Interview FAQs

17th September 2015
Are you the best person for this job? Why?

A typical interview question, asked to get your opinion, or to validate the interviewer's opinion, on why you would be the best candidate for the position, is "Why should we hire you?"

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.

 

Describe yourself

You walk into the interview room, shake hands with your interviewer and sit down with your best interviewing smile on. Guess what their first question is? "Tell me about yourself."

Do you "wing it" and actually tell all manner of things about yourself? Will you spend the next 5 minutes rambling on about what an easy-going, loyal, dedicated, hard working employee you've been? If this is the case, you stand a good chance of having bored your interviewer to death thus creating a negative first impression.

Because it's such a common interview question, it's strange that more candidates don't spend the time to prepare for exactly how to answer it. Perhaps because the question seems so disarming and informal, we drop our guard and shift into ramble mode. Resist all temptation to do so.

Your interviewer is not looking for a 10-minute dissertation here. Instead, offer a razor sharp sentence or two that sets the stage for further discussion and sets you apart from your competitors.

 

Tell me something about yourself

This is a good opportunity used at the interview to break the ice by getting you to give a run down of your self. You should take 2 to 3 minutes to describe briefly about yourself, your personal interest,academic achievements, work history and experience.

 

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Give them "your synopsis about you" answer, specifically your Unique Selling Proposition. Known as a personal branding or a value-added statement, the USP is a succinct, one-sentence description of who you are, your biggest strength and the major benefit that a company will derive from this strength. Here is an example of a Unique Selling Proposition: "I'm a seasoned Retail Manager strong in developing training programs and loss prevention techniques that have resulted in revenue savings of over $2.3Million for (employer's name) during the past 11 years."

What a difference you've made with this statement. Your interviewer is now sitting forward in her chair giving you her full attention. At this point, you might add the following sentence: "I'd like to discuss how I might be able to do something like that for you." The ball is now back in her court and you have the beginnings of a real discussion and not an interrogation process.

 

Be Specific

The key is that you must lead with your strongest benefit to the employer. Be specific and don't wander about with some laundry list of skills or talents. Be sure to put a monetary value on your work if at all possible and be ready with details when you're called upon. Give an estimated value to the $$ you've either helped to make or save for your employer.

 

Be Prepared

When you walk into an interview, remember to always expect the "tell me about yourself" question. Prepare ahead of time by developing your own personal branding statement that clearly tells who you are, your major strength and the clear benefit that your employer received. The advantages of this approach are that you'll quickly gain their attention and interest them in knowing more. You'll separate yourself from your competitors. You'll also have a higher chance of being positively remembered and hired.

 

Are you overqualified for this job?

Overqualified? Some would say that I'm not overqualified but fully qualified. With due respect, could you explain the problem with someone doing the job better than expected?

 

Are you willing to travel?

When you are asked about your willingness to travel during an interview, be honest. There's no point in saying "yes" if you would prefer to be home five nights a week.

It is perfectly acceptable to ask how much travel is involved. That way, you can weigh how much you would need to be on the road and make an educated decision as to whether the amount of travel required fits in with your lifestyle.

What's most important is to get a good understanding of what's involved before you are offered the job, rather than being (unpleasantly) surprised after you have already been hired.

 

Describe your work style

When you are asked about how you work during an interview, it's important to impress the interviewer with your comptentency and accuracy, rather than just your speed.

Here are sample answers to the interview question "How would you describe your work style?"

  • I am very focused on my work, and consequently, am able to work quickly.
  • I keep a steady pace, and check my work as I go along, to prevent mistakes from snowballing.
  • Because I am very organized, I am able to accomplish a lot in a limited amount of time.
  • I'm organized and efficient and I'm able to multi-task very well.
  • I'm always on top of my projects, but I do welcome input and will consult with team members to ensure we're all on the same track.

 

Why do you want to join this company?

This is one of the usual questions that would be asked during the interview to gauge your intention for joining the company. Interviewers will read between the lines in your answers to gauge your real intention for applying for the job. It is therefore advisable to think carefully before answering as many job applicants would change job just to get a raise in salary! This is especially reflected in your resume when you have changed jobs quiet frequently.

← Back to Resources