Interviewing: Have you set the stage?

Interviewing is a process, during which you and your potential new employer are getting to know each other. First, the company is interested in your skills (can you do the job?).  During later stages, they will be more interested in your motivations (will you love the job?) and personality (will we enjoy working with you?).  You want to learn about the job, and the corporate culture.  At each step, thorough preparation is your key to success.

Do Your Due Diligence

Before any interview, learn as much about the organization as possible.  Read their web site, know their products, learn about the industry and their competitors, read recent press releases and current stockholder information (if a public company).  Learn what sets them apart from their competitors (low-cost?, high quality?, personal service?).  Read their web site, and explore other information sources including recent news reports, financial industry reports (Standard and Poor’s, Hoovers, Google Finance), and recent patent filings. Continue reading “Interviewing: Have you set the stage?”

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A little Bit of Bragging Can Pay Off, Researchers Say

Do you know of a guy who blows his own horn so much that you just wish he was not going to show up at the party or group meeting? Sometimes we call them obnoxious, self-seeking or self-absorbed or narcissist.

Researchers says narcissists or self-absorbed individuals do well at job interviews

Well according to a study to be published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, this trait which is considered unbearable in most circumstances, actually pays off a great deal in the immediate perspective of a job interview.

The researchers found that self-absorbed individuals or narcissists scored much higher in simulated job interviews than non-narcissists. They pointed to narcissists’ innate tendency to promote themselves, in part by engaging and speaking at length, which implied confidence and expertise even when they were held to account by expert interviewers.

If you were brought up with the theory that humility is a virtue, that theory is still valid today, so hold on to it. Nevertheless, learning how to talk with confidence about what you’ve accomplished and how you did it is admirable and is not considered pride. In fact, you’re expected to know how to do that if you want to stay competitive in today’s job market and economy. Continue reading “A little Bit of Bragging Can Pay Off, Researchers Say”

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Eight (8) Interview Questions You Should Have Prepared for

Before you buy your plane ticked, there are some interview questions you should prepare for because the chances are high that you will have to answer them. I’m going to cover about 10 of them.

1. What Are Your Weaknesses?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions and most dreaded question of all. Don’t jeopardize your chances by listing 101 weaknesses everybody thinks you have. Handle it by minimizing your weakness and emphasizing your strengths. Stay away from personal qualities and concentrate on professional traits: “I am always working on improving my time management skills to be a more effective team leader. I recently bought the book Time Management for Professional by John Doe, which I just started reading.

2. Why Should We Hire You?

Of course you’re at the interview because you want to be hired and think you’re the right candidate for the job. This is the right time to give a reason to be a serious contender for the position. Summarize your experiences: Say something like “With 3 years’ experience working in the drug design and my proven record of three compounds in late state development, I could make a big difference in your company. I’m confident that I’m the right candidate for this position and I would be a great addition to your team.”

3. Why Do You Want to Work Here?

There’s a difference between the applicant who has given a deep thought to the position and the company he’s applying to and the one who’s merely applying because there’s an opening. The interviewer is seeking the former. The interviewer is listening for an answer that indicates you’ve given this some thought and are not sending out resumes just because there is an opening. If you’ve prepared well enough, you might say something like, “Personal values are very important to me. I therefore selected companies whose mission statements are in line with my values and your company was very high on that list and that’s what excites me most this position”.

4. When Were You Most Satisfied in Your Job?

When an interviewer asks this question, he or she wants to know what motivates you. The best way to answer the question is to relate an example of a job situation when you were excited (even when circumstances would dampen others’ spirit). This will give the interviewer an idea of your preferences.

5. What Are Your Goals?

Note that sometimes these questions are asked to determine whether your career goals fit into their business expectation, whether you’re someone who’s coming to stay or just using the job as a stepping stone. Sometimes it’s best to split this into short-term and intermediate goals rather than locking yourself into the distant future or just the short-term goal. For example, “My immediate goal is to get a job in a growth-oriented company. My long-term goal will depend on where the company goes, so if I get hired for this position, in the next few years, I plan to learn as much as possible about your company so I may know what role I can in helping you achieve your goals.”

6. Why Did You Leave (Or Why Are You Leaving) Your Job?

If you’re unemployed, state your reason for leaving in a positive context: “I managed to survive two rounds of corporate downsizing, but the third round involved an outsourcing of my entire team’s activities and so we all had to lose our jobs.”

If you are employed, focus on what you want in your next job: “After three years in my current position, I made the decision to look for a company that is team-focused, where I can add my experience and I thought this opening was a perfect match for me.”

7. What Salary Are You Seeking?

There are diverse opinions on this but my personal preference is not to talk about salary at the interview. You could answer the question this way “My Martin, I would like to focus on talking about why my background and skills make me the best candidate for this position. I am sure when you are ready to offer me the position, we can agree on a reasonable amount”.

8. If You Were an Animal, Which One Would You Want to Be? Or Who is Your Favorite Politician? and similar Questions

Interviewers use these types of psychological questions to see if you can think quickly. They also want to assess the type of personality that you will bring to the job. Before you answer questions like this, ask yourself what type of personality that would be successful in this position. Whatever the question is, animal or politician, let your answer create this impression that you want to give.

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