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How to Answer Common Interview Questions – Breaking the Ice – III

How to Answer Common Interview Questions – Breaking the Ice – III

We have put together a series of posts to help you prepare for your interviews. Here is the third and final part on the most probable and common questions you will face in any interview you appear for.

“What is your greatest accomplishment till date?”

Think about everything you’ve ever done – both in the workplace and elsewhere – and then choose one experience that is valid for job you’re applying for in some way. Most of you will think of things from other jobs, but there could also be things you may have started or taken charge of that you’re especially proud of. Try to adapt the skills of that experience and the way you tell the story to the requirement of the new job.

“What’s the biggest challenge you ever had to overcome?”

If possible, you can use the same story from the previous question (odds are they won’t ask both), and simply adapt the story as needed. Or, there may be some other thing, especially from a prior or current job, where you saved the day despite some really tough circumstances. Where you should be careful is taking a story from your personal life.

You don’t want to let them too far into things that should stay personal at this point. So while your biggest challenge may have been overcoming cancer or a serious accident, this is probably not the time to bring that up, unless of course it relates directly to the job you’re applying for.

“Have you ever failed at anything?”

We found the best answer by Ronnie Ann at www.careernook.com :

“Before graduating with my MBA, I had an interview with the senior VP of a major bank (at least major at the time). He asked me if I ever failed at anything. I was young, and more than a little nervous – the kind of nervousness where your brain freezes while searching for something to say – and I simply said “NO.” He looked at me and said “Too bad. You can learn a lot from failure.”

I got the job anyway. (I say that to help assure all of you who worry about each answer you give.) But what I learned was that if ever asked again, not only did I have an answer, but I had an explanation of what the experience taught me and why I think it made me stronger. And if you can tie all that in with the job you’re applying for, 20 extra bonus points.”

Final Thoughts:

Gear up and ace that interview!

Interview Tips – While in Conversation – Part II

Interview Tips – While in Conversation – Part II

It is the small things that make a big impact during an interview. We have put together a set of interview tips to help you get prepared to ace the interview:

  • Be honest if you don’t know an answer.

    But also, if applicable, express your interest in learning or tell how you’ve already begun looking into it (if you have) or even add a good question related to what they just asked. No good employer expects you to know absolutely everything.

  • Use your real-life stories.

    You’ve researched the company. You’ve read the job description. Match your stories and experiences to what they are looking for. How you solved problems. How you overcame obstacles. How you improved processes. But once again, make sure you’re listening to them and answering their real questions, and not just trying to run the interview yourself.

  • Still feeling nervous? Nerves are expected. 

    If you falter, it is ok to mention nerves a little if you think it would help to diffuse your discomfort. You can add a few words about how excited you are about this opportunity. But keep it brief, and then move on to answering the question that was asked.

  • If there is more than one interviewer in the room – 

    direct your answer mostly to the person who asked the question. But make sure to have eye contact with each person at some point during the interview. Always, speak clearly, at a normal conversational pace, collect your thoughts and frame them properly before saying, a pause is better than a blunder.

  • Avoid jokes. They can fall flat.

    A little humor can be fine if it feels right; and if the interviewer is being funny on purpose, feel free to laugh along. Just not one of those weird sitcom laughs, keep your jokes limited to when you enter or when you leave, this is a serious setting.

  • Maintain eye contact and energy – and listen.

    If you feel yourself starting to think ahead about an answer or what else you might want to bring up later, stop yourself. You will lose more than you gain by trying to jump ahead. Just be in the moment and trust yourself. Again, the personal connection and a feeling that you would be a great person to have on their team is key.

  • Have some questions prepared should they ask you if you have any.

    They usually do. BUT … also feel free to take brief notes and use things you learned during the interview to come up with questions. A big plus. As your last question, if it feels right, let them know you’re very interested and ask when you might expect to hear from them. Try not to talk money until you know they want you: When the salary question comes up at the beginning of an interview, say that money isn’t your most important consideration — nor should it be at this point. You should be holding out for the market value of the new job, not settling for an inadequate figure of your present or previous employment.

  •  Remember to shake hands and smile warmly as you thank each interviewer for the interview.

    (Not the death grip!) Ask for their name if you don’t remember or were not introduced and make sure you mention them in a thank you note that you send to your interview point of contact.

All the very best! You are now one step closer to get the dream job you are striving for!