|The '5' Job Interview Questions!
by HUSSAIN JANJUA
When you boil it all down, job interviews are made-up of only five statements from the interviewer, which include four questions and one sentence. Sure, you'll be asked more than five questions, but they all seem to be variations of the questions listed below. Each of these questions has to be 'nailed' in a job interview, and each has a different strategy to answer it. Winging it just won't do! Here is some simple, sound advice for responding to the five basic interview questions:
Question No. 1: Tell me about yourself.
This is the open-ended question that on the surface seems harmless, yet how you answer it may spell the difference between landing a job, or being pushed out the door to seek another position. You have to know yourself first – your strengths, your weaknesses, your likes, your talents and your goals. The best way to answer this question is to give your 'positioning statement', which is a one-paragraph summary of your career background, strengths, expertise and objective.
Question No. 2: Why do you want to work here?
This question seeks to determine if you know anything about the job and company. The goal here is to connect your talents, contributions and attributes to the employer's needs, problems and challenges. You can only do this if you've done your homework, and have gathered all the necessary research. The best way to respond is to tell several relevant accomplishments that prove you have the right kind of experience for the job.
Question No. 3: What's wrong with you?
Of course, the interviewer will not actually use these words. He might couch the question in more polite terms, but what he is actually trying to find out is why you're unemployed, or underemployed, or why you've had so many jobs, etc. As the candidate, you need to acknowledge these sorts of career challenges in advance; then prepare and practice your responses. Your answers must be worded in such a way that they are fully positive, and elicit the responses you desire.
Question No. 4: What are your salary expectations?
When it comes to 'the salary question', you want the other guy to make the first move. Do thorough research in advance to determine what the likely salary range is. Make it clear that the job is not all about pay. Say that you'd be happy to discuss compensation once a mutual interest has been established, and get back to discussing your relevant accomplishments. Tell the interviewer that you want the opportunity, and that you expect the company will make a fair salary offer. This doesn't mean you will necessarily accept that offer, but it means they will have to 'draw' first. Once you receive the initial offer, always negotiate up from there.
Question No. 5: Don't call us, we'll call you.
Take an active stance, not a passive one. Be sure to discuss 'next steps' before you leave the interview. Ask the interviewer directly how your qualifications compare to those of the other candidates. Display your excitement about the job and the challenges it poses. Let the interviewer know how and when you'll be back in touch. Don't leave all the power in the hands of the interviewer; this should be a mutual decision-making process.
Since almost every interview question is a variation of the themes listed above, there's no need to worry about the hundreds of questions you might be asked. If you go into the interview focused on addressing just these five basic areas, you'll feel more confident
and less overwhelmed.
The more practiced and articulate you are in responding to such questions, the better chance you'll have of landing the job. But even if you don't get the offer, you'll still be well-prepared for the next interview!
Career Planning Starts
by SANA HAMEED
One of the biggest mistakes that individuals make in their careers is to go aimlessly through school or work in an entry-level position with no clear direction. They wait until they are laid off, before taking a stab at other opportunities. Finding a well-paying job or locating opportunities for advancement shouldn't be treated as an afterthought, rather one that has been planned and prepared for months or years. Preparation, preparation, and more preparation! Imagine signing up for a marathon and waiting until the day prior to begin preparing for the race. Obviously, you're not ready because of lack of training, you didn't seek the assistance of a coach or mentor, and you didn't assess the resources you would need on the day of the race. Without proper preparation, what are your chances of completing the race?
Like any serious step you'll take in life, you must first determine the number of baby steps needed to get from one spot to the next. In other words, where are you headed and how will you get there?
Outline every obstacle or challenge that will hinder your progress of taking these steps.
Each small step (short-term goal) will take you closer to satisfying the big steps, known as long-term career goals.
First, take a good look at the types of positions you've held to date along with your study majors. Ask yourself, do I like where I am at and where do I see myself in 5 years? Don't be ashamed if you're not sure. Visit your favorite job bank, type in keywords for your intended career field, and examine those positions to determine if any meet your satisfaction.
Second, write down job and career goals (preferably 6 months before graduating from university or at the start of your intended job search). Job goals pertain to the position you currently hold now, whereas, career goals are the 'big picture' (e.g. career change in less than two years or targeting a six-figure salary). Research 2 or 3 positions that you would love to obtain today along with those you're striving for in a couple of years.
Third, prepare yourself, your credentials, and your resume based on your predetermined career opportunities and goals. Prepare to go back to university, join business groups, network to encompass all of these.
In a career journal, make notations of the positions that interest you along with the skills required for each. Add other entries pertaining to outstanding credentials, and miscellaneous obstacles in the order that'll need to be completed, with resolutions and proposed dates of completion.
The object is to not stand still. Navigate your future by performing a self-assessment that will get you from A to Z in your career. Defining your career aspirations is an essential step in the process of transforming abstract thoughts into tangible realities!