Ah, the dreaded job interview. You get there on time, you’re wondering if you’ve got food on your face or if you stink too much of desperation. You’ve got to keep your cool. Ignore the shivers down your spine. You’ve got to step into a room and convince somebody that you, wearing your nicest shirt, are the best person for the job.
And then, the interview questions begin.
Sometimes, we manage to surprise even ourselves with the witty things we say. Other times, we try to get out of the car with the seatbelt still on.
This may be the toughest question of all, and it could be a deal breaker. You’re on deadly ground. Whatever answer you give the interviewer regarding your current, or previous employment, may raise a red flag. If you rattle on about how big a jerk your old boss is, and how much you hate the company, how much the work destroys your soul or how you want more money, the interviewer may naturally believe that you will come to feel the same way about them somewhere down the line.
Best answer? Deflect.
Don’t talk about the old job, or the things which drove you away. Instead, focus on what you wish to achieve with the move. Emphasize the attributes this new company can offer you. The attributes you’ve been seeking, and don’t have. Do your homework beforehand.
'Beautiful blondes and whiskey' is a sure-fire way to bomb the interview.
Likewise, the worst thing you can do is give cliché answers like 'I’m a perfectionist' or 'I work too hard.'
Think about hearing the same joke every day for the rest of your life. That’s how interviewers feel about these lazy answers. The interviewer is trying to gauge your self-awareness. Dig deep, be honest and refer to them as 'areas for improvement' and never 'weaknesses.'
Immediately follow up with the actions you’ve taken to become your best self.
This is a good opportunity to tell the interviewer about your particular set of skills. Skills that haven’t made it onto your CV.
You can tell them all about your proficiency at juggling, afternoon-napping, speed-texting, procrastination, profanity and sarcasm.
Or, you may find it better to concentrate on the skills relevant to the job description. Regardless of what those may be, don’t just name them. Give short, genuine examples of how you’ve used them at work.
Best answer? ‘In this same office, firing you.’
Just kidding, don’t ever say that. While confidence may go a long way, ‘clever’ answers like that border on arrogance. The real reason for this question, which nobody enjoys answering, is to gauge an applicant’s long term goals. These could be professional or personal goals, or both.
A sense of purpose is an attractive feature in an applicant. The last thing you want to do is give the impression that their company is just a stepping stone for you, on your way to other things.
Show enthusiasm and an eagerness for growth. Your growth, after all, may provide value to their company.
We’re all pretty passionate about not starving to death. We want to be home by noon and pop bottles over the weekend and buy a bunch of stuff we don’t need. This, however, isn’t the point of the question.
The interviewer is trying to find out if you’ve done any research into the company. They want specific answers of what attracted you to the job. It could be strategic, operational or even cultural. No matter what you do, don’t list perks and compensation and material gain as your main reasons.
Boom! When do I start? Am I right?
Well, not really. Don’t get ahead of yourself. It takes a certain level of skill to hire yourself through sheer force of arrogance. It’s important to project confidence, though. Again, avoid the cliché answers like driven, innovative, team-player, etc.
It’s a good opportunity to promote some of your best qualities. Think tenacious, obsessed or pioneering – and then allow yourself some time to explain. Driven? Yawn. Moving on. Tenacious? Well…
Tell us more.
Are you willing to relocate? I'm already packed.
Are you willing to travel? I’m willing to crawl over broken glass. I’m willing to wrestle a mountain lion.
Wear your tie around your head, like Rambo. This way, they know you mean business. Repeatedly ask if you’re under oath, and ask about their policies on witchcraft and if they ever press charges.
If you’re planning on leaning in for a kiss, you’ve got to time it perfectly.
Show extra confidence by giving a firm handshake before and after every single question.
When asked how you would describe yourself, answer – ‘verbally.’ But just in case, you should also prepare a dance.
Did Donald Trump have any experience? You don’t need any either.
Last but not least, answer every question about your past with ‘I was young. I needed the money.’
Okay, don’t do any of that. Be yourself. Be honest, neat and punctual. Do your homework before you attend the interview, and everything will be just fine. The question isn’t whether you’re ready for that interview. The question is, is the interview ready for you?
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