Lucky blazer? Check? Overpriced dry-cleaned shirt? Check. Winning smile? Check. Whether a novice or seasoned veteran of the job search circuit, acing your upcoming interview(s) will take more than a polished appearance (though that certainly can’t hurt!). Brush up on these top job interview questions of 2018, and these additional interview tips, to leave future employers wanting more – of you!
Why Did You Apply for This Job?
Hiring is expensive. Neither the HR team nor the person interviewing you wants to be backfilling this same role again in a year because their last hire applied on a whim, then realized it wasn’t really what they wanted.
While your inner voice may have its own reasons for applying (“It’s a cool company! I hear the money is good! It’s an easy commute on transit!”) arriving with a well-thought out ‘elevator pitch’ that sounds — and is — genuine, is the way to score points. Come at it from their perspective and wow them. Maybe you’ve always loved their creative work on advertising campaigns. Or you’ve donated to their fundraising campaigns for years and now want to lead one for them.
What Do You Genuinely Need to Work On? What Are People Critical of You About?
This isn’t a trick question intended for you to humblebrag (“I’m much too organized, and I multi-task too well!”) it’s a legitimate question to understand how you would be managed as a future employee.
Everyone — including the person interviewing you — has areas they struggle with, whether it be communicating more effectively with co-workers, time management skills or managing up. Honesty is always the best policy. Find an honest, but not too honest (“I’m always late and I call in sick most Friday’s”) answer and you will be respected for it.
Would You Rather Have a Lot of Independence on a Small Project, or Be Indirectly Managed on a Large Multi-level Project?
This might feel like a loaded question, but employers looking for solid employees who are significant contributors aren’t trying to trip you up (that’s what the future psychological tests are for – kidding.) Determining whether you are the type of person who prefers to lead projects or if you are an excellent collaborator on a multi-faceted project involving many people can help them staff up appropriately for upcoming projects .
Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich?
Yes, this seems ridiculous, but from tech companies to advertising agencies to sports leagues, the trend towards an ice-breaker style question is intended to gauge your sense of humour, creativity and ability to think on your feet. While it’s hard to prepare for off-the-cuff somewhat outlandish questions — which are unlikely to be asked in a formal HR pre-interview or in certain sectors like finance and pharmaceutical industries — they do provide an opportunity to show a bit of personality and make a genuine connection in an otherwise awkward and formal setting.
Do You Have Any Questions?
Whether this is a strategic play on the part of your interviewer, or is presented as an offhand query lobbed to end of your interview, don’t squander this golden opportunity. Coming prepared with your own list of succinct questions which enable you to highlight your knowledge about the person interviewing you (“I heard you speak at a conference last year and wanted to know if you thought the industry is still underperforming?”) or the company (“How has the culture changed since Company XYZ? bought the company”?), or what could you expect the first month of being in the role look like?
Extra Tips to Leave an Extra Good Impression:
As the saying goes, if you’re five minutes early — you’re on time, if you’re on-time you’re late and if you’re five minutes late — you’re really an hour late. Enough said.
You’re awesome. Your mom knows it. So does the family you used to babysit for in grade eleven. Once you even raised $400 selling your childhood miniature Go-Go figures for charity. This is all great stuff. None of it is particularly relevant to your potential employer (unless your job involves children’s toys or babysitting), so best to curtail the stream-of-consciousness oversharing about your inner awesomeness. Instead, unearth quick and relevant examples of personal highs/experiences when asked that can relate back to who you are as a person and potential employee.
Getting a handle on the rambling 800-word job description is pre-interview homework enough, but you’ve only scrapped the surface. Thankfully social sites like LinkedIn and online business magazines and news articles in general can help you capture a quick look at where a company and the overall industry is focused. Applying for a role in sports marketing? Data capture is their driver, so don’t waste time memorizing League stats and player profiles. A role in Fintech your dream job? It’s just as much about managing burn rates and regulatory issues as it is about reaching the end consumer. Read up and feel confident going in that you know the pressures and priorities your potential employer is managing.
In the midst of killing it on all sides during your interview, a future employer might suddenly see you as a good fit for another role within the company, or for some project not connected with what you were interviewing for originally. The best advice — unless you know immediately it won’t be a fit — is to say yes with confidence, and worry about the specifics later: “Yes I’d be interested; yes, that’s something I can see myself doing; yes, I would love to lead a department like that,” are the kind of responses from a potential employee that employers in a rapidly changing environment are looking for.
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