Category Archives: Find a job

Why Are They Asking These Interview Questions?

Common Interview Questions

What’s behind the question?

Have you ever asked yourself why are they asking these interview questions?  People sometimes feel they did not do their best at their job interview. This has several reasons. First, in general, most people do not prepare sufficiently for that oral test commonly known as the job interview. They simply don’t know how to. But because of their past successes at landing jobs, they feel that that validates the fact that they must be good. Second, some job candidates take the time to prepare, but they do not make extra efforts at practicing interviewing—namely, by doing mock interviews with someone who can point out their weak spots and help them improve. And third, they don’t understand what’s really behind common interview questions. Let’s go through some here.

The most common interview question is, “Tell me about yourself.” Well, it’s not exactly a question, but it is indeed an unfinished sentence because when you hear those words in an interview, what’s really behind them is the real question: “Tell me about yourself in a way that demonstrates to me your qualifications to help us meet our challenges by reciting at least one relevant success story.” Now that you know that, it will be much easier to craft a good answer.

Another common interview question is, “What are your strengths?” Behind this one, the interviewer is looking to see whether you’re prepared for the interview and whether you can recite eloquently and succinctly what your strengths are. Again, the interviewer hopes your examples will be pertinent and relevant to the company’s needs. If your recited strengths are valid but not for current company needs, your answer is tantamount to serving someone a wonderful dessert after a huge meal. Yes, it’s good, but there is little appetite left.

After the strengths question, it is very common to be asked, “What are your weaknesses?” Admittedly, this is a difficult question. What’s behind this one is an interviewer who’s curious first about your honesty and then about whether you reveal something that might be a serious impediment to your candidacy. Or perhaps you’re completely dumbfounded and unprepared—and that’s not a good sign.

“Why are you interested working for us?” is another important and common question. Behind this question, the interviewer does not want to hear what you think is good for you about the position. Instead, you are being given an opportunity to prove to the interviewer what you can do for the company, not for yourself. And above all, you should answer this question with a heightened level of excitement. This is what the interviewer is expecting to see, and if your answer is not memorable, then the interpretation will be that you’re probably not very serious and not very interested. In an interview, exhibiting your excitement via body language and facial expressions is more important than the words you say.

Another question that always comes up in an interview, provided they like you, is, “So, how much money are you looking for?” This question is commonly misunderstood because some job candidates think the interviewer is close to closing the deal and ready to negotiate. Absolutely not! Don’t be misled by that question. You as a candidate have no negotiation power at this stage. You were not offered anything yet. The real thought behind the question is, “I like what I see so far, but I wonder whether I can afford you.” That’s why a good answer here will consist of a reasonably wide range, the lowest end of which has to be the lowest compensation you’re willing to accept. So, not until you have in your hand that letter whose first word is Congratulations are you ready to start negotiating. But the subject of salary negotiation has to be left for another article in the future.

Applying for Jobs Is Ineffective

Applying for jobs

Applying for jobs

Many people are looking desperately for suitable jobs, but ask yourself whether you’re just working hard at it or smart at it. Many get so disappointed by the entire process that they give up entirely. Please don’t! Via this article, I want to revive your interest by attempting to logically explain the job search process and how to go about it.

The answer lies in being effective at networking. Only a small percentage of people say they enjoy meeting new people while in transition. An equally small percentage network out of necessity. However, because they may have had bad experiences and have come to believe networking to be a waste of time, a majority of people in transition don’t take advantage of the opportunities coming their way.

The objective of networking is not to meet people but to be referred by people (1) who can talk to others about your past performance and (2) who are willing to recommend you. Such recommendations are remarkably more valued by a hiring decision maker versus simply interviewing people based on their résumés. A recommendation by a trusted source based on past performance on the job is more convincing—and a better predictor of future performance and potential—than relying on gut feelings after the interview.

There are two steps for this process to be successful. The first is to choose a few people who know your past performance to the point that they’re not only willing to vouch for you but also willing to go the extra mile by actually putting in a good word for you. However, you want to make sure that those people are familiar with the information in your actual résumé or at least your LinkedIn profile. To ensure that, ask for their feedback on either one or both. Then ask them to either call on your behalf or introduce you to someone they consider being in a position to help you. I know this procedure can be highly uncomfortable, but assure the people that you would do the same for them if the shoe were on the other foot.

The second step is to reverse the networking process. Start with a job opening that interests you. Next, find someone in your circle of connections who can introduce you to someone else at that company. Once you’ve made that inside connection, you must become focused and proactive. Ask for further connections until you get closer to the decision makers for the job. This sounds difficult and is usually out of most people’s comfort zones, but it is very effective. Those who are persistent get favorable results. At times, you’ll feel you’ve hit a brick wall or ended up in a cul-de-sac. But don’t give up. Keep going, because the method works.

Admittedly, the headwind, the pushback, and the system’s failure rates are considerable. It’s easy to become disappointed and to want to give up. To stay focused, establish a reasonable target of connections you want to make each week. Challenge yourself to stay the course. Remember famous film producer Samuel Goldwyn, who said, “The harder I work, the luckier I become.” It’s so true. And I wish you lots of luck.

Want to Change Career? What Does It Take?

Changing jobs

Want to change career? Really??

Want to Change Career?

No surprise that in this economy more and more people are toying around with the idea of changing careers. For some, such a change represents an opportunity; for others, it may be a necessity because their industries are shifting, shrinking, or becoming extinct. The question my clients ask with more and more frequency is how to go about it. Regrettably, though, there’s no simple or one-size-fits-all answer, because each situation is unique. In other words, no two people’s circumstances are the same. A career coach cannot make such a decision for a client; the answer has to come from the individual. A career coach can of course counsel, guide, and support the process.

Continue reading