l-R Justin, Ik Anyanwu Ceo GCFN Consult/Arise Afrika Publisher , Dr Chidi
Today I will like to share with you some basic tips that would help you scale through your interview, questions such as;
Why should I employ you?
This is the most important question of your interview because he must answer this question favorably in his own mind before you can be employed by him.
Apply the strategy of uncovering the employer’s needs before you answer the question. If you know the employer’s greatest needs and desires, this question will give you a big leg up over other candidates because you will give him better reasons for hiring you than anyone else is likely to.
e.g “ I understandyour needs. You are looking for someone who can manage the sales of your fast food company. As you have said you need someone with a strong background. I have had 13 years experience in this area. I know the right contacts, methods, principles and successful management techniques as well as any person can in our industry. My innovative promotional ideas attracted various awards and special recognition, my sales figures doubles, then tripled during my last place of work. I’m confident that I can do the same for you.”
It is important your achievement is well committed to memory that you can recite them cold after being woken up from sleep.
Then once you uncover your interviewers greatest wants and needs, you choose those achievements from your list that best match up.
As a general guideline, the 10 most desirable traits what all employers love to see in their employees are:
A proven track record as an achiever.. especially if your achievements match up with the employer’s greatest wants and needs.
Honesty…. Integrity….A decent human being
Good fir with corporate culture. Someone to feel comfortable with..a team player who meshes well with interviewer’s team
Likeability… positive attitude…sense of humour
Good Communication skills
Dedication… willingness to walk the extra mile to achieve excellence
Definiteness of purpose .. Clear goals
Enthusiasm.. High level of motivation
Confident.. Healthy… A leader
On Confidential matters of your previous employers
First, a company may be testing your integrity to see if you can be cajoled into revealing confidential data.
What do you do? The answer here is very easy. Never reveal anything truly confidential about a present or former employer. By all means, explain yourself. For example. “I certainly want to be as open as I can be about that. But I wish to respect the rights of those who have trusted me with their most sensitive information. Just as you would hope to be able to trust any of your key people when talking with a competitiot.”
You have to be guided by the golden rule. Do to others as you would have them do to you. This question pits your desire to be cooperative against your integrity. Faced with any such choice, always choose integrity. Once you divulge any of your previous or present employers confidential maters, your stock goes down. They will surely loose respect for you. Only those who hold fast are hired at the end.
How do you feel reporting to a younger person?
Make sure you state that the age of the person you report to would certainly make no difference to you.
You greatly admire a company that hires and promotes on merit alone. Whoever that has that position has obviously earned it and knows their job well. The person and the position are fully deserving of respect.
You have been with your firm a long time. Won’t it be hard switching to a new company?
Describe the similarities between the new position and your prior one. Explain that you should be comfortable working there, since their needs and your skills make a perfect match.
Also point to many ways you have grown and adapted to changing conditions at your present fir,as a result you have learned to adapt quickly to whatever is thrown at you and you thrive on the stimulation of new challenges.
May I contact your present employer for a reference?
There is nothing wrong in letting them know in due time but you’d like to keep your job search private,
“My present employer is not aware of my job search and for obvious reasons, I’d prefer to keep it that way. I’d most appreciate if we keep our discussion confidential right now. Of course when we both agree the time is right, then by all means you should contact them. I am very proud of my record there.
Give me an example of your creativity(analytical skill… managing ability etc)
Remember you should commit to memory a list of your greatest and most recent achievement every ready on the tip of your tongue.
For example, the smashing success you orchestrated at last year’s trade show could be used as an example of creativity.. or “ I was able to sight a fast food in a completely 3 different locations and introduced products and services that was not being offered in those neighborhood at that time. I have an Express Meal Delivery package, Coorperate Canteen Management for banks and had a sharwarma Spot these weren’t part of the business when I am on board at Hunger Solace”
If you are to change something about yourself what would it be?
Indicate that you are happy, fulfilled and optimistic person and that in general you would not change a thing.
Example: “Its been a good life, rich in learning and experience, and the best is yet to come. Every experience in life is a lesson in its own way. I would change a thing”
There are times that I worry a lot, I wouldn’t call it worry but I am a strongly goal oriented person, SO I keep turning over in my mind anything that seems to be keeping me from achieving those goals, until I find a solution. That is part of my tenacity, I suppose but
Are you willing to relocate or travel?
Before you answer this question, find out where you may have to relocate and how much travel may be involved. Then respond to the question. If there is no problem, say so enthusiastically. If you have a reservation, there are two ways you can handle it.
One is to keep your options open and your reservation to yourself while the other is to voice your reservation but assert that you’d be open to relocating (or traveling) for the right opportunity .
