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Interview Techniques



1.   Why do you want to work for ABC Company?

In this economy, HR and company management can be selective.  There are plenty of applicants.  You must be prepared to tell your prospective employer why your skills are the right match for the position you are applying for.  It is important to research the company you are applying for.

If you're looking to work for ABC Company, then Google the company, view the company's website, read over any news or information regarding the company's sales, service and marketing strategies, and learn about ABC's products and services.

Be prepared to tell the company why you want to become part of its team.  You can tell HR or management that you are the right fit to build customer partnerships because you can establish exceptional customer relationships.  You can let them know that you can build Excel spreadsheets and can provide analysis of key performance indicators (KPI) that can prove valuable in tracking sales, service excellence, and profit & loss.  You can offer your capabilities as a team leader, critical thinker or decision maker.  Convince ABC you possess the skills they need.

2.   How are you qualified to perform the job you are applying for?

Tell the prospective employer what skills you offer.  If you can perform accounts payable, accounts receivable, and bank reconciliations, and have been recognized for accuracy, and ... if you possess a letter of recommendation that proves it, then tell the employer, and immediately afterward, show the employer the letter of recommendation that supports your skill level.

If you have managed staff, started up operations, build presentation materials, established cost, quality and efficiency procedures, assisted in training new staff, developed employee skills resulting in top producing sales teams, increased sales by 14%, achieved a customer satisfaction index (CSI) ratio greater than 95%, improved customer relations by following through on all purchase orders, or similar functions that have contributed to company growth or success, then be proactive and indicate how you are qualified to perform the job you are applying for.

3.   Are you prepared to start immediately?

You may want to take a vacation or determine when you want to start working for your new employer, but until you are absolutely sure you have been hired, you should meet the prospective employer's needs and requirements.  If you have convinced the prospective employer that you are the right fit for the position, and the employer is willing to hire you, then take the job and start as soon as you can.  Seize the opportunity.  Don't play with the starting date when the employer needs your skills immediately.

4.   How much money are you looking to make?

Although it would be foolish to walk into an interview and bring up how much money you want to make before you've indicated what you can do for the prospective employer, you should be prepared with the salary you are seeking.  However, you shouldn't leave the first interview without discussing salary.  Every employer knows you won't work for free.  If the employer asks you what you want to make, you reply by saying, "what are you willing to pay," or "what do you believe a person with my capabilities is worth" (assuming you've already represented your exceptional skills).  You must define how much you want to make and how much you're willing to accept.

5.  What are your two greatest achievements?  Why?

Here are two examples of effective answers:

I assisted the company in building its service capabilities by establishing a warranty program and making it affordable so that the customer feels secure with his or her purchase of a new car.

I brought in a new computer software system that increased efficiency in tracking customer purchasing activities and evaluating customer satisfaction with services provided.

6.  What is your biggest disappointment?  Why?

 (Hint - never answer this  "honestly" - for instance, when replying that you were deficient in  your previous company's software, you say:
    "Because I was deficient in learning the company's new software,
     I learned it in a week by staying after-hours, and actually
     became the company trainer."

Positive, confident answers get jobs !

7.  What are your goals/ path / purpose, and  what events had the most effect on your life? Why?

At some point, the employer will want to get a feel for your  personality in order to see if you're dedicated, enthusiastic, and will fit in well with Tom,  Shirley, and others who already work for the ABC company.

Tell the prospective employer how you are an approachable team player that can work collaboratively with managers, field personnel and administrative staff in order to consistently achieve cost, quality and productivity goals.

Give the prospective employer an example:

"I set up a twice weekly review meeting where, as a team, we  determined how we can work together to ensure that all team members are aware of project initiatives and the current status of project phases."

8.  Describe your work habits. 

Tell the prospective employer how you organize and set priorities, how you're willing to stay late in order to complete projects that will result in customer satisfaction, cost savings or greater productivity.

9.   How do you deal with irate customers?

The employer will want to know that you are a
 diplomatic solution resource to customers.  In this challenged economy, value-added sales / service, customer retention, and development of new business is the primary focus.  

The job candidate who serves to please the customer and generate revenue is the most   valuable employee to the prospective employer.

10.  What are your two greatest strengths as a problem solver?

Here are two examples:

I make it a point to identify, address and resolve customer issues before they become problematic, especially by keeping in touch with my customers and following through on their issues or concerns.

By continually educating myself in new products, I am prepared to address internal and external customers' inquiries regarding product applications, features and benefits.

11.  What is your #1 area for improvement? 

 Be careful not
 to dwell on this !!!

Your goal is to talk about your strengths and what you can bring to the
 table.  If you say that you have an area of improvement, make it an area where you're  already skilled.  For instance, you say:  "Because I'm already proficient in Microsoft Excel,  I should have no problem learning how to assist the Controller in putting together a budget.

12.  How computer literate are you? 

Here's a potential question ... are you proficient using Microsoft Excel.  You immediately think, "gosh, I don't know how to build complex formulas," and you answer, "not very proficient at all," which causes you to lose your candidacy for potential employment.  However, what you forgot is that the job was for Director of Public Relations, and two of your associates would be creating the Excel spreadsheets.  You would be guiding the specifications, looking over the final results, and interpreting the data contained in the Excel spreadsheets, but not actually preparing the spreadsheets.  If you are aware of the job description, then your answer to "are you proficient using Microsoft Excel" should be, "highly proficient, of course."

If your not proficient whatsoever, then get some affordable computer training through the local library or community college, usually offered for a nominal fee, or you'll be counted as obsolete and useless to the prospective employer.

13.  Why are you interested in a career with ABC Company?  

  say, "I'm not sure but I'm willing to learn and do anything."

Tell the employer about
  your skills, what you can do, and why you are assuredly the most qualified candidate  this side of the Mississippi !

14.  Why are you considering leaving your current employer?   

You state that you gained extensive knowledge and experience with ABC Company, but now you're looking to apply your skills with a growth-oriented company.  In this economy, one of the most prominent reasons why people look for a new job is for security.  Tell the prospective employer that you know his or her company will offer stability, which is important in an globally economic or political environment that may prove unstable.

15.  Why did you leave your last employer?

Never say, "I had philosophical differences with
  my previous employer" or "I was fired because I was continually late," or anything that will cause the prospective employer to disapprove of your actSons.

Say, "I am seeking a new
 challenge," or "I was downsized, but my boss was extremely disappointed to lose a  person at my skill level ... "

Use this opportunity to boast about your capabilities.

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