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The Ultimate Guide To Interview Questions

 

 

Not all interviews are the same, but you do get standard questions that a lot of interviewers do tend to ask. Having decent answers for these and an idea of what is a good response can help you secure the job or a second interview. The following list is just a small selection of common interview questions with some suggested ideas on how to answer them and what not to say.

Tell me about yourself
• Keep your answers to one or two minutes and don’t ramble.
• Do not go back to childhood experiences, just give a brief outline of where you are from and where you want to be going.
• Use your CV introduction as a base to start.
• Respond in a way that leaves no doubt that you are stable, positive and very motivated. Use only positive statements.
• Always be honest.

What do you know about our company
• Make sure that you do your research. Know what their products are, how big the company is, roughly what their annual revenue is, what the reputation is of both the company and the products. Know the company’s history, mission statement, image, goal and culture.
• Project an informed interest and let the interviewer tell you more about the company.
• Be specific but without reeling off too many facts and figures unless directed. Why do you want to work for us?
• Don’t talk about what you want, the money or the car etc. Discuss their needs and what you can do for them, letting them know that you really want to be a part of the company. Let them know that you can make a definite contribution.
• Don’t just consider the here and now. Look at the future and you will project an image of longevity.

What would you do for us?
• Relate past experiences that represent success in solving previous employer problems that may be similar to those of the prospective employer. Draw on your experience and contacts, your product knowledge, industry knowledge and anything that may be of relevance.
• Clarify what they want. Do they want a true sales person or more of an account manager? How do they measure success?

What about the position do you find most attractive? Least attractive?
• List three or more attractive factors and only one minor unattractive factor, aspects to pick up on could include company reputation, the chance to work with esteemed colleagues, best products in the market, office location etc
• You need to highlight that you have assessed the market and have chosen this company as one of the main companies that you wish to work for. Why should we hire you?
• Because of the knowledge, experience, abilities and skills you possess. Draw upon past experiences and results which are of relevance and which might be of use to your potential employer. Be very positive and confident in your reply.

What do you look for in a job?
• An opportunity to use my skills, to perform and be recognized.
• The opportunity to develop further skills and the chance to progress through the company.
• Relate it to the job that you are applying to i.e. “I am especially keen in developing your breathing product line and…”
• Vague answers such as, “I enjoy meeting people, I relish challenges in my work” should be avoided.
• Be selfish and say exactly what you want and what you are looking for.

Give me your definition of a territory manager
• Keep it brief, actions and results orientated.
• Clarify your answers with the interviewer and make sure it ties up with their ideas.

How long would it take you to make a contribution to the company?
• If you have worked the same territory then you will be able to get to work that much quicker.
• Are you visiting the exact same people?
• Is it a similar product line? Are they competitors?
• Ask about the training that the company provides and any on-going development.
• Whatever you say, be positive. Talk about being a quick learner and that you are very interested in learning all there is to know about the company and products.
• Above all, be realistic. If you say you can deliver results in two days, then that is what will be expected of you.

How long would you stay with us?
• Again, be positive. Something along the lines of “As long as we both feel that I am contributing, achieving, learning and growing”.
• Look to the company to develop you and let you grow within the company.

INDUSTRY TREND QUESTIONS

Why are you leaving your present job?
• No longer provides a suitable challenge, time to move on, I wish to move into (the area this company specialises in)
• Be positive about your current job and position. Do not sit there and moan and complain about your present role.
• Again, be open and honest. References WILL be taken. The interviewer may have even talked within the industry and know your background. Describe what you feel to be the perfect working environment
• Give the interviewer your ideal working environment. This will allow you to then discuss and open it up and assess your suitability to the role. How would you evaluate your present firm?
• An excellent company which afforded me many fine experiences.
• Professional company, with reliable products.

QUANTIFYING YOUR EXPERIENCE AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Have you helped increase sales? Profits? How?
• Talk about several occasions, and then concentrate on one major time.
• Quote percentage profit increases, facts and figures. What were your five most significant accomplishments?
• Refer to your key accomplishments already identified on your CV.

YOUR WORK STYLE AND HABITS

If I spoke with your previous boss, what would he say your greatest strenghts and weaknesses are?
• Make sure you really focus and emphasize your skills.
• Do not be overly negative about your weaknesses; it’s always safe to identify a lack of a skill or experience as a shortcoming rather than a personal characteristic.
• Suggest that they do. This will exude confidence and maturity.

Can you work under pressures, deadlines, etc?
• Yes. Quite simply, it is a way of life in business.
• If you are able, provide details of a past example where you have worked under pressure and met deadlines.

In your present position, what problems have you identified that had previously been overlooked?
• Be sure to say about the problems and then how you overcame the problems.

What is the most difficult decision you ever had to make?
• Attempt to relate your response to the prospective employment situation.
• Any scenario response should always finish with a positive outcome.

SALARY QUESTIONS

How much are you looking for?
• You want to get over that it is the job you are interested in and then say what you think you are worth in the market place. How much do you expect if we offer this position to you?
• Be careful. The market value of the job may well be the key answer “My understanding is that a job like the one you’re describing may be in the range of £…” What kind of salary are you worth?
• Have a specific answer in mind… don’t be hesitant.

PERSONALITY QUESTIONS

What was the last book you read, movie you saw?
• Talk about books, sports or films to represent balance in your life.
• Stick to something fairly mainstream or classic.

How would you describe your own personality?
• Balanced, fair, honest, reliable, professional, motivated, outgoing, tenacious etc.
• Consider the role you are applying for. Think if it is an out and out sales role or is it a marketing position or account management. What are your strong points?
• Present at least three and relate them to the interviewing company and job opening.
• Tailor your answer to meet the needs of the employer “I see myself as a goal orientated individual…” Discuss how in your previous role you achieved above projected results.
• We all have strong points. If you are struggling then take a good look at your self! What are your weak points?
• Do not say you haven’t any.
• Try not to cite personal characteristics as weaknesses, but be ready to have one if the interviewer presses.
• Try to transform your response and the question into strength “I’m the kind of person who likes challenges and gets involved from the start to finish which some people may see as interfering. I see it as a strength as I like to make sure that the job gets done correctly.

MANAGEMENT AND EXPERIENCE QUESTIONS

What is your management style?
• This is a question that needs to be carefully considered. Use terms such as open door, approachable, fair, results driven, focused and a team player.

Are you a good manager?
• Give an example. Why do you feel that you have top managerial potential?
• Keep your answers achievement and task orientated, emphasizing your management skills – planning, organizing, controlling, interpersonal etc.
• Describe relevant personal traits.

What did you look for when you hired people in the past?
• Skills, initiative, adaptability etc

Did you ever fire anyone? If so, what were the reasons and how did you handle it?
• Describe the situation and how you spoke with the person and explained precisely but tactfully where they were underachieving.

What do you see as being the most difficult task in being a manager?
• Do not imply any difficulties that are insurmountable.

What is your biggest weakness as a manager?
• Be honest and end on a positive note.
• You should also be prepared to answer questions about your health, more technical questions related to your qualifications, research or your current job, plus any interests and hobbies that you have mentioned on your CV or application form.

AND QUESTIONS TO LOOK OUT FOR!!

• You see this pencil sharpener, sell it to me.
• If you were a plate of food, what would you be?
• If you were in my shoes, how would you run this company?
• How many grains of sand make a heap?
• What three things would you put in Room 101?
• Tell me a joke.
• Give me one recent example of how you’ve shown initiative.
• What mistakes have you made during your career?

 

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