Question Proposed on LinkedIn: What Are the Best Job Interview Answers PART 2 of 2?
- What Are Your Goals for the Future? One of the questions typically asked during an interview is about your future goals. Employers want to be sure that you won’t be moving on to another job right away. The best way to respond to the interview question “What are your goals for the future?” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is to refer to the position and the company you are interviewing with. Don’t discuss your goals for returning to school or having a family, they are not relevant and could knock you out of contention for the job. Rather, you want to connect your answer to the job you are applying for. Examples of good responses include “My long-term goals involve growing with a company where I can continue to learn, take on additional responsibilities, and contribute as much of value as I can” “I see myself as a top performing employee in a well-established organization, like this one. I plan on enhancing my skills and continuing my involvement in (related) professional associations.” “Once I gain additional experience, I would like to move on from a technical position to management.” “In the XYZ Corporation, what is a typical career path for someone with my skills and experiences?”
- Why Should We Hire You? When an employer asks you, “Why should we hire you?” she is really asking, “What makes you the best fit for this position?” Your answer to this question should be a concise “sales pitch” that explains what you have to offer the employer. The best way to respond is to give concrete examples of why your skills and accomplishments make you the best candidate for the job. Take a few moments to compare the job description with your abilities, as well as mentioning what you have accomplished in your other positions. Be positive and reiterate your interest in the company and the position. Here’s how to prepare your response. Think of the Job Listing - To prepare an answer to this question, look at the job listing. Make a list of the requirements for the position, including personality traits, skills, and qualifications. Then, make a list of the qualities you have that fit these requirements. For each quality, think of a specific time that you used that trait to achieve something at work. For example, if you list that you are a “team player,” think of a time in which your ability to work well on a team resulted in a successfully completed project. Keep it Concise -You want your answer to be brief – no more than a minute or two long. Therefore, select one or two specific qualities from the list you created to emphasize in your “sales pitch.” Begin by explaining what you believe the employer is looking for, and how you fulfill that need. Focus on your Uniqueness -The interviewer wants to know how you stand out amongst the other applicants. Therefore, focus on one or two qualities you possess that might be unique, or more difficult to find, in other interviewees. For example, if you are very experienced with a certain skill that the job requires, say so. This is your chance to tell the interviewer why you would be an invaluable employee. Examples of Answers -You have explained that you are looking for a sales executive who is able to effectively manage over a dozen employees. In my fifteen years of experience as a sales manager, I have developed strong motivational and team-building skills. I was twice awarded manager-of-the-year for my innovative strategies for motivating employees to meet and surpass quarterly deadlines. If hired, I will bring my leadership abilities and strategies for achieving profit gains to this position. You describe in the job listing that you are looking for a special education assistant teacher with an abundance of patience and compassion. Having served as a tutor at a summer school for dyslexic children for the past two years, I have developed my ability to be extremely patient while still achieving academic gains with my students. My experience teaching phonics to children ages 6 to 18 has taught me strategies for working with children of all ages and abilities, always with a smile. My previous employer often placed me with the students with the most severe learning disabilities because of my history of success. I will bring not only experience, but patience and creative problem-solving, to this position.
- How Do You Handle Stress / Pressure? A typical interview question, asked to get a sense of how you handle on-the-job stress, is “How do you handle pressure?” Examples of good responses include:Stress is very important to me. With stress, I do the best possible job. The appropriate way to deal with stress is to make sure I have the correct balance between good stress and bad stress. I need good stress to stay motivated and productive.I react to situations, rather than to stress. That way, the situation is handled and doesn’t become stressful.I actually work better under pressure and I’ve found that I enjoy working in a challenging environment.From a personal perspective, I manage stress by visiting the gym every evening. It’s a great stress reducer. Prioritizing my responsibilities so I have a clear idea of what needs to be done when, has helped me effectively manage pressure on the job. If the people I am managing are contributing to my stress level, I discuss options for better handling difficult situations with them.I find that when I’m under the pressure of a deadline, I can do some of my most creative work.I’m not a person who has a difficult time with stress. When I’m under pressure, I focus, and get the job done.I find it exhilarating to be in a dynamic environment where the pressure is on.I find a past pace to be invigorating, and thrive when the pressure is on.I’ve done some of my best work under tight deadlines, where the atmosphere was very stressful.I’m the kind of person who stays calm under pressure, and handles stress fairly easily.It’s a good idea to give examples of how you have handled stress to your interviewer. That way, they get a clear picture how well you can work in stressful situations.
- What are the Most Difficult Decisions to Make? There are no right or wrong answers to questions like “What are the most difficult decisions to make?” or “Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it.”These are behavioral interview questions designed to discover how you handled certain situations. The logic behind these types of questions is that how you behaved in the past is a predictor of what you will do in the future.Best Answers: Give concrete examples of difficult situations that actually happened at work. Then discuss what you did to solve the problem. Keep your answers positive (“Even though it was difficult when Jane Doe quit without notice, we were able to rearrange the department workload to cover the position until a replacement was hired.”) and be specific. Itemize what you did and how you did it.The best way to prepare for questions where you will need to recall events and actions is to refresh your memory and consider some special situations you have dealt with or projects you have worked on. You can use them to help frame responses. Prepare stories that illustrate times when you have successfully solved a difficult situation.
- How Do You Evaluate Success? During an interview, your interviewer might ask a question like, “How do you evaluate success?” A question like this gives your potential employer a sense of your work ethic, your goals, and your overall personality.Focus on the JobIn your answer, you should be cognizant of the type of job you’re applying for. Whereas a large corporation might place all their emphasis on the bottom line, a non-profit would measure success not in money but in social impact.Do your research before the interview: browse the company’s website, research their presence in the news and media, and see if you can find any information about their mission statement. Research the company! Of course, you’ll also want to include aspects of your own personality in your answers. If there’s an area where your values overlap with the company’s, then make sure to emphasize that in the interview.But, you also want to make sure you give a balanced answer, illustrating a dynamic focus on improving your own performance, furthering your company’s mission, and making a positive impact overall.Sample AnswersHere are some sample answers:”I evaluate success in different ways. At work, it is meeting the goals set by my supervisors and my fellow workers. It is my understanding, from talking to other employees, that the GGR company is recognized for not only rewarding success, but giving employees opportunity to grow as well. After work, I enjoy playing softball, so success on the field is catching the winning pop-up.”“For me, success is about doing my job well. I want to be recognized as someone who always does their best and tries their hardest to make my goals.”“I evaluate success based on not only my work, but the work of my team. In order for me to be considered successful, the team needs to achieve both our individual and our team goals.”“I evaluate success based on outcomes. It’s not always the path you take to achieve success that matters. Rather, it’s quantifiable results.”“To me, success is when I am performing well and satisfied with my position, knowing that my work is adding value to my company but also to my overall life and the lives of other people.”
- Bonus Questions. Here are some related questions that you may be asked during a job interview that require some thought to answer. Consider how you’d respond so you’re as prepared as possible to answer the hiring manager’s questions. “How do you handle success?” “How do you handle failure?” “Do you work well with other people?” “What are your salary expectations?” and “What can you do better for us than the other applicants?”