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  • Three Interview Questions You Can't Afford to Miss

    By CrysTelCall On Research & Analysis Comments September 08, 2014

    Three Interview Questions You Can't Afford to Miss
    The process of interviewing for a job is similar to dating: It's hard to predict the outcome, but you can take steps to prepare so that you can present yourself in the best possible way. 

    Follow these strategies to make a positive impression and demonstrate that you are fit for the job.

    What's Your Biggest Weakness?

    Answering questions on an area of weakness is a delicate balance: You should be honest but you also don't want to risk being eliminated from the applicant pool.  To stay in the running for the position, be honest about skills in need of further development but avoid talking about any skills that are directly related to your ability to do the job.

    A safe way to answer the weakness question is to tell a story about a past failure, but to do so in a way that shows you have learned from the mistake so that it will not happen again.  For example, let's say you volunteered to take on a project that took 50 hours instead of the estimated 10.  You could talk about what happened due to the added time commitment and subsequent back log of work, your willingness to work overtime to get through the work, and ability to get the job done.  But you'd also want to talk about what you learned from the experience, and how you have learned to better estimate the time involved for problems.  

    What Do You Know About Our Organization?

    At first glance, this may seem like an easy question: After all, if you've taken the time to apply to a position then you have a general idea of what the organization does.  That being said, you should provide an answer that fully shows that you understand what the organization does, and how your position would align with the organization's key mission and the skills that you offer to fill the requirements of the position. The more you can participate in the dialogue on the company's current needs, the stronger your candidacy will be.

    Do You Have Any Questions for Us? 

    Conventional wisdom is that this is the time in the interview when you can relax.  It is not.  You need to show the employer that you've thought about the position and how you could apply your skills if hired.  Do not ask about salary or benefits.  Instead, focus on your interest in the position.

    A common question is "What are you looking for in a candidate?" If you were not a potential finalist for the position, you would not be in the game.  

    Here are better questions:
    • What would success look like in this position?
    • If hired, what would my first priorities be and how would I work with you to accomplish the goals you have set?
    • What's the one skill you need most in this position? 
    • How long have you worked for this organization? What's your favorite aspect of working here? What was the most challenging aspect of the company you learned?
    While the process of interviewing can be nerve wracking, a little homework can help you prepare - and help you to ace the interview overall.  Practice answers to tough questions in advance, and it will be easier to showcase your skills and experience in a calm, confident manner.  No matter what questions come your way, remember that they would not have invited you to interview if they did not believe you had the potential ability to do the job.  Show them why you are a good fit.