Why do you have many jobs?
This is one area that I battled with. First, before you even get to the interview stage, you should try to minimize your image as a job hopper. If there are many entries on your CV of less than one year, consider eliminating the less important ones.Perhaps you can specify the time you spent at previoud positions in rounded years and not in months and year.
6/1992 -3/1993 , Position A
4/1993-13/1993, Position B
1/1994- 8/1997 Position C
It would be better to show simply
1992 -1993 Position A
1994 -1997 Position C
In other words, you drop PosItion B altogether. Once you are in front of the interviewer and this question comes up, you must try to reassure him. Describe each position as part of an overall pattern of growth and career destination. Be careful not to blame other people for your frequent changes. But you can and should attribute certain changes to conditions beyond your control.
Example: Thanks to an upcoming merger, you wanted to avoid an ensuring bloodbath, so you made a good, upward career move before your department came under axe of the new owners.
If possible shoe that your job changes were more frequent in your younger days, while you were establishing yourself. At this state in your career, you are certainly more interested in the best long-term opportunity.
Would you lie for the company?
Try to avoid choosing between two values, giving a positive statement which coves all bases instead
Example: “I would never do anything to hurt the company”
If pressed to choose between two competing values, always choose personal integrity. It is the most prized of all values.
Could you have done better in your last job?
Again never be negative
What are your greatest weakness?
Disguise a strength as a weakness.
Example: “I sometimes push my people too hard. I like to work with a sense of urgency and everyone is not always on the same wavelength”
Assure the interviewer that you can think of nothing that would stand in the way of your performing in this position with excellence. Then quickly review your strongest qualifications.
Can you work under Pressure?
Absolutely.. (Then go a step further by proving it with a vivid example or two of a goal or project accomplished under severe pressure)
The Salary Question – How much money do you want?
For maximum salary negotiating power, remember these five guidelines. Never bring up salary. Let the interviewer do it first.Make the interviewer want you first, and your bargaining position will be much stronger. Get the employer talking about what he is willing to pay you before you reveal what your willing to accept. So, when asked about salary, respond by asking; “I’m sure the company has already established a salary range for this position. Could you tell me what that is? Or “I want an income commensurate with my ability and qualifications. I trust you’ll be fair with me. What does the position pay?” or more simply “What does this position pay?”
Know beforehand what you’d accept. To know what’s reasonable, research the job market and this position for any relevant salary information. Remember that most executives look for a 20-25% pay boost when they switch jobs. If you are grossly underpaid, you may want more.
Never lie about what you currently make, but feel free to include the estimated cost of your fringes, which well track on 25-50% more to your present “
cash only” salary
Aren’t you overqualified for this position?
Don’t view this as a sign of imminent defeat. It’s an invitation to teach the interviewer a new way to think about this situation, seeing advantages instead of setbacks.
For example “I believe that there could be very positive benefits for both of us in this match. Because of my unusually strong experience , I could start to contribute right away, perhaps much faster than someone who’d have to be brought along more slowly”
“There’s also the value of all the training and years of experience that other companies have invested tens of thousands of thousands of naira to give me. You’d be getting all the value of that without having to pay an extra dime for it. With someone who has yet to acquire that experience, he’d have to gain it on your nickel”
“I could also help you in many they don’t teach. For example….(how to hire, train, motivate etc) When it comes to knowing how to work well with people and getting the most out of them. There is jut no substitute for what you learn over many years of front-line experience. Your company would gain all this, too.
“Most important, I’m looking to make a long term commitment in my career now. I’ve had enough of job-hunting and want a permanent spot at this point in my career. I also know that if I perform this job excellence, other opportunities cannot help but open up for me right here. In time, I’ll find many ways to help this company and in so doing, help myself. I really am looking to make a long-term commitment”
What would you do if a fellow executive on your own corporate level wasn’t pulling his/her weight… and this was hurting your department?
Try to gauge the political styleof the firm and be guided accordingly. In general , fall back on universal principles of effective human relations- which in the end, embody the way you would like to be treated in similar circumstances.
Example: “Good human relations would call for me to go directly to the person and explain the situation, to try to enlist his help in a constructive, positive solution. If I sensed resisted, I would be a persuasive as I know how to explain the benefits we can all gain from working together, and the problems we, the company and our customers will experience if we don’t”
AND what would you do if he still did not change his ways?
Answer: One thing I wouldn’t do is let the problem slide because It would only get worse and overlooking it would set a bad precedent. I would try again and again in whatever way I could, to solve the problem, involving wider and wider circles of people, both above and below the offending executive and including my own boss if necessary, so that everyone involved can see the rewards for teamwork and the drawbacks of non-cooperation”
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