current employer shouldn’t want that for you either.
5. What are your short and long term goals? You should want to aspire to meet your mangers expectations and say that you are very flexible with changing with the position, in the long term. In the short term, and here is where the 30-60-90 plan I have previously talked about comes in. You need to learn about the position, company and how things work. You can’t be successful at what you do if you don’t know how the business is run.
6. What was a major obstacle you were able to overcome? This is a great opportunity to highlight the skills you have acquired recently. Perhaps your biggest obstacle was getting laid off. That’s ok, since that happened you finally had the time to learn this, get certified in that and volunteer for the following companies or events. If you are still working, talk about an obstacle that does not evoke major emotion in you. You don’t want the interviewer to sense that you can’t deal with confrontation or bad situations. This is your moment to shine and really talk about what you can bring to the table!
7. What is your greatest weakness? Again, this is a great time to use the sandwich approach from above.
8. What qualities should a successful manager have? You don’t want to talk about the qualities they shouldn’t have, like micro management, because for all you know that may be exactly how they operate. Talk about your ideal environment, i.e. being trusted to do your job, make decisions and drive a process from start to completion.
9. What kinds of people have difficulty working with you? Don’t begin to alienate people before you even get the job. Ask if you can talk instead about the types of people that you enjoy working with and who enjoy working with you. At the end you can mention that perhaps someone who might not enjoy your persistent personality is someone who may have a tough time getting used to you but you’ve overcome that kind of situation previously and don’t see it being a problem going forward.
10. Why do you want this job? Let things flow! Talk about what you know about the company and its accomplishments. Talk about your career progression and how you can accomplish your goals here!
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