Interview Tips - Part II

Common Interview Questions

Oct 1, 2019


Interviewers will ask a variety of questions designed to determine if you are a good fit for their company.  Some questions will be specific to your resume, while others will be general questions to test your ability to think on your feet.  When dealing with interview questions, remember to answer them with the STAR method.  

Situation: Describe the situation specific to the question.

Task: What goal were you working toward?

Action: What did you do to address the situation? What specific steps did you take?

Results: What was the outcome?  Use a situation where you were able to take the credit.  Always have a positive outcome, even if it wasn’t.  Learned a valuable lesson, etc.  

COMMON QUESTIONS AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM  

  • Tell me about yourself.  This question is to put you at ease at the beginning of an interview.  Mention your experience as it is related to the job and your attributes, i.e., show stability, get along with others, etc.  Don’t give personal information: marital status, children, etc. This is your chance to differentiation yourself from other candidates.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?  This is to find reasons to hire you.  For your strengths, mention work skills, training and experience specific to the job you are seeking.  When it comes to your weaknesses, focus your response on an area that doesn’t have a major impact on your ability to do the job. This should be an area that you are on your way to improving.
  • Tell me about the three major responsibilities you had at your last job. This is to validate your resume.  Back it up with specific information.
  • Which supervisor have you found easiest to work with and which have been the most difficult?  This is to judge your adaptability.  When it comes to dealing with a negative aspect in an interview, be honest and focus on how you dealt with/overcame dealing with the difficult issues.
  • Give me an example of a time you did more than what was required in your job.  This question seeks initiative.  Give specific examples of how you went beyond your job description to help others.
  • What did you like best and least about your previous job? This is to check your administrative and management skills. Mention things related to the job for which you are interviewing. Interviewers want to hear that you like areas related to the job in question.  When it comes to what you liked least, turn the question around into a positive. 
  • Give me an example of a time you found it necessary to make an exception to the rules in order to get something done. This question checks your integrity. Be honest and give an example that got results not failure.
  • Describe a time that you had conflict with a co-worker, and how did you handle it. Checks your ability to work as a team.  Keep it work-related and give an example that worked out/got results not failure.
  • Why did you/do you want to leave your current job? This question is geared to find out if you are leaving for negative reasons. Never bad mouth your current/past employer. Focus on growth, pay, experience, location, etc.  If you were fired from a past job, be honest, but stay positive.
  • Why were you fired?  If you made a mistake, you are going to have to try to minimize the severity of the situation. Be careful not to cast blame on others. Consider including a “silver lining.” Did you learn a lot from the experience and now possess knowledge that will mitigate the chances of this happening again?
  • Why should we hire you?  This is a HUGE differentiation question.  Focus on answers that would benefit them.  They need to know you are a candidate who can not only meet their needs now, but will also be valuable for where they want to go in the future.
  • How do people describe you? Don’t fall into the trap of stating generic responses like, being a hard worker, good communicator, team player, etc. But, how many can call themselves a problem-solver, leader in the industry, or “go-to” person?  Be sure to have stories to back it up.
  • Why do you want this job? If the real reason is about money, location, work schedule, benefits, or other factors not tied to the actual role, you may want to consider another approach. None of those reasons are important to the hiring manager.  Focus on an answer that would benefit the company.  For example, this job is exactly the role you’re seeking as a next step in your career.
  • When can you start? If you are currently employed, always be honest and show professionalism. Tell the interviewer that you would have to discuss a transition with your current employer.  Most companies require a two-week notice. If you can start right away (and they know you are not currently employed), you certainly can say you’re able to start tomorrow.  A little excitement about starting work at the new company is always a good thing.
  • Do you have any questions? Yes! Always have a list of questions to ask the interviewer.  This is your chance to learn more about the company, the role, the corporate culture, the manager’s leadership style, and a host of other important things.                   

Note: Laid off is not fired. If you were part of a layoff, this is different from being fired. Layoffs are typically not personal – they are just business. Hiring managers know this (and likely have been involved in one at some point in their careers).            

QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK THE INTERVIEWER

  • What are the challenges the company is facing?
  • Where does this position fit into the company’s structure?
  • What results are expected for this position?
  • Can you give more details on the responsibilities of this position?
  • What are the goals for the department/job/company?
  • Who would this position report to? Chain-of-command?
  • Is there opportunity for growth and advancement?
  • When will you make a decision on this position?
  • I feel I am a perfect fit for this position and company.  Do you have any reservations from our interview that would make you believe otherwise? 

About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Celebrating 40 years in staffing excellence! Contact us today.   


